Fungal Acne: How To Know If You Have It & What Is The Right Treatment
Dr Nivedita Dadu, a Delhi-based dermatologist explains how fungal acne is different from normal acne, why it happens and what are the treatments available.
If you have had acne for a long time and have tried multiple products, facials, and treatments but nothing is working, then you may be suffering from fungal acne. It often goes misdiagnosed as it is very similar to normal or bacterial acne.
What is Fungal Acne?
Though fungal acne is a new entity, the disease is not new. In the language of dermatologists, it is called Malassezia Folliculitis or Pityrosporum Folliculitis as it is caused by the fungus called Malassezia and Folliculitis is a skin infection that affects hair follicles. When this fungal infection occurs in hair follicles, you can see spots or raised red bumps on the infected area. These red bumps mostly appear on the face, forehead and back.
You must be wondering that if it is a fungal infection then why is it called fungal acne? The reason is when one after another a follicle is infected on the face or at the back, it causes red bumps or spots wherever there is infection and as these bumps look quite similar to pimples, they are called ‘Fungal Acne’. But as they are not actually acne or pimples so if you will keep on treating them like the one, you will never get relieved of them and that’s why the right diagnosis is important.
How is it different from normal acne?
While Normal or bacterial acne may also have blackheads, whiteheads, cysts or nodules in them, in fungal acne only red bumps are formed wherever there is infection.
Secondly, while normal acne is painful, fungal acne is itchy but never painful. Also, the pimples caused due to fungal acne are very similar in appearance and that is why they are called ‘monomorphic’.
If you have already done several treatments for pimples but still you are not getting any relief then it's another reason to suspect that it might be fungal acne.
Why does Fungal Acne happen?
Be it bacterial acne or fungal acne both are found more on the oily skin. But there are other reasons too for fungal acne to occur.
1. Sweat: During summers, when the environment is sweaty, there are more chances of fungal acne to occur especially on those body parts which are more oily like the face and back.
2. Steroid Creams: If you apply steroid creams on your face, there are chances of fungal acne.
3. Low Immunity: People with lower immunity can also have fungal acne.
What is the suitable treatment?
1. Use Antifungal Shampoos And Body Washes: Antifungal shampoos have ZPTO (Zinc Pyrithione) which is known for its antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antifungal properties. You can use these shampoos for head washing, and they are easily available in India. For treating fungal acne on different parts of the body, you can use antifungal body washes having Ketoconazole, which specifically works by disrupting the cell membrane of the fungus, which prevents it from growing and replicating. By diluting such body washes, you can also use them as a face wash.
2. Use Antifungal Creams: Applying antifungal creams can help with fungal acne by regulating the fatty acid content in your skin.
If you are still confused about whether it is bacterial acne or fungal acne, then you can go for these products:
1. Salicylic acid face wash: Salicylic acid is a kind of molecule that will unclog your pores and reduce oiliness so whether it is fungal or bacterial acne, salicylic acid face wash will work.
2. Sulphur-based products: You can use sulphur-based products like creams and body washes as sulphur has both antifungal and antibacterial properties.
If the above treatments do not work then it’s important that you consult an experienced and qualified dermatologist, who may prescribe you oral antifungal tablets to get rid of fungal acne.
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