You’ve popped, pricked, and have tried pulverizing them with the best medication that money can buy—yet no matter what you do, you still can’t seem to get rid of those nasty red bumps. They’ve lasted for weeks (maybe even months), and seem to be increasing in number. Sounds familiar?
We’re not here to tell you a horror story, but we are here to warn you that you might have a case of fungal acne. Below, everything you need to know about this bad bug and how to squelch it for good.
WHAT IS FUNGAL ACNE AND WHAT CAUSES IT?
At its natural state, your skin is teeming with microorganisms. Just like the bacteria in your gut, the tiny flora that thrive on your epidermis are crucial to maintaining moisture levels and fighting pathogens. Needless to say, they’re good for you!
Now, there’s a type of fungus that already exists on your skin, namely the Pityrosporum yeast. On most individuals, they’re typically harmless. When left unchecked, though, they can overgrow, erupt, and invade the skin. And voila—you’ve got yourself a bad case of fungal acne.
The Pityrosporum thrives on heat, humidity, and overproduction of sebum. All the same, pollutants, fatigue, and basically anything that disrupts the balance of your skin microbiome can trigger this.
Because it looks so much like regular acne, it can be often mistaken and misdiagnosed as such. However, if you have catch the symptoms early, you can bust the blemishes in no time!
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF FUNGAL ACNE?
1. It appears in clusters.
Your everyday pimple can appear alone. And if you have more than one, they’re usually spread out across your face. Fungal acne, on the other hand, appears in small, tiny bumps bunched together.
2. Its bumps are uniform in size.
In other words, it’s no fan of variety. It typically manifests as identical red pinpricks or whiteheads filled with pus. Plus, they’re never bigger than a millimeter—unlike the average zit, which comes in different shapes and proportions.
3. It’s itchy—like really itchy.
In most cases of fungal acne, patients report itchiness, pain, and burning sensations. This is because the yeast latches onto hair follicles, which begin to swell upon being infected.
4. It spreads way beyond the face.
The T-Zone? Please, it had that for breakfast. Fungal acne feasts on sweaty and humid areas, which is why the hair, neck, shoulders, back, and chest are prone to infection.
5. It doesn’t respond to acne medication.
This is probably the most tell-tale sign. Your average zit-zapping solution is designed to fight bacteria, so it’s understandable why it has no effect on a fungal infection.
If you’ve checked most items on the list, then your skin is probably pointing you in this direction. Worry not, because there are solutions to your fungus fiasco!
HOW TO TREAT & PREVENT FUNGAL ACNE
1. Wear clean, natural, and breathable fabrics.
Sweating is inevitable, especially when you live a busy and active lifestyle. Make sure that the clothes you wear are light, well-ventilated, and sweat-wicking, especially when you work out. This way, heat and moisture aren’t trapped in after you exercise.
2. Skip the sugar.
If there’s anything that fungi love more than oil and humidity, its sugar. After all, ingesting high levels of refined sugar can directly increase sebum production and amp up inflammation. When you cut down on sugar, you starve the fungi. You’ll feel healthier and lighter too!
3. Explore antifungal treatments.
Consult your dermatologist, and take topical medication that specifically the issue at hand—these include antifungal ointments, creams, and dandruff shampoo. For an alternative option, try your hand at essential oils such as tea tree, oregano, and clove.
4. Invest in the right skincare. Ditch the fermented ingredients (they just feed the fungi), and opt for formulas that actively fight fungi. Consider the COSRX Propolis Light Ampule. It contains copious amounts of black bee propolis, which is widely known to mitigate fungal infections and inhibit overproduction of yeast.
It also soothes inflammation, protects against cellular damage, and brightens the complexion. Plus, its not drying at all—it helps restore balance within the skin, and provides intensive hydration to the moisture barrier.
After cleansing and toning, simply dispense 2 to 3 drops on your palm and spread this honey-golden formula over your skin. Skincare has never been this sweet!
Photos from Shutterstock and iStock.
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