The term fungal acne is used to describe a type of skin infection that occurs due to the Malassezia yeast that lives on the skin and inflames the hair follicles once it overgrows and tips the skin’s balance.
The symptoms of this inflammatory condition include pimple-like bumps that occur in clusters, typically in oilier areas of the face and body, and are often red or flesh-colored and itchy.
However, the tricky part about fungal acne is that it doesn’t respond to traditional acne treatments and can be triggered by many ingredients found in cosmetics, even those that are safe for bacterial or the more common type of acne.
Therefore, if you are dealing with this type of inflammation and are looking for a complete routine change that will consist of products safe for fungal acne in particular, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, we are going to dive deep into the world of fungal acne-safe cosmetics and give you the lowdown on the best face washes, serums, moisturizers, face masks, and so much more, specifically formulated to combat and prevent fungal acne from coming back.
After we’ve tackled the product recommendation section, we’re going to delve a little deeper into answering the common questions one may have about fungal acne, what can improve this condition or exacerbate the situation, and how to get rid of it once and for all.
Fungal Acne Safe Cleanser:
Clearstem – Vitamin Infused Calming Wash
GENTLECLEAN – Vitamin Infused Calming Wash
The GENTLECLEAN Vitamin Infused Calming Wash is a gentle but potent cleanser that effectively removes daily grime, makeup, and excess oil accumulated on the skin while respecting the skin’s moisture barrier and ensuring your skin remains hydrated and clean.
Hydrates while it cleanses, removes waterproof makeup, and is gentle enough to use morning and night
Purifying, Detoxing & Restoring
Super gentle daily cleanser for acne-prone & sensitive skin
Real Ingredients. Real Results
Formulated with green tea, goldenseal, and vitamin c
No hormone distruptors, no toxins, cruelty free, gluten free, vegan, and silicon free
Jam-packed with skin-loving ingredients such as green tea, a skin-soothing antioxidant, licorice root, a brightening and cell-repairing component, hyaluronic acid, a humectant that draws moisture into your skin, along with a calming blend of herbal extracts and moisturizing actives, the Vitamin Infused Calming Wash by Clearstem is fantastic for those struggling with sensitive skin and fungal acne.
Besides the blend of skin-repairing, soothing, and strengthening goodies, the cleanser is also free of potential fungal acne triggers such as esters, emollients, and heavy silicones and aims to effectively cleanse your skin without irritating it or feeding the yeast that causes those pesky breakouts.
Additionally, the Vitamin Infused Calming Wash has a lightweight texture and lathers well when in contact with water, so very little is needed for a good, thorough cleanse that will leave your skin clean, refreshed, and hydrated.
- Free from esters, emollients, and silicones.
- Contains skin-loving antioxidants.
- Leaves the skin clean and plump.
- Calms fungal breakouts.
When choosing a fungal acne-safe face wash or cleanser, avoid products that contain multiple heavy oils, emollients, and silicones, as these could feed the yeast that causes fungal acne and help it grow and become more problematic.
Instead, look for cleansers containing ingredients that are lightweight in nature but will hydrate your skin and prevent dehydration, which can exacerbate the texture caused by this inflammatory condition.
Additionally, always choose a cleanser with a pH close to the skin’s natural state (around 5.5), as this will help maintain a strong skin barrier that will have an easier time fighting off the overgrowth of pathogens.
Finally, choose a cleanser that doesn’t contain drying alcohol and irritating fragrance, as these can exacerbate the inflammatory symptoms.
Fungal Acne Safe Moisturizer:
Malezia – 5% Urea Moisturizer
Malezia 5% Urea Moisturizer
With a simple yet effective ingredient list, the 5% Urea Moisturizer by Malezia is a targeted ointment that mildly exfoliates the skin while protecting its delicate barrier and balancing your skin’s ecosystem to prevent the overgrowth of malicious yeast causing fungal acne.
Oily, Combination, Fungal acne-prone skin
Lightweight & Hydrating
Malezia’s lightweight formula keeps the skin hydrated without clogging the pores
Treats and prevents overgrowth of fungal acne-causing yeast
Absence of artificial fragrances and dyes mitigates chances of outbreak from sensitive skin
Created by the founder of one of the most informative blogs on fungal acne on the internet, the Malezia 5% Urea Moisturizer is a fungal acne-safe moisturizer designed to soothe irritations caused by yeast overgrowth and refine the texture, fade redness, and heal blemishes that are symptoms of this pesky condition.
The moisturizer is enriched with 5% urea, a naturally occurring substance in healthy skin that helps retain moisture, thereby ensuring your skin stays supple and hydrated throughout the day.
It also contains glycerin and allantoin, which work synergistically to draw moisture into the skin and bolster its natural barrier function, preventing overgrowth of pathogenic components such as yeast and the conditions that arise as a result, such as fungal acne.
Beyond these helpful ingredients, the 5% Urea Moisturizer is also free of any fungal acne triggers that are commonly found in many other cosmetic products, and it has a lightweight, non-greasy texture that is easily absorbed into the skin, leaving it feeling comfortably hydrated without any sticky residue.
- Enriched with hydrating components for intense hydration.
- Lightweight and non-greasy.
- Free of common fungal acne irritants.
- Bolsters natural skin barrier function.
- It might not be enough hydrating for severely dry skin.
Moisturizers and other cream-based cosmetic products are probably the hardest to pick when dealing with fungal acne, as most of them typically contain at least one ingredient that could potentially trigger or exacerbate this condition.
Therefore, if you want to make sure you get one that isn’t going to make matters worse, you need to aim for moisturizers and cream-based products that contain ingredients known to strengthen the skin barrier and improve its function, such as urea, hyaluronic acid, ceramides, etc.
On the other hand, you need to stay away from products containing fatty acids, especially ingredients such as lauric, linoleic, and oleic acid, as these are commonly found in cream-based products yet are known as fungal acne triggers.
Fungal Acne Safe Face Mask:
Clearstem – Pregame Face Mask
CLEARSTEM – PREGAME Face Mask
Brightens and Evens
Exfoliating face mask that helps brighten the skin and diminish dark spots and uneven skin tone.
Contains gentle, fruit-derived acids that give instant results.
Packed with nourishing antioxidants that help clear skin damage.
Excellent for soothing inflammation and acne.
For the more active portion of your fungal acne skincare routine, a mask containing a blend of exfoliating acids that can be used as a weekly treatment is recommended.
Gentle, naturally derived exfoliating acids, such as the ones found in the Pregame Face Mask by Clearstem, will not only deliver an immediate radiance boost but will actively reduce the yeast overgrowth on the skin’s surface and minimize the symptoms of the inflammatory condition.
What’s more, with the addition of soothing and skin-repairing ingredients like Beta-glucan and licorice root extract, the Pregame Face Mask is remarkably gentle, making it suitable for all skin types—even those with sensitive and reactive skin that often react adversely to stronger exfoliating acids.
Lastly, the mask harnesses the antioxidant power of brightening turmeric, soothing resveratrol, healing vitamin E, and barrier-strengthening niacinamide to shield your skin from environmental stressors and reverse the existing damage. The result? A clear, even, and smooth complexion after as little as one application.
- Contains naturally derived gentle exfoliating acids that won’t irritate damaged skin.
- Contains brightening and skin-soothing ingredients that will reduce the appearance of active fungal acne and pigmented scars left behind.
- Suitable for ultra-sensitive and reactive skin.
- Excellent for both fungal and bacterial acne.
Similarly to choosing a moisturizer, picking the perfect face mask for fungal acne will definitely require you to stay away from ultra-nourishing and moisturizing ingredients such as emollients containing fatty acids that can feed the yeast that’s causing fungal acne, along with heavy and clogging oils.
Instead, you want to go for a mask that contains active ingredients such as exfoliating acids and enzymes along with hydrating yet lightweight components that will actively target many parts of the issue, such as an excessive buildup of dead skin cells that’s contributing to yeast overgrowth while also keeping your skin hydrated and healthy.
Finally, while the texture doesn’t always matter, an overly creamy mask is a good indicator that the product contains heavy and potentially triggering ingredients, so opting for something with a lightweight, gel consistency is a better option and can also be immediately cooling to the skin, which will help soothe the rash caused by fungal acne.
Fungal Acne Safe Skin Serum:
No B.S. – Vitamin C & E Serum
No B.S. Vitamin C&E Serum
Packed with antioxidant powerhouses like vitamins C and E, along with soothing pomegranate and green tea, the Vitamin C&E Serum aims to boost collagen production and refine skin texture while soothing inflammatory fungal acne.
Suitable for all skin types, age groups & genders
Vitamin E keeps skin hydrated and protects from signs of aging including wrinkles, fine lines & dark spots
Hyaluronic acid helps reduce inflammation in the skin
Vegan & Cruelty Free
While treating fungal acne will definitely require you to make some significant changes in your skincare routine, you certainly don’t have to give up one of the most effective brightening and cell-repairing actives on the market, just because many products that contain it also contain known fungal acne triggers.
If you want to continue using vitamin C and benefit from having a clear, even, bright, and radiant complexion, you should check out the Vitamin C&E Serum by No B.S., a fungal acne-safe serum formulated to deliver antioxidant protection and brightening benefits without the risk of irritation or feeding yeast.
The serum contains 20% stabilized vitamin C, which improves the function of damaged skin cells and reduces the appearance of pigmentary disorders, dullness, and UV damage, with an addition of vitamin E, a lipid-soluble antioxidant known for its anti-inflammatory and wound-healing properties and hyaluronic acid that maintains hydration and helps improve barrier function.
Fantastic for anyone looking to improve multiple skin concerns without risking fungal acne, the Vitamin C&E serum is a fantastic option that doesn’t skimp on quality or performance.
- High-strength stabilized vitamin C brightens and fades pigmentation.
- Vitamin E provides anti-inflammatory and wound-healing benefits.
- Lightweight and easily absorbed.
- Fungal acne-safe.
When choosing a fungal acne-safe serum, always look for products free of emollients, esters, and silicones, as some of these can feed the yeast causing fungal acne and exacerbate your skin concern.
Additionally, look for serums with a lightweight texture and natural humectants that won’t clog pores, as this can lead to further irritation and breakouts.
Furthermore, try to opt for a serum containing mild actives such as vitamin C, niacinamide, and retinol, as these will help target multiple skin concerns besides fungal acne and improve the skin’s health and appearance.
Fungal Acne Safe Makeup:
Dior – Backstage Face and Body Foundation
Dior – BACKSTAGE Face & Body Foundation
Free from heavy, pore-clogging ingredients that could potentially worsen fungal acne and lead to other forms of breakouts, the Dior Backstage Face and Body Foundation has a lightweight, high-coverage formula that glides effortlessly onto the skin and spreads seamlessly for a flawless application.
Ideal for dry, normal, and combination skin.
Dior’s foundation is water and sweat proof making it ideal for high activity or rainy days.
Diverse Color Palette
Dior has 40 different colors which make it inclusive of all skin types.
Smoothes Uneven Textures
Great for covering up ice pick, textured, and atrophic acne scars.
Finding a foundation that won’t trigger or exacerbate existing fungal acne can be daunting, especially when you consider that most foundations contain heavy emollients, silicones, and even oils to help the formula spread on the skin and stay on all day.
However, the Dior Backstage Face & Body Foundation is a significant turn from most formulas on the market due to its lightweight consistency and a formula that doesn’t contain clogging ingredients that can contribute to any breakouts, be it bacterial or fungal.
With a seamless glide across the skin and a semi-matte finish, this foundation is guaranteed to make you fall in love with it if breakouts are your main skin concern preventing you from enjoying makeup artistry.
- Buildable formula that allows for medium to high coverage.
- Lightweight and silky smooth.
- Non-comedogenic and fungal acne-safe.
- Wide shade range.
- Contains fragrance.
Foundations are one of the most challenging products for those dealing with fungal acne.
This is because most foundations contain clogging ingredients such as emollients, silicones, and pigments that can feed the yeast and help it overgrow while also perpetuating inflammation and exacerbating the symptoms once they appear.
Therefore, while you can probably get away with several ingredients deemed comedogenic in most products, when choosing a foundation you need to be extra diligent and look for strictly non-comedogenic formulas free of potential triggers and irritants.
Furthermore, it’s beneficial to opt for a foundation with a lightweight formula and a natural to semi-matte finish, and even though the coverage of these products might not be the best, consider that the heavier the formula is, the more likely it will be to cause fungal acne and other skin concerns.
Finally, while it’s almost impossible to find a fungal acne-safe foundation with strict criteria when it comes to comedogenic ingredients that are also fragrance-free, do keep an eye out for fragrance-free options to reduce the risk of irritation and the worsening of existing symptoms, such as redness and itching.
Bioderma – Sébium H2O Micellar Water
Bioderma – Sébium H2O Micellar Water
Specially formulated for oily and acne-prone skin, the Bioderma Sébium Micellar Water not only effectively removes makeup and daily grime accumulated on the skin’s surface, but it gently dissolves excess oil that might be contributing to issues such as fungal acne.
Suitable for combination and oily skin types.
This micellar water doesn’t contain ingredients known to clog pores.
Zinc gluconate works to limit sebum production for a shine-free complexion.
Gentle and Lightweight
The dermatologist tested formula is super lightweight, and doesn’t irritate the skin.
Formulated for oily, combination, and acne-prone skin, the Bioderma Sébium Micellar Water proficiently purifies the skin by removing makeup and oil stuck inside the pores closer to the skin’s surface.
With a short ingredient list that boasts soothing and oil-balancing zinc, moisturizing sugars, anti-inflammatory herbal extracts, and barrier-strengthening triglycerides, this non-comedogenic solution leverages micellar technology with components that mimic the skin’s natural lipids, ensuring gentleness on the skin while dissolving daily grime accumulated on the surface.
Soothing, hydrating, and gentle on the skin, the Bioderma Sébium Micellar Water does a fantastic job at leaving the skin cleansed and refreshed without drying it or causing a tight, uncomfortable feeling.
- Effectively removes makeup and excess oil.
- Suitable for oily, combination, and acne-prone skin.
- Free of potential fungal acne triggers.
- Contains hydrating and skin-soothing ingredients to relieve acne symptoms.
- Not suitable for dry and ultra-sensitive or reactive skin.
While makeup removers generally have a short ingredient list and stay on the skin for a limited time, making them unlikely to cause any significant damage, those dealing with fungal acne should still keep a few things in mind when choosing one.
Firstly, if you are dealing with fungal acne, try to stay away from oil-based makeup removers and cleansing balms, as some of the ingredients they contain can stick to the skin and, unless followed up with a thorough second cleanse, may remain stuck inside the pores and clog them, leading to inflammatory skin issues such as acne.
Secondly, opt for formulas that aren’t heavily fragranced, as products that contain multiple fragrant components can exacerbate fungal acne symptoms such as redness and itchiness.
Finally, if your skin is oily, consider opting for a product that has oil-dissolving properties, as this will help remove not only makeup and grime accumulated on the skin’s surface but also excess oil stuck inside the pores towards the surface, thus reducing the chances of acne.
Fungal Acne Safe Eye Cream:
Hada Labo – Tokyo Age Correcting Eye Cream
Hada Labo Tokyo Age Correcting Eye Cream
The Tokyo Age Correcting Eye Cream is enriched with hydrating and invigorating ingredients that plump up the delicate undereye area while eliminating dark circles and minimizing puffiness for a refreshed appearance.
Potent hyaluronic acid for hydration and plumpness.
Caffeine reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
Free of fragrances, oils, and parabens that can clog the pores and aggravate sensitive skin
Collagen & hyaluronic acid help repair and strengthen the skin barrier
The Hada Labo Tokyo Age Correcting Eye Cream can be a fantastic addition to your skincare routine if you want to introduce a product that will target dark undereye circles, puffiness, and fine lines without exacerbating fungal acne that often appears near the eye area in the form of itchy whiteheads or red spots.
With a feather-light consistency and anti-inflammatory properties, the eye cream is enriched with hyaluronic acid for hydration, collagen for firming the eye area and eliminating the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and caffeine, which provides a slight cooling sensation and constricts the enlarged blood vessels under the skin to reduce puffiness and dark circles.
Additionally, the Tokyo Age Correcting Eye Cream also contains light-diffusing pigments that will illuminate the undereye area and make the skin around your eyes appear brighter and evened out, along with botanical extracts that soothe inflammation and reduce redness caused by inflammatory conditions in the surrounding area.
- Formulated without potential fungal acne triggers.
- Contains hyaluronic acid for hydration.
- Contains caffeine that helps reduce puffiness and dark circles.
- Contains collagen that helps reduce the appearance of fine lines around the eyes.
Choosing a fungal acne-safe eye cream requires particular attention, as fungal acne can sometimes show up around the eyes in the form of red, itchy bumps that can be a daily nuisance.
Therefore, when choosing an eye cream that won’t trigger or exacerbate the symptoms of this inflammatory condition, look for products that are free from standard fungal acne triggers, such as heavy oils, emollients, silicones, and certain esters, along with petrolatum, as this particular ingredient can exacerbate fungal acne around the eyes and even lead to periocular dermatitis.
Instead, look for products that contain lightweight but hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, along with soothing herbal extracts such as green tea that will help calm redness and relieve itchiness.
Finally, avoid eye creams that contain heavy alcohols and fragrances, as these can dehydrate and irritate the delicate skin around the eyes besides causing eye burning and discomfort.
Fungal Acne Safe Sunscreen:
Paula’s Choice – CLEAR Ultra-Light Daily Hydrating Fluid SPF 30
Paula’s Choice – CLEAR Ultra-Light Daily Hydrating Fluid SPF 30+
Enriched with a broad selection of cell-repairing antioxidants and providing ultra-high UV protection, the Ultra-Light Daily Hydrating Fluid SPF 30 is fantastic for those dealing with fungal acne who want to remain protected without exacerbating their skin concern.
Ideal for all skin types. Best for those with enlarged pores & blemishes and combination to oily skin
Includes 0.5% Salicylic Acid, Daily Skin Clearing Treatment with Benzoyl Peroxide, and our Anti-Redness Exfoliating Solution with 2% Salicylic Acid (BHA).
Helps control excess shine, and defends skin against damage caused by UVA & UVB rays.
No fragrance, no parabens, no fluff.
The Paula’s Choice Ultra-Light Daily Hydrating Fluid SPF 30 is a broad-spectrum sunscreen that offers high UV protection and is suitable for anyone trying to avoid additional skin damage while battling fungal acne.
Formulated without potential fungal acne triggers and containing two fungal acne-combatting ingredients, including soothing chamomile and antioxidant green tea extract, this lightweight sunscreen ensures your skin remains smooth and clear.
Further enriched with a potent blend of antioxidants, hydrators, and barrier-repairing components, the Daily Hydrating Fluid SPF 30 is water-light and absorbs quickly into the skin, leaving a beautiful glowy layer behind that serves as a base for perfect makeup application.
Ideal for all skin types, it’s perfect for incorporating into your daily morning skincare routine, providing hydration and broad-spectrum sun protection while being completely safe for those prone to fungal acne.
- Light and easily spreadable consistency.
- High UV protection.
- Contains antioxidants and cell-repairing ingredients.
- Contains fungal acne-combatting ingredients.
- Some might find it slightly greasy.
Similarly to any type of cream-based product, when choosing a fungal acne-safe sunscreen, try to check the ingredient list for potentially clogging components such as oils, emollients, esters, and excessive amounts of silicones you should avoid.
Next, always choose a sunscreen with a high SPF of at least 30 and over for adequate UV protection.
Finally, while sunscreens are intended to sit on the skin’s surface and create a layer that will prevent the sun’s rays from penetrating our skin and damaging our cells, finding one that contains ingredients that offer a little extra care, such as hydrating hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, green tea, etc., is also great to further calm inflammation and strengthen the skin barrier.
Fungal Acne Safe Face Towel:
Truly Beauty – ‘Pour le Visage’ Face Towel
Truly Beauty – ‘Pour le Visage’ Face Towel
A special face towel designed to prevent fungal acne? Yes, please! The ‘Pour le Visage’ Face Towel is an ultra-soft treat made of breathable materials and perfect for those who are on a serious mission to prevent their skin from flaring up due to bacterial and yeast overgrowth.
Safe For All Skin Types
100% cotton is gentle on all skin types especially sensitive skin
Vegan & Cruelty Free
Truly Beauty’s face towel is 100% organic, vegan & cruelty free
The ‘Pour le Visage’ Face Towel by Truly Beauty is the perfect treat for those who want to make sure fungal acne never rears its ugly face on their skin again.
Made with unique microfiber materials and designed to gently dry the skin without tugging, pulling, and spreading bacteria and moisture-loving yeast, which is a common issue with regular towels, this towel is perfect for daily use and completely non-damaging to the skin.
Additionally, due to its ultra-soft material, the microfiber towel won’t leave micro-tears on the skin, which usually manifest as super-enlarged pores and premature wrinkles down the line.
Fast-drying, easy to clean and maintain, and ultra-soft when pressed against the skin, the ‘Pour le Visage’ will likely become your favorite fungal acne-fighting instrument in your arsenal.
- Made of microfiber material, which is gentle on the skin.
- Dries quickly, preventing a damp environment that promotes bacterial and yeast overgrowth.
- Prevents friction-induced wrinkles.
- Easy to clean and maintain.
- Some may find it pricey.
Similarly to bacteria, yeast prefers a damp environment to grow and proliferate. This is why the towels that sometimes hang in your bathroom for days can be one of the major culprits for both bacterial and fungal acne.
Additionally, besides being the breeding grounds for skin-harming pathogens, standard towels are usually very harsh, which can create micro-wounds on the skin, which then get filled with these pathogens, creating a recipe for skin disaster.
Therefore, when choosing a facial towel that will ensure one potential acne trigger is eliminated, try to opt for microfiber materials as these dry quicker than the average towel and are also gentler on the skin, which will prevent skin issues down the line.
Fungal Acne Safe Laundry Detergent:
Heritage Park – Fragrance-Free Laundry Detergent
Heritage Park – Fragrance-Free Laundry Detergent
Formulated to cater to sensitive skin and free of potentially irritating components such as fragrance and dyes, the Heritage Park Fragrance-Free Laundry Detergent is suitable for those dealing with fungal acne on the face and body while also efficient in leaving your clothes and sheets impeccably clean.
Gentle For Sensitive Skin
Heritage Park’s formula is hypoallergenic and fragrance free
Heritage Parlk’s Formula is 100% biodegradable and safe for the environment
The Heritage Park Fragrance-Free Laundry Detergent is a fantastic option for those with ultra-sensitive and reactive skin who are searching for a product that won’t cause skin irritations, trigger allergic reactions, or exacerbate acne.
Formulated without irritating components such as fragrance and dyes, this mild detergent is efficient in cleaning even the most delicate fabrics, including silk, cashmere, and wool, without damaging them or causing them to lose shape and become stretched, discolored, or shrunk.
Additionally, the detergent is also pH-balanced yet highly concentrated for high efficiency, leaving no stains behind and no harsh chemical smells.
- Specifically designed for sensitive skin.
- Safe for fungal acne on the body.
- Free from fungal acne triggers.
- Leaves clothes and sheets clean and fresh.
- Some users may find it more expensive than regular detergent.
Choosing a fungal acne-safe detergent can be an incredibly challenging ordeal, as most detergents are made to clean the clothes and leave no stains behind.
In order to do this, most detergents contain harsh components, such as irritating surfactants, sulfates, brighteners, bleaches, and other chemicals that can accumulate on the fabric and trigger an inflammatory skin reaction.
However, although this area of skin protection is highly underresearched, there are a few things to consider when choosing a detergent for this particular skin concern.
First, try to opt for something that’s free of common irritants, such as dyes, fragrances, and harsh surfactants, as although these may not be the direct cause of fungal acne, they can irritate the skin and exacerbate the symptoms.
Additionally, opt for a product specifically formulated to clean delicate fabrics, as these are typically gentler and less irritating to the skin.
Furthermore, while it all comes down to the ingredients, don’t ignore the label for this particular product, and start your research by picking out a detergent labeled as hypoallergenic.
Although you should always try to spot potential irritants on the ingredient list, hypoallergenic products are less likely to contain multiple irritants, which is already a good start.
Finally, if you can grab a tester or smaller package, it’s always a good idea to test the product before committing to a larger bottle to ensure it doesn’t cause skin irritation.
What is Fungal Acne?
Fungal acne, medically known as pityrosporum folliculitis, is a skin condition caused by the overgrowth of the Malassezia yeast within hair follicles.
Unlike more common acne, which is typically caused by bacteria and manifests on the skin as whiteheads, blackheads, pustules, papules, and cysts, fungal acne is a result of an infection and manifests on the skin as small, itchy pimples that appear in clusters and can be red or flesh-colored.
The treatment and management of fungal acne differs from typical acne due to its unique cause, and while common remedies for bacterial acne, such as salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, may help reduce the symptoms, antifungals are usually needed to neutralize the yeast overgrowth.
Additionally, keeping the skin clean and cutting out potential triggers will also help prevent yeast overgrowth and keep symptoms under control.
What Ingredients Should You Avoid If You Have Fungal Acne?
Maintaining clear skin can be made all that more challenging when dealing with fungal acne, an inflammatory skin condition that resists standard acne remedies but seems to get triggered by anything that touches your skin.
Now, while many ingredients may potentially exacerbate fungal acne, a handful stand out due to their prevalence in cosmetic products and their potential to trigger flare-ups due to their chemical structure and the effect they have on the skin.
Here are a few ingredients you should avoid if you have fungal acne:
- Fatty Acids and Oils – These contain lipids that the yeast that causes fungal acne uses as food to overgrow. A few potentially problematic fatty acids and oils in cosmetics include oleic acid, linoleic acid, lauric acid, coconut oil, olive oil, almond oil, avocado oil, and carrot seed oil.
- Fatty Alcohols – Similar to fatty acids and oils, fatty alcohols and non-drying alcohols contain lipids the yeast that live on our skin use as food to overgrow and proliferate, which can lead to fungal acne or the worsening of the existing condition. Some fatty alcohols which are known fungal acne triggers include cetearyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, and stearyl alcohol.
- Plant Extracts – Certain plant extracts and natural fragrances, such as lavender, lemon, and eucalyptus, along with limonene and linalool, which are commonly used in cosmetics for their fresh, citrusy scent, can also trigger the Malassezia yeast to overgrow by feeding it, while also exacerbating irritation and preventing the skin from recovering.
- Silicones – While generally not problematic for healthy skin, silicones can create an occlusive layer on the surface that will lock in moisture, which will exacerbate fungal acne, as yeast thrives in wet environments. Some of the most common silicones found in cosmetics that may be problematic for those with fungal acne include cyclohexasiloxane, cyclopentasiloxane, and phenyl trimethicone.
- Galactomyces – A popular component in Korean beauty products, galactomyces is a type of yeast that can brighten and refine the skin when applied topically. However, since the component is derived from a fungus, applying it to skin that’s already prone to developing inflammatory symptoms from yeast overgrowth may exacerbate existing conditions or even trigger fungal acne for some.
- Petrolatum – While the role of petrolatum in exacerbating fungal acne is heavily debated by professionals in the industry, many agree that this component does have the potential to create an issue for those who are prone to the inflammatory condition due to its occlusive nature. When applied to the skin, petrolatum will create a barrier on the surface, trapping sweat, oil, and various bacteria and yeast underneath. However, the increased moisture level under the petrolatum layer will create a perfect environment for yeast to thrive, thus potentially causing fungal acne for some people.
Are Any Oils Safe for Fungal Acne?
Yes, there are several oils that are considered safe for fungal acne.
These include Medium Chain Triglyceride, or MCT oil, which doesn’t contain the fatty acids the yeast living on our skin feeds on, squalane, which is the most similar to our natural skin oil produced by the sebaceous glands, and tea tree oil due to its fungicidal benefits that can help reduce the overgrowth of yeast on the skin.
That said, while some oils are considered safer than others, fungal acne is still a very individual issue.
As such, every individual dealing with this condition should figure out the potential triggers and avoid them to manage their symptoms effectively.
This process may involve trial and error as you try different products and ingredients to see how your skin responds to various components.
This is why it’s crucial to keep in mind that even if an ingredient is deemed ‘safe’ for fungal acne or any other condition, it may still be problematic for you.
Therefore, the best way to identify specific ingredients that may be problematic for your skin and individual concerns is to take notes and compare the products that are causing your fungal acne to flare up for common denominators.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, salicylic acid is safe for fungal acne and can soothe the redness and reduce the appearance of pustules that occur due to the overgrowth of yeast on the skin and clogged pores.
While salicylic acid may not target the condition itself, it can help improve the symptoms and can work fantastic alongside antifungals that will help reduce yeast overgrowth.
Yes, hyaluronic acid is safe for fungal acne.
However, you should always use products containing this ingredient on damp skin and follow it up with a non-comedogenic emollient to prevent it from evaporating and dehydrating the skin.
Dehydrated skin can lead to an increase in oil production, which could then exacerbate fungal acne.
Yes, vitamin E is safe for fungal acne and can be used to soothe the redness and inflammation caused by the overgrowth of yeast on the skin.
However, avoid using heavy and oily products containing this antioxidant, as other ingredients in the formula can still exacerbate the inflammatory condition.