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This is my fungal acne treatment to get rid of fungal acne in one week. Last week I was out gardening in the hot sun for hours with sunscreen caked all over my face. The next day my skin was the worse I had ever seen it. I had small bumps all over my face and tiny little blister-like pimply lesions covering my skin.
I remember first noticing something was off when I was washing my face that evening and my forehead felt very rough and bumpy. Normally my skin is as smooth as glass. They were also itchy.
By the following morning, I had red and tiny blistery-like pimples all over my face and in areas I never break out. I knew I had to begin a treatment and do it fast. Luckily, with my background and obsession in skincare, I knew exactly what it was and how to treat it quickly.
What is Malassezia folliculitis aka “Fungal Acne”
Fungal acne is really not acne at all, it is actually a condition known as Malassezia Folliculitis. In simple terms, Malassezia folliculitis is caused by an overproduction of yeast on the skin. This can often occur in hot humid climates if you’ve been in the sun for an excessive amount of time, high sebum production, occlusive skincare products and sunscreens, as well as immunosuppressants.
My fungal acne was triggered by being in the hot sun with an occlusive sunscreen. This is why it’s important to use the right products on your skin and have a fungal acne treatment in place if you suffer a reaction.
How do I know if I have Fungal Acne vs. Closed Comedones?
You might be wondering if you’re suffering from closed comedones vs. fungal acne. Fungal acne is like a sea of tiny little bumps with a rough texture to the skin. Most are not poppable and cannot be expressed.
They can also show up as tiny little puss-filled blisters that pop easily when you run your fingernail over them. Fungal acne is also itchy which is always a telltale sign. If you’ve spent the day in the sun or have been very active and sweating, then notice a crazy breakout, it is likely fungal acne.
The first step to get rid of fungal acne
First, stop whatever skincare products you are currently using. Most likely, they are not fungal acne safe. I don’t know why I thought my face was great for experimenting with a million different products, but no more. I now stick to a simple routine and only use skincare that is fungal acne safe and good for sensitive skin.
Can you use tretinoin if you have fungal acne?
Tretinoin can be a helpful part of your fungal acne treatment, but make sure you aren’t using too high of a dose. It is also recommended to use tretinoin gel and not cream. I decided to reduce my tretinoin to 0.025% as using 0.05% was causing irritation for months and my skin reacted much better to a lower dose. I now use a 0.025% gel tretinoin every other day.
Step 1: Wash your face with Nizoral
Next, immediately order Nizoral. I have used this shampoo for years to keep my scalp healthy and help with hair growth. Luckily I already had it on hand. Nizoral contains Ketoconazole 1% which is one of the best anti-fungal treatments.
To use Nizoral to treat fungal acne, add a small amount with water and lather it into your hands. Then add it to the entire face and neck. Leave on for 5 minutes and rinse. Do this morning and evening. You should only need to do this for 2-3 days before you start to see an improvement. You are using the Nizoral in place of your facewash so you do not need to wash your face again after.
Step 2: Use a Sulfur Mask
The second thing I did to get rid of my fungal acne was to use a sulfur mask on all areas where fungal acne was present. I know the amazing power of Sulfur for acne and bacteria so I keep a simple Sulfur Healing Powder in my bathroom at all times which I just mix with water in my hand.
Do this morning and evening for 2-3 days after your wash your face, then reduce to once a day until the active Malassezia folliculitis is clear.
Step 3: Fungal Acne safe moisturizers
Since the sulfur mask and Nizerol will dry out the skin, it is important you are using Fungal Acne-approved moisturizers. This step in your fungal acne treatment should become part of your daily skincare routine.
- The Ordinary Niacinimide: use this directly after washing your face like a serum.
- Krave Beauty Oat So Simple Water Cream: This cream is wonderful and uses squalane which is incredibly moisturizing as well as Oat Extract to calm and soothe the skin. It also has minimal ingredients which is always a plus in my book.
- SkinFix Barrier+ Skin Barrier Niacinamide Restoring Gel Cream: This product is pretty remarkable and one of the only mainstream brands to actually promote that their cream is “free from known fungal blemish triggers”. It is specifically designed to promote and restore the skin’s moisture barrier. Though this brand is a little pricier, it’s worth it. This moisturizer is great if you have oily skin or live in a very humid climate.
- The Ordinary 100% Squalane: Make sure you are using the regular squalane and NOT the Hemi-squalane which is not fungal acne safe. This was a mistake I had been making. If you already have the Hemi-squalane, just use it for your hair. Regular squalane is fungal acne safe and is good to have on hand when your skin is very dehydrated or if you are prone to dry skin. A little goes a long way.
Step 4: Fungal Acne Safe Sunscreen
Sunscreen is a huge trigger of fungal acne and is an issue with so many tretinoin users. I have researched sunscreen extensively and tried over 50 different sunscreens. I will now only use a sunscreen that is fungal acne safe. In my desperate situation, the only sunscreen I could find was Cerave AM Moisturizer with 30 SPF. I have to be honest, I was not a fan. It had a slight burning sensation and felt like sunscreen with a slight amount of flakiness. However, beggars cannot be choosers so I used this until my order came in from Sephora.
I went through so many reviews and information before finally ordering Paula’s Choice RESIST Youth-Extending Daily Hydrating Fluid SPF 50. This sunscreen is lightweight, leaves no white cast, is great for oily or dry skin, and absorbs quickly. I also appreciate that it has SPF 50, which I need in California.
I also ordered Skin Aqua’s Moisture Milk with SPF 50 and will write an update as soon as I try it out. You’ll notice many fungal acne safe products are Korean and Japanese skincare. *Update 8/25/22 I have used this several times now and OMG it is the holy grail of sunscreens. It goes on so silky smooth, has no white cast, and works on top of oil or water-based moisturizers. I put it on top of pure squalane and it still worked beautifully. It also does not burn at all and feels nice and hydrating. *Update 4//23/23 I still use this and it is my go-to sunscreen during the winter months or when my skin needs more hydration.
Tizo 3 Tinted Sunscreen with SPF 40 is also great and feels like a primer. This is great if you have very oily skin and want a sunscreen to put under your makeup. If you have dry skin or your peeling, go for the Skin Aqua. *Update 4/23/23 this is still my go to sunscreen for when its hot out or my skin is on the oily side. If I’m going to be in the sun all day, like Disneyland for example, I layer both the Skin Aqua and then put this ontop.
Step 5: Take a Fluconozale Prescription
If you have fungal acne, part of your fungal acne treatment should be treating the issue from the inside out as well. If you want to get rid of fungal acne you absolutely need to take a prescription to knock it out quickly. Fluconazole is the same pink pill they give you if you have a yeast infection. I purchase certain medications like this to keep on hand for any emergency. Fluconazole will treat any fungus or yeast issues.
If you have a bad outbreak, you may need to take it for more than one day. I took one 150mg Fluconazole tablet for 2 days. This can be prescribed by any doctor, dermatologist, and urgent care. If you are a woman this is the same exact medication used to treat a yeast infection. If you need help finding this, leave a comment and I will send you an email with my source.
Use Fungal Acne Safe Makeup
If you have fungal acne, you will likely want to cover it up if you need to go out. I had to get rid of all of my makeup and start over. The only makeup I had on hand that was fungal acne safe was Urban Decay Stay Naked Foundation. Thank goodness I had this at home! This foundation is matte, medium to full coverage, and great if you have oily skin. It can however be a bit drying and I would not recommend it for those with dry skin.
I also picked up Loreal Stay Matte full coverage foundation which I felt was too drying, I would go with Urban Decay over this one.
Additionally, I received a sample of Beauty Blenders Air Whip foundation which provides a medium coverage and has a very dewy finish. I think this would be great for those with dry skin. It provides great coverage especially if you are suffering from active breakouts.
If you have combination skin, I also love Sephora 10hr Wear Foundation. The coverage is not as heavy and it leaves a satin finish that is not matte or too dewy. I find myself using this on a regular basis if I decide I just want a little more coverage.
Once your skin is nice and clear, if you just want to dust on a powder and go, I really like Maybelline Fit Lose Powder the best. This is a mineral powder and I like it much better than Bare Minerals. Now that my skin is clear, I use this the most.
I have also tried NYX Foundations Drops and Catrice HD Liquid Coverage Foundation which I hated. They were so drying and gave awful coverage.
A few other fungal safe foundations that I’ll be trying are Cliniques Stay Matte Oil-Free, NYX Can’t Stop Won’t Stop (*update: tried it and found to be way too drying). Pictured above you can see me wearing the beauty blender foundation. None of my pictures are edited or have filters on them by the way.
I should also add that many of the Malassezia folliculitis-safe foundations seem to be matte. I have combination skin and counterbalance this by using the squalane oil which adds enough moisture to use a matte foundation and still have glowing clear skin that is not shiny. When using tretinoin, having moisturized skin is a must.
Pictured above you will see days 1, 2, 3, and 4 of recovering from Malassezia folliculitis with my fungal acne treatment. I took my first picture on Wednesday, and my face was almost 100% better by Friday. There were red marks from where my skin was healing, but no active bumps. My skin was smooth again and there was not one little tiny blistery bumpy pimple. In 5 days, thanks to switching out all my products and sticking to this fungal acne treatment, my skin actually looked better than before I had my crazy fungal acne breakout.
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If you have questions about this Fungal Acne Treatment please do not hesitate to leave a comment below!
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