How to choose the right Moisturizers for Fungal Acne

Ever get tiny, itchy bumps that just won’t quit? You might have fungal acne, a sneaky type of skin trouble caused by yeast, not bacteria like regular acne. Fear not! Moisturizing can actually help keep it under control, and you don’t need harsh scrubs or drying treatments. This article will break down everything you need to know about fungal acne, from its causes to the magic of picking the right moisturizer to keep your skin happy and healthy. Stay tuned for the inside scoop!

What Is Fungal Acne?

Fungal acne, also known as pityrosporum folliculitis or malassezia folliculitis, is a common skin condition that resembles acne. It is caused by the overgrowth of a specific type of yeast called Malassezia. Contrary to its name, it is not actually acne and does not involve the typical acne-causing bacteria.

Malassezia is a naturally occurring fungus that is present on everyone’s skin. It usually doesn’t cause any problems and is part of the normal skin flora. Yet, in some individuals, an overgrowth of this fungus can occur, leading to the development of fungal acne.

Fungal acne typically manifests as small, itchy, acne-like bumps that are often uniform in size and shape. These bumps can be red or flesh-colored and usually appear on the chest, back, shoulders, and sometimes on the face. 

Diagnosing fungal acne can be challenging. Its symptoms can resemble other skin conditions like traditional acne or bacteria-caused folliculitis. But, a dermatologist can often differentiate fungal acne by performing a physical examination. If necessary, they may take a small skin sample for laboratory analysis.

Treatment for fungal acne typically involves antifungal medications. Doctors commonly prescribe topical antifungal creams, lotions, or shampoos. These products contain ingredients like ketoconazole, selenium sulfide, or pyrithione zinc. These medications help to control the overgrowth of Malassezia and reduce inflammation and itching. In more severe cases, oral antifungal medications may be necessary.

In addition to medication, there are some self-care measures that can help manage and prevent fungal acne. To manage the condition, keep the affected areas clean and dry. Avoid tight-fitting, synthetic clothes, and choose breathable cotton. Use non-comedogenic, oil-free skincare products. Also, avoid excessive sweating and humid environments when you can.

Understanding the Causes of Fungal Acne

Several factors contribute to the development of fungal acne. Understanding these causes can help us adopt effective prevention and treatment strategies:

Warm and Humid Environments: Malassezia thrives in warm and humid conditions, making individuals living in such climates more susceptible to fungal acne.

Excessive Sweating: Excessive sweating can create a favorable environment for Malassezia overgrowth, leading to the formation of fungal acne.

Occlusive Clothing: Wearing tight clothing or fabrics that do not allow the skin to breathe properly can trap heat and moisture, promoting the growth of Malassezia.

Certain Skincare Products: Some skincare products, particularly those containing oils or fatty acids, can exacerbate fungal acne by providing nourishment to the yeast.

The Role of Moisturizers in Fungal Acne Treatment

Dermatologists usually prescribe antifungal medications like topical or oral antifungals to directly target the yeast. Moisturizers complement this treatment approach in several ways.

Soothe and Hydrate the Skin

Fungal acne eruptions can cause redness, inflammation, and dryness. Moisturizers with ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, or ceramides restore moisture to the skin. This reduces dryness and discomfort linked to the condition. They also create a protective barrier that locks in hydration and prevents excessive water loss from the skin.

Restore the Skin Barrier

Fungal acne disrupts the skin barrier. This allows the yeast to penetrate deeper into hair follicles and cause inflammation. Moisturizers that contain occlusive agents like petrolatum or dimethicone help repair and strengthen the skin barrier. They also prevent further invasion and reduce the risk of secondary infections.

Reduce Irritation and Redness

Fungal acne can lead to skin irritation and redness due to the body’s inflammatory response. Moisturizers contain soothing ingredients like aloe vera, chamomile, or niacinamide. They can provide relief by calming the skin and reducing redness.

Enhance Treatment Efficacy

Some antifungal medications used to treat fungal acne can be drying to the skin. Moisturizers can counteract this side effect by replenishing moisture. They ensure that the skin remains hydrated during treatment. This helps prevent excessive dryness, flaking, and irritation, which could potentially worsen the condition.

Prevent Recurrence

After treating fungal acne, maintain a proper skincare routine to prevent it from coming back. Regular use of moisturizers can help maintain skin health and balance. This reduces the likelihood of future flare-ups. Look for non-comedogenic or oil-free moisturizers to avoid clogging the pores. Clogged pores can contribute to the formation of acne lesions.

Key Considerations for Choosing a Moisturizer

  • Opt for oil-free moisturizers. They are less likely to clog pores and provide an environment suitable for Malassezia growth.
  • Look for non-comedogenic products. They do not block hair follicles, preventing further irritation and breakouts.
  • Seek moisturizers containing antifungal ingredients. Examples include tea tree oil, pyrithione zinc, and ketoconazole. These can help inhibit the growth of Malassezia.
  • Soothing Agents: Ingredients like aloe vera, chamomile, or niacinamide can soothe inflamed skin. They can also reduce the discomfort caused by fungal acne.

Recommended Moisturizers for Fungal Acne

CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion is lightweight and oil-free. It contains ceramides that strengthen the skin barrier. The moisturizer also provides necessary hydration. It is also fragrance-free and non-comedogenic.

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat Mattifying Moisturizer is specifically designed for oily and acne-prone skin. It helps control excess oil production without clogging the pores. It contains sebulyse technology and offers a mattifying effect.

Sebamed Clear Face Care Gel is a gel-based moisturizer. It is oil-free and non-comedogenic, making it suitable for acne-prone skin. It helps regulate sebum production. It has antibacterial properties to combat both bacteria and Malassezia.

Bioderma Sensibio Light Soothing Cream contains soothing ingredients, such as allantoin and glycyrrhetinic acid. This moisturizer calms and hydrates the skin without making fungal acne worse.


Finding the right moisturizer is crucial for managing fungal acne effectively. Individuals with fungal acne can choose oil-free, non-comedogenic moisturizers to meet their hydration needs and combat the underlying yeast overgrowth. The moisturizers should contain antifungal ingredients and soothing agents. Remember to consult with a dermatologist to determine the best course of action for your specific condition. With proper care and the right moisturizer, you can restore your skin’s health and alleviate the symptoms of fungal acne