Do you have Fungal Acne?

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What is Fungal Acne?

Fungal acne is an overgrowth of the yeast malassezia on the skin.  It is also known as malassezia folliculitis or pityrosporum folliculitis.

Up to 90% of people have this yeast as part of our skin microbiome without any reaction at all.  When the skin’s microbiome becomes unbalanced an overgrowth of malassezia can lead to a reaction which can result in fungal acne.

Fungal acne looks like tiny red bumps or pustules – and they are itchy!  It tends to get worse in a hot or humid environment (because that is the environment in which fungi thrive!).  Fungal acne presents most commonly on the face, the chest, the upper back and the arms.

Diagnosis is easy!  Your dermatologist takes a gentle skin scraping and mixes it with potassium hydroxide (KOH).  It is then examined under the microscope to look for the diagnostic spores.

What causes Fungal Acne?

The microbiome is a community of 100 trillion microbes that reside in your gut and on your skin.  When the microbiome becomes unbalanced, certain species tend to overgrow and cause skin disorders.

The microbiome of the gut determines the microbiome of the skin, so often dysbiosis is the underlying cause of fungal acne.

Fungal acne an also arise when the immune system is compromised, such as with chemotherapy, HIV and corticosteroid therapy.

How do you treat Fungal Acne?

  1.  Treat it from the inside out.
    • Balancing the microbiome and healing any dysbiosis is the first line of action when healing fungal acne.  Treating the root cause of any condition is my first priority, otherwise it will always come back.
    • My 7-Week Clear Skin Program addresses all the fundamentals to heal your gut and resolve dysbiosis for good.  Not only does this program address the root cause of fungal acne, but non-fungal acne as well.  The steps in my program include adopting a diet that heals the gut and starves the pathogenic microbes, taking anti-microbial herbs and probiotics.
    • For more information on my 7-Week Clear Skin Program click here.
  2. Topical Treatment
    • Malasezzia feeds off of most oils, so it is important to avoid oil-based skincare products until your gut has been healed (This could be the reason why oil-cleansing has not been helpful in the past!).  I do, however, believe that oil cleansing and nourishing is an important part of a healthy skin care regime once your skin is able to tolerate it.
    • In my 7-Week Program I do not introduce oils until the very last module so that the skin has time to re-balance its microbiome and calm any existing inflammation.
    • Because I believe so strongly in natural skin-care and the healing powers of nature I have put together this skin-care regime for anyone suffering from fungal acne.  This regime should be followed until the gut has healed and the skin can tolerate oils.
    • Always rinse your face with cold water after cleansing.
    • Sun exposure is very anti-microbial.  Apply a light dusting of mineral powder and spend 15-20 minutes in the sun daily.
    • Use the following routine morning and night.



1.Remove any make-up with a micro-fiber cloth

2. Apply raw manuka honey and tea tree oil to the face.  (1/4  cup manuka honey and 20-50 drops of tea tree oil*.  Optional: ¼ cup of full fat yogurt – I like goat or sheep).  Leave on the face 5-30 minutes.

3. Remove honey from the face with the micro-fiber cloth


Spritz face with green tea / apple cider vinegar toner

(Steep 4 green tea bags in 1 cup of boiling water for 5 minutes.  Add 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar. Put in a spray bottle and cool in the fridge before using)


Apply aloe vera gel and tea tree oil

(Combine ¼ cup of aloe vera gel with 20-50 drops of tea tree oil*)

If your skin requires more moisture, the best formulation is ‘Avene Tolerance Extreme Emulsion’


*Note: if your skin is very sensitive, use less tea tree oil.

This information is NOT intended as medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the care of a qualified health care professional.  This content is not intended to diagnose or treat any diseases.  Always consult with your primary care physician or licensed healthcare provider for all diagnosis and treatment of any diseases or conditions, for medications or medical advice as well as before changing your health care regimen.

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