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Fungal acne, or pityrosporum folliculitis, is a fungal skin infection that typically, but not exclusively, affects young adults. There are many brands offering products suitable for those with this infection. These products have various formulations suitable for different skin types.

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This article looks at fungal acne in more detail and explores some of the treatment options available online.

Fungal acne is an acne-like skin condition that can lead to small pimple breakouts on the forehead, cheeks, upper back, or upper chest.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD), it is more common in hot temperatures or when a person wears tight clothing that rubs against their skin.

Officially known as pityrosporum folliculitis, fungal acne develops when there is an overgrowth of the fungi Malassezia furfur in the hair follicles. It can sometimes persist due to misdiagnosis, as it is often mistaken for acne vulgaris.

The AAD explains that fungal acne will usually clear up without treatment. However, a person may try applying a warm compress to the affected area three or four times per day for around 15–20 minutes each time.

The AAD also recommends visiting a dermatologist to rule out any other skin conditions and to confirm suspected diagnosis.

Learn more about folliculitis here.

People looking for a product that can treat fungal acne should consider various features and factors, including:

  • Ingredients: Individuals can find the list of ingredients on product labels and company websites. They can also find out whether a product is vegan and cruelty-free.
  • Skin type: People can choose a product to suit their skin type. Advice on this will typically display on product labels or company websites.
  • Use: Individuals can find “how-to-use” guidelines on the product label or the company website. This allows them to check when to apply the product, especially if they use other skin care treatment.
  • Reviews: A person can read impartial reviews on third-party websites, such as Trustpilot, to see whether other people find the formulations effective.

Here, we look at some products that a person may consider for fungal acne and skin care.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried any of these products. All information is purely research-based and correct and the time of publication.

TULA Acne Clearing + Tone Correcting Gel

Best non-drying option

Pricearound $35
Volume1 fluid ounce (fl oz)
Key ingredientssalicylic acid, willow herb, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide

This TULA product claims to help fight and prevent breakouts and reduce the appearance of the marks that can develop from breakouts. It also claims to provide hydration and improve the skin’s smoothness.

There are no parabens, sulfates, or preservatives in the formulation, and the gel is cruelty-free.

The company recommends applying this acne gel after cleansing up to twice per day.

The gel has many positive reviews stating that it does not dry out the skin. People also report that it reduced their acne scars.

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

Best for large pores

Pricearound $6
Volume30 milliliters (ml)
Key ingredientsniacinamide and zinc

The Ordinary offers this water-based niacinamide and zinc serum for those with enlarged pores. The product also claims to help reduce sebum activity.

It is cruelty-free and contains no fragrance, gluten, or parabens.

A person can apply this serum to their face in the morning and evening, before using heavier creams.

Also, some people note that after using this product, their pores reduced in size, and it helped with clogging.

Derma E Purifying Gel Cleanser

Best for sensitive skin

Pricearound $15
Volume6 fl oz
Key ingredientsactivated charcoal, marine algae, and aloe vera

This gel claims to protect the skin against environmental pollutants and remove sweat and oil buildup. It is vegan-friendly and cruelty-free.

A person can apply this gel to their face and neck and rinse with water twice per day.

According to customer reviews, the gel is effective for those with sensitive skin and does not cause irritation or breakouts. Other reviews mention a light, runny texture.

Differin Adapalene Gel

Best lightweight

Pricearound $13
Volume0.5 fl oz
Key ingredientsadapalene

This product claims to help reduce breakouts and restore the skin’s texture and tone. It also reduces the likelihood of a person developing scars and hyperpigmentation.

It has a water-based formula and does not contain fragrance, alcohol, or oils.

The manufacturer recommends using this product once per day and advises a person should ensure their skin is dry before application.

Some reviews state that this gel has a lightweight texture and is easy to apply to the skin. Others note that it absorbs quickly and does not stain clothing or bedsheets.

Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster

Best for redness

Pricearound $45
Volume0.67 fl oz
Key ingredientsniacinamide, vitamin C, and licorice extract

Paula’s Choice stocks this booster that claims to help minimize enlarged pores, fade dark spots, and ease irritation. It is available for all skin types.

Its formulation may suit those who want to reduce the appearance of roughness and dryness.

People can use this product twice per day.

Reviewers found that this product can reduce the redness that can develop on the cheeks and nose, and that it helps with clearing pimples and tightening pores.

Cocokind Organic Rosewater Facial Toner

Best toner

Pricearound $17
Volume4 fl oz
Key ingredientsrose hydrosol

This Cocokind facial toner helps with hydrating and calming the skin. Individuals can also use it to set makeup.

It is certified as organic by the United States Department of Agriculture.

The manufacturer recommends a person spritz rosewater directly to the skin or apply it using a cotton pad.

Renée Rouleau Anti Bump Solution

Best for deep cysts

Pricearound $50
Volume0.5 fl oz
Key ingredientslactic acid, methyl gluceth, and citric acid

This Renée Rouleau anti-bump solution claims to calm visible cysts and bumps and help ease redness and inflammation. People may also use this product to prevent discoloration and scarring. Moreover, it works on cysts that develop deep into the skin.

A person can apply one drop to their skin when cysts are visible, in the morning and evening.

According to the company website, the solution is a thin, clear liquid with a medicinal scent.

The Ordinary 100% Plant-derived Squalane

Best for dryness

Pricearound $8
Volume30 ml
Key ingredientssqualane

The Ordinary offers this squalane product to suit those with dry skin. It claims to provide hydration and that a person can use it on their face.

The label states that individuals should apply a few drops to their face after using water-based products. They should avoid using this product on broken skin.

Based on customer reviews, those with fungal acne and skin dryness report this product is effective and did not cause any irritation or breakouts.

Paula’s Choice All Over Hair & Body Shampoo

Best for sensitive scalp

Pricearound $20
Volume14.5 fl oz
Key ingredientsaloe and pro-vitamin B5

Paula’s Choice All Over Hair & Body Shampoo cleanses the hair and scalp. Individuals can use this product on dry, damaged, or normal hair. It is also gentle on dry skin.

There are no parabens or fragrances in the formulation.

Some reviews from those with sensitive scalps reportedly developed irritation with their current hair products that contained fragrance. After washing their hair with Paula’s Choice All Over Hair & Body Shampoo, they noticed a reduction in dandruff and softer hair.

The AAD recommends that people consult a dermatologist, who can determine whether they have folliculitis. In some cases, they may prescribe medication such as antibiotics to help clear an individual’s skin.

Below are some common questions about fungal acne.

How do I know if my acne is fungal?

Fungal acne does not typically cause any pain, but a person may experience itchiness. The condition can persist when individuals sweat, and it can also cause flare-ups during the summer months.

What triggers fungal acne?

According to the AAD, the following are some factors that can cause fungal acne:

  • shaving
  • rubbing the skin
  • wearing tight clothing
  • using a hot tub
  • using certain medications
  • having gained body weight

How to remove fungal acne on the face?

A person should contact a healthcare professional. They may suggest oral antifungal medications that may provide immediate relief and improvement.

Does fungal acne go away?

The AAD states that acne-like breakouts can go away on their own if a person has a strong immune system and addresses the cause of the infection.

The AAD also recommends that individuals apply a warm compress three or four times per day and leave it on their skin for 15–20 minutes.

Fungal acne may appear as acne vulgaris, but it can worsen in hot temperatures or when a person is sweating.

There are several over-the-counter products available online that individuals can use to treat their condition. However, it is best to check the ingredients and the skin type the products work on and to read customer reviews before committing to a purchase.

People should also consider consulting a dermatologist if their condition does not improve.