Gone are the days when we thought ‘acne’ was just something that happened to our faces as teenagers. Now, we know that it’s actually an umbrella term that covers a whole range of skin conditions that can affect men and women of all ages.
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This is everything you need to know about one of the many types of acne, called ‘fungal acne’.
What is fungal acne?
Fungal acne, also known as pityrosporum folliculitis, is caused by an overgrowth of yeast in hair follicles. It may sound odd but this yeast is found in everyone’s skin – fungal acne occurs when it grows too much or becomes imbalanced in some way.
How do I know if I have it?
Fungal acne can easily be mistaken for common acne, but there are some key differences. “Firstly, the chest and back are common sites of fungal acne – it can affect the face, but less frequently,” says Dr Justine Hextall, FRCP Consultant Dermatologist. “With acne, the skin lesions are associated with whiteheads and blackheads and appear at different stages of evolution, but with yeast folliculitis, the spots often all look very similar and appear in crops.” And crucially, the spots with fungal acne are often very itchy, whereas common acne is often more on the sore side.
What makes someone at risk of developing it?
If you’ve taken antibiotics recently – which eliminates bacteria and disturbs the yeast balance on your skin – this makes you more at risk of developing fungal acne. It also thrives on humidity and sweat, so if you’ve been wearing tight, non-breathable gym gear lately and noticed some itchy bumps, it could well be fungal acne.
How is fungal acne treated?
This depends on the severity of your breakout and can only be determined by visiting your GP or a dermatologist, who may prescribe anti-fungal medication. “Always make sure you wash your body and clothes after the gym,” advises Dr Hextall, “and try a mild antiseptic wash or a salicylic body wash, which can help to reduce build up in skin follicles”. There are also some great acne products you can try which will help unclog pores, as “it is not uncommon for the two conditions to appear together,” says Dr Hextall.
The best acne stickers and patches to help clear emergency spots overnight
Acne patches have seen a massive surge in popularity in the UK and we have K-beauty forward-thinking innovators to thank for that.
They’re an easy, fuss-free way to treat spots, acne and blemishes that might suddenly arise at the absolute worst time (we know, when is a good time for a spot to come?) Rather than dry out a spot like many fast-acting spot treatments, these stickers and patches are usually hydrocolloid bandages which mean they absorb fluid from a spot and help inflammation – much like a plaster. The patches are usually see-through which means you can see the drama unfold in the mirror, turning white as it works hard to absorb the pus, flattening out the spot. No wonder they’ve become bathroom cabinet staples.
Acne stickers also mean extra protection for a spot – you aren’t able to pick at it or touch the skin, leading to the transfer of bacteria. Facialist Sarah Chapman says, “Hydrocolloid patches are hygienic – they stick to your skin and create a shield from other irritants like daily dirt and pollution. Used on spots, they also calm redness and irritation, encouraging the skin to heal.”
And if you have picked a pimple and are suddenly left with a weeping wound (we won’t tell you off because we have ALL been there) adding a drop of tea tree oil to the spot and then covering it with a spot sticker works miracles. It stops it from scabbing over and helps prevent any acne scars. It’s not an excuse to keep picking but can help when you’re left with a bit of a situation.
So, want to find out the best acne patches and stickers that are worth keeping on hand? See our pick of the best below…