Have you ever been totally perplexed about your stubborn acne? Maybe it isn’t even acne at all! Perhaps that’s why you’re not responding to acne treatment like you would expect. But if it looks like acne but actually isn’t… What is it really? Join us to learn more about Fungal Acne, its causes, and preventions.
A Small but Busy World
Whether you like it or not, our skin is home to many microscopic creatures, a small but crowded world, much busier than the one we live in.
Our skin’s microbial ecology consists of a variety of bacteria, fungi, mites such as Demodex, and other types of tiny beings. Under normal circumstances, they all live in peace. Since there is no war, their world -or in other words, our skin- is beautiful, unruffled, and completely normal.
But when their balance is upset or our immune system fails to keep them in check, unrest begins!
Some opportunistic microorganisms take advantage of others’ weaknesses to grow fast to seize power. This is where the war starts, and we may see its effects on our skin: pimples, acne, rashes, itching, and other skin issues.
Do you see how much their lives resemble ours? It seems The Law of Jungle judges everywhere. In forests, deserts, civilized societies, and even on our skin!
One of the microorganisms that may overgrow under certain conditions is a fungus called Malassezia. There are 17 different types of this fungus, which scientists have known about since 1800. Malassezia overgrowth can cause a variety of skin and hair problems, one of which is fungal acne.
In this article, we discuss this topic more.
What Is Fungal Acne?
Fungal acne is actually a skin infection that affects hair follicles. Although it is not classified as acne, it looks like regular, run-of-the-mill acne.
In some people, Malassezia fungus overgrows for a variety of reasons, causing infection in our hair follicles. The condition looks like the breakout of small pus-filled pimples.
Despite acne vulgaris that usually responds to antibiotics, fungal acne does not answer standard treatments. It may even worsen after a prolonged antibiotic therapy because antibiotics destroy the skin’s and intestines’ beneficial bacterial flora and cause more imbalance in the microbial flora, providing more opportunity for Malassezia fungi to grow and multiply. On the other hand, antibiotics weaken the immune system that controls fungi leading to further microorganisms overgrowth.
Fungal acne usually affects the upper parts of the body – preferring the oily areas over other sites. These areas include the face (especially the T-zone), lower back, chest, and upper arms.
However, pimples caused by the Malassezia fungus are usually homogeneous, close together, and seen in clusters.
Many people experience itching at the site of the lesions that appear to be exacerbated in humid climates.
Causes of Fungal Acne and How to Prevent Them
Any factor that helps Malassezia fungi to overgrow can lead to fungal acne.
Malassezia fungi colonize the baby’s skin from birth and hang out on the skin of approximately 92% of healthy people. However, if they grow too large, they may penetrate deep into the skin (instead of residing harmlessly on the surface), where they use the fatty acids produced by the sebaceous glands to feed. More nutrition means more proliferation. They gradually damage the follicles’ walls and cause them to rupture and become irritated, which eventually manifests itself in the form of small pimples.
Just as an imbalance in intestinal bacteria leads to dysbiosis, which manifests itself with diarrhea and some other clinical symptoms, the high growth of Malassezia is, in fact, a form of cutaneous dysbiosis.
This section introduces some of the factors that cause the overgrowth of this fungus as the skin microbes imbalance agents.
Fungi love moisture, and Malassezia fungi are no exception. Studies show that in areas with hot and humid climates, the prevalence of Malassezia’s overgrowth is higher.
So if you are battling with this fungus, try to keep your body dry and avoid living in hot and humid areas as much as possible.
Sweating provides the moisture along with the heat that provides a suitable environment for fungi to grow.
That is why it is recommended to take a shower and wash your body well after sweating a lot – for example, strenuous exercise. Also, be sure to wash your sports clothes before putting them on again. Otherwise, you have set a suitable stage for a Malassezia fungi party. They will grow on your clothes and, as a result of contact, are transmitted to your skin and can cause fungal acne.
Occlusion is a flashy word to mean blockage. Anything that closes the skin’s pores is considered an occlusion and may lead to fungal acne.
The pores are where the skin breathes, and sweat and oil extrude. If you close them, you definitely have provided a great circumstance for the fungi to grow.
Occlusion may occur in a number of ways. For example, tight nylon wearings can close the pores, as do dense cosmetics. Even a thick layer of sunscreen can prevent the skin from breathing and the sweat from evaporating through the pores, leading to fungal acne.
Try to wear cotton clothes. Avoid wearing tight clothing for a long time or exercising with them on.
Do not use thick, oily powder or creams on your face and body.
All of these promote flare-ups of fungal acne.
A Weak immune system
The immune system acts as the border force, securing a country. This system prevents bodily microbes from multiplying, either inside the gut or on the skin.
When the immune system gets weak, microbes get a chance to grow and start to run riot.
The immune system usually has everything under control. However, it acts poorly in some situations, including the following:
- Immune system defects (HIV)
- Taking immunosuppressive drugs
- Inappropriate feeding
If you have acquired an immune system deficiency or are taking immunosuppressive drugs, you should control the other fungal acne causes and prevent them as much as possible. Avoid stressful situations and stay as calm as possible.
Furthermore, high blood sugar can weaken the immune system. If you have diabetes, try to control your blood sugar. Insulin is another mechanism by which diabetes may lead to the growth of the Malassezia fungi. In some stages of type 2 diabetes, excessive insulin production can lead to oily skin, which supplies a good source for feeding various microorganisms, including the fungus Malassezia and Demodex mites.
Try to eat foods that strengthen the immune system. Probiotics and prebiotics boost the immune system and prevent fungi’ overgrowth by maintaining the intestines’ beneficial microbiota and, as a result, the skin microbes.
As mentioned, the imbalance of microorganisms gives some of them a chance to proliferate. Just as they kill beneficial bacteria in the gut, antibiotics do the same thing to the skin, providing the growing opportunity for other bodily microbes, including the Malassezia fungi.
Never use antibiotics without a doctor’s prescription. Before taking these medications to treat acne, make sure that your problem is not a fungal one.
The link between Demodex and fungal acne is a relatively new field of research. Not enough information has been collected yet to comment. However, a case report showed the lesions previously identified as fungal acne was actually accumulations of Demodex mites! This finding suggests that Demodex can mimic the symptoms of fungal acne. In this case, antifungal therapies do not help the remedy, and it is necessary to use anti-Demodex treatments to achieve relief.
Need to know more about Demodex Mites? You can learn Trough this link.
On the other hand, many of the side effects associated with Demodex mite are those that have been linked to Malassezia. For example, seborrheic dermatitis, dandruff, and head-and-neck dermatitis are cases in which both Demodex and Malassezia are involved. This also increases the likelihood that Demodex mites may play a role in Malassezia-related complications. The possible suggested mechanism is harmful fungi existing in the body of Demodex, which spread on the skin when it dies and can lead to fungal acne flare-ups.
However, more research is needed in this area.
Ungex and Fungal Acne
Ungex protocols and products are specifically designed to help eliminate Demodex mites and their manifestations. However, the ingredients of these products have antifungal compounds that may stop Malassezia fungi’s growth and help prevent their related complications. Glycerin, tea tree oil, and coconut oil are among the ingredients with antifungal properties in Ungex anti-Demodex products.
Above all, the Ungex unique protocol helps you control the factors that affect fungi proliferation, the most important of which is the weakness of the immune system. Another point is mites can act as vectors that can carry and transmit pathogens like fungal spores around the skin and into follicles (also between individuals).
With the Ungex consultant’s advice and changing your habits, you can strengthen your immune system and resist these opportunistic fungi.
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