Fungal Acne Relationship with Demodex

fungal acne

Acne is one of the most frequent skin concerns that most probably we all have grappled with at least once in our lives. Antibiotics are often helpful in managing most kinds of acne. However, if your acne does not answer to conventional treatments, you may not have acne at all! Fungal acne - which is not classified as acne - may be the reason for your pimple-like issue.

What Is Fungal Acne?

Fungal acne is quite like hormonal and bacterial pimples, but with a small exception: as we mentioned, it does not fall into the acne classification. Although bacteria often have a proactive role in creating bumps, fungal acne is caused by irregular growth of the skin fungi flora; a particular type of fungus called Malassezia, ordinarily present in the skin of 92% of people.

Malassezia feeds on oil, which may be the skin's natural oil or fats in cosmetics and creams. Our skin natural oil combines different lipids, including triglycerides, wax esters, fatty acids, sterol esters, cholesterol, and cholesteryl esters. This fungus utilizes sebum after breaking it down into diglycerides, monoglycerides, and free fatty acids.

That is why Pityrosporum Folliculitis or Malassezia folliculitis (other titles for fungi acne) is more prone to occur in regions where the sebaceous glands are more active (which means the oiliest part of the skin). T-zone of the face, the forehead, shoulders, chest, and back are some of these places.

Unluckily, fungal acne is often mixed with bacterial acne, which leads to intense, long-term antibiotics therapy that often worsens the lesions. This dermatological problem is often misdiagnosed as acne vulgaris and can continue for years because it does not answer antibiotic medications.

Knowing the difference between these two conditions can aid you in avoiding taking antibiotics for no reason.

fungal acne and mites

What Are Demodex Mites?

Humans can be great hosts for many tiny beings, including fungus, mites, and bacteria. An example of these creatures on our skin is a mite known as Demodex. Nearly all adults have a number of these microscopic unwelcome guests, crawling and wiggling on the skin. Yet, as long as they are not many, they remain asymptomatic. But with an increase in population, they may trigger many skin and hair difficulties.

Rosacea, dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis, and acne are some of the clinical signs that Demodex has been involved in mimicking, provoking, or even causing them.

Fungal Acne Vs. Regular One

Fungal acne is usually an itching condition. Comedones (blackheads and whiteheads) are pretty prevalent in regular bacterial acne.

The other differentiation between fungal and regular acne are as follows:


  • Size: Bumps linked to fungal acne are usually uniform; in contrast, Vulgaris acne lesions can occur in different forms. 


  • Location: Bacterial acne generally affects the face, while lesions caused by fungal acne are more common in the arms, back, and chest.


  • Accumulation: typical pimples can be distributed throughout the body, but fungal acne is usually clustered and arise in one area.

Why Is Fungal Acne Called Acne?

The answer is straightforward: because it resembles acne! The extreme Malassezia population can cause an infection in hair follicles, giving them an acne-like look. These monomorphic follicular papules are identified as fungal acne.

Beyond Malassezia folliculitis, the fungi excess may lead to other skin problems that we discuss in this part:

Other Skin Problems Known to be Connected with Malassezia

The outcomes of Malassezia overgrowth are not restricted to fungal acne. Investigation shows that this lipophilic fungus is similarly associated with other well-known skin problems and disorders such as:

  • Atopic dermatitis or eczema
  • Pityriasis Versicolor (a kind of baldness and discoloration of the skin)
  • Dandruff
  • Psoriasis
  • Seborrheic dermatitis

This is the reason why traditional approaches to treating fungal pimples also apply to the above dermatological concerns.

Interestingly, many above health issues also have Demodex-related pathology. In other words, Demodex and Malassezia are both connected in the clinical sign of dermatitis, dandruff, and seborrheic dermatitis. This linkage guides to the hypothesis that proposes the role of Demodex in the rise and worsening of fungal acne.

Causes of Fungal Acne

It is not yet wholly known why in some people that Malassezia fungi can overgrow and provoke complications. However, it is known that several internal and external (environmental) agents predispose people to this difficulty:

  • Internal factors:

It seems fungal acne is more prevalent in people with the coming health concerns:

  • Diabetes
  • HIV
  • Immunodeficiency or weakened immune systems
  • Hodgkin's disease
  • Malnutrition
  • Organ transplants
  • Neurological disorders

As mentioned, Another risk factor that may lead to fungal acne is the overuse of antibiotics. Long-term use of antibiotics damages the skin's microbial flora, as well as other normal skin microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, etc. All of these tiny creatures are incredibly helpful for our body, and without them, it can lead to the uncontrolled increase of Malassezia.

Finally, obesity, pregnancy, steroid hormones, birth control pills, and anxiety have also been other predisposing circumstances that may lead to fungal acne.


  • External factors:

In short, a combination of some skincare products, wet weather, sweating, and clogging of skin pores can cause fungal acne. In the Philippines, fungal acne estimates for 56% of acne states, which can be linked to the region's climate type.

fungal acne and demodex

Diagnostic Methods for Fungal Acne

If the Malassezia population as examined under the microscope is higher than usual, you may have fungal acne. To examine your skin, the dermatologist takes a sample of your skin for observation under a microscope. This method gets done in two ways:

craping the skin: It is painless. The surface of the affected skin is scraped, and a sample is sent to the lab to investigate Malassezia fungi.

Biopsy:  The provider removes a thin layer of the skin to check fungi under a microscope. 

Although these procedures are of the best ways to diagnose fungal acne, considering fungi accumulation's leading site is in the hair follicles, testing for pimples pus is connected with more reliable results.

Beyond sampling, clinical signs are proof that helps a dermatologist diagnose fungal acne:

  • How long have you had acne manifestations?
  • When does your acne get worse?
  • What are your symptoms?
  • Do your bumps get more intense after using healthcare products?
  • Do you feel itching?
  • Which parts of your body have the most pimples?

These are some issues that help your doctor diagnose your situation.

How Does Demodex Link to Fungal Acne?

Demodex mites are tiny beings that reside on human skin. They have a known role in the cause and aggravation of numerous dermatological issues, including; rosacea, acne, seborrheic dermatitis, and dandruff. The performance of Demodex in fungal acne is an emerging subject that has only received limited research. 

In one new study, the microscopic skin test of a person with fungal acne manifestations actually revealed that the lesions were caused by an accumulation of Demodex mites, not Malassezia! In other words, this research showed that not only do Demodex mites simulate symptoms of rosacea, but they also mimic that of fungal acne. In this case, conventional treatments for fungal acne will not work, and you will need a Demodex mite remedy.

Another study showed that both Demodex mites and fungi are more prevalent in individuals with acne. Although these findings do not confirm a precise relationship between these two, they nevertheless strengthen the hypothesis that Demodex mite may play a role in fungal disorders.

One of the mechanisms that connect Demodex and Pityrosporum Folliculitis is the body content of the Demodex parasite!

Demodex mites are similar to a bus full of microorganisms. When they die, these microscopic organisms (including fungi) are released onto the skin. The more Demodex there are, the greater the number of toxic substances they cast on the skin. Still, more investigation is needed to make the results more reliable.

Fungal Acne Remedy:

Sanitation is necessary for managing and avoiding this skin dilemma. As fungi grow more in humid circumstances, you should avoid moisture:

  • Keep your skin dry and clean. You can use body washes every day.
  • Wash your sports garments before wearing them over. The fungus may have grown in the clothes ' moisture and passed onto your skin.
  • Avoid wearing tight clothes that make your skin sweat.
  • Take a shower immediately after training and change your clothes.
  • Sun exposure inhibits the fungus from overgrowing.


  • Use over-the-counter antifungal medicine and shampoos.
  • Finish the remedies prescribed by your doctor.

Ungex Products and Fungal Acne:

Ungex products are Australian made and contain antifungal compounds such as glycerin, tea tree oil, and coconut oil. These components can kill fungi and stop them from spreading.

Although the first purpose of Ungex is to stop Demodex, as we discussed, these parasites can play a role in fungal conditions, including fungal acne; this is through the chance that they may work as a fungal vector. Although more investigations are needed, Ungex products may be a substantial factor in helping to treat fungal problems such as fungal acne by eliminating Demodex. 

As some studies have revealed, Demodex can actually mimic the signs of fungal acne, in which case our products will be a total aid in handling this infection.

fungal acne

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