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Fungal Acne vs. Closed Comedones

You might be surprised to know that not all acne is the same. While they look similar, their causes and types can differ dramatically. And if you truly want to get rid of acne, you first need to know what type of acne you have. Find out the difference between fungal acne vs. closed comedones to tackle both kinds effectively.

Learn about the differences between fungal acne vs closed comedones

What Is Fungal Acne?

Fungal acne isn’t technically acne. That’s because the cause is very different. 

The culprit behind clinical acne is bacteria. Clogged pores due to dirt, dead skin cells, sebum, and heavy skin care products can trigger a bacterial overgrowth that quickly turn into acne and pimples.

Fungal acne, on the other hand, happens due to an overgrowth of yeast (malassezia). Yeast is a natural part of your skin. However, if there’s an overgrowth in the hair follicles, you can get an acne breakout.

What does fungal acne look like? Fungal acne presents itself as small red bumps on your cheeks, forehead, chest, or upper back

What Are Closed Comedones and Comedonal Acne?

Comedones are a specific kind of acne. Unlike inflammatory acne, comedonal acne doesn’t cause cysts and nodules, making it a milder form of acne.

There are two kinds of comedonal acne: open comedones (blackheads), and closed comedones (whiteheads). 

Despite the myth, blackheads aren’t black due to dirt. Since the acne is open, the blackness you see is the oxidation of the debris clogging your pores. 

Whiteheads also aren’t always white. They can often present themselves as red bumps, making closed comedones and fungal acne very similar.

Difference Between Fungal Acne vs. Closed Comedones

Fungal acne and closed comedones look very similar. They’re both small red bumps on your cheeks, forehead, or your upper back. But, they’re not the same at all. For one, they’re caused by different things.

Fungal acne is a result of yeast overgrowth. Alternatively, closed comedones happen because of a sebum overgrowth underneath a layer of the skin.

Your treatment options for fungal acne vs. closed comedones is also entirely different.

How to treat fungal acne

How to Treat Fungal Acne and Closed Comedones

If you mistake fungal acne for closed comedones, the treatment you use might actually be ineffective. That’s why it’s important to identify the type of acne you have first before you start on any treatment plan.

You can treat comedonal acne with topical retinoids and drying agents. And stopping the overproduction of oils in your skin can effectively target comedones.

If you have closed comedones and inflammatory acne, you may need a prescription of systemic antibiotics. Alternatively, hormonal medication (such as contraceptives) can also help with severe cases of acne.

However, if you have fungal acne, antibiotics won’t do much for you. Instead, you’ll need anti-fungal medication. First, you can try a topical antifungal cream, but if your case is severe you may need more. 

And if your skin doesn’t respond to topical treatment, you may need to try oral antifungal medication under the supervision of a board-certified dermatologist.

What Not to Do With Fungal or Comedonal Acne

Whatever acne type you have, you must remember: do not pop pimples. Open lesions can easily become infected and cause you more problems than the acne itself. 

When open pimples heal, they can leave a scar or melanin spots, where your skin tone changes around the area. That’s why it’s best to trust in a treatment option instead.

How to Prevent Acne

While treatment can successfully alleviate acne for the moment, if you don’t commit to preventive measures, they’re likely to return. Doing these simple things can greatly reduce your chances of developing acne and dealing with pesky pimples.

  1. Cleanse regularly: Committing to a daily skin care routine or ritual that balances out your skin’s qualities can help reduce acne and signs of ageing. It can also help you achieve a healthy tone and glow.  
  2. Use the right moisturizer: Moisturizing is crucial, especially if you have dry or combination skin. Keep in mind that thick moisturizers with fragrances can easily irritate your skin and trigger more acne breakouts. Use a light, thin, and fragrance-free moisturizer or serum to keep your skin hydrated.
  3. Drink plenty of water: Dehydration makes your skin produce more oil, which results in more pimples and acne. Drinking plenty of water doesn’t hydrate your skin, but will help balance out the effects of stress, poor diet, or lack of sleep on the skin. 
  4. Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet: Your skin is what you eat. Eating high-glycemic foods, dairy (especially skim milk), and chocolate can often worsen acne. Studies have also shown that a diet rich in greens and antioxidants can help to reduce acne
  5. Avoid clogging your pores: Using skin care products, sunscreens, and makeup that clogs your pores can lead to acne. Limit your use of these products or choose alternatives that work well with your skin type.  Look for “oil-free” and “non-comedogenic” on the label when you purchase makeup products. 

Closed comedones can be a nuisance

Get Personalized Advice on Your Acne

Identifying whether you have fungal acne or closed comedones isn’t an easy task. However, knowing which one you have is the only way to effectively target it and restore your skin barrier. 

Your BIALife mentor can help you determine what kind of acne you have, and how you should treat it. You can get personalized skin care advice based on your skin type, and product recommendations that will truly help restore the natural glow of your skin.

Discover your ideal skin ritual for an acne-free life by becoming a BIALife member.

With love, Janelle & Shasa

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