Well+Good posted “I caught a skin fungus from working out, so I asked derms how you can avoid living my nightmare” featuring Dr. Purvisha Patel.
The article includes Dr. Patel‘s expert commentary on skin fungi.
Listen up, sweat fanatics: I’m about to tell a tale about a very sexy topical topic—skin fungus. Early this summer, a small population of cream-colored splotches cropped on my chest and upper back, slightly paler than the rest of my body. I responded with what was more or less a shrug. Hey! I live in the great concrete jungle of NYC, where the new species I’m exposed to tend to be more of the pizza rat variety. And since my dermis’ new inhabitants didn’t itch or anything, I kinda just figured: “Eh.”
Flash forward a few months to when my family and I took a trip to the seaside of Massachusetts where I had the first occasion of the summer season to wear a bathing suit. As I headed to the shore with my younger sister, she took one look at my back and said, “Oh, I’ve seen that before. It’s a fungus.” And that was enough: I promptly got to my dermatologist’s office. There, I learned that, A) my fungus is called “tinea versicolor,” and B) people like me—who spend a good portion of their lives in a sweat-soaked sports bra—are particularly susceptible. (The fungus thrives in damp conditions.)
Even though my derm prescribed me a special foam cleanser to rid my body of the stuff, I still had a ton of lingering queries about skin fungi. Like, what causes an outbreak? Are there different types besides tinea versicolor? Do they actually do your health any harm? To get some answers, I spoke with a few complexion experts. Below, they answer every question an active girl never knew she had about…skin ‘shrooms.
So what types exist and how do you treat them?
To give your skin the best chance to be fungus-free, dermatologist Purvisha Patel, MD, founder of Visha Skincare in Tennessee recommends adding a full-body exfoliator to your beauty routine. Bonus points if it happens to contain anti-fungal or antimicrobial superstars like tea tree oil or zinc. “Zinc is necessary for collagen synthesis, and when deficient, the keratin in the skin can be more sticky—resulting in more clogged pores,” she explains. That’s because fungus feeds on oil, so clogged pores are pretty much Thanksgiving dinner for the stuff.