Well+Good posted “Fungal acne isn’t *really* acne at all—it’s more like facial dandruff” featuring Dr. Purvisha Patel.
The article includes Dr. Patel‘s expert commentary on fungal infections.
When I heard that my coworker was dealing with a fungal condition on her skin, it sent shockwaves through my very acne-prone skin. There’s another form of the zits that I have to worry about?! Then, after perusing skin-care threads on Reddit, I saw post after post of people claiming that they’re afflicted with fungal acne and showing off their fungal acne-safe beauty routines. So I had to dig into the issue to ensure that there was not a fungus among us.
That’s not it, though—Purvisha Patel, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Visha Skincare says that the most common fungal condition is called seborrheic dermatitis. “It’s caused by p. ovale or m. furfer and it’s essentially dandruff of the face,” she says. “It manifests as scaling of the eyebrows, sides of nose, and ears.” Or you could get ringworm (which, don’t freak—isn’t actually a worm), which is caused by dermatophytes, says Dr. Patel. “It presents as round, itchy scaling areas and is usually transmitted from pets.”
Regardless of what kind of fungus you have, beware—it’s a fickle breed. If you’re a devotee of facial oils, it will only make the problem worse. “Fungus loves warmth, moisture, and oil, especially olive oil, which is the best way to make it grow in a culture,” says Dr. Patel. “If you have seborrheic dermatitis, stay away from edible oils on your face and scalp, such as coconut and olive oil—because if you can eat it, bacteria and fungus can eat it, too.” That can be tough, especially if you’re into clean beauty, which has plenty of skin-care products infused with all types of facial oils—so be sure to double check the ingredients list before slathering something on that’ll just feed the fungus. Instead, look to zinc pyrithione and tea tree oil (which has super anti-fungal prowess) to do the trick.