Not all acne breakouts are bacterial. Some come from yeast. While it sounds icky, it’s actually natural. Even normal. Some strains of yeast have the same classification in biology as fungus. They can appear in the follicles of your hair. When this happens, the results are often irritable eruptions that are very similar to acne, and they can appear inflamed to worsen the discomfort.

Some of these yeast strains actually naturally appear on everyone’s skin, all the time. Like all yeast, hot and humid conditions promote growth. Such conditions are often found on active people who work out regularly. And since it’s a topical organism, it can spread itself around through simple contact.

Because of how similarly it presents to basic bacterial acne, fungal acne can be difficult to correctly identify. But it is an inflammation of the hair follicles, not an eruption of bacteria. One telltale sign is pinpoint sized whiteheads, often in clusters, and usually on the front or back of your torso.

Treatment is simple. Start with a regular shower, to encourage the yeast to seek other locations before they have a chance to infect the follicles. If they’re starting to take hold, a medicated wash such as something sulfur based can treat them effectively.

Key Points:

  • 1Fungal acne requires a different treatment than standard bacterial acne outbreaks.
  • 2Because it is a yeast, fungal acne can spread like a contagion through contact with clothes or people.
  • 3Keeping the skin dry and clean while exercising, and removing sweaty clothing after exercising, can help prevent fungal acne.


If you’re noticing that breakouts on chest, back, or shoulders just aren’t clearing up, you might be dealing with fungal acne.

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