We’ve probably experienced bumps on our skin at some point in our lives.Whether it was during our teenage years or the unwanted adult acne, we’re familiar with pesky pimples in different forms.

While there are several ways to treat standard acne, how do we tackle something like “facial fungus” that probably isn’t as common?

Photo source: @dr.farzan/TikTok

This isn’t any ordinary acne and the term probably already gross you out a little. It is, in fact, a skin issue that puzzles skincare junkies and we’ve often seen people in the beauty community discuss ways of ridding it.

Several TikTokers have recently attested that the solution is using shampoo in place of a facial cleanser.

Photo source: @dermdoctor/TikTok

Before we dive into how we can get rid of facial fungus and whether using a shampoo really works, let’s find out what “facial fungus” is and how it differs from our usual acne breakouts.

What is acne?

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Acne breakouts that we are more familiar with occur when acne-causing bacteria cause a clogged pore to inflame. Pores are clogged by dirt and impurities as well as excessive sebum produced by our skin naturally.

This is why those with oily skin are more prone to acne.

What is “facial fungus”?

Photo source: @not.kez/tikTok and @dermdoctor/TikTok

They may both have the same red, spotty appearance, but “facial fungus” is not acne.

Better known as fungal acne, “facial fungus” occurs when our hair follicles are infected with a fungus known as the Malassezia yeast.

Fungal acne actually doesn’t appear commonly on the face compared to the back, chest, or neck, where you’ll see clusters of sore red bumps in these areas.

Unlike regular acne, you also won’t notice excess oil production with fungal acne.

Photo source: @drcharlesmd1/TikTok

Many factors can lead to fungal acne. It can be due to the use of steroids or antibiotics, or a weak and suppressed immune system.

However, the most common cause would be the use of occlusive products such as moisturisers and sunscreens that are thick and not easily absorbed.

Apart from that, it can also be caused by wearing tight clothes. When you perspire in them, you’re trapping a lot of sweat that feeds the Malassezia yeast, which in turn lead to fungal acne.

How do I get rid of “facial fungus”?

Photo source: @not.kez/TikTok

Before you go on and look for a cure, make sure you have identified that the bumps along your skin are indeed facial fungus and not acne.

If you’re certain you have fungal acne, try these tips:

1. Be more conscientious with your lifestyle

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If you perspire easily, always have with you a handkerchief or small towel to regularly dry off your sweat so as to prevent unnecessary build-up.

You should also try to avoid wearing tight and waterproof clothing for long periods of time. Tighter fabric stick to your skin and trap sweat and sebum, allowing Malassezia to feast on them.

Go for loose dry-fit shirts during your workouts instead so that perspiration can evaporate and dry off more easily.

2. Get rid of occlusive skincare products

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Moisturisers and sunscreens that are thicker in consistency can often create a layer of product that sits on your skin.

The moisture trapped in this barrier could feed Malassezia and cause “facial fungus”.

Swap them out for lightweight options such as the new Geek Gorgeous Hydration Station (EU€8.80, ~S$12.53), which features a Malassezia-safe formula and a hydrating gel-cream texture.

Krave Beauty Oat So Simple Water Cream (US$28, ~S$37.97) is another option you can explore. Its formula has natural ingredients including oats for deep hydration.

If you’re looking for a suitable sunscreen, you can try the Cetaphil Sun SPF 50+ Light Gel Sunscreen (S$35.90), which soothes your skin with its gentle formulation while protecting your skin from harmful UV rays.

3. Wash your face with shampoo

Photo source: @not.kez/TikTok

This might the strangest advice we have given you so far. But you better believe it because washing your face with a certain type of shampoo may be able to keep fungal acne under control.

Reach for a medicated shampoo like the NIZORAL Ketoconazole 2% Shampoo (S$22.68). It has been specially recommended to prevent and treat fungal acne because of the key ingredient: ketoconazole, which fight fungus.

You can also try the Head and Shoulders Clean and Balanced (S$15.70). It boasts pyrithione zinc, which is also known for its ability to eliminate fungal overgrowth.

Leave the shampoo on for about two to three minutes when you’re washing your face. Be consistent and make sure you do this for at least 14 days straight.

Wash your face with this shampoo regularly and change your towels every day to prevent any further infection or yeast buildup.

Featured image credit: @not.kez/TikTok and @drcharlesmd1/TikTok