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  5. How To Treat Fungal Acne With Ayurvedic Solutions?

Is your acne condition showing no signs of improvement despite various treatments? You might be facing a case of fungal acne.

Malassezia Folliculitis or fungal acne is unresponsive to common acne treatments and may last for years if not diagnosed correctly. The ancient science of Ayurveda recommends powerful herbs that prevent the colonization of yeast on your body and improve the overall health and immunity of your skin to prevent the condition from reoccurring.

Scroll down to have a better understanding of your acne condition and how to manage it with natural Ayurvedic treatments.

What Is Fungal Acne?

Fungal acne occurs when there is a proliferation of Malassezia yeast [1] on your skin due to excess sebum secretion. Malassezia yeast is part of the natural flora that lives on your skin. However, certain trigger factors can lead to its overgrowth which in turn blocks your hair follicles resulting in acne lesions that closely resemble acne vulgaris.

According to Ayurveda, 'Dadru Kushta' or fungal infections of the skin fall under the category of ‘kshudra kushtas’ or minor skin infections. An imbalance of the Pitta and Kapha Doshas along with a vitiation of the Rakta Dhatu (blood tissue) can lead to fungal acne.

“Opportunism by fungus is mainly because of the change in the sebum makeup. Sebum regulation is sensitive to diet, hormones, and skin products,” says Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix.

This fungal infection commonly affects your face, arms, chest, back and shoulders. Benign in nature, fungal acne can be treated with herbal remedies and antifungal topical and oral medicines. This condition is usually observed in adolescents and in people living in hot, humid climates.

What Does Fungal Acne Look Like?

fungal Infection on thigh of little boy

Kandu pidakas or extremely itchy, often pus-filled acne lesions on your skin characterize fungal acne. As per patient reviews, these papules and pustules have a burning sensation when touched. Eruptions caused by fungal acne have a uniform appearance and usually occur at the sides of the face and chin unlike common bacterial acne which affects the central facial areas.

Various new or evolved strains of fungal pathogens are resistant to the generally used antifungal medicines. Thus, current medical science is combining natural antifungal extracts from plants with chemical compounds to produce novel medicines that can easily inhibit stubborn fungal infections.

What Causes Fungal Acne?

Increased sebum production by your sebaceous glands causing yeast overgrowth is considered to be the primary cause of fungal acne. However, there are several factors that may stimulate sebaceous gland activity leading to Pityrosporum or Malassezia folliculitis.

1. Humid Weather

Hot, humid weather may provoke a condition of fungal acne. People living in places with high humidity tend to sweat more, which aids the proliferation of Malassezia yeast in your hair follicles.

2. Excessive Sweating

The yeast thrives on sebum and sweat. Bodies that produce excess sweat are more prone to fungal infections.

3. Compromised Immune System

People with reduced immunity or weak immune systems are more susceptible to fungal infections according to medical research. Immunosuppressive medical treatments also increase your chances of getting fungal infections. When your body is unable to fight off pathogen attacks, your skin can become an easy breeding ground for microbes.

4. Antibiotics

Certain oral and topical antibiotics such as tetracyclines and corticosteroids can stimulate the occurrence of fungal acne. This may happen as these antibiotics can destroy good bacteria on your skin that help fight the overgrowth of yeast. In their absence, your skin is left vulnerable to fungal infections.

5. Physical Contact

Fungal acne like other fungal infections can be contagious. It can spread from physical contact with an affected person. Shared clothes, towels, makeup brushes, etc. can also lead to contamination.

How To Identify Fungal Acne?

Fungal acne is often misdiagnosed as acne vulgaris due to their similarity in appearance. The below mentioned characteristics will help you identify your acne type better.


Fungal Acne

Acne Vulgaris Or Bacterial Acne


Monomorphic acne lesions. Papules and pustules in fungal acne are usually of uniform size.

Acne lesions may vary from comedones (whiteheads, blackheads) to inflammatory acne (papules, pustules, nodules).


Fungal acne on the face is localised around the chin and sides of the cheek.

Bacterial acne tends to appear in the oily regions (T-zone) of the face.


Caused by Malassezia yeast.

Caused by Propionibacterium or P. acnes bacteria.



Non- contagious.


Extremely pruritic or itchy papules.

May cause skin sensitivity.


Fungal acne rarely comes to a head.

Acne lesions in acne vulgaris commonly form heads.


Does not respond to antibiotics. Can be cured by topical and/ or antifungal medicine.

Responds to retinoids, hydroxy acids, antibiotics.

Is Fungal Acne Curable?

Due to misdiagnosis, fungal acne may persist for a long time. But if identified correctly on time, one can observe improvements within 24 hours of medication. Antifungal oral and topical medication can quickly reduce yeast colonizations in your hair follicles.

Use of Ayurvedic antifungal and kapha pacifying herbs can also bring relief without causing any side effects.

How To Get Rid Of Fungal Acne?

A. Home Remedies To Treat Fungal Acne

medicinal turmeric paste with neem leaves

The below mentioned natural ingredients have shown time tested results against fungal infections. Their efficacy in treating fungal acne on the face and other areas of your skin validates their extensive use in antifungal medicines and skincare products.

1. Raw Turmeric

To treat fungal infection on the face, apply a generous layer of raw turmeric paste. You can add milk or honey to it for added benefits. Honey is antimicrobial and milk helps clear your skin of debris that can block your pores. Both milk and honey help clear acne scars, giving you a clear, blemish free skin tone.

2. Guava Leaves

Medicinal properties of guava leaves are numerous. Applying a paste of guava leaves can help prevent fungal infections on your skin. Its immunity boosting abilities help those with compromised immunity, making them fight fungal infections better.

3. Avocado Leaves

Avocado has amazing skin healing properties. Its leaves are used in various antifungal products for their ability to inhibit the growth of fungus. Apply a paste of avocado leaves and fruit to cure fungal acne on the face and get skin that feels super soft and healthy.

4. Black Pepper

Piperine, terpenes and flavones present in black pepper make it an excellent fungicide. Black pepper [4] extracts are used in medicines and foods to prevent fungus growth. Make paste of black pepper powder and honey and apply on the affected areas to treat your fungal acne.

5. Tithonia

Tithonia or Mexican sunflower is an amazing fungal healer. All parts of the plant, especially the leaves and petals can be used to make a powerful antifungal home remedy. Make a paste of the petals and leaves of tithonia and apply it as a spot treatment on your fungal acne.

6. Ginger

Zingiber Officinale or ginger is a multi-beneficial herb found in most Indian kitchens. From curing colds to fungal infections on your skin, ginger does it all. Its effectiveness in inhibiting fungal growth has led to its wide- spread use in skincare, dental hygiene products and new age antifungal medicines. Apply a generous paste of ginger and honey on the fungal acne on your face and other areas regularly to notice improvement.

B. Ayurvedic Fungal Acne Treatment

Owing to their antifungal properties, the below mentioned Ayurvedic herbs are extensively used in treating Dadru conditions of the skin.

1. Ayurvedic Topical Lepas

A. Cinnamon And Yashtimadhu Lepa

Prepare a paste by adding cinnamon (a pinch) and yashtimadhu powder in honey. Apply this over the ‘dadru’ affected areas regularly. Both cinnamon and yashtimadhu are antifungal in nature and help in destroying fungal cells, thus inhibiting the spread of the infection.

B. Neem And Cumin Lepa

Neem leaves and its oil have been trusted Ayurvedic remedies for a number of microbial skin conditions. Cumin extract can destroy fungal biofilms that lead to fungal infections on your face and skin. Prepare a paste of cumin and neem leaves and apply on the affected area as part of your daily skincare.

C. Tipli And Vacha Lepa

Tipli (long pepper), belonging to the pepper family, is rich in flavonoids and piperine which are active antifungal agents. Combining the antimicrobial Vacha with tipli further enhances the fungal fighting properties of the pack. Grind both ingredients into a fine powder, mix it with honey to form a paste, and apply on the affected areas to reduce the fungal infection.

D. Datura, Nigella Seed Oil And Indian Sarsaparilla

Datura extracts have shown antifungal activities in fighting such strains of fungal pathogens that are unresponsive to medicines. Oleic acid and beta- sitosterol in Nigella seed oil have amazing health benefits, including antifungal properties. Sariva or Indian Sarsaparilla helps detoxify your body and clean the vitiated Rakta Dhatu to gradually reduce the symptoms of fungal acne and cure the condition.

Datura is available in Ayurvedic stores in powdered or oil forms. Mix all ingredients and apply on the fungal acne on your forehead, face and other areas regularly twice a day.

2. Snehana Karma

Ghee and other medicated oils are used to pacify aggravated Doshas in the body in the process of Snehana. A full body massage or abhyanga is done to calm the body and mind, remove harmful Ama toxins, enhance blood circulation and ensure smooth running of all body functions.

3. Virechana

Virechana treatment aims to relieve excess Pitta Dosha from your body. It is part of the Panchakarma Therapy practiced in Ayurveda. It is an excellent way to release toxins from your body and regain stability.

C. Essential Oils For Fungal Acne

thyme oil and leaves in a glass jar

Recent research shows that certain invasive fungal infections are unresponsive to the known fungal treatments. Whereas, plant derived medicines and extracts have exhibited better results while treating such conditions. This has led to the acknowledgement of antifungal properties in the essential oils [2] mentioned below.

1. Virgin Coconut Oil

One of the innumerable benefits of virgin coconut oil is its antifungal nature. Regular application to the affected areas can prevent the growth and spread of the fungus on your skin.

2. Tea Tree Oil

A potent fungicide, terpenes or terpenoid phenol present in tea tree oil, makes it an indispensable fungal acne cure. It attacks the fungal cells and prevents them from proliferating. Tea tree oil also contains powerful antioxidants that help improve your overall skin condition within a short time of application.

3. Turmeric Oil

The antimicrobial and antiseptic properties of turmeric oil is not a new discovery. Curcumin present in turmeric extracts and oils is highly effective in suppressing fungal growth. Application of turmeric oil on fungal acne can permanently heal the lesions. Turmeric also helps brighten your skin and prevents the formation of acne scars.

4. Thyme Oil

The two key components of thyme oil, thymol [3] and carvacrol, are known antifungal agents used in fungal acne treatments. Thymol and carvacrol are phytochemicals, capable of killing various strains of fungus and prohibit their overgrowth. Use thyme oil daily as a spot treatment for fungal acne on your face and other areas and observe the condition improve in no time.

5. Clove Oil

Eugenol, contained in clove oil, is now being used to treat several infections caused by pathogenic molds that have developed immunity against commonly used fungal medicines. Eugenol disrupts the fungal cell membrane and inhibits its growth. Clove oil’s anti-inflammatory and skin soothing properties calm fungal acne affected skin and quicken the healing process.

6. Oregano Oil

Carvacrol is the main component of oregano essential oil and an active antifungal compound. It is also rich in antioxidants that help rebuild your skin's immunity. Apply twice a day to areas of your skin affected by fungal acne for quick improvement of the condition.

7. Eucalyptus Oil

The anti-inflammatory properties of eucalyptus oil are well known. However, it is also a powerful antifungal oil. Eucalyptol present in eucalyptus oil has shown effectiveness against various strains of pathogenic fungi. Thus, it is widely used in treating fungal acne symptoms.

8. Peppermint Oil

The antifungal abilities of peppermint oil is highly useful in treating fungal acne. It is safe for regular use and can completely heal fungal infections on face, forehead and other parts of your skin.

Important Note:

Essential oils have powerful antifungal properties. However, make sure not to directly apply any of the essential oil on your skin mentioned in the article. Instead use them after diluting with a carrier oil.

D. Natural Remedies To Cure Fungal Acne

One of the best ways to treat fungal acne naturally, is by completely switching to a herbal skincare routine.

1. Cleansing

Keeping the affected areas clean helps control the spread of the fungus. Soak neem and tulsi leaves overnight and wash your face with this medicated water.

2. Exfoliation

Oat seed extracts are used in several antifungal skincare products. Oatmeal can gradually heal fungal acne with frequent use. Exfoliate the affected areas 2 to 3 times a week with an oatmeal scrub to clean your pores and treat your fungal acne symptoms.

3. Antifungal Face Packs

Prepare your own homemade fungal acne face pack with the herbs and natural ingredients mentioned in the article such as turmeric, ginger, black pepper, clove, vacha, yashtimadhu and others. Apply this regularly to heal fungal infection on the face and other areas.

4. Moisturizing

Though fungal acne is often caused by the excess secretion of sebum, moisturizing the affected areas with certain oils is actually beneficial. Gently massage antifungal oils (coconut, clove, turmeric, tea tree, oregano, thyme, eucalyptus, black seed) on the fungal acne regularly at the end of your skincare routine. In case of sensitive skin, you can mix the essential oils with a carrier oil and apply.

Vedix Tip: Fungal acne can be very itchy making you feel uncomfortable. Apply aloe vera gel on the itch prone areas to calm your skin. Aloin present in aloe vera is also an antifungal agent that prevents growth and spread of fungal infections on your skin.

E. Ayurvedic Diet For Fungal Acne

Ayurveda emphasises the importance of diet during the treatment of all skin diseases. Eating habits play an important role in maintaining the balance of your Doshas and preventing the accumulation of Ama toxins in your body. Follow the below mentioned diet plan to aid the healing of fungal infection on your face and other skin areas.

1. Avoid sugary foods that have a high glycemic index. Processed and fried foods must also be avoided.

2. It is better to stick to a vegetarian diet until the condition of fungal acne improves. Or consume eggs and chicken in moderation.

3. Prepare your food with antifungal spices [5] such as nigella (black jeera), cumin, turmeric, black pepper, long pepper, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, clove, thyme and oregano.

4. Consume non- starchy vegetables. Eat lots of green leafy vegetables, avocados, amla, citrus fruits.

5. If your hormones are causing an excess production of sebum, it is good to limit dairy products. Use dairy substitutes like soy milk, almond milk, tofu, etc.

6. Cut down on coffee. Instead, drink green tea twice a day to detoxify.

7. Include neem leaves, curry leaves and coriander leaves in your diet.

8. Use coconut oil, olive oil and ghee to prepare your meals.

How To Prevent Fungal Acne?

1. Keep yourself clean and dry at all times. Use a high absorbent towel to dry yourself after baths. Use powder to prevent excess sweat.

2. Wash immediately after workouts. Avoid staying in sweat soaked clothes for longer hours.

3. Avoid activities that involve long exposures to water.

4. Wash your clothes, socks, bedsheets, etc. in antifungal or antiseptic detergents.

5. Use antifungal skincare products and shampoos.

6. Wear loose fitting clothes, antimicrobial, breathable socks. Avoid closed or tight footwear.

7. Do not share towels or any other personal use itineraries.

8. If you have a weak immune system or are prone to fungal infections, apply coconut oil or antifungal ointment before entering public baths, saunas or swimming pools. This will form a protective layer over your skin and prevent the invasion of pathogens.

Frequently Asked Questions On Fungal Acne

1. How Long Does Fungal Acne Last?

Fungal acne responds to antifungal treatments. Depending on how severe your condition is, it can last a few weeks to a month before completely clearing out. However, it may return if the conditions causing the fungal infection are not prevented. Thus it is wise to follow precautionary measures even after the condition is completely healed.

2. Is Fungal Infection Contagious?

man applying Eczema ointment on the hands

Most fungal infections are contagious, that is, it can spread through direct or indirect contact. Similarly, fungal acne that is caused by Malassezia yeast can spread to other areas of your body from contact. Avoid frequently touching the area affected by fungal acne. Maintain good hygiene while following a good fungal acne treatment.

3. How Do Dermatologists Treat Fungal Acne?

It is advisable to visit a dermatologist if your fungal acne condition does not improve in a few weeks with herbal remedies. To treat fungal acne your dermatologist is most likely to prescribe antifungal ointments that contain clotrimazole, ketoconazole. Depending on the severity of the condition oral antifungal medicines [6] such as oral itraconazole, terbinafine or fluconazole may be given.

However, these drugs often have serious side effects such as nausea, gastrointestinal distress, hepatotoxicity and others. They may also interfere with certain medications. Hence, inform your doctor about your past medical records and ongoing medical treatments to avoid complications.

The Last Word

Fungal acne can be difficult to diagnose, as they are quite similar to common acne in appearance. It may last a long time or even deteriorate if you keep treating it with common acne treatments. Once diagnosed, follow a complete herbal skincare routine and Ayurvedic fungal acne treatments to naturally treat the condition. Ayurvedic herbs recommended to treat fungal acne not only prevent fungal growth but also treat internal factors causing the fungal infection.

Know Your Dosha Now

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