5 Natural Ways To Heal Fungal Acne That Really Work

by Gio
5 natural ways to heal fungal acne

So, you got fungal acne?

The first step is to rid your skincare routine of ANYTHING that could remotely feed Malassezia, the fungus that’s making your life miserable. I’ve written a post about how to do this here.

The second step is to kill the damn fungus once and for all. But what if you’re not comfortable taking anti-fungals for however long it takes?

I need to say this: my advice is always to see a dermatologist and take her advice, even when she prescribes an anti-fungal.

But if that doesn’t work for you or you want to try a natural remedy first, there are a few natural ways that have been scientifically proven to help heal fungal acne. Here they are:

1. Azelaic Acid

What it is: a byproduct of Malassezia. Yep, the fungus that gives you fungal acne also gives you a way to treat it. Thanks!

Why it works: scientists aren’t 100% sure yet but it has a lot to do with its ability to reduce the overall fatty acid content (ie the stuff that Malassezia eats to grow) in your skin. Plus, it kills both aerobic (needs oxygen to grow) like Malassezia and anaerobic (doesn’t need oxygen) bacteria like P.Acnes.

How To Use: after serums but before moisturizer.

Side effects: a lot of products with azelaic acid also have ingredients that feed Malassezia. Azelaic acid may counteract some of these effects. Still, pick products high in azelaic acid and low in offenders.

Where to find it: Finacea (prescription only), Paula’ Choice 10% Azelaic Acid Booster and The Ordinary Azelaic Acid 10% Suspension (£5.50)

2. Caprylic Acid Oil

What it is: a fatty acid with a short carbon chain length found in coconut and MCT oil. It’s one of the few fatty acids Malassezia DOESN’T feed on.

Why it works: it has powerful antifungal properties that can kill Malassezia.

How to use it: as a cleanser or mixed with your moisturizer.

Side effects: caprylic acid oil is generally considered to be safe.

Where to find it: Alana Mitchell Organic MCT Facial Oil ($40.00)

skincare benefits honey

3. Honey

What it is: a sweet, sticky nectar bees make from the nectar they collect from flowers.

Why it works: honeys has strong antimicrobial properties. Studies show it’s effective against seborrheic dermatitis, a condition caused by the same fungus. Manuka honey is the most effective at this.

How to use it: apply raw honey on the affected area for 3 hours every other day. If it’s too sticky for you, try products that are high in raw honey (propolis works too). Just make sure they don’t contain anything that feeds the fungus.

Side effects: raw honey is sticky and feels unpleasant on the skin.

Where to find it: Wedderspoon Raw Premium Manuka Honey ($29.65), Cosrx Propolis Light Ampoule ($28.00) and Skinfood Royal Honey Propolis Enrich Essence ($39.00)

Related: The Benefits Of Honey In Skincare

4. Sulfur

What it is: A yellowish, nonmetallic element that occurs widely in nature, especially in volcanic deposits.

Why it works: I couldn’t find any research showing it works against fungal acne BUT there’s plenty of proof it’s an effective treatment for seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis and eczema. All conditions that involve Malassezia. Coincidence? I don’t think so. Sulfur works because it sloughs off dead skin cells and produces an acid that is toxic to fungi.

How to use it: as a spot treatment only.

Side effects: sulfur is harsh on the skin and terribly dries it out. Use it only as the last option on this list and on the affected area only. Oh, it smells like rotten eggs, too. Ewww!

Where to find it: Kala Health MSM Gel ($19.75) and ZO Skin Health Oeffects Sulfur Masque ($45.00)

Related: Sulfur: Good For Acne, Bad For Skin?

5. Tea Tree Oil

What it is: an essential oil derived from the melaleuca alternifolia plant.

Why it works: lots of studies show it has powerful antimicrobial properties that kill Malassezia.

How to use it: dilute it with water and use as spot treatment.

Side effects: tea tree oil can be very irritating, especially if you have sensitive skin. That’s why you need to dilute it.

Where to find it: Tea Tree 100% Pure Best Therapeutic Grade Essential Oil ($6.99) and ArtNaturals 100% Pure Tea Tree Essential Oil ($15.95)

Related: Tea Tree Oil, The Underdog Of Acne Treatments

Have you ever tried any natural treatments to heal your fungal acne? Share your experience in the comments below.



Cindy November 16, 2018 - 7:47 pm

Wow this is amazing! Great research. How about aloe?

Gio November 23, 2018 - 11:35 am

Cindy, aloe is very hydrating but it’s not a treatment for fungal acne.

Erin December 19, 2018 - 11:56 pm

Instead of water, the tea tree oil should be diluted with a carrier oil like coconut oil or grapeseed oil before applying to the skin. Water won’t combine with the tea tree oil, so it won’t do much to minimize the burn tea tree oil can cause. If essential oil is ever burning your skin, it’s usually recommended to apply more of your carrier oil until the burn subsides. This is more effective than washing with soap and water.

Gio January 6, 2019 - 12:46 pm

Erin, this is a great tip. Thanks for sharing!

Bernadette Monterola March 12, 2019 - 12:42 am

You cannott mix it with other oil except MCT, Squalane and Mineral oil. Because the other oils are rich in fatty acids which is a food for the fungus.

Gio March 15, 2019 - 3:45 pm

Bernadette, thanks for the remainder!

Andrea Juliet January 2, 2019 - 2:54 am

I have a question about finacea gel. Are any of these ingredients harmful: lecithin, polyacrylic acid, polysorbate 80. I know you said polysorbates contain fatty acids and can feed fungus? Or would the good of finacea cancel out the polysorbate?
Thank you!

Gio January 12, 2019 - 11:39 am

Andrea, if by harmful, you mean they can feed fungal acne, then yes. I personally recommend you stay away from products with polysorbates and anything that can feed Malassezia. But if these ingredients have very further down the list, the chances of them causing problems drastically diminish. But you won’t know for sure until you try them.

Natalij February 11, 2019 - 8:43 pm

I have fungal acne and i tried tea tree oil but it ruined my skin. It caused me to break out even more and it dried it out. It took 2 weeks for my skin to heal from the reaction. Any alternatives?

Gio February 15, 2019 - 1:21 pm

Natalij, sorry to hear that. Did you dilute it properly? It’s very harsh if you don’t. Try Azelaic Acid and see if that works for you. It’s a lot gentler.

Natalija February 11, 2019 - 8:44 pm

Ketokonazole and anti dandruff shampoo is a great treatment because of it’s antifungal properties

Gio February 15, 2019 - 1:24 pm

Natalija, thanks for sharing. Glad it works for you.

Nyra Olazo March 17, 2019 - 8:49 pm

would you recommend diluted apple cider vinegar to treat malassezia?

Gio March 21, 2019 - 2:02 pm

Nyra, no I wouldn’t.

Sara April 10, 2019 - 8:29 pm

is there a difference in using regular and raw honey?

Gio April 12, 2019 - 3:51 pm

Sara, the raw kind has more antioxidants and nutrients so it works faster.

Jena Mae Batong May 10, 2019 - 3:50 am

So mixing squalane with essential ouls is perfectly safe?:)

Gio June 5, 2019 - 12:39 pm

Jena, NO! Essential oils are NEVER safe, especially not for people with fungal acne!

Geo June 2, 2019 - 9:59 pm

I use zinc pyrithione soap and it is very effective for treating fungal acne.

Gio June 4, 2019 - 5:50 pm

Geo, good to know! Thanks for sharing.

Viviana June 27, 2019 - 12:07 am

I applied honey to my face and what it did was burn my face, this because it happens?

Gio July 6, 2019 - 2:47 pm

Viviana, honey has a low pH. You should never use it alone.

Martina MacKenzie July 4, 2019 - 5:19 pm

I have learned that mixing tea tree oil into the manuka honey and leaving on as a mask is a good option. Follow with a toner containing green tea and apple cider vinegar (1 cup tea / 1 Tbsp vinegar), then finally moisturize with a mixture of aloe + a drop of tea tree oil.

Alex July 16, 2019 - 7:02 pm

Is active Oxygen good for fungal acne?People say it’s helping with acne problems.Should I try it?Is it dangerous?
Let me know your opinion.
Also, I’m planning to see a dermatologist pretty soon, but just curious..is it really fungal acne cuz mine are skin colored, tiny bumps,they are not “burning” when i touch them but the texture is different.. I just woke up with bunch of them 4 days ago(i have them on my T zone and left cheek), could it be allergic or..?
Please answer, I need help.

Gio August 8, 2019 - 3:07 pm

Alex, oxygen won’t do anything for acne. As you’re already seeing a dermatologist, I think it’s best to let him diagnose.

Khadija August 13, 2019 - 4:29 pm

Hi.i have small bumps all over my face and it is mostly textured and they dont pop or anything. Is that fungal? I use isdin oil free cleaner, body shop tea tree toner and aloe vera gel. Could these products be triggering it?

Gio September 15, 2019 - 6:43 pm

Khadija, does it itch? That’s usually one of the tell-tale signs. Tea tree oil could definitely be a culprit.

Nisaa April 13, 2020 - 10:25 pm

I thought tea tree oil cured fungal acne?

Gio May 15, 2020 - 11:48 am

Nisa, it cures bacterial acne.

Osas November 11, 2019 - 11:01 am

Is tiny bump and fungal the same please can you recommend something for me to use

Gio December 15, 2019 - 11:07 am

Osas, not always. It’s fungal if it itches. Is that the case for you?

Trae April 26, 2020 - 11:01 pm

Hey Gio! I have the same dilemma as OSAS and Khadija. I have textured skin thanks to tiny bumps all over my face with nothing in them that DO NOT ITCH. Is Malassezia therefore out the question?

Gio May 17, 2020 - 8:12 am

Trae, it’s unlikely to be Malassezia, but please consult a doctor to be 100% sure.

Anna November 21, 2019 - 9:54 am

Hi thank you! I was wondering… Does the rice, milk and honey body scrub recipe help against fungal acne??

Gio December 20, 2019 - 8:06 am

Anna, there is some evidence that honey can help.

A November 21, 2019 - 1:03 pm

Can’t i use raw honey every day on my body? I bought some honey from a supermarket and started using some on my lower back (near waist area) for fungal acne and i noticed that the honey has some tiny corns that slightly scratch my skin similar to body scrubs when i massage the honey to my back, is this normal?

Gio December 20, 2019 - 8:07 am

A, if it scratches your skin, I wouldn’t use it.

Being Healed January 31, 2020 - 4:15 pm

Honey that is slightly scratchy may have started going to sugar. I used mine anyway like an exfoliator. You could gently heat in double boiler to dissolve sugar crystals

Iris May 5, 2020 - 4:13 pm

I’ve been scouring the net for any info on my condition:


For the last few years, I’ve apparently started to get Adult Acne – according to my Doc, after I was prescribed some Metformin for PCOS.
I don’t have diabetes, but it’s supposed to help PCOS. It didn’t help; it threw off my inner-radar, and I didn’t like Metformin at all. I stopped taking it after 1 pack.
Previously, I never really had any pimples.

But NOW (and since)… I get these strange “Twin-Bumps”; one is the Planet, the other is the Moon.
One is huge, and a small one exists nearby it, too. They always come together, and I’ve been noticing this pattern for a while…
I’ve heard of “Satellite Lesions” – but these are more like pimples. Only, I’m sure they’re some kind of infection, or virus or something. THIS fungus, maybe??
Do you know anything like this?
I really hate them.

I use coconut oil a lot; mixing various essential oils.

I do have this new “Eyebrow Eczema”, too – I might try using a honey-mask on that, and see how I go.
I just started using coconut oil, Frankincense, Tea Tree, and Lavender, so either I’ll mix in some honey, or use by itself!

REALLY curious to know if anyone else knows what these Planet-and-Moon pimple-bumps are.

Being Healed January 31, 2020 - 4:14 pm

Honey that is slightly scratchy may have started going to sugar. I used mine anyway like an exfoliator. You could gently heat in double boiler to dissolve sugar crystals

Nisaa April 13, 2020 - 10:35 pm

I have fungal acne on my scalp and scars on the sides of my forehead that sometime flare up. The acne on my scalp is extremely itchy and sometimes the acne reduces but then multiplies after a few days. The acne on the sides of my face hurt and itch. I have scars now on my face as the acne kept on going in the same place. I’ve tried using the body shop tea tree oil but it didn’t heal it if anything it aggravated it. In addition I’ve also tried tea tree shampoo with no luck as this made me itch a lot more. I’ve also used nizoral (which I know has helped many people) this also made it worse. My scalp can get dry so I should avoid drying products but it’s tough since fungal acne and oily products don’t go together. I need help in choosing a right skincare routine and hair routine.

Chellz April 22, 2020 - 9:12 pm

Hi! Will rose hip seed oil feed the fungus?

Gio May 15, 2020 - 4:34 pm

Chellz, yes! Please, read the article. I wrote what oils are safe. Everything else isn’t!

Maya June 11, 2020 - 11:43 am

Mine looks alot like fungal acne and i think it’s fungal acne but it is nothing itchy

Zacaria June 23, 2020 - 3:07 pm

do you recommend iheart nature natural turmeric soap ?

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