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You cleanse your skin religiously and keep up with a detailed skincare routine day and night, yet these pesky red bumps still linger on your skin.

If you relate to that, we’ve got some news for you. Fungal acne, also known as Malassezia folliculitis, might be the root cause of your stubborn acne woes.

In this article, we’ll explain what it is, what triggers it, what ingredients to avoid, and, lastly, 20 fungal acne-safe skincare and makeup products to introduce to your routine.

What is Fungal Acne (Malassezia Folliculitis)?

Fungal Acne Safe Products

Credits: @areeshaaayyyyyyyyyy/TikTok, @charinecheungg/TikTok

Unlike traditional acne caused by bacteria and clogged pores, fungal acne thrives on Malassezia, a type of yeast naturally found on our skin.

While it’s usually harmless, certain factors can cause this yeast to overgrow, leading to inflammation and the formation of those stubborn, red bumps.

We know how frustrating it can be to deal with fungal acne. The key to combating this problem is to understand it, specifically what triggers it and the ingredients that could aggravate it.

With this information, you can then switch out certain products in your skincare routine and watch your skin clear up!

What Triggers Fungal Acne Breakouts?

Credits: Ketut Subiyanto/Pexels

To truly conquer this frustrating skin woe, we need to understand what fuels the fire.

Here are the common triggers that can exacerbate fungal acne breakouts:

  • Greasy, comedogenic products: Fungal acne thrives in warm and moist environments. Lotions and creams packed with thick oils or butters can create a suffocating barrier that promotes yeast overgrowth.
  • Heavy makeup: Piling on foundation and concealer can trap yeast and clog pores. It is recommended to opt for breathable, mineral-based formulas.
  • Sweating: Excessive sweat can aggravate your condition. Be sure to cleanse your face thoroughly after exercising or partaking in intense activities to prevent yeast buildup.
  • Humid climates: High humidity can contribute to fungal acne. Lighter, water-based skincare is recommended in climates like Singapore’s.
  • Certain medications: Some medications like antibiotics can disrupt the natural balance of bacteria on our skin, enabling yeast to overgrow.
  • Frequent friction: Constantly touching your face or wearing tight head accessories like headbands or caps can irritate the skin and worsen breakouts.
  • Internal factors: Underlying hormonal imbalances or a weakened immune system can also contribute to fungal acne flare-ups.

By being mindful of these triggers and making adjustments to your lifestyle and beauty routines, you can create a more fungal acne-friendly environment for your skin.

Ingredients to Avoid with Fungal Acne

Credits: Arina Krasnikova/Pexels

Knowing what you’re putting on your skin is essential, especially if you struggle with fungal acne. While some ingredients might sound harmless, they could do more harm than good.

Here are some ingredients that could aggravate your fungal acne:

  • Fatty acids and oils: Fungal acne feeds on fatty acids and oils, so steer clear of ingredients like coconut oil, lanolin, and anything labelled “myristate” or “isopropyl palmitate”, which are fatty acids that can fuel yeast overgrowth.
  • Esters: Often added into products for a smooth texture and finish, some esters can be problematic. Look out for ingredients ending with “-ate” (with the exception of caprylate and caprate). A good example of that would be isopropyl stearate.
  • Heavy silicones: While silicones offer a silky texture, some heavier varieties can create a barrier that traps yeast. Opt for lighter, water-based silicones if you’d like to incorporate them into your skincare.
  • Greasy butters: Ingredients like shea butter and cocoa butter smell and feel good on the skin, but they can be too heavy for fungal-prone skin.
  • Fermented ingredients: While fermented skincare is often praised for its benefits, some people have found that it aggravates breakouts. Be especially cautious with ingredients like yeast extract or sake extract.

How to Treat Fungal Acne

Credits: Fernando Serrano/Pexels

Now that you know the ingredients to steer clear of, you ought to clear out all your products that could have created a breeding ground for fungal acne.

Take it a step further and look out for products with these ingredients that can help treat it:

  • Zinc pyrithione: Prevents proliferation of bacteria and fungi, has anti-inflammatory properties, and reduces irritation and redness.
  • Sulphur: Contains antifungal and antibacterial properties that kill fungi on the skin, encourages exfoliation, regulates sebum production, and reduces inflammation.
  • Selenium sulfide: Commonly found in dandruff shampoos as it treats fungal or yeast infections of the skin.
  • Salicylic acid: Helps the skin to shed dead cells, manage clogged pores and reduce build up in follicles, which inhibits the formation of pimples, as well as speeds up the healing process.
  • Mandelic acid: Naturally exfoliating, clears clogged follicles and pores of the sebum and dead skin cells that feed fungal acne.

Fungal Acne Treatments

Here are some over-the-counter treatments to try:

Fungal Acne Safe Products: Skincare

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

Fungal-Acne Safe The Ordinary

The Ordinary’s Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% earned its popularity. It combines vitamins and minerals to combat breakouts and clogged pores. As its name reveals, its ingredients comprise of niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, and zinc.

Niacinamide is a highly regarded skincare hero, clinically proven to reduce blemishes and regulate oil production. This helps minimise enlarged pores, uneven texture, and unwanted shine.

It also strengthens the skin’s natural barrier function, promoting healthier and clearer skin!

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% retails at S$21 and is available at sephora.sg.

Anua Heartleaf 77% Soothing Toner

Fungal-Acne Safe Anua

Throw out your harsh toners for gentle hydration with Anua’s award-winning Heartleaf 77% Soothing Toner!

This toner is formulated with 77% heartleaf extract, a Korean botanical known for its calming and anti-inflammatory properties. Perfect for sensitive skin, this toner soothes, hydrates, and balances the skin’s pH level without irritating it.

Anua prides itself on using only the highest-quality ingredients, which is why its heartleaf is sourced and harvested directly from Korea.

The lightweight, watery texture gets absorbed into the skin quickly, providing a buildable layer of hydration—great for prepping your skin before your makeup!

Anua Heartleaf 77% Soothing Toner retails from S$6 and is available at hush.sg.

SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Ampoule

Fungal-Acne Safe Skin1004

This multi-tasking ampoule is your one-stop shop for a healthy, youthful complexion. It combines replenishing, soothing, and softening properties that will leave your skin feeling refreshed.

Its star ingredient is its 100% undamaged Centella Asiatica extract, sourced from high-quality crops in Madagascar.

It delivers intense hydration and balances oil production to combat acne, dryness, and irritation of the skin. It also aids in diminishing dark spots and hyperpigmentation while strengthening your skin’s barrier for a long-lasting, healthy glow.

Unlike other products that leave your skin feeling parched an hour after use, this ampoule provides deep hydration that lasts all day!

SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Ampoule retails at S$26.81 (click in to view the most updated price) and is available at SKIN1004’s official Shopee store.

Beauty of Joseon Ginseng Essence Water

Fungal-Acne Safe Beauty of Joseon

The Beauty of Joseon Ginseng Essence Water harnesses the power of the revered ginseng herb (it’s made up of 80% ginseng water!) to nourish and deeply hydrate your skin.

This essence goes beyond just a moisture boost; it provides lasting hydration and evens your complexion by calming and smoothing textured skin or areas with dead skin cells.

Packed with nutrients like niacinamide, it also balances your skin’s moisture barrier and protects it from environmental stressors.

Beauty of Joseon Ginseng Essence Water retails from S$9.50 (click in to view the most updated price) and is available at Beauty of Joseon’s official Shopee store.

COSRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner

Fungal-Acne Safe Cosrx

Skincare newbies, this one’s for you: the unique formula of this toner combines AHA, BHA, and purifying botanicals to tackle multiple concerns in one step. It is suitable for all skin types, even sensitive skin!

This toner effectively removes impurities and dead skin cells, leaving your skin feeling smooth, soft, and revitalised. It also minimises the appearance of pores, balances oil production, and keeps your skin hydrated.

While most chemical exfoliations are not suitable for daily use, COSRX’s AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner is gentle enough to incorporate into your daily routine.

With this cult favourite toner, you can experience the benefits of chemical exfoliation without worrying about it being too harsh on your skin—perfect for daily use!

COSRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner retails at S$22.30 and is available at watsons.com.sg.

PURITO Oat-In Calming Gel Cream

Fungal-Acne Safe Purito

Craving instant relief for dry, sensitive skin? Look no further than PURITO’s refreshing gel cream!

Packed with 77% avena sativa (oat) seed water, it offers a calming wave of hydration that instantly soothes irritation and improves your skin’s moisture barrier.

Its lightweight and clear texture absorbs quickly, giving you a balanced and vibrant complexion. The powerful duo of oat and panthenol provides more than just hydration—it creates a protective shield to lock in moisture and nourish your skin.

Squalane, a key ingredient of this gel cream, joins the party to further boost elasticity and smooth out dehydration lines. Beta-glucan soothes and calms your skin, while its anti-oxidant properties fight the environmental damage you face daily.

This all-in-one formula delivers a refreshing splash of hydration and lasting comfort, perfect for daily use on even the most sensitive skin.

PURITO Oat-In Calming Gel Cream retails at S$14 and is available at hush.sg.

Etude House Soon Jung pH 6.5 Whip Cleanser

Fungal-Acne Safe Etude House

Say goodbye to your sensitive skin woes with Etude House’s Soonjung line! Specially formulated for delicate skin, each Soonjung product features a slightly acidic base to gently cleanse and strengthen your skin’s natural barrier.

This whipped cream-textured cleanser uses a mildly acidic formula to remove impurities without stripping your skin of moisture. It’s free of harsh ingredients like parabens, mineral oil, and artificial fragrances, making it suitable for even the most sensitive skin.

Its gentle yet effective formula is dermatologist-tested, non-comedogenic and hypoallergenic, so you don’t have to worry about it causing breakouts and allergies.

It also features a low pH level that mimics healthy skin, helping to calm, rejuvenate, and keep your sensitive skin happy.

Etude House Soon Jung pH 6.5 Whip Cleanser retails at S$22.50 and is available at watsons.com.sg. It is going at S$18 at the time of writing.

Garnier Micellar Water Sensitive Skin

Fungal-Acne Safe Garnier

Some say cleansing is the most important step of your skincare routine, especially if you wear makeup. It’s true! A good cleanser is key to thoroughly cleaning your skin without stripping it of its moisture.

Garnier’s All-In-1 Micellar Cleansing Water is a gentle yet powerful one-step solution for that. Packed with micelles, tiny cleansing molecules, it effortlessly removes makeup, dirt, and oil from your face, eyes, and lips without any aggressive rubbing or tugging!

Garnier Micellar Water Sensitive Skin retails at S$21.10 and is available at watsons.com.sg.

Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser

Fungal-Acne Safe Cetaphil

If you struggle with sensitive skin, this fragrance-free cleanser from Cetaphil might just be your new best friend!

Its gentle formula is clinically proven to deeply clean; it removes dirt, excess oil, impurities, and pollution microparticles—all without irritating your skin.

Cetaphil’s Daily Facial Cleanser takes it up a notch by reinforcing your skin’s natural barrier. It also minimises the appearance of pores and leaves your skin feeling balanced.

This dermatologist-recommended cleanser helps defend against the five tell-tale signs of sensitive skin: dryness, irritation, roughness, tightness, and a weakened skin barrier.

Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser retails from S$6.60 (click in to view the most updated price) and is available at Cetaphil’s official Shopee store.

Isntree Green Tea Fresh Toner

Fungal-Acne Safe Isntree

Formulated with 80% Jeju green tea extract, Isntree’s Green Tea Fresh Toner helps control excess oil while replenishing your skin’s moisture levels.

Packed with amino acids, minerals, and antioxidants, the Jeju green tea leaves revitalise and soothe your skin, leaving it healthy and balanced.

It utilises an innovative anti-sebum technology that helps regulate oil production, preventing greasiness without stripping away essential moisture on your skin.

Isntree Green Tea Fresh Toner retails at S$12.48 (click in to view the most updated price) and is available at Isntree’s official Shopee store.

Fungal Acne Safe Products: Makeup

NYX Cosmetics Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Full Coverage Foundation

Fungal-Acne Safe NYX Foundation

If you’re looking for a long-lasting full-coverage foundation, this lightweight and waterproof foundation by NYX will do just the job.

It delivers intense pigment in a range of flattering shades that won’t budge throughout the day. Its creamy formula glides on smoothly, providing a matte finish that controls shine and keeps your makeup looking fresh all day.

NYX Cosmetics Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Full Coverage Foundation retails at S$21 and is available at amazon.sg. Some shades are going at a lower price (from S$17.55) at the time of writing.

bareMinerals Matte Foundation SPF 15

Fungal-Acne Safe bareMinerals Powder

Achieve a flawless, shine-free complexion with this innovative loose powder foundation from bareMinerals.

This lightweight formula offers buildable coverage, allowing you to go from sheer to full coverage whenever you deem fit.

Infused with skin-renewing properties, it helps minimise the appearance of enlarged pores and smoothens skin texture for a silky matte finish.

It also offers non-chemical mineral sunscreen protection, helping to control excess oil while shielding your skin from harmful UV rays.

bareMinerals Matte Foundation SPF 15 retails from S$49.07 and is available at amazon.sg.

Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Liquid Foundation

Fungal-Acne Safe Fenty Foundation

Fenty Beauty’s soft-matte, long-wearing formula boasts climate-adaptive technology to fight against heat, sweat, and shine—just what we need in sunny Singapore!

It has a buildable formula that creates a smooth, pore-diffused, shine-free finish that lasts all day.

The Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Liquid Foundation also comes in a wide range of 50 shades, ensuring a perfect match for all skin tones.

Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Liquid Foundation retails at S$63 and is available at sephora.sg.

NYX Cosmetics Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Contour Concealer

Fungal-Acne Safe NYX Concealer

NYX’s multitasking concealer offers a full, water-proof, matte coverage that lasts all day. Whether you want to conceal blemishes, brighten under-eye dark circles, or even contour your face, this creamy formula promises to deliver.

It comes in a wide range of inclusive shades that perfectly pairs with NYX’s Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Foundation shades, guaranteeing a flawless finish.

NYX Cosmetics Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Contour Concealer retails from S$14.19 and is available at amazon.sg.

e.l.f. cosmetics Flawless Brightening Concealer


Get radiant and flawless skin in just one click with e.l.f.’s lightweight, brightening concealer!

Its buildable formula effortlessly conceals uneven skin tones and dark circles, leaving you looking refreshed.

Infused with hyaluronic acid, it delivers a boost of hydration for a plump and bouncy complexion, while its vitamin C helps brighten and rejuvenate your skin.

This concealer is a must-have for your makeup pouch, made with skin-loving ingredients and free of toxins.

e.l.f. cosmetics Flawless Brightening Concealer retails from S$11.27 and is available at amazon.sg.

Dior Forever Skin Correct Concealer

Fungal-Acne Safe DIOR

Dior’s Forever Skin Correct is a full-coverage, transfer-proof concealer that hydrates and lasts all day.

The creamy formula of this concealer visibly corrects blemishes and reduces the appearance of dark circles with just one swipe.

Formulated with 96% natural-origin ingredients, it’s infused with floral extracts to keep your under-eyes hydrated and smooth throughout the day.

It’s also non-comedogenic, so you won’t have to worry about clogged pores.

Dior Forever Skin Correct Concealer retails at S$73 and is available at sephora.sg.

Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Concealer

Fungal-Acne Safe Fenty Concealer


This creamy, long-wearing concealer from Fenty Beauty might just be your secret weapon to flawless skin.

Its light-as-air formula offers buildable, medium-to-full coverage that lasts all day without creasing or settling into fine lines.

Like Fenty Beauty’s Pro Filt’r foundation, the concealer also comes in a groundbreaking range of 50 shades, designed to complement different skin tones.

This full coverage, sweat-proof concealer instantly brightens, conceals imperfections, and reduces redness, leaving you with a picture-ready finish.

Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Concealer retails at S$46 and is available at sephora.sg.

Too Cool For School Artclass By Rodin Shading

Fungal-Acne Safe Too Cool For School

If you’re a long-time K-beauty enthusiast, you would be no stranger to this iconic contour palette.

There’s a reason why it won Olive Young Awards for six years straight: it could be its ability to seamlessly blend into both warm and cool undertones, or its soft and natural-looking finish that K-beauty fans adore.

Just one palette is all you need to sculpt your entire face, from defining your nose and jawline to creating fuller lips and a lifted aegyosal!

Too Cool For School Artclass By Rodin Shading retails at S$28.56 and is available at oliveyoung.com.

NARS Cosmetics Blush

Fungal-Acne Safe NARS

NARS has taken their iconic blush to the next level. Its upgraded formula boasts a comfortable, weightless finish while delivering an accurate colour payoff that lasts for up to 16 hours.

The silky smooth texture of this blush blends flawlessly into your skin, blurring imperfections for a smooth and even finish.

With 20 diverse shades to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect pop of colour for your cheeks.

Available in both matte and shimmer finishes, this blush lets you create a variety of looks, from a natural flush to a dramatic statement.

NARS Cosmetics Blush retails at S$53 and is available at sephora.sg.

bareMinerals Loose Powder Blush

Fungal-Acne Safe bareMinerals Blush

Convenience and a healthy flush come hand-in-hand with bareMinerals’ portable, pressed powder blush.

Infused with antioxidants to help protect your skin, the hydrating formula of the Loose Powder Blush ensures a comfortable, lasting wear.

bareMinerals Loose Powder Blush retails from S$47.20 and is available at amazon.sg.

Featured image credits: @charinecheungg/TikTok, @skincarewithlola9/TikTok

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