Have you ever seen mold growing on walls and furniture? They get so annoying and persistent, especially in moist and poorly ventilated rooms. Well, it gets worse: mold spores can potentially be the cause of your acne breakouts!
Have you ever entered a room and got hit with a musty smell? This could be a sign that mold or mildew is starting to form.
Mold is usually easy to spot, you’ll find weird colored, and sometimes textured, spots, often growing in groups on the surfaces of your home. They are typically great for the environment, a.k.a. the outdoors, but inside… they are extremely problematic not only to your health but also to your skin.
What is Mold?
Mold is a type of fungus that grows almost anywhere that’s dark and damp. They play a very important role in nature since they’re in charge of breaking down dead matter. But let’s talk about indoors.
Mold can grow on many surfaces including but not limited to wood, paper, carpet, foods, and insulation. They especially thrive in rooms that have a moisture problem or poor ventilation.
Types of Indoor Molds
There are a lot of different types of mold: black, white, yellow, fuzzy, and flat, to name a few. They are also categorized by how they affect us.
There are allergenic molds that usually only cause allergic reactions and irritations. They can also compromise your immune system since allergies can take a toll on your body if not addressed.
There are also pathogenic molds that can cause various illnesses for anyone even if they are in good health. But certain demographics are more vulnerable around these molds like immuno-compromised or immuno-suppressed people.
Finally, there are toxigenic mold families, and these are the most harmful of all. Their toxins can lead to health problems that could sometimes be lethal.
Can Mold Cause Acne?
Acne is a skin condition wherein pimples form on your skin due to the blockage of your pores which are typically caused by excess oil, bacteria, dead skin cells, and foreign objects. However, a lot of other factors can also trigger or make your acne worse.
But the big question is, can mold cause acne? Unfortunately, mold, or more specifically the spores that the molds release in the air can cause allergic reactions or skin irritation which could also potentially trigger acne.
These spores could also stay on your skin and potentially cause infections that also look like acne. We call these types of acne, fungal acne. They feel and are treated differently and fungal acne could also be a sign that your body is exposed to harmful toxins from the mold.
How Does Mold Cause Acne?
With mold in your house, you’re at risk of a bunch of health issues like sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, skin rashes, dizziness, headaches, and asthma attacks.
But that’s not all, mold releases spores that float across the air. These spores can land on your skin and irritate your pores. The fact that these spores are hard to spot, if not impossible, makes it so much harder to avoid.
Now we know that the spores can trigger acne breakouts. But how or what exactly is making it so bad for our skin?
Mold toxins, also called mycotoxins, are toxic substances that mold spores release. They’re called toxins for a reason: they’re toxic. They disrupt your skin’s natural flow, causing irritation or allergies.
If you have allergies, mold spores can trigger your body’s natural allergic reaction. Because your skin is hypersensitive to spores, your immune system will automatically release chemicals that will cause inflammation in your eyes, nose, lungs, and skin.
Hormones play a vital role in sending messages to your body for it to work properly. Your metabolism and bodily functions are all reliant on your hormones. That said, mycotoxins also disrupt your body’s natural hormone production. They can directly impact your brain hormones and multiple other types.
When this happens, your skin’s balance could potentially be broken. Impaired sebum production is one of the most common effects and that’s exactly where acne breakouts start happening.
People with weakened immune systems can also be greatly affected by mold exposure. Some mycotoxins can cause infections in multiple organs including the skin. This will lead to inflammation, redness, itchiness, and acne breakouts.
In some cases, the toxins can also cause illnesses, and depending on the type of mold, the illness can be deadly. So it’s good to be aware of the possible symptoms of mold exposure.
How to Tell If Mold Is Causing Acne
It’s easy to confuse mold-related acne with the more commonly occurring acne breakouts since they’re both characterized by pimples. But there’s actually a difference between the two.
Signs and Symptoms
While common acne results from excessive sebum production, bacteria build-up, and dead skin, fungal acne causes fungal infection in your pores. You’ll also find yourself itching your skin because of the infection. That’s the main indicator that it’s a fungal infection.
Besides itchiness, you’ll also notice clusters of whiteheads starting to appear on your skin. Fungal acne tends to form in clusters unlike common acne; they’re usually more spread apart and singled out.
Fungal acne can appear anywhere on your face but it's usually worse on your forehead, chest, and upper back because of the airflow on your face when you breathe. If you notice these acne start itching, it means they are fungal.
On top of getting itchy acne, being in damp environments where airflow is basically nonexistent can also exacerbate your acne. Mold typically thrives in these environments and while some can easily be spotted, they’re very volatile and can grow on almost any surface and you might not even notice them.
How to Get Rid Of Fungal Acne
Since fungal acne isn’t the same as your common acne, the way to treat it also differs. To properly get rid of fungal acne, you have to combat the mold spores that are causing the infection.
Don’t worry, getting rid of them isn’t complicated at all. Here are a few things you can do to get rid of the infection at the root:
Shower More Frequently
If you’re someone who sweats a lot whether it be in the gym or just in general, you should shower more regularly, especially after sweating. The sweat on your clothes or the warm, moist surroundings that are making you sweat could make your fungal acne worse.
Showering will help you get rid of any of the unwanted mold spores on your skin as well as any excess yeast that’s causing the infection.
Wear Loose and Breathable Clothing
If you’re the type to prefer wearing fit clothing, then you’re gonna need to take a break from that and choose looser and breathable clothing at least until the fungal acne is gone.
Tight clothes can create friction and restrict airflow on your skin which will promote yeast growth. This means the mold spores thrive a lot better on those types of surfaces.
Anti-fungal Body Wash
I say body wash, but I’m talking about anti-dandruff shampoos. Dandruff is also a type of fungal infection on your scalp so it already has anti-fungal properties. Just look for anti-dandruff shampoos that contain pyrithione zinc or selenium sulfide.
Washing your skin with these anti-dandruff shampoos will help get rid of the mold spores causing the infections. You can even use it regularly for prevention purposes. To get the most out of it, let the shampoo sit for 5-10 minutes before rinsing.
Over-the-counter Anti-fungal Treatments
Besides dandruff, other fungal infections have existing medication that you can buy over the counter, like athlete’s foot or jock itch. You just need the necessary ingredients: ketoconazole, butenafine, or clotrimazole cream to help you combat the infection.
Start a Skincare Routine
I know I said they’re not useful for fungal infections, but there are times when fungal infections can also cause common acne. It’s even harder to tell which is which when you’re battling 2 different types of acne. For this, I make sure to maintain a regular skincare routine for men.
On top of that, your skin will also thank you for the extra care that you put into your skin. From my experience, my skin became a lot smoother and healthier after I started my regular skincare routine.
My skincare routine typically goes like this: cleanser, toner, and finally, moisturizer. Everyone has different skin types and conditions so it’s good to look into a great skincare routine for men. For fungal acne, the most important step here is cleansing.
However, if you’re acne-prone like me, you can also try out the Mantisfy Anti-aging and Repairing Lotion. Not only does this moisturize and hydrate my skin all day, but it also has anti-acne properties because of its Edelweiss extract which helps fight off bacteria on the skin. It also doesn’t clog your pores and it even helps your skin repair damaged cells from acne or other skin conditions.
For my fellas out there who are suffering from acne breakouts, you can also try using a serum after your toner and before moisturizing. I use the Mantisfy Anti-Acne and Repairing Serum.
The serum also has anti-acne properties and skin repair much like its lotion counterpart since it also contains Edelweiss. Not only that, it also reduces irritation and inflammation on your skin to help you get that even skin tone.
Seek Professional Help
Now, if all else fails, the only other way to go is to seek out professional help. If you don’t have one yet, look for a dermatologist and get your condition checked. They can prescribe oral medicine that has anti-fungal properties like itraconazole or fluconazole.
Purge the Roots
The best way to deal with this is to get rid of the mold altogether and the best way to do this is to make sure your room or house becomes the worst possible place for them to grow.
The first step to getting rid of mold is to clean off all visible mold as much as you can. For hard surfaces, you can use household products, soap and water, or bleach but only up to 1 cup max in 1 gallon of water. This will help kill the mold and clean it off your walls and furniture.
After getting rid of the mold, you need to take the proper preventive measures to make sure they never come back. Control your home’s humidity; make sure it never goes over 50% humidity. The key to this is to have a dehumidifier or air conditioner running if your house gets too humid.
The extra airflow will definitely improve your home’s condition a lot and you’ll notice the air doesn’t feel so heavy or humid anymore.
Mold can grow anywhere that’s moist or humid. If you think or know your house is a victim of this, it could also be what’s causing your acne. The mold spores and potential fungal infections you could get from mold are not to be laughed at as they can cause frequent acne breakouts.
Getting rid of your fungal acne is all about using anti-fungal treatment and a good skincare routine. This could take some time but as long as you keep it up, your skin will even improve so much more, it’ll feel smooth and healthy.
Don’t forget though, if you’re dealing with fungal acne, you also have to tackle the source. Make sure to clean out any of the molds in your house or wherever you frequent using the proper cleaning tools. Also, make sure to address your house’s humidity by using a dehumidifier or regulating the airflow in the room.
If any of these don’t help your acne, then you should go to a dermatologist for professional medical advice. At the end of the day, they know what’s best for your skin.