The purpose of this blog entry is to give back what was given to me by way of the great world wide web internet research. I am a private person and never post, tag, tweet. However, I have been plagued by chronic folliculitis in my beard region for almost 10 years and have recently (possibly) made some positive traction.
Keyword search: Adult male, 30s, chronic folliculitis, beard region, pustules, white heads, Type 1 diabetes
Diagnosis (Medical community best guess): Bacterial induced Folliculitis
History: I am currently a 37 year old male. I remember the month I began to have this problem, August 2006. I never really had an issue with acne growing up. I was in the Army for several years and went to Iraq in 2004/2005 (took tons of vaccines - who knows with these what effects they have had on my body).
In August 2006, I began to develop acne in my beard region, particularly along my jaw line and around the sides of my throat. I went to a multitude of dermatologist, spanning 3 states (because I moved twice during this timeframe). For the first year, I relied upon doctors for help. They cultured it (always negative) and typically prescribed me various antibiotics for treatment of potential bacteria. Some suggested I consider Accutane. I wanted to avoid using Accutane.
My condition was not horrible. I would have 2-5 red bumps followed by white heads. It was just embarrassing and shaving seemed to exacerbate it. I pretty much gave up on Dermatologist after the first year. From the end of year 1 to the spring of 2014, I self treated with over the counter topicals, etc. I tried every different kind of shaving technique and grew a beard. Nothing really 'cured' it.
Out of the blue, in November 2010 I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. I throw this in here because I think all of this is interconnected somehow, someway.
In winter/spring of 2014, my condition blew up, and I mean it blew up. My beard region became super inflamed to where I would get 20-40 white heads at a time, per day. It was uncontrollable and SUPER itchy. I requested an immediate appointment with the most reputable Dermatologist in the city. The doctor conducted a biopsy and discovered positive for bacterial infection (Klebsiella Oxytoca). That summer I went on a multitude of antibiotics, and two rounds of Cipro. The antibiotics seemed to help, but several days after going off them, my condition came back full force. Although I tested negative for fungus, I insisted he treat me for a fungal infection, which did not help.
In September 2014, I began Accutane. For the first month I took 40mg then the next 5 months 80mg, full dosage. Accutane sucked because it made my bones ache. Further, IT DIDN'T HELP! My doctor was flabbergasted. He even took me to the major hospital's 'ground rounds,' where numerous Derms came and took a look at me. My condition was marginally better on Accutane. I kept researching how Accutane sometimes would kick in late in the process, like month 5 and 6.
Near the conclusion of Accutane I went to a naturalist and she did a live blood analysis. She found parasites and fungus in my blood. I agreed to a 3 month herbal remedy, which saw me take a parasite cleanse and Candida cleanse, along with a plethora of other items. This never really worked for me.
After Accutane, and the herbal remedy, I went back to my Dermatologist. My Derm took another biopsy and culture. Culture was negative, which always perplexed my doc. My biopsy, always positive for staph bacteria. So, I agreed to another round of doxy.
Throughout this whole process, I try to live and eat a clean lifestyle. I hate the thought of taking antibiotics, Accutane, and any medicine for that matter that has negative side effects. As I intensified my research into long-term antibiotics use, and what it does to the gut, I began to worry about continuing my doxy. I even consulted with a practice that specialized in laser hair removal. I suppose laser hair removal is one (maybe one of the last) treatments I have not tried.
In my web research, I came across some insightful posts about how they treated their folliculitis. It was challenging for me to find instances where a person had experience with my exact problem (long-term folliculitis on beard line in adult male). One story I came across seemed similar to mine (http://www.folliculitisclinic.com/blog/), but the website tried to sell products, and was way too suspicious. I was unable to determine if it was a hoax or not.
I believe this post really started to point me in the right direction:
The author of this post highlighted he did not touch his face, with anything, no topicals whatsoever.
I phased myself off doxy (super scary by the way) about two months ago and performed the regimen:
- No topicals hit my beard line (no lotion, soap, sunscreen, etc). The reason I think there may be something to this, is while I was still on doxy, and beginning to not use topicals, I went to the beach. Knowing the cautions of sun and doxy, I put Cerve SPF 30 on my beard area and throat. Later that day and the next day it blew up again. Super inflamed with white heads despite being on doxy. This was the nail in the coffin. After this, I stopped doxy.
- Good strong probiotic once a day. I take NOW Probiotic-10 50 billion. My most recent research led me to focus on healing the gut. Maybe my condition is like leaky gut syndrome on the neck. Whatever is going on with me, my body is losing the fight and it's manifesting the weakness in my beard area. So, I wanted to aim to boost my immune system.
- Astragalus Extract. I take NOW Astragalus Extract 500mg. This is an immune booster.
- Biotin 8mg. Good for skin health.
- Cod Liver Oil. I take Carlson Cod Liver Oil, Lightly Lemon, 1000mg tablets.
- Desiccated Liver. I take All Natural Perfect Desiccated Liver 750mg. Good for the restoration of good bacteria in the gut. I just can't do actual liver.
- B12. I take Natural Factors, 5000mcg. Again, boost my body's ability to fight infection. This is one I kept from the Natural Herbal lady that tested my blood.
- Amino Acid. I take Nature Bound L-Arginine Amino Acid 2100. Again, taken during my consultation with the Natural Herbal lady that tested my blood. I have to be honest, I'm not sure what this does for me, but for some reason I am still taking it.
- Raw garlic. When I can, I sprinkle some in a salad.
- Cinnamon and Ginger. I sprinkle in my morning coffee (yeah I know, I should probably give up coffee and opt for green tea)
- Diet: I have consumed a very low-carb diet ever since being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes 5 years ago. I eat eggs and sausage in the morning, almonds/macadamia nuts for snack, salad of some kind for lunch, nuts again for snack, and a meat and vegetable for diner. I consume anywhere between 20 - 60 grams of carbs daily. I try to eat clean food with little chemicals/toxins. I go back and forth into a ketogenic state due to my diet.
So, this has been my routine for the last two months. And the result, very little itching and rarely white heads. My red bumps are still there. I feel that my problem is still there, lurking beneath my skin, but my method above keeps it at bay. It still is not great looking, but I can live with this. Maybe my skin was saying, 'hey, stop putting crap on me.' I think it's more complex than that, and that I still have an issue deep down. My prayer is that by boosting my immune system, it will defeat whatever is attacking me in that area.
For research purposes, below is a list of medicines I have used with little to no success (minus the herbal items). This list is not all inclusive.
Accutane Doxycycline Ciprofloxacin Cefdinir Clindamycin Sulfamethoxazole Clobetasol Prop Ointment Accuzone Gentamicin Itraconazole Hydrocortisone Ketoconazole
Benzoyl peroxide 10% Benzoyl peroxide 20% Salicylic acid wash Basic soap, NH Various lotions
Vitamin B12 Digestive Enzyme Multi Vitamin Probiotic Liver Enzyme Biotin Bio-Strath (Fungus) Candida Complex Colloidal Silver Fish Oil Cod Liver Oil Amino Acid Malic Acid Black Walnut Wormwood (Parasitie Cleanse)