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podo

Feeling confused and defeated!

Posted (edited)

Hi... I've been on the forums before, for years but I forgot my original user name and password so I've signed up again, just so I can... vent and share I guess. I've been going through several posts and I guess it's helpful in that I don't feel so alone. I don't encounter people with acne in my real life (other than mild acne in teenagers - my acne is a lot worse than theirs and I'm 37), and I have to admit it's isolating. I've suffered from acne for so long that like a lot of people on here, it basically affects all part of my life and it's the first and last thing I think of during my waking hours.

When I was a teenager it was just my forehead, pretty mild in the beginning but it got pretty bad, bumpy, red and itchy. My friend had gone on Accutane and had cleared her skin. I went to the dermatologist who gave me some antibiotics at first (I can't remember exactly what kind) but it didn't work.. eventually, he put me on Accutane and I was clear in a few months. I don't remember any severe side effects but I do remember my lips getting really dry and needing chapstick.

The acne came back, and got pretty bad again, so I was back on Accutane and the weird thing is, the dermatologist just kept prescribing it to me for what seemed like forever (I think it was like 2 years) which is pretty strange, cos isn't one course only supposed to be a few months??

My skin was clear during that time but it didn't feel right having to take this pill every day forever, so I just stopped one day, cold turkey. The dermatologist wasn't really giving great guidance (or information even)... I remember when I visited his office he hardly ever even looked at me - just looked at his computer screen and typed in some stuff, then sent me away with the prescription. Which wasn't cheap, either!

Anyway so then I was all alone again, anticipating the return of the acne, and sure enough it came back. I kind of just lived with it for a while, by this time I think I was in my mid twenties. Was pretty withdrawn. My personality had changed quite a lot and honestly I kind of attribute it to having the acne. Just became really self conscious and cynical and self-hating. Can't remember exactly what age I was at that point but, during this time, my sister who had always had perfect skin, began to have bacne (her face was always clear). She came across the Regimen and she told me about it, suggesting I try. She swore it cleared her bacne. So I tried it and after a while, I had the acne basically under control. My skin wasn't "nice" - I've never had "nice" skin (other than before I was 15 maybe?!) and it still had a not exactly nice texture... not smooth that is, and it also has always been kind of dull-looking, unlike my sister who has always had a bright glowing complexion (I'm not talking about the skin tone, don't know how to explain it but my skin has never had the same glow as my sister's). A little bit bumpy (small uninflamed blocked pores maybe?) but at least not red and inflamed. I still got the big red zit around my period, but the acne was basically manageable.

I really feel like I need to say something about bacne too, because it's one of the most puzzling things for me in my experience of acne. Before my sister told me about the Regimen, I also had bacne, pretty severe, and so itchy and painful that I sometimes would just cry about it from the physical discomfort, not to mention the mental anguish. This is the thing though.... I don't know how or why but the bacne somehow resolved itself and one day I realised that it was basically gone. I never really did the Regimen for my bacne - this was before my sister had discovered it on the internet. All I remember is doing some topical creams (and crying a lot) and I remember it being quite persistent, but one day (it was a gradual process) it was basically gone and I have never had bacne since (maybe an odd pimple once in a while but even that is rare). Don't get me wrong I am really happy that my back is clear but I just don't understand why it cleared.

Anyway, so I had gotten my acne under control (somewhat) with the BP but now I was getting older and it just didn't feel right to be constantly slathering my face with BP and moisturiser morning and night. The skin didn't even feel that nice and I have just never liked the feeling of putting stuff on my face (makeup too - quite honestly I hate makeup and only use it to hide my acne. I might feel differently if my skin were clear, then I might have fun with makeup but honestly I have never enjoyed makeup because I have always felt like it was just a mask I was slapping on to hide my acne, but it didn't hide the texture and it didn't hide the way I felt about my skin. I know some people might say I'm just too negative and should change the way I think but honestly the acne really wears you down - I think only long-term sufferers of acne can relate to this). 

Some thoughts I've had over the years... Seriously I don't think acne (at least not in my case) has anything to do with "touching" or "cleanliness". Kids are filthy and they don't get acne. On the other hand, I'm uncertain about the influence of diet although I'm fairly certain that acne is a reflection of some internal problem. 

In around 2013, I wanted to be more "holistic" (whatever that means) and I tried to wean myself off BP but, unfortunately the acne returned. My skin was the worst in 2014 - it's pretty bad now, too but summer of 2014 was probably the worst. Back then I was basically living of microwave foods (rarely cooked) and I was busy with work so I didn't really have time to even think about what I was putting into my body. Around then I started experimenting with diet, but nothing really drastic. My skin was pretty bad though, just really awful... so I started BP again, as much as I disliked it... and within a few months the acne was more or less manageable (not perfect, but at least the inflamed kind of acne was concentrated around my period pretty much). Between 2014-2017, I flirted with veganism, until finally making the change for good in late 2017.

Last fall (around September 2018), I stopped BP again, even though I knew the acne would come back. And over the course of several months, sure enough the acne has reestablished itself on my face. On my forehead it's just these little bumps, occasionally inflamed. But the worst of it is the lower half of my face, honestly I can even see / feel a "boundary" line where the skin just feels different. I don't know why but my cheeks had always been kind of clear, other than some acne on my cheekbone and temples. The worst of it is my jaw, neck and chin and around my mouth. Red and inflamed, itchy, bumpy, painful and all of that. I'm older now and so I don't cry about it anymore but I still feel rubbish haha. My skin now isn't as bad as it was in 2014, but its' still pretty bad and bad enough to be an annoyance and a cause of distress.

When I'm out shopping I pretty much never see people with acne as bad as mine. Everybody around me seems to have clear skin, or maybe just one little pimple that is hardly noticeable. Once, I did see a lady at the supermarket who had pretty severe acne all over her face, but it is so rare to see people with "acne" (and I mean proper acne, not just a few blemishes) in my daily life that I honestly wonder where all the acne people are. If I'm to believe what the internet says, then acne is a fairly common condition. Yet I never see people around me with acne, and don't even get me started on representation on TV...

Speaking of TV, you know something I've always wondered - and I wonder if any other acne sufferers have wondered this - you know how there are so many weight loss TV shows? Like, the shows with diet swaps - Supersize vs. Superskinny, Eat Yourself Sexy, etc. I've always wondered why there aren't TV shows with like an acne boot camp, where acne sufferers have to go through some crazy TV-style "treatment" with the "before" and "after" segments? I would definitely watch a TV show like that...??

Speaking of weight loss though... this is the other reason why I'm uncertain about the diet/acne connection. Obese people eat terribly, yet I have never seen an obese person on these shows with severe (and I mean SEVERE) acne... Yes they might have minor skin problems but I've never seen an obese person with severe (like, distractingly severe) acne.

I've been vegan for almost 2 years now - I made the change and stayed vegan for ethical reasons, and honestly I never really believed it would help my acne - because I'd been told for so many years that diet has nothing to do with acne - and I'd seen it for myself: people around me eating all kinds of crappy junk food while still remaining perfectly (and curiously!) clear-skinned. I kept seeing people claiming that eating vegan cleared their acne though, and so I'd've been lying if I said I didn't hope a little bit that it might clear mine. I've always felt frustrated by people making those claims though. And I still do. Because I still have pretty sever acne on my jaw/neck/chin area.

Anyway... I'm kind of just venting here. I'm really sorry for any younger people out there who might read this and feel discouraged to know that people struggle with acne for decades. That isn't my goal... I'm just sharing my struggle. I have to admit that's the hardest truth for me though... Feeling like I just have to live with this condition, whether it's just letting the acne do its thing on my face, or relying on some harsh treatment to keep what is basically an internal problem under control. I keep seeing things online saying "you don't have to live with acne, there are all kinds of treatments" blah blah blah. But the truth is that whatever treatment you get, you are still having to deal with the problem of acne until you fix the so-called "root cause" (which may vary with the individual, and may vary over time even with the same individual!!) Just, frustrating. I'm basically resigned to living with acne but honestly, sometimes it just gets me down and makes me wonder if I did something to deserve this condition, even though I know that's bonkers (if that were true, then serial killers and rapists would have lots of acne wouldn't they?!)

Sigh. Thanks for reading and... let's all soldier on together, I guess haha

Edited by podo

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Podo

You may (most likely) now have fungal acne,notordinary acne.

Chronic acne is often fungal acne ( or gram negative bacterial acne or demodex mites acne, but fungal acne is the most likely) NOT ordinary acne. Treatments for ordinary acne do not control fungal acne or other type of acne.

Itchiness is a sign of fungal acne. Do you also have dandruff and/or a white tongue ??

Diet will NOT fix fungal acne, nor does diet cause fungal acne.

Fungal acne is CAUSED by taking antibiotics, and some other meds possibly including accutane.

I suggest you do the following -

1. Buy clotrimazole topical antifungal cream (often sold as Canesten - no prescription needed) and apply it to the areas with the waxy skin/spots 2-3 times a day. Topical antifungal creams are totally safe. You may need a more targeted antifungal cream, but start with clotrimazole antifungal cream.

2. Wash your hair in an antidandruff shampoo.

3. Do NOTapply any moisturisers or organic oils to the areas with the acne/bumps. Keep your skin very dry. Wipe off sweat. Fungus loves moisture.

4. Do NOT use facial scrubs or exfoliate your skin. Doing so destroys the skin barrier and allows fungus to invade the pores, and cause acne and the bumps. Do NOT use BP or anything harsh on your skin.

Do you have unexplained tiredness or headaches or "brain fog" ??

I am happy to hear back from you.

Standard statement - I have spent over 2,500 hours reading scientific papers about fungal acne and gram negative acne, and I have extensive experience with fungal acne, in particular. I am a scientist (not a biomedical scientist), and I am not a medical doctor. I provide information based on my extensive experience with fungal acne, and some experience with gram negative acne.

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31 minutes ago, Aussie Scientist said:

Podo

You may (most likely) now have fungal acne,notordinary acne.

Chronic acne is often fungal acne ( or gram negative bacterial acne or demodex mites acne, but fungal acne is the most likely) NOT ordinary acne. Treatments for ordinary acne do not control fungal acne or other type of acne.

Itchiness is a sign of fungal acne. Do you also have dandruff and/or a white tongue ??

Diet will NOT fix fungal acne, nor does diet cause fungal acne.

Fungal acne is CAUSED by taking antibiotics, and some other meds possibly including accutane.

I suggest you do the following -

1. Buy clotrimazole topical antifungal cream (often sold as Canesten - no prescription needed) and apply it to the areas with the waxy skin/spots 2-3 times a day. Topical antifungal creams are totally safe. You may need a more targeted antifungal cream, but start with clotrimazole antifungal cream.

2. Wash your hair in an antidandruff shampoo.

3. Do NOTapply any moisturisers or organic oils to the areas with the acne/bumps. Keep your skin very dry. Wipe off sweat. Fungus loves moisture.

4. Do NOT use facial scrubs or exfoliate your skin. Doing so destroys the skin barrier and allows fungus to invade the pores, and cause acne and the bumps. Do NOT use BP or anything harsh on your skin.

Do you have unexplained tiredness or headaches or "brain fog" ??

I am happy to hear back from you.

Standard statement - I have spent over 2,500 hours reading scientific papers about fungal acne and gram negative acne, and I have extensive experience with fungal acne, in particular. I am a scientist (not a biomedical scientist), and I am not a medical doctor. I provide information based on my extensive experience with fungal acne, and some experience with gram negative acne.

Re: tiredness, white tongue and dandruff - I do get tired, but I attribute that to lack of exercise and late nights... I don’t have a white tongue, and as for dandruff I don’t have it as long as I don’t let my hair get dirty! If I haven’t washed it for a few days it gets a little oily and I do get some dandruff - but isn’t that normal for everyone??

I've been googling fungal acne and just feeling confused. Whatever it is I have, it was responding quite well to benzoyl, which would suggest my acne was/is bacterial rather than fungal? I’m confused....

Even if it is bacterial I’m still confused because I only have it in certain areas of my face... I have clogged pores all over but the inflamed acne only occurs in my jaw/neck/chin area and a little on my cheekbone. There is congested skin on my forehead and nose but it only gets inflamed occasionally whereas my jaw/neck/chin area constantly feels itchy and inflamed.

I don’t use moisturiser ever since I quit BP because I just don’t like it and my skin feels pretty oily (every time I go to a skin care shop though, I’m always told my skin is dry and is producing more oil because it is dry... :-/ That just doesn’t make sense to me... if you touch it and it’s oily to the touch doesn’t than mean it’s oily?!)) 

I do use BB cream to cover up when I go to work though (I work with people so I kind of have to...) but honestly I haven’t noticed my skin doing better when I don’t use it, or particularly worse when I spend a full day with it on.

Would you recommend apple cider vinegar for fungal acne? I was thinking of trying that even though so many people say it doesn’t work... it’s natural and I happen to have a bottle in my pantry so I might give it a try even though I don’t like the idea of putting it on my skin...

Confusion reigns haha. Thanks for the reply though....

 

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Podo

Thanks for your quick reply.

BP can sometimes help control fungal acne, to some extent. I normally recommend against BP because it causes oxidation which is not good for skin, and it strips the skin barrier, but the oxidation will kill some fungus in some circumstances. 

Dandruff is notnormal - dandruff is caused by malasezzia fungus. Itchiness strongly indicates a fungal condition. Therefore,  your "acne" is very likely caused by malasezzia fungus.

Thus, I suggest that you buy some terbenafine antifungal cream (often sold as Lamisil) and apply that to the areas with acne and the nearby areas of skin (because fungus can move across skin). If you cannot get terbenafine cream without a prescription, then get back to me and I will suggest an alternative. Which country are you in ?

Terbenafine and other antifungal creams are totally safe.

Don't take any notice of what people tell you in skin care shops - the "beauty industry" often tells people a lot of rubbish.

I am happy to hear back from you.

Standard statement - I have spent over 2,500 hours reading scientific papers about fungal acne and gram negative acne, and I have extensive experience with fungal acne, in particular. I am a scientist (not a medical doctor). I provide information based on my extensive experience with fungal acne, and some experience with gram negative acne.

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Posted (edited)
25 minutes ago, Aussie Scientist said:

Podo

Thanks for your quick reply.

BP can sometimes help control fungal acne, to some extent. I normally recommend against BP because it causes oxidation which is not good for skin, and it strips the skin barrier, but the oxidation will kill some fungus in some circumstances. 

Dandruff is notnormal - dandruff is caused by malasezzia fungus. Itchiness strongly indicates a fungal condition. Therefore,  your "acne" is very likely caused by malasezzia fungus.

Thus, I suggest that you buy some terbenafine antifungal cream (often sold as Lamisil) and apply that to the areas with acne and the nearby areas of skin (because fungus can move across skin). If you cannot get terbenafine cream without a prescription, then get back to me and I will suggest an alternative. Which country are you in ?

Terbenafine and other antifungal creams are totally safe.

Don't take any notice of what people tell you in skin care shops - the "beauty industry" often tells people a lot of rubbish.

I am happy to hear back from you.

Standard statement - I have spent over 2,500 hours reading scientific papers about fungal acne and gram negative acne, and I have extensive experience with fungal acne, in particular. I am a scientist (not a medical doctor). I provide information based on my extensive experience with fungal acne, and some experience with gram negative acne.

 

Thanks for your reply! I now live in Japan, so I don’t really have access to an English speaking dermatologist (the last one I went to here, a few months ago, was frustratingly ignorant - he hadn’t ever even heard of Accutane... I was explaining my treatment history... He had to google it and even then he claimed never to have heard of it - nor did he even seem embarrassed about not knowing about it... -_- I probably couldn’t even get Accutane here in Japan even if I wanted to - which I don’t!)

Are these antifungal creams something I can order online eg from Amazon or iHerb? How do I know which one to order?

And is it possible to have both fungal AND bacterial acne? In which case what am I supposed to do haha?!

Thanks so much for your replies. I really want to deal with this once and for all but to be honest I’ve gotten my hopes up too many times so I’m now in a state of confusion and resignation! Oddly I don’t really feel despair - that would indicate hope - of which I’ve kinda been depleted haha! Will keep trying different things though... Thanks once again!!

Edited by podo

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Podo

You could have both fungal acne and ordinary acne, although that is unlikely. What I suspect IS common is fungal acne and gram negative bacterial acne. Can you remind me whether you have taken antibiotics, and if so, which ones. 

Order an antifungal cream with terbenafine in it - eg, https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Novartis-Pharma-LAMISIL-PLUS-Cream-10g-Free-Shipping-with-Tracking-New-Japan-/202254469905

I sent that last post quickly so you could get the product quickly in Japan.

10 g won't last you too long.  So check for terbenafine cream available in Japan or shipped to Japan on Ebay or Amazon. There should be plenty of options.

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Posted (edited)

I came here to similarly vent, maybe I'll just reply to your thread instead. 32 years old and I still haven't figured out the "root cause". I gave up on topical stuff a good decade ago because it became obvious to me that they're selling false hope to make you spend your money and become dependent. Maybe it works temporarily for some people or some types of moderate acne, but it just made things worse for me and now I'm quite cynical about being fed lies for 20 years. Never tried accutane or antibiotics out of principle. I would rather suffer a cosmetic problem than the chronic health problems that those heavier treatments can create. And from the sounds of things, they probably wouldn't have worked anyways.

Like you I've gone through various diet and lifestyle changes and nothing has ever worked long-term. I eat healthier and am in better shape than the majority of people I know, none of whom suffer from acne. It's obviously not simply a health style/hygiene problem, because like you mentioned, there is a world full of people who don't look after their health, have poor hygiene, yet have perfect skin. It can't be a nutritional deficiency, otherwise everyone in third world countries would suffer from acne. But it's the opposite! Acne is most prevalent in rich western countries, and from what I can tell is a relatively recent phenomenon. Did adult cavemen suffer from acne? Unlikely. I don't think even our great grandparents did.

I've reduced it down to a few possibilities. Things that have been a constant in my life since I hit puberty: 

  • A sensitivity to chemicals in the water (fluoride, chlorine, atrazine etc.). I recently bought a heavy duty water filter and the first month my skin actually improved a lot, but it might have just been a fluke/placebo because that didn't last long.
  • Something in the food that I haven't yet tried to eliminate. I've tried dairy, caffeine and refined sugars. Avoiding dairy and caffeine did nothing after two years so I started consuming them again. Eliminating sugar may have helped a bit, and definitely improved my overall health, but it's not the cure. I haven't tried wheat or pasta yet because I honestly have no idea what I would eat instead, but that's what I'm currently figuring out. And as for meat, I've never seen any real evidence that meat causes acne, and the idea itself seems too ridiculous to take seriously.
  • (TMI warning) Masturbation/sex? I know that's supposedly an old wives tale, but truth be told, I have the same sex drive now that I did when i was a teenager, which is apparently odd. I'm told men are supposed to "settle down" in their 20s and 30s. I also have the same overactive metabolism which makes it impossible to keep weight on. I wonder if I have some sort of hormone imbalance caused by overproduction of testosterone, which could be triggered by frequent ejaculation. This one is probably the hardest to test because...yeah.
  • Air pollution maybe?

In any case, I'm just about ready to give up and accept it for what it is. I've got a few diet changes and abstinence attempts left in me, and if that doesn't work, I'm at a complete loss. I don't expect any doctor or dermatologist to be of any help. They just seem to want to pump you full of the most expensive medication they can find and move on to the next patient, and I don't have the money or patience to deal with that.

I apologize for hijacking your thread. 

Edited by thisolddog

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Thisolddog

There are several different types of acne - if you have only used treatments for ordinary acne, then your acne will get worse and worse.

Topical treatments dowork for controlling "acne" - BUT the treatments have to be the RIGHT topical treatment/s for the type of acne that a person has - eg, antifungal creams for fungal acne, anti-mite creams for demodex mnites acne, etc.

Applying treatments for ordinary acne to other sorts of acne does nothing, and usually makes the acne worse.

Do you have one or more of - dandruff, a white tongue, flaking skin especialy around eyebrows, ezcema, itchy skin, red rash, toenail fungus, sinus problems, unexplained tiredness or headaches or feelings of disorientation, gut problems, "jock itch" ?  ? Does your nose run when you eat ?

Have you taken prednisone or any other steroids ?  Do you sweat a lot ?

Excuse the personal questions - they are to help me diagnose the type of acne that you have, and therefore provide information about treatments.

I am happy to hear back from you.

Standard statement - I have spent over 2,500 hours reading scientific papers about fungal acne and gram negative acne and demodex mite acne, and I have extensive experience with fungal acne, in particular. I am a scientist, not a medical doctor. I provide information based on my extensive experience with fungal acne, and some experience with gram negative acne.

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35 minutes ago, Aussie Scientist said:

Do you have one or more of - dandruff, a white tongue, flaking skin especialy around eyebrows, ezcema, itchy skin, red rash, toenail fungus, sinus problems, unexplained tiredness or headaches or feelings of disorientation, gut problems, "jock itch" ?  ? Does your nose run when you eat ?

Have you taken prednisone or any other steroids ?  Do you sweat a lot ?

Excuse the personal questions - they are to help me diagnose the type of acne that you have, and therefore provide information about treatments.

 

None of the above.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, thisolddog said:

I came here to similarly vent, maybe I'll just reply to your thread instead. 

Welcome! :-D

I agree with many of your observations, that acne is unlikely to be a hygiene problem, or caused (directly) by any single lifestyle factor... I’m uncertain about the diet connection because it does seem to me that what we eat surely must have SOME effect on our health and well-being - and this must include the health of our skin, which is our primary barrier against the outside world.

I used to think it couldn’t be a deficiency either, because in modern advanced countries the opposite is precisely the problem (abundance). But now I’m not so sure because deficiency may be caused not only due to insufficient intake, but because of poor absorption (due to some inability of the body to function properly, and absorb nutrients adequately from food). For example in some cases it may be a lack of vitamin D causing acne (I’ve read somewhere that vitamin D is actually a hormone or something like that...) or it could be an over abundance of one particular nutrient or mineral that is inhibiting sufficient absorption of certain other nutrients or minerals... I don’t know, just spitballing here...

There are indigenous populations isolated and removed from the conveniences of modern city life, that have ZERO cases of acne (even in teenagers), although how accurate and up to date these reports are, I’m not sure... but I do tend to agree with you that it must be something in our environment that is causing whatever imbalances in just the right combination to trigger acne for us lucky acne sufferers... it could be the water, it could be something in the food, or it could be some super-resistant bacteria that we’ve created as a result of our oversterilised, overmedicated, relatively sedentary (compared to our ancestors) lifestyles, that our immune systems can no longer adequately protect us from? I find this latter possibility rather compelling though I have no evidence to support it...

Re: gluten free, I tried it for about a month but didn’t notice much difference.... 

Re: meat and dairy, eliminating those didn’t really do anything for my skin, but I did notice that my (TMI warning) severe menstrual pain pretty much vanished. That was a plus for sure!

Re: air pollution, it could be exposure to some chemicals that throws hormone balance off, perhaps... 

Honestly I just really don’t know. It could be anything...

Am sort of out and about at the moment so I might come back later and add some more thoughts... on the mean time trying to be happy focussing on other things despite my face itching... Today is actually not so bad but it’s still bugging me. So many girls with perfect skin all around too haha. If I were younger, I would feel the envy born of the desire to be beautiful too, but honestly, now it’s just the desire to be free of physical discomfort....

Wishing the world to be free of acne (and mosquitos) haha....

Sorry, “if I were younger”, not “if I were you”. Typo, fixed it now!!

Edited by podo

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Ordinary acne is largely caused by too much sebum being produced which is colonised by P. acnes bacteria, which cause inflammation.

Milk can make ordinary acne worse, probably because of the hormones in it, but most foods do not affect acne. Some foods however (eg, gluten), can cause acne like symptoms because of allergies.

There is not much, if any mystery around ordinary acne.

THE mystery is around which type of acne one has - ie, ordinary bacterial acne, ie, P. acnes acne, staph acne, gram negative bacterial acne, fungal acne (candida or malasezzia) or demodex mites (which cause rosacea type symptoms),  acne-like symptoms caused by some medications, or acne-like symptoms caused by allergies or intolerances to food or chemicals.

Some medications also cause gram negative acne and fungal acne. 

Sebum is implicated in ordinary acne and in malasezzia fungal acne, but not usually in the other types of acne.

Itchiness STRONGLY indicates fungal acne (or sometimes gram negative bacterial acne or demodex mites acne).

The best way to find the cause of acne is to check for the type of acne checking for likely causes (ie, antibiotics and some other meds cause fungal acne and gram negative bacterial acne) and check for related symptoms (eg, dandruff, white tongue indicate fungal acne). The best way to treat the acne is then to apply totally safe topical treatments targeted for the most likely type of acne, as diagnosed from the causes and related symptoms.

Standard statement - I have spent over 2,500 hours reading scientific papers about fungal acne and gram negative acne and demodex mites acne, and I have extensive experience with fungal acne, in particular. I am a scientist (not a medical doctor). I provide information based on my extensive experience with fungal acne, and some experience with gram negative acne.

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Have you ever done a full on caveman regimen where you stopped usage of all topicals  and soaps and basically anything on your face besides water?  I ask because you said there were times where you would go off BP but the acne would return, but were you still using soap/other products on your face during those times?

I've recently had success with the caveman regimen (water only) after 15 years of acne and 12+ years of HEAVY twice a day BP use.  So for me the issue was overwashing and excessive damage/irritation from the BP, NOT an inherent acne problem.  It kills me to think that my acne may have went away on its own years ago if I had just left my face alone.

Anyway, if you think the cause of your acne could be due to the overuse of products/washing then I would encourage you to give the caveman regimen a try.  I glossed over the details of my experience and how it's honestly changed my life, but I'm planning on doing a long post detailing everything about my acne history and my experience with the caveman regimen.  And I can answer any questions you have :)

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Exfoliating and using harsh products on skin can certainly make fungal acne worse because exfoliating etc. removes the natural skin barrier and allows fungus (and bacteria) to invade.

I am rather shocked at the number of people on this site who are exfoliating their skin without realising they are removing the skin's natural defences against pathogens - fungus and bacteria.

But again, one MUST know the type of acne one has to treat it (see my post above).

Standard statement - I have spent over 2,500 hours reading scientific papers about fungal acne and gram negative acne, and I have extensive experience with fungal acne, in particular. I am a scientist (not a medical doctor). I provide information based on my extensive experience with fungal acne, and some experience with gram negative acne.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, jonezy said:

Have you ever done a full on caveman regimen where you stopped usage of all topicals  and soaps and basically anything on your face besides water?  I ask because you said there were times where you would go off BP but the acne would return, but were you still using soap/other products on your face during those times?

I've recently had success with the caveman regimen (water only) after 15 years of acne and 12+ years of HEAVY twice a day BP use.  So for me the issue was overwashing and excessive damage/irritation from the BP, NOT an inherent acne problem.  It kills me to think that my acne may have went away on its own years ago if I had just left my face alone.

Anyway, if you think the cause of your acne could be due to the overuse of products/washing then I would encourage you to give the caveman regimen a try.  I glossed over the details of my experience and how it's honestly changed my life, but I'm planning on doing a long post detailing everything about my acne history and my experience with the caveman regimen.  And I can answer any questions you have :)

Hi,

 I’ve never gone full caveman, I’ve always used some sort of soap or face wash to get the gunk off my face.. I work with people of all ages including kids... can’t really do my job without putting on some makeup...

How long did it take you to see results on the caveman regimen? Look forward to your post!

For the time being I don’t think I could do it... I’d get too many “You should wear makeup/ You should go to the dermatologist” comments... My boss one time suggested I needed to “rid the body of toxins”. Very helpful comments... not. When I’m with other people honestly just want to be left in peace, and when I’m alone I feel just... equally isolated hahaha.

Sitting on a bench outside a shopping mall at the moment... I did notice a few people with acne, but the vast majority of people have clear skin. I think I walked by a pair of Instagram models too. They had tons of makeup but you could still tell they had perfect skin under it all...

Honestly I feel like the makeup is just some sort of social currency to show people you are making an effort not to be disgusting, it’s not like you can really hide the acne at the end of the day... the texture and oily sheen still give it away. I’ve heard it said in both Japanese and Korean society that makeup is considered basic “etiquette” for ladies. As an antisocial cynic I have my own views on that (basically I recognise it is bulls!t), yet hypocritically in my own attempt to “fit in” and “be accepted” I still wear the makeup (this breeds its own sort of self-hatred ha!). If I had enough money I think I’d just quit my job and make healing my skin a priority but as it is.... I’m a pleb who has to pay her bills, so yeah...

I just had an apple cinnamon raw bites bar (sweetened with dates, and all vegan!) to cheer myself up. Haha. I used to have a lot of drive and a lot of goals I wanted to pursue but I dunno, I’ve sort of stopped caring, and am just getting by day to day, still somehow managing to get annoyed by the acne despite not really caring about anything else!

Rambling here. I need to catch the train back home and my battery’s at 30% so that’s all for now! Thanks for reading and responding...

Edited by podo

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, podo said:

I used to think it couldn’t be a deficiency either, because in modern advanced countries the opposite is precisely the problem (abundance). But now I’m not so sure because deficiency may be caused not only due to insufficient intake, but because of poor absorption (due to some inability of the body to function properly, and absorb nutrients adequately from food). For example in some cases it may be a lack of vitamin D causing acne (I’ve read somewhere that vitamin D is actually a hormone or something like that...) or it could be an over abundance of one particular nutrient or mineral that is inhibiting sufficient absorption of certain other nutrients or minerals... I don’t know, just spitballing here...

That's a good point, but why would that affect primarily people in the modern western world? What do we eat/drink/do that others don't? I've considered the vitamin D thing, but i'm not convinced because I've found little correlation between my break outs and the amount of sun I'm getting. I've found a possible correlation between things like excessive exercise or not enough, sex, certain foods, and stress. But again, none of those make sense as isolated causes, and none are consistent. For example, I'm breaking out really bad right now after having had tons of sun the past week and pushing myself too hard on the bike. But there are other times where I do those things and my skin doesn't react. It must be a combination of some sort. 20 years and it still just makes no sense to me.

I've also considered the possibility that the antibiotics and/or medications I took when I was a kid messed my system up permanently. I can remember taking antibiotics at least 2 or 3 times, usually for ear infections. But that was all way before puberty. 

8 hours ago, podo said:

Am sort of out and about at the moment so I might come back later and add some more thoughts... on the mean time trying to be happy focussing on other things despite my face itching... Today is actually not so bad but it’s still bugging me. So many girls with perfect skin all around too haha. If I were younger, I would feel the envy born of the desire to be beautiful too, but honestly, now it’s just the desire to be free of physical discomfort....

I can relate to that. People take for granted their ability to look others in the eye and not feel that deep seated insecurity. To feel comfortable in their own skin. It's severely messed with myself-esteem and I've been socially isolated for most of my life. On one hand that's sort of a superpower, the things you can do when you have no social life and a bit of motivation. On the other hand, I barely feel like I'm part of society much of the time. 

 

8 hours ago, jonezy said:

Have you ever done a full on caveman regimen where you stopped usage of all topicals  and soaps and basically anything on your face besides water?  I ask because you said there were times where you would go off BP but the acne would return, but were you still using soap/other products on your face during those times?

I've effectively been on a caveman regimen for nearly 10 years. I only wash my face with water when I have a shower. No soap or chemical has touched my face in longer than I can remember. And I never exfoliate. This is the only change that's ever had a positive long-term impact on my skin and made my acne manageable. While it didn't stop the acne, it made my skin look way healthier, pimples started healing way faster, and red spots no longer lingered for weeks or months after the inflammation subsided. Thinking back, I used to have dull, flaky, red skin all-year round, regardless of whether or not I was breaking out. Now my skin looks normal aside from the pimples themselves.

I honestly believe that if I were to be thrown into the middle of some indigenous tribe in Brazil and lived the way they do for a year, my acne would subside. The caveman regimen logic makes complete sense. It's just impossible to completely mimic it in industrialized society because we cannot completely avoid the contaminants, processed foods etc. Even when we wash our face with water, there's chlorine and trace amounts of all sorts of crap in the water...

Edited by thisolddog

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39 minutes ago, thisolddog said:

That's a good point, but why would that affect primarily people in the modern western world? What do we eat/drink/do that others don't? I've considered the vitamin D thing, but i'm not convinced because I've found little correlation between my break outs and the amount of sun I'm getting. I've found a possible correlation between things like excessive exercise or not enough, sex, certain foods, and stress. But again, none of those make sense as isolated causes, and none are consistent. For example, I'm breaking out really bad right now after having had tons of sun the past week and pushing myself too hard on the bike. But there are other times where I do those things and my skin doesn't react. It must be a combination of some sort. 20 years and it still just makes no sense to me.

I tend to agree that acne must be a result of some combination of lifestyle factors (including diet, sufficient activity and exposure to sunlight) and hormonal imbalance (stress, chemicals in the environment and food supply, exposure to plastics and micro plastics which disrupt hormones) But exactly what food item or specific lifestyle factor or chemical, etc, I have no idea... Am in the same boat with you there... one sinking in confusion haha! This is rather unhelpful but I really think it is specific to the individual, AND specific to a certain point in time, just like allergies - sensitivities to lifestyle/environmental factors may come and go, so that something that might affect you and cause you to break out severely one day, might not do so on another day. Extremely unhelpful I know..... But that's the only conclusion that really aligns with my experience of acne... Basically it makes no sense hahaha

43 minutes ago, thisolddog said:

I've also considered the possibility that the antibiotics and/or medications I took when I was a kid messed my system up permanently. I can remember taking antibiotics at least 2 or 3 times, usually for ear infections. But that was all way before puberty. 

I finally figured out how to do these clever quote things... go me!

I think my gut microbiome is probably messed up from the various acne treatments I've had over the years, too. I remember being put on antibiotics for acne, but I can't remember exactly which type it was... And it was so long ago now, when I was like 17-18... Whoa that's like 20 years ago. Oh well... Can't reverse what's already been done...

45 minutes ago, thisolddog said:

I can relate to that. People take for granted their ability to look others in the eye and not feel that deep seated insecurity. To feel comfortable in their own skin. It's severely messed with myself-esteem and I've been socially isolated for most of my life. On one hand that's sort of a superpower, the things you can do when you have no social life and a bit of motivation. On the other hand, I barely feel like I'm part of society much of the time. 

Totally relate! Even though I try to be positive it's this constant mental weight... Even though I know other people are probably more concerned with their own problems, you can't exactly "erase" or "block" the physical sensation (and the resulting emotional pain) of acne. It's just always right there, sitting on your face (and on your mind). I was thinking about this recently - that I feel like a fake person when I am interacting with others, because while I am smiling and pleasant and sociable and all of that, and people frequently tell me that I am a cheerful person, the truth is that I don't see myself that way. And after an interaction with people, no matter how pleasant, I always leave feeling exhausted and empty, like I am just putting up a front... Even when my skin was clear-ish (while I was on Accutane and later, BP), I don't think that ever really changed. I really doubt that any acne sufferer can "un-know" that sense of isolation...

50 minutes ago, thisolddog said:

I honestly believe that if I were to be thrown into the middle of some indigenous tribe in Brazil and lived the way they do for a year, my acne would subside. The caveman regimen logic makes complete sense. It's just impossible to completely mimic it in industrialized society because we cannot completely avoid the contaminants, processed foods etc. Even when we wash our face with water, there's chlorine and trace amounts of all sorts of crap in the water...

I've had this same thought too!! Haha. But I've been thinking recently that what with the spreading of pollution, I wouldn't be surprised if even those indigenous populations will eventually become afflicted with similar skin problems as people in industrialised societies. In particular I'm thinking of the problem of micro-plastics... Basically it's everywhere in the ocean and apparently it's in our drinking water as well as in fresh waters... and plastic is known to be an endocrine disruptor...

Another random thought to add to all of this inconsistency, confusion and incoherence - there's this TV show, I think it's called My Strange Addiction or something similar. The show features people with really weird habits, often people suffering from "pica" - an eating disorder in which the sufferer eats/drinks non-food items such as nail varnish, bed sponge, plastic, paint, glass, dirt, etc... It always amazes me that those people aren't (1) dead (2) suffering from some skin condition...

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14 minutes ago, podo said:

In particular I'm thinking of the problem of micro-plastics... Basically it's everywhere in the ocean and apparently it's in our drinking water as well as in fresh waters... and plastic is known to be an endocrine disruptor...

This is a big part of why I got a water filter. Even if it doesn't cure my acne, I still don't want that crap in my body. I've read my city's annual water report, and despite all the trace amounts of chemicals being deemed "safe" by our authorities, the research I've done says otherwise. I've read studies that say things like "1 in 10 frogs exposed to x amount of chemical had y reaction". So think about how that would work for a society with a tainted water supply. If trace amounts of something like atrazine or fluoride are only negatively affecting 1 in 10, or 1 in 100 people, it's going to go unnoticed or deliberately ignored by the so called experts and authorities. Meanwhile, that could be the cause for thousands/millions of cases of acne, or hormone imbalances that lead to acne.

20 minutes ago, podo said:

Another random thought to add to all of this inconsistency, confusion and incoherence - there's this TV show, I think it's called My Strange Addiction or something similar. The show features people with really weird habits, often people suffering from "pica" - an eating disorder in which the sufferer eats/drinks non-food items such as nail varnish, bed sponge, plastic, paint, glass, dirt, etc... It always amazes me that those people aren't (1) dead (2) suffering from some skin condition...

This reminds me of how smokers will sometimes point to old people who smoked until they were 90 without getting lung cancer. Some people are just more prone to certain types of illnesses than others, be it due to their genetics or something else. I'm sure acne is no different.

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Hello,

I just wanted to reply because I used to have neck/chin acne, but don't any more. In recent years I only get it on my cheeks. I've worked out that different hormones seem to be associated with different parts of the face for me (although my cheeks produce the most oil, so I see that as 'regular' acne for me and food intake affects it a lot). When I had neck acne it was definitely related to oestrogen. It was when I was taking the pill... I could clear up the rest of my face through diet, but not my neck until I started taking DIM. DIM seemed to clear it up. Since I stopped taking the pill and have naturally lower oestrogen levels I haven't seen the neck acne come back, so there seems to be a direct relation. Similarly, when I recently tried taking the pill again I got a flareup of acne on parts of my face that I never get spots; around my chin, mouth and lower jaw. I definitely think it's hormonal! There are several other foods/supplements that are useful for balancing hormones too; possibly evening primrose oil or maca powder.

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7 hours ago, Foodforthought said:

DIM seemed to clear it up.

Hi there, thanks for your reply! I've heard about DIM but I'm not sure whether it's right for me? I've never been on birth control although I have been on antibiotics/Accutane in the past... I've tried oral supplements in the past like milk thistle without noticing any difference... 

I've never worked out why my shoulder/back acne cleared up (it used to be severe, so severe that my bedsheets would get bloody from the acne - sorry TMI!!). In my earlier years my forehead was the problem area, now it's my lower half of the face, although my forehead isn't exactly clear either, the acne is more like skin congestion, small flesh coloured bumps and closed comedones. There are patches of my skin (cheeks except for the cheekbone area) which is like a diagonal patch downwards and out from between my eyes to just above the corners of my jaw, that are somehow clear of bumps and acne. I'm happy that those patches are clear but just don't get it... Don't know what I'm doing wrong...

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I have had a similar experience with the position of acne changing throughout my life cycle. As a teenager, I had it on my forehead, nose and back. Now I never get spots there, only on the lower half of my face! For this reason it's definitely hormonal changes. If you can figure out which hormone is imbalanced it should be easier to find strategies to correct it! Have you been checked out for PCOS? For under the skin bumps acids and/or retinols works well by increasing skin turn over.

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Foodforthought said:

Have you been checked out for PCOS?

I wanted to know if my hormones were out of balance so I did go to a gynaecologist several years ago. I had severe menstrual pain and of course there was the acne too. Frustratingly the doctor said that there was nothing wrong with my hormones. I didn't like that the gynaecologist was a man either, it just felt weird... I'm not trying to be sexist here it's just I would have preferred a female gynaecologist but I live in a small town and all of the doctors are male... 

Anyway... he did say that the menstrual pains were probably due to some fibroids in my uterus. He even said that once you develop fibroids they only get bigger, and so I was likely to need surgery some time in the future. Yeah I didn't like that doctor very much. And it turns out he was wrong about the fibroids!

Also, later on I learned that this sort of test (he basically drew my blood, once) is not reliable for determining hormone levels. The thing is I don't know where to go in my town to get a more reliable hormone test.

Since that visit, I had another gynaecological exam at another hospital, as part of a free health checkup available to those within a certain age range. It was free so I went ahead and I was surprised to learn that I had NO MORE fibroids. The only thing that I had really changed was my diet (I had eliminated all animal products and adopted a vegan diet), so I can only attribute it to that. (Incidentally, my menstrual pains also had basically vanished - I also attribute this to the diet change as I can't think of anything else!) As part of the health checkup they also took my blood. I still remember the day I went for the health checkup I had a really bad breakout on my chin... like full of yellow pus, crusty and nasty and I just felt so embarrassed and gross.

Anyway a few weeks later I got the checkup results and basically they said everything is normal and I am in good health (although a little underweight)...

I've felt for a while that I need to get my hormones properly checked, so I agree with you about that but I'm kind of at a loss as to where to go... And I feel rather distrustful of the practitioners in my town...  I've just not had very helpful experience with the doctors I've been to.... They are "nice" enough but just... unhelpful.

I've heard that to get a proper hormone level reading you have to measure the hormone levels several times over your cycle... Dunno if this is true but it sounds sensible to me... only like I said I just don't trust the doctors in my town... I'll ask around and see maybe I can go to a bigger city with a better hospital.... frustrating...

Going back to the "unhelpful" thing though... The thing is: I always get the following sort of response - at the dermatologists: "we don't, can't, or just plain aren't willing" (yes, I've actually been told "NO we don't do that") to measure the patient's hormones which I just find bizarre... Basically the dermatologists here treat acne as a purely surface SKIN problem. And at the hospitals where they might run some basic tests by taking your blood or urine - they tell you to go to a dermatologist for skin problems, because that is not their area of expertise.

SIGH... Sorry that turned into a rant but I just feel like all of these doctors are so clueless and overly specialised, instead of treating a body as a holistic organism, they just want to deal with their specific area of knowledge... this approach is just so myopic for lack of a better word. Rant over... sorry about that I just get so frustrated with the doctors and dermatologists I've consulted over the years.

On 7/15/2019 at 10:59 AM, Aussie Scientist said:

I found "LAMISIL" at my local drugstore, I will try it and see how it goes. I'm not too hopeful but can't hurt to try!! Thanks for the suggestion...

My acne is kind of not so horrendous today, still bumpy and congested but I think I know why it's not so inflamed. I just had my period and it always gets really bad at the beginning, but right after my period I have a small "clear-ish" window. It's still bumpy and oily and congested but at least not so painful or itchy...

Edited by podo

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8 hours ago, Foodforthought said:

I have had a similar experience with the position of acne changing throughout my life cycle. As a teenager, I had it on my forehead, nose and back. Now I never get spots there, only on the lower half of my face! For this reason it's definitely hormonal changes. If you can figure out which hormone is imbalanced it should be easier to find strategies to correct it! Have you been checked out for PCOS? For under the skin bumps acids and/or retinols works well by increasing skin turn over.

Same story here. My forehead, nose and cheeks almost never get pimples anymore. I also used to have terrible back acne which went away for no apparent reason.

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Posted (edited)
On 7/15/2019 at 9:18 AM, Aussie Scientist said:

1. Buy clotrimazole topical antifungal cream (often sold as Canesten - no prescription needed) and apply it to the areas with the waxy skin/spots 2-3 times a day. Topical antifungal creams are totally safe. You may need a more targeted antifungal cream, but start with clotrimazole antifungal cream.

2. Wash your hair in an antidandruff shampoo.

3. Do NOTapply any moisturisers or organic oils to the areas with the acne/bumps. Keep your skin very dry. Wipe off sweat. Fungus loves moisture.

4. Do NOT use facial scrubs or exfoliate your skin. Doing so destroys the skin barrier and allows fungus to invade the pores, and cause acne and the bumps. Do NOT use BP or anything harsh on your skin.

Hi again,

I bought Lamisil and have been using it for about 4 days. I also looked around for some antidandruff shampoo - I wasn't able to find Nizoral which is the one that everyone seems to talk about - but I found SOMETHING anyway... there were so many different brands that in the end I just had to take a wild stab... I've started using the antidandruff shampoo today.

I was reading an article about dandruff care in japan according to which ketaconazole is an active ingredient in Nizoral. I don't know anything about chemistry or the science of hair/skin care but anyway, I took another wild stab and asked the drugstore assistant for products with ketaconazole and she recommended this cream (picture below) which I've also used a few times (mostly I use Lamisil).

spacer.png

Sorry that picture was way too tall..! It's just a picture I found off the internet. It doesn't have ketaconazole in it, but the drugstore lady told me that the chemical bifonazole has a similar effect and works as an anti fungal... so I'm using it intermittently too.

Anyway: my acne waxes and wanes, so I really don't know if my skin is getting better. I got some really painful cysts in places I don't usually break out - one on the top right centre of my forehead near the hairline, and one on my left temple... Very painful... The thing is though, my jaw cysts are kind of quiet. I'm not sure if it's because I'm in a sort of "clear" window in my cycle, because I still have a lot of bumps (comedones) and those can suddenly flare up (literally within hours sometimes) so I always live in fear of the next dreadful breakout. For now my chin is not painful or itchy which is wonderful!!! But still have the little bumps (which are future potential cysts...) and of course the scarring. For now I just want to deal with the acne, I'm not yet in a position to worry about scarring, although the scarring is pretty bad.

The cyst on my left temple was so pressurised last night, I had to relieve the pressure so I popped it and it went down significantly afterwards (gross, I know... sorry...) But it's still painful and sore and this type of cyst always takes like 2 weeks to go away. The scar remains even longer of course but it takes about 2 weeks for the pain to subside.

No itchiness though. Maybe what I have really is fungal acne!!

Will continue this treatment and come back to update when I'm more sure of the effect it's having! In a nutshell I seem to be clearer on the chin but still have these small uninflamed bumps (not painful or itchy but unsightly)...

Is anyone else here using lamisil/antidandruff to combat what they think might be fungal acne? I hope everyone can see positive results soon...

Edited by podo

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Thanks Podo

The fungi fungus that cause fungal acne are often resistant to ketoconazole so the keto cream ma,y or may not, do any good.

Can you remind me - do you have dandruff or a white tongue ?

If you have a white tongue then you have candida fungal acne and you will need nystatin cream to fix that type of fungal acne. If you have dandruff then you have malasezzia fungal acne and Lamisil is the best for that.

Make sure you do NOT apply any organic oils or moisturisers with organic oils in them to your skin as these feed malasezzia.

And keep your skin dry and all fungus LOVES moisture.

I suggest you also buy some azaleic acid cream/lotion (which is not acidic) and apply that together with the antifungal creams. Azaleic acid cream/lotion is anti inflammatory and it will help break down the cysts.

I am happy to hear things go with the antifungal creams, the antidandruff shampoo and the azaleic acid.

Standard statement - I have spent over 2,500 hours reading scientific papers about fungal acne and gram negative acne, and I have extensive experience with fungal acne, in particular. I am a scientist (not a medical doctor). I provide information based on my extensive experience with fungal acne, and some experience with gram negative acne.

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