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What is going on!? Acne? fungal acne? Strange sudden hair fibres appearing on face- help!

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Hey Folks,

Over the past 1.5 years I have slowly watched my face go from clear to having full-on adult acne + the addition of some new odd symptoms and I need some help figuring out whats happening.  I've been working with my doctor but feel like im getting nowhere. Would love to know if anyone has dealt with anything similar/might have suggestions on what to do. 

Background: I'm 29, female, and have always suffered from bouts of acne. I've tried all the "acne" birth controls since i was a teen - some worked better than others, have used every prescription topical out there, done the doxycycline route and accutane for 3mths. Post accutane my skin was flawless and continued to be that way for approx 4 years after treatment.  I've been on lolo birth control for years. 

Approx 1.5 years ago, I started to getting breakouts again and started to notice little black fluffs/ tiny hairs on my toning pads. I never really thought much of them and assumed that they were just fluffs from a towel or something. Around this time, I was struck with extreme fatigue and discovered that I had hashimotos and subclinical hypothyroidism + deficient in vit d + b12.  The endocrinologist said that my levels were "subclinical" so it was up to me as to whether or not I wanted to take medication for it or not. I opt'd to start taking Synthroid and have been on that since. 

Since that time, my acne has progressively gotten worse - cystic and nodules are all on my cheeks, jaw and some on my neck. This all came to a head over the holiday season when I went to stay with my family abroad for 3 months. I stopped my birth control (take it for skin) for approx 2 months time as i had run out of packets. That combined with a poor diet (major increase in dairy, gluten and sugar), stress, and working out wearing a mask, all helll broke loose. 

When I got back i cut out dairy and gluten and started a healthy cleanse to get me back on track. I started taking my birth control again as well as DIM and Milk Thistle to help with the acne. My skin started to purge like no other and coming out of these zits were long black, and sometimes red and blue hairs. For weeks hairs of all lengths came out of my pores/ little ones visible just under the surface of the skin around a pimple. The zits themselves were noticeably different: they would form a whitehead, pop, and under that whitehead was a thick block of skin with little zits within them that never seemed to go away (kertin plugs?).  After doing a tremendous amount of reading, i started treating the acne as if it was fungal and my doctor prescribed me with an oral anti fungal for 7 days to see if there was improvement. He looked at these long hairs- some that were blue and noted that they were coated in kertin. The anti-fungal helped ever so slightly but didn't make much of a difference. He sent me to a derm who said that I had acne and that my birth control might be causing androgen effects. What's odd is that I have been on this pill for years and never had any issues, only recently. He also dismissed the coloured hairs and told me to use the acne gel (bianca gel) prescribed and to switch birth control pills. 

I just can't help but feel like something is being missed. It just seems odd to me that all of a sudden these extremely long hairs are emerging. 

If anyone is experiencing anything similar or has any advice or suggestions, I'd love to hear. 


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Hi ks123. I'm actually experiencing some freaky face things similar to yours and am also looking for HELP! 

I have been diagnosed with acne forever, tried every remedy with no success. I had black & whiteheads and would get a few biggies.   The biggies would never resolve,  clear, etc. A little goo would come out, but lesion would just grow again.  These did not feel or look like 'textbook' pimples.  Being of mixed race, I'd also get dark pigmentation.   I've been experiencing this for 40+ years, all along getting stock answers from dermatologists like hormones, be patient, acne is hard, etc.  I always did what they said, never helped.  About 14 yrs ago I had a couple of these perma-zits surgically removed because I couldn't stand them, and was worried they were something else. Pathology was ok, and when I asked what was inside I was told 'hair, fibers mostly and some gunk'.  No advice to follow up. 4 yrs later I had an eruption-started with a huge itching bump, which I thought was a bite. I put polysporin or some harmless type salve and woke up with excessive dryness, hundreds of little bumps, many in linear patter, and most of my face went blue-black colour. Agh!  Short version, derm thought I was a 'picker' (grrr...) and recommended 12 % lactic acid lotion. I pointed out that I was noticing little hairs and debris emitting from my pores. Again, stock answers, no diagnosis.  Historically, no drastic findings or long lasting changes  to my diet, lifestyle, etc. Except for menopause.

Cut to now, 10 years later, I have same and worse. This eruption happened over about a week. The worst of it is under my eyes, around nose and spots on rest of my face.  Again, the standout to me is the really hard  bumps, hairy fiber things and debris.  Exfoliation softens bumps a bit and, using 10× magnifying mirror, I can see crap in every pore. I steam very delicately and this releases pores a bit more.  Some are painful even. When they resolve, pigment gets a little better, but more just seem to pop up!  Im using lotion with lactic acid and urea and recently soap with salicylic acid and sulphur.  Dermatologist I saw last week was condescending again, ignoring my concerns about bumps, dryness, scarring. I used lactic acid lotion, told him it was helping a little. He had no comment. And, he actually lied to my face when I asked questions about keratin disorders, hair follicles, etc. Gave my hydroquinone for dispigmentation and that's it.  I'm mentioning this because I'm having such a hard time with diagnosis as well.  I've been researching keratosis pilaris and associated conditions. Today I found this site and post to be a similar situation & maybe helpful... about sebaceous fibers, etc. 

Although I can barely look in a mirror,  I feel a little less alone. I feel you- its devastating.   I definitely dont want to make it worse and searching for a Doc is costly and lengthy. I hope yours is cool.

I wish I had something more useful. I tread pretty cautiously in researching (and self-treatment), but am finding things that seem to fit the puzzle ...  anyway, Im a newbie here and I'll follow this post. If anyone knows anything, sharing is appreciated!  Thanks, good luck!!! & keep me posted!  Cheers.


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Makes me think of Morgellons disease. Mentioning this to a doctor may lead to a psychiatry referral.

One of the signs Morgellons patients present with is fibers emerging from the skin.

Why some doctors, then, view this as psychiatric is beyond me. They're trained to think as follows: "uncommon presentations of common diseases are more common than common presentations of uncommon diseases." If you're working on a puzzle and one piece won't fit, shoving it in won't necessarily make it fit.

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Thank you both for your messages.

Hollylele, you certainly are not alone with this and I appreciate you sharing your story! I know how hard it can be looking in the mirror and being unsure how to manage/get to the root of whats happening. I'm also new to this platform but have found some good information so far (helping me to rule out potential diagnosis's). 

So your breakouts went away for a bit and then continued to reappear over the years? I think that's what concerns me the most with this. My skin is slowly starting to improve (i'm not getting the strange pimples with the little plugs anymore- zits seem more traditional but do reoccur in the same spots) and for the most part, my face isnt purging long hairs anymore although I do still get little black specs and little tiny black hairs. Even though it seems to be improving (still have breakouts though), I'm just so puzzled as to why this all happened in the first place because frankly it's just not normal. 

My family doctor recognizes that this is unusual and is running many tests to try and get to the root of the issue.  During my initial apt with him, he did look my skin under microscope and confirmed that he could actually see these hairs under the surface. He gave me a test container to collect these hair samples and said he'd like to send them off to the lab for testing.  He did acknowledge that these hair looked similar to the morgellons photos at the time but of course wanted to get samples tested to confirm that they're not cotton etc. Just based off of my initial research about morgellons, it appears as though there is a link to that disease and Lyme Disease (tests can be done to check for those antibodies). Obviously hoping that whatever is going on is not Morgellons as there definitely appears to be controversial. 

I am also working with a naturopath + seeing my endocrinologist this week as I do wonder if my hashimotos has played any role in this. Hollylele- have you ever had any hormonal blood tests done? You mentioned that you haven't had any life changes except for menopause- I wonder if that may have triggered a flare?

By no means are my skin problems solved however I will share with you what seems to have helped: 


- As I was not sure if the acne itself was fungal, or bacterial, I bought all new skincare products and makeup making sure they were all "Fungal Acne safe". It's amazing how many products I was using (mainly makeup products) that contained ingredients that wern't great for either issues. Sephora suddenly ain't that great. I'm now primarily using all K beauty products which is a first but am loving it. 

Check out this website for a list of safe products- https://simpleskincarescience.com/fungal-acne-products-malassezia-pityrosporum-folliculitis/ you can also search how safe a product will be on your skin via the skincarisma website. 

-Tea tree oil for whatever reason has been huge for me. It really seemed to calm the lesions down and is both an anti-fungal and anti bacterial. 

-From what ive read about the pillars, its super important that you're having cellular turnover happening. I love lactic acids but it was acting on more of a surface level as opposed to de-gunking my pores. I have been rotating between using a precription acne retinol (bianca gel) and on the big zits that have this kertin build up, have been using benzol peroxide spot treatment (on days i dont use retinol) which sucks the life out of the suckers. Takes about 3 days for them to subside but its helped. I'm seeing less of the longer fibres now around the big zits. I've heard sulfur is a more gentle option compared to benzol but yeilds similar results. 

Re: pigmentation- look into licorice root extract (specifically a licorice root tincture no alcohol- can order on amazon). When i finished accutane, I started using that instead of hydroquinone for pigmentation and it was incredible. It's been something i've used ever since when i get a breakout and want to reduce the redness. 

I'm really not sure if any of this helps or not but figured it was worth sharing. Keep me posted with how things are for you too! I'll be sure to send any relevant updates also. It's nice to know we're not alone with this.

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Have any of you with this skin issue been bitten by a tick, have/had Lyme Disease or have hypothroidism?

The CDC did a study in 2012 of people with Morgellons and found the following common underlying issues:

- have Lyme disease
- were exposed to a tick
- have blood tests that indicate you were bitten by a tick
- have hypothyroidism

Current guesstimate for the cause is possibly a tick born bacteria.




Edited by ElaineA
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I do have subclinical hypothyroidism + hashimotos (the autoimmue component). It was around the time that I was diagnosed with hashi's and hypo when I first started noticing the little black fluffs showing up on my face pads. 

To my knowledge, I haven't been bitten by a tick. I also dont have the other symptoms that morgellons patients suffer from. 

I do have an apt on friday with my endocrinologist to discuss my thyroid (hashi's and hypothyroid). I am a bit nervous to bring up  morgellons just seeing how much scepticism there is around it online. 

Thanks for sharing ElaineA!

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1 hour ago, ks123 said:

Re: pigmentation- look into licorice root extract (specifically a licorice root tincture no alcohol- can order on amazon). When i finished accutane, I started using that instead of hydroquinone for pigmentation and it was incredible. It's been something i've used ever since when i get a breakout and want to reduce the redness.

The Acne.org moisturizer also contains licorice root extract.

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