I promised myself that once I found out what was wrong with my skin, I would write a blog post about it to try and help anyone else who might be struggling like I have for the past 6 months.
First off, I’ll give you a little background about my skin. I’m 27 (almost 28 **cries inside) and I have had little to no major skin issues all my life. Even going through the typical teenage years, I never really suffered from acne. I would say I have oily/combination skin. I’ve never really had sensitive skin to products and I’ve always kept up with a decently good skin care routine.
This past January, I started getting very clogged pores in my T-zone (so my forehead, nose and chin). These clogged pores looked like little bumps and got progressively worse over the past year. At first, I just ignored them because makeup did a decent job at covering them. After they continued to get worse and I stupidly started trying to pop and pick at them, they started looking terrible. It got to the point where I was embarrassed to go in public without or even with makeup on.
At this point, I would advise anyone to GO TO A DERMATOLOGIST. I was too embarrassed to, so I decided to try and fix the issue myself.
First thing I did was reach out to my friend who is going through school to be a naturopath doctor. I wanted to see if there was a natural way to fix my skin.
** Side Note: I already don’t eat gluten or dairy and try to consume a minimal amount of artificial sugars.
She recommended that I start taking Vitamin A, Zinc, Fish Oil and a good probiotic. I am still continuing to take these vitamins and probiotic, but I have reduced to taking Vitamin A and Zinc to every second day. I definitely found that taking these helped reduce the inflammation in my skin and dried out my skin a bit (which I didn’t mind because like I mentioned above, I have very naturally oily skin). But after a month of taking these things, my acne or clogged looking pores did not go away.
Next, I decided to go to a skin clinic. I went to a local one and took all the current products I was using on my skin with me. I wanted to see if any of them were the root cause of my skin issues. The medical aesthetician told me my lotions, cleansers, scrubs and creams were all good BUT one. I was surprised to find out that the lotion I had been using twice daily for almost a year actually contained shea butter in it, that can be very skin-clogging. After she told me this, I immediately stopped using it and started using the lotion she suggested. She also recommended a few skin treatments, dermaplaning and a medical facial (which included extractions, aka a safe way to pop pimples or unclog pores). I had never had either of these and decided to try them out.
I gave my skin a two-week time span to purge/breakout (which usually happens after facials or treatments and when you change skin care products), and then I was hoping to see results. I saw a few results, but my clog pores on my forehead seemed to be very stubborn. They looked a little better for a while and then took a turn for the worse. Again they got to the stage where I didn’t want to go to work or be in public because I thought my skin looked terrible. The worse it got, the more I wanted to pick and try and pop the enlarged pores which in result just made it look even worse.
Finally, I got to my ending point and book an appointment with my family doctor so she could prescribe me something strong for my skin. Of course, the day I go into the doctor, my skin has a good day and the doctor sat looking confused as to why I was even there in the first place. Luckily I had taken a photo of my forehead a couple day earlier when it was really bad. The doctor explained that the type of acne I was experiencing was not cystic, which is one of the most well-known types, it was a different less serious one (I can’t remember the name she said). She prescribed me Retin A topical gel to try for four weeks.
Now, this stuff is extreme, and I didn’t even get a high percentage of it. It dried the HECK out of my skin and made it peel so bad. It did help my pimples on my chin clear up, but again did not really do much other than making my forehead immensely dry and shiny. My immediate thought was that maybe I needed a stronger percentage Retin A. I was planning to ask for this at my next doctor visit.
I was searching YouTube recently, looking up forehead acne and seeing what other people were using to help theirs and a stumbled across this video below.
My mind was blown. Literally, everything she explains in this video is what I was suffering from. I don’t even think I finished watching the YouTube video before running to a local drug store and picking up the shampoo (yes I said shampoo), that was supposed to be good at helping clear up forehead acne.
And guess what??
I noticed a huge difference after the first time I used this shampoo on my skin. I finally found out what was happening with my skin!!
So what did I find out?
Firstly, I found out that the type of acne I am suffering from is a fungal acne, not a bacterial acne. A big sign that distinguishes between what type of acne you might have is the fact that usual acne medications and treatments do not work at clearing your acne or might even make it worse, which is exactly what I was experiencing. Pityrosporum (malassezia) Folliculitis is the scientific name for fungal acne (try saying that three times fast haha).
Right now I am currently experiencing a flare up because after doing a lot of research I found out that the majority of lotions and creams I am using on my skin is actually feeding and making the fungi grow. And yes, I use insanely expensive, medical grade products, but the tricky thing with fungal acne is most fatty acids and oils feed the fungi and make it grow bigger and bigger. Of course, the fatty acids and oils that do this are found in basically 99.9% of all skin care. Awesome.
What I am using that I find helps right now is the shampoo I mentioned above, which is called Nizoral. Nizoral contains 2% ketoconazole which is an anti-fungal. I was putting this on my face as a face mask every morning and night for the first week. It helped a lot but dried out my skin and because I currently haven’t found a face lotion that doesn’t make my skin flare up, I have started using Nizoral every second day to make my skin less dry.
I also found that using apple cider vinegar as a toner helps take down the inflammation of the bumps (but let me warn you, the smell is almost unbearable). Again this tends to dry out the skin. So right now I’m basically battling to help kill my fungal acne and not dry the heck out of my skin.
I know this post is insanely long, but I want to write quickly about why I think I got fungal acne after not experiencing any type of acne for my entire life.
- I get a lot of UTIs (aka urinary tract infections). Sorry, I know that’s probably TMI, but it’s actually a major cause to this type of acne. Basically after being on and off of antibiotics so much, my body started to create an excess amount of yeast, which in result showed up as fungal acne. Gross, I know.
- I was drinking a lot of kombucha, which again contains yeast and was probably just adding to the problem.
- I have very oily skin and am also a face sweater when I work out, which again are both things that feed the fungus and make it grow bigger.
This article is amazing (click me)!! I highly recommend you read it if you think you might have this type of acne. It’s long but very, very helpful.
I really hope this helps someone that may be in the same spot I have been in. Yes, appearance is not everything, but I never realized how insecure having acne would make me feel, and in result ended up impacting a lot of my life.