What the Hell is Fungal Acne and What Karmic Energy Gave It To ME?

I had a migraine I could not get rid of. Painkillers weren’t touching it. This went on for several days. It was only after I had exhausted every option and took too many Tylenol that I felt it was necessary for me to go into the doctor. I was diagnosed with walking pneumonia, which was bizarre because I had no cough, congestion, or anything to suggest I had fluid in my lungs other than a wheeze. We get a little ahead of ourselves, ESPECIALLY around the holidays with all the stress and pressure. I was prescribed a round of antibiotics and I was on my way.

While I’m grateful for modern medicine, sometimes one thing leads to another. Women know this well. A round of antibiotics surely means a gnarly yeast infection that feels like a sleeve of crackers was crumbled into your private parts, so — as a woman — I was prepared. I asked the doctor for my fluconazole BEFORE the itch crept in. Honestly, I thought I had avoided it altogether and felt like I dodged a bullet until two weeks later.

I’ve had acne for some time now. I’ve written about it before: the occasional breakout from too much sugar or the nasty hormonal mountains that form on my chin when my uterus decides to scream. But I’ve never had fungal acne.

This was an entirely new monster to me and I didn’t know how to fight it. I hadn’t even HEARD of it. Fungal acne (malassezia pityrosporum folliculitis) isn’t really acne at all, but rather an overgrowth of yeast in hair follicles on certain parts of the body — typically the back and shoulders but CAN happen on the face. It is caused by an overproduction of sweat and sometimes ANTIBIOTIC USE.

Small white pimples and flakey redness took over my forehead. I panicked. I called an esthetician immediately and took the next appointment. *It should be said here that I work as a model and WILL be (and was) taken off work if my skin isn’t looking clear.* Surely a regular breakout could be diminished by the hands of a master esthetician before I felt it was necessary to visit a dermatologist.

I went in for my facial on a Friday. The esthetician worked her magic and initially I saw a lot of improvement, but the next day my face was so much worse, and the breakout had spread to my nose and cheeks. By Monday, I felt at a loss and couldn’t stand to look at myself in the mirror. I had spent 250 dollars on that facial and tears started to well up in my eyes.

Since I was taken off work, there was really no point in staying in Los Angeles much longer with the holidays coming up. I decided to change my ticket and head back to Anchorage early (too early, to be honest). I thought that the dry-as-hell weather might clear up the nasty speedbumps that had taken over my face.

No dice, man. It was getting worse and worse. I’d wake up sweaty and run to the bathroom only to see more bumps in more places. It was time to bring in the big guns. I called a dermatologist and set an appointment for three days later. At this point in my fungal acne journey, I had been suffering for about two weeks.

Miraculously, my skin started to clear up. The appointment with the dermatologist lasted all of three minutes and she dismissed my skin condition as an allergic reaction. I still had to fork up 142 dollars, but I was relieved. I scheduled another appointment for the next with an esthetician there simply to clear up any residual gunk. Another 150 dollars. Like I said, I NEED my face to be clear.

Around this time, it was maybe December 20th. All was calm. All was bright. Kind of. I had a fat pimple in the middle of my face and a few blemishes I chalked up to hormones camping their wack red asses right on my cheeks. Then Christmas morning came. Not only did presents pop up under the tree, but a whole army of fungal acne marched onto my forehead — WAY WORSE THAN BEFORE. I flipped the hell out. I had shelled out hundreds and hundreds of dollars — around the holidays, no less — why was my face doing this?

I asked the internet. Modern medicine was NOT helping me. The dermatologist’s dismissive prescription of some bullshit I had already was prescribed DID NOTHING. Instagram pulled through with an answer.

I’m all for holistic healing but sometimes I just want an immediate result. I have no patience, ok? To heal myself from the inside? WHO HAS TIME FOR THAT? But I had to wait.

Obviously, antibiotics had wiped out my yeast and messed up all of the good bacteria in my gut, so I took on a regimen of probiotics. I’m a Los Angeles transplant who admittedly fell into the kombucha cult, so I thought I was safe in this arena, but I took a probiotic pill everyday JUST IN CASE. I also started drinking more green tea (I have NEVER heard a bad thing about green tea except for that it sometimes tastes like the smell of a dirty fish bowl and where is the lie?). The next two steps came as a surprise, even to myself. These two things are what I credit for saving my skin.

1. Nizoral Dandruff Shampoo.

2. Aztec Indian Clay Healing Mask

Ok, ok. I know it sounds insane. I know these aren’t common products and sound like woo-woo hoopla, but I SWEATER GAWD they worked. I would wash my face with the Nizoral just how I would wash my face with any other cleanser: warm water, lather for thirty seconds, wash off. Every other day the Aztec Indian Clay Mask would be my SAVIOR. Mix equal parts Apple Cider Vinegar with equal parts mask, mix together, lather on face and leave on for 10–15 minutes. VOILA. Within a single week, EVERY SINGLE BLEMISH WAS GONE.

EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.

The best thing about these products (aside from probiotics) is that they are fairly inexpensive. Nizoral will put you back 9.99 and the Aztec Indian Clay Healing Mask is only 7 dollars. You can buy both on Amazon. Or at Target. No esthetician or dermatologist necessary.

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