Low Maintenance Girl with a high maintenance problem

bottlesI used to be such a low maintenance girl. I’ve never been into “products.” On my bathroom countertop sat two face creams (one for the day, one for night) and one body lotion. That was it. I don’t wear make-up. I don’t put anything in my hair except shampoo and conditioner. Heck, I don’t even own a hair dryer.

It used to take me about 10 minutes to get ready for bed. Now all that has changed.

My sink is now cluttered with plastic bottles. Some may surprise you: a bottle of vinegar, another of tree oil and one of hydrogen peroxide. Some you have probably never heard of: Selenium Sulfide, Ketoconazole, Clindamycin, Chlorhexidine.

And that’s just my bathroom countertop. Upstairs in the kitchen, I have a bottle of pills called Septra-DS, which is basically sulfur (I’ve already gone through three months of the antibiotic Minocyline), a bag of turmeric, a bottle of apple cider vinegar and a jar of blackstrap molasses. The last three are ingredients for a tasty concoction I drink a few times a day. Let me tell you, it’s de-fucking-licious.

I am sure at this point you are wondering what in the heck is wrong with me. That would make two of us.

For the last seven months – yes, seven – I have been dealing with a skin problem that I just CANNOT seem to shake. I haven’t written about it before because, well, it’s kind of embarrassing. But after over half a year of dealing with it, I just need to vent. And tell you. Because I know you have nothing better to do than listen to stories about things growing on my epidermis.

Since April, I have been breaking out like a teenager before a first date. And not just on my face. Pretty much from my belly button up – my chest, my back, my neck, even on my elbow creases. Yes, it’s as fun and lovely as it sounds. For those of you who know me, you might be surprised. I am lucky in that my complexion seems to hide some of the spots, and the drugs have gotten it under control – but only for a while, only just long enough for me to think I’ve finally, finally kicked it, before it laughs at me and says, “HAH! Fooled you again!” and flares back up. It’s a stubborn little bugger, I tell you. I am about ready to kick its annoying ass.

So what is this thing that’s infested my skin, you ask? (Don’t worry, it’s not catchy.) Well, after finally undergoing a culture and biopsy, the dermatologist discovered that – good news –  it’s not a fungus. Bad news: the normal bacteria on my skin basically went haywire and decided to multiply, giving me folliculitis, which is an infection of the hair follicles. I know what you are wondering: follicu-what? I never heard of it before either. But now this bacteria and me are on intimate terms. And I am becoming desperate. Hence the alternative remedies: turmeric, vinegar, tea tree oil.

Although I can’t seem to rid myself of this bacteria, I do know exactly when I got it. It was an unseasonably hot day in April, and we took the kids skiing, and I was basically carrying Kaya in her skis around the mountain sweating my balls off and being hot. Did I mention I was hot? With my ski parka on, I provided a nice little warm climate for the normal bacteria on my skin to screw like rabbits and multiply. Lovely. And now those damn rabbits just don’t want to leave.

Where’s Elmer Fudd when I need him?

I am really, really, really hoping and praying that this latest medicine I am on, coupled with all the alternative stuff I’m trying, will cure it. At this point, I will pretty much try anything, although I did rule out the suggestion about soaking in a Clorox bath that I read on a web site. This whole experience has given me a new appreciation and compassion for people who suffer from skin problems, especially my husband, who at times gets embarrassed about his Rosacea. Don’t we paint a pretty picture?

For now, if you wonder why I’m not returning your calls or answering your emails or updating my blog, it’s because I’m too busy soaking in vinegar, drinking turmeric and counting the number of bottles on my bathroom sink.



12 thoughts on “Low Maintenance Girl with a high maintenance problem

  1. OMG. Can you imagine a Clorox bath?? I imagine it would burn the tender lady parts! I bet this will teach you to disrobe when you’re hot next time. 🙂

  2. Hmm. Would it better if it was a fungus? Easier to treat, and so much fun to search for at the store! Yes, I’ve been there…

    Sorry to hear about this, hope it clears up soon.

  3. My littlest has that, we use Stridex pads morning and night, not 100% cleared up, but is going away, we’ve had the problem for EVER and only been Stridexing for six weeks. Parts of her are smoother. It’s the salcylic acid or whatever, basically aspirin.

    Good luck, I know how annoying she finds it.

  4. How particularly maddening for a women who didn’t need or use any products beforehand. I’ve always envied women who never wore makeup. I’d rather not wear it, but I get tired of people asking me if I’m sick.

  5. I feel for you, MM. Although I never had this exact experience, when I was 25, I got acne. Pretty! I had just started dating my husband and was trying so hard to hide it, when one day he suggested – not unkindly – that maybe I should see a dermatologist? The whole thing was just incredibly sexy.

    So I did the antibiotics, the creams, the cleansers, the spot treatments (sometimes going into the derm’s office for shots of cortisone to combat those suckers). It really only cleared up when I went back on the pill.

    Now that I’m off the pill, I am once again dealing with it. The other day I was reading Amalah’s Advice Smackdown and was guided to acne.org. I am now doing the regimen which really consists of benzoyl peroxide and OTC cleansers, and I am liking the results right now. I don’t know if it will help you, but maybe worth a shot?

    I remember feeling really blue about the whole thing; hope you are staying strong and that everything clears up soon!

    • I am open to trying anything, so any suggestions are welcome. It’s getting a little better now, but I have no idea what’s making it improve since I am trying so many different pills and creams. I just hope that after one month, as in the past, it doesn’t come back.
      It’s funny, though – this did start right after I got off the pill! You think it’s hormones?

      • I definitely think it was in my case… It was severe enough after about 7 months that I got back on the pill. This time, though, I am not going back. And it’s definitely more manageable than it was before. Keep us posted!

  6. I have f*ckyoulitus as well. Not fun. It’s on my scalp. My doctor said once you have it, you have it for life. She’s got to be mistaken. It’s horrible, itchy, painful, and I don’t ever want to wear my hair up because of the giant red spots on my hairline. Yuck! I feel for you having it on your arms and everywhere. Maybe the hormones is the key. I don’t think it’s the same as acne, but it seems like it.

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