Tuesday, October 12, 2010

About my own folliculitis

So here is a brief bit of my own folliculitis, how I got it and what I have done to come very close to totally eliminating it (hopefully it will keep disappearing till 100% gone in the coming weeks).

More after the jump...

I considered writing this blog only after I had gone 3 month's without any sight of folliculitis, but I figured I'd get information out there that has helped me and create a place for others to exchange their own treatments, successful and unsuccessful.

I got my first zits sometime in 2001, from use of hair gel. Just a few spots on the forehead. I got into Acne wash then, and had relatively clear skin until about 2003 when my acne got worse, probably due to a combo of puberty, topical abuse, and poor diet. It was around then that Proactive came out, so I bought into it. That cleared me up for about a month, till the cleanser pretty much destroyed my sensitive skin. From there on I went through numerous topicals, Tetracycline (a big mistake that reared it's ugly head in the future), and Vitamin Regimes (B5 overdosing).

At my juinor year of high school, 2006 I got fed up with all the time and money I was wasting on acne topicals, and went on Accutane after a friend did the same. Big Mistake.
Of course it worked, I cleared, upped the dose, had the initial breakout with each increase, till the biggest mistake of my life came... On a ski trip my skin was so sensitive to the harsh weather due to the Accutane, that I wore a ski mask over my face and globbed on some heavy moisutizers. I also upped my dose of Accutante to 50mg. So came clogged pores and big cystic type acnes. To be honest, if I would have left them alone they would have cleared. But I decided to shave over them.

Big mistake. Over the next few days my skin got worse and worse. My whole face and neck was literally covered with red, angry acne. Probably the worst my skin had ever looked. It really was that bad. When I got home from work one evening about two days after the shave, I noticed a swelling sensation on my face. I looked in the mirror and I had a boil on my cheek. I freaked, popped it, and over washed my face, then put a band aid on it.

What I should of done was told my parents, not popped the boil, and gone to the hospital the next day. But I knew noting about staph then.

The next morning before swim practice at 6am, I noticed another one forming in the car. Instead of telling my mom, I just ignored it and went in the pool. How no one noticed it I have no idea because it was very apparent. I covered it with a band aid after and went to school. Thankfully, I did not spread it onto anyone else in the pool.

I went to the derm that week and she gave me some antibiotic that cleared the majority of the skin, but a week later I got another boil. I would get them from time to time and would pop them, cover them and they would heal after a week or so.

When I realized in May, at the end of my Accutane presciption, that my skin was clear except for the area's where I had the boils, I began to realize that this was something more than acne.

I found out about folliculitis, got another antibiotic but it did not work, and continued to manage it with Benzyl Peroxide for about a year. I would see a very small boil about every 4 months or so in the area.

When I moved to California (was previously in the UK) for University, I found a new derm. She didn't want to hear anything about folliculitis and prescribed me prescriptions that I never used, knowing they wouldnt work. Eventually in June, I convinced another derm at the same office to get me a culture and a sensitivity test.

We did that, and for once, my skin cleared. I combined Doxycycline with Hibiclens and some neutrogena lotion and for a whole summer I had perfect skin. Around that time, I began the Primal Diet via Mark Sission's Blog (a diet based of meat, vegetables, fruits, and nuts and some dairy... no grains or legumes, low carb high fat)

I had struggles with the diet initially, over consumption of nuts and pasturized dairy gave me some acne after the antibiotics wore off, but no reoccurence of folliculitis.

It wasn't until I tried the Oil Cleansing Method, after realizing how harsh Hibiclens was on my skin, that my folliculitis returned, and returned way worse. This time is went from just isolated to a small patch on each of my lower cheeks, almost unnoticable, to my upper lip/moustache area.

I gotta say, I could have handled managing at just my cheeks. It wasn't always flaring, and perhaps if I knew what I do now back then, I could have gotten rid of those small patches for good... because god damn the moustache folliculitis was way more persistent and prone to flare ups than the cheek folliculitis. It was more apparent and really crushed me. I became a social recluse. Despite being in a fraternity and having great friends, I pretty much locked myself away. I was pretty depressed.

So I tried an all meat diet after finding Owsley Stanley's (also known as The Bear) famous post about how he has been living off of nothing but meat for 47+ years and enjoying perfect health (debated by some). That worked on and off, but I was never convinced of the idea of an all carnivorous diet, and I wasn't really thriving on it. Felt like shit mostly.

So I went back to the primal diet, but without nuts and dairy, knowing they made the inflammatory symptoms worse. I found some new products and put Hibiclens back in my regime. I remained clear for about 3-4 weeks. During that time I met my significant other, and my skin become more of a concern.

It came back after I stopped the hibiclens, and I tried various products until I found the Cyclic Nano Silver Soap. I decided to quit everything and just use the soap. It really cleared me up, but only if dairy and nuts were not part of my diet. I stuck with it, till I had a bad flare out of no where and got on another antibiotic.

It was around this time that I realized that the problem wasn't that folliculitis couldn't be cured, but that I was going about it the wrong way.

So I learned about probiotics, gut health, leaky gut, raw milk, all the good stuff. I realized I needed to do more to correct my health and get rid of this.

So now, I am about 95% clear, by following the diet outlined in my first post (Meat, potatoes, raw diary, vegetables, fermented foods, animal fats and probiotics) and NOT WASHING MY FACE (only letting water hit it in the shower).

You might say that my the "do nothing" regimine (or water-only) is what is clearing it... but it's not solely that. I tried that before that it did not work. It is the combo of healing my gut and doing some serious probiotic megadosing, combined with leaving my skin alone, that is making the difference.

I also have done the 30-day raw milk diet which contributed to healing my gut and clearing alot of the infection, but I didn't do it 100% right, and cannot afford to do so for awhile, I imagine if I followed the rules more specifically (which I will go over in a future post), along with dropping topicals (I was yo-yoing topicals during the diet), I could have cleared it 100%.

More on the raw milk diet, the probiotics I am taking, topicals that I got benefits from, as well as the science behind using water only on your skin in future posts.


  1. Firstly awesome blog, this problem plagues & truly affects my life...i have the same problem. I had minor folliculitis when younger and now it is over my arms/things..just terrible. I had terrible university insurance but went to the doctor and they offered me 2 wks of doxycline..the the lesions are smoothing over, but I fear it coming back worse when the treatment is done. What happened in your experience?
    Also do you have scars? If so, any irons in the fire for coping with that?
    keep posting! its really helpful since its hard to find comprehensive info that isnt just webmd

  2. Hey Oliva,

    Sorry it has taken me so long to respond, I honestly did not think anyone would ever read this blog.

    With the doxy, it may clear it up for you and it may not. I would get some serious probiotics, like Ohhira's and Theralac to megadose right after for a solid month once you finish the Doxycyline. Take them with the Doxy too, just 3 hours apart.

    Let me know how that works out for you. iHerb.com has both Ohhiras and Theralac for discounted prices.

    What is your diet like? Do you have any other skin disorders, immune issues? The problem here is the immune system and lack of good flora in the body, the cure is to correct those things. This cannot be done without a good diet.

    1. Hi Bill,

      I could have written this myself almost! I too have done on and off antibiotics and even Accutane! If you are still around and able to chat to me, that would be amazing. I feel we have a lot in common here.

      You can find me on Acne.org as jackthelad - or reply here and we can arrange some private way of communicating.

      many thanks

  3. Hi Bill. Have you stayed clear of your folliculitos and how much probiotics do you take.
    My son has this.

  4. Hey Bill,

    Its been over 2 years since your last post. My story is quite similar to yours and its been quite a tormenting journey. I've become quite anti-social over the time folliculitis has affected me. Its concentrated on my cheeks and beard area. I've been reading up on the milk diet and pro biotics. Have you stayed clear of the folliculitis since your milk diet? I'm planning on starting a milk diet along with pro biotics in the coming weeks. Your blog has been a real help mate. I hope your condition is now just a part of your history. Cheers.

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  6. If you have problem with you folliculitis, that visit my blog: folliculitis-treatment.com. There are many tips to get rid of folliculitis in the fastest way.

  7. I have suffered with chronic bacterial folliculitis on my trunk for years. I was completely covered after a round of systemic antibiotics. I saw countless doctors (standard and naturopath) and none could help me. I spent thousands of dollars. Biopsies would show bacteria, but nothing would grow in cultures. Did I mention I spent thousands of dollars and was miserable. Nothing topical would work. I tried everything. I even tried the raw milk diet and saw a slight improvement, but not a cure. I even drove to the next state to get it since it is illegal in Oregon. Anyway...by accident I found Phenomenal Water. It worked for me. I figured if it worked for MRSA, it would work for my bacterial infection. It took about two months, but I have been clear for seven months. I am in no way affiliated with Phenomenal Water, but it saved my life and my marriage. I felt like I was not really living having chronic folliculitis. I know the pain and severe depression it causes. I would urge anyone who has tired anything to try Phenomenal water.

    1. did your skin purge bad at the beginning. I have only been taking half ounce in 32oz water for 5 days and am breaking out pretty bad on chest and neck. How long will it keep coming out in the skin

  8. This sounds all too familiar with me. I have been through much of the same however I found meat can aggravate my folliculitis. Try a vegan (no animal product incl eggs, dairy, etc) diet for a month, then vegetarian (add in eggs, dairy, etc) is how I did it. I now stay mostly vegetarian but when I did indulge on meat I notice a delayed breakout on my neck/beard and chin area. I do think the probiotics and gut health is the main factor and I am a little concerned because I am on doxy currently. I use only water to wash which helped tremendously with complexion I can't even explain how important that is and NOT POPPPING anything is extremely important as well.

    No soap, no meat, no touching has been my basic rules and I think you should give it a go. Doxy has been nice but only has prevented big cysts for me, not cured anything. When I say vegetarian I mean whole foods vegetarian don't eat those vegetarian chicken nuggets or bacon they are full of chemicals and soy, soy is very bad don't consume it- it is a cheap substance companies can put in food to make more profit.

    I like this post I think it should be more widespread and have more people contribute.

  9. I can really relate to your story. It's just really annoying to have. Gladly there are a lot of products now a days that can treat it very well.

  10. I can really relate to your story. It's just really annoying to have. Gladly there are a lot of products now a days that can treat it very well.

  11. Hi, I too have Folliculitis for many years. Recently I have tried oil pulling, i found out about this on the intertnet. Things have cleared up for me now, and I'm hoping this could be the answer to my problems, time will tell. Just thought I'd share this with you. Has anyone else tried this too??

  12. depending upon severity of your symptoms there are other things that help reduce it as well, take a baking soda bath, first use a good soap and mild abrasive bath sponge to help remove dead skin for greater penetration, I do that part while showering. Then I put a cup of baking soda in a really warm bath again, helping keep the pores open for penetration. You can add any tea black, green, or white if you want, and the ph elevation from the baking soda raises the effectiveness of the tea, I just put a few bags of the kind I brew at home, the bs is also naturally antimicrobial. bs alone also makes a difference, just a matter of preference.

    The reason for your changes in types of acne when taking certain medications is because the med allows a different organism to get ahead, example:
    ketaconazole for fungal folliculitis lets bacteria like staph get ahead when the fungal overgrowth begins to die.
    so then you take doxycycline and now the staph is back stronger or another bacteria takes the lead.....a big musical organism dance......a way to reduce the odds of this is to use an over the counter for the types of organism opposite of what you are using presciptions for, example:
    if taking a prescription for fungal skin infection, then use dial soap or hibicleanse to prevent the others from getting such a head start while the fungus is dying......relax, dial will work for staph that hasn't yet gotten out of control and made a boil....all these organisms are actually supposed to be on your skin, when you get an outbreak of one its because something is or has thrown them out of balance. If you can't think of anything specific you have experienced, for example maybe you took antibiotics for step throat while you were sick and this caused the fungus on your skin to get out of hand, this would be a known reason and once you get back in balance then your skin will go back to what you are used to......if you cannot think of a known cause, then it is in your own personal chemistry somewhere...for some its oily skin, for some its a specific hormone that may run a bit higher than others with clear skin, for some it may be eating a a lot of junk food causing elevated blood sugar, just enough to really feed one organism too well but not make you a diabetic. So don't fall for that junk food doesn't cause acne, in some people it can. There really is a lot of old wisdom and old home remedies that really are true, its just not yet understood how they work, so if science can't yet put it on a graph..they call it a myth. It a bit silly, I don't know what makes a car run, but it still takes me to the store.....anyhow the real name of the game is figuring out what your problem organism is and then figure out why it likes you so much and outgrows the other natural skin bugs you are carrying....its about finding out what to do with your own body to keep it in balance....none of these organisms will be dead and gone forever, they are your natural bugs. This does not mean you can skip prescription drugs, sometimes an organism can have gotten ahead and taken hold, if you feel yours has gotten bad enough, then you will still need a doctor for a bit.

  13. and don't forget common sense, wash your hands regularly, we touch our faces and the rest of our bodies without even thinking about it, scratch your head watching an intense movie, then rub a lil itch at the end of your nose an hour later, 2 more hours and you prop your head on your head reading a book....disinfect your cell phone, change sheets often, clean the sink knobs and door knobs...sounds like a bit much, but you really gotta run your home like a hospital at least until you get past severity of the outbreaks and feel a bit more in control...then you can slow down to reasonable cleaning....just common sense, if you have extra fungus or bacteria on any part of your body, that means extra of those same organisms transferred to everything you touch!! just waiting for you to pick them back up after your wash your face and hands.....a bit redundant to take antibiotics for an infection, then go climb back in bed with the same germs you are trying to reduce!!

  14. most common organism type:
    bacteria: junk foods, especially sweets, teenagers with mostly normal juicy pus pimples, some adults, usually goes away as teen years progress or pass or with birth control, cannot skip cleansing routines especially if you have oily skin. oily skin requires salicylic acid even in small amts if it is irritating or used less frequently this helps keep the sticky pores open. bacteria responds to benzoyl peroxide and the latter sa, you cannot stop using when your skin is clear, you can reduce how often or reduce strengths....once you find a routine that works, you can never stop, only reduce. the only way to stop is to fix the correct underlying issue for you..sweets, hormones.....i have even had patients who had to stay on a one pill per day antibiotic after completing a normal dosage round....this works for people who responded and cleared up great while on the antibiotic only to break out again after stopping. since the organism is with you forever, you take the regular antibiotic schedule, then stay on a regular very small dose to prevent the organism from overgrowing again.
    oily skin and heavy sweaters, athletes, night sweats, persistent small acne bumps with or without pus, junk food sweets and oils, much slower to respond to treatment so don't give up on what you are trying to use to soon, no matter what works it will be slower progress. it will not clear rapidly like other fungal skin infections, especially if your is deeper in the skin (no white pus heads, looks like regular skin with bumps)...if you choose to go the prescription drug route it requires ketoconazole or itraconazole. diflucan won't work unless it is just a simple temporary irritation like that swimmers or hot tub rash, otherwise if you have long standing established fungal folliculitis then diflucan will only knock a little dent and get your hopes up briefly....keep oily pores open, stay clean and dry!
    household disinfecting is still a must to stay on top of while getting the outbreak under control....clothing that cannot be bleached can have 1/2 to 1 cup of baking soda added to the wash, this also helps reduce organisms, not as good as bleach but still beneficial....remember the name of the game is organism reduction and achieving balance, the bugs will always be with you.

  15. boy, i just keep thinking of more, the need for disinfecting your personal items and household is mostly for you while you are susceptible to the offending organism....others of your household should not be able to catch it because if they aren't already broke out in it then their skin is in balance and ready to battle what you are carrying...someone catching acnes or folliculitis from you would be RARE but not impossible, this is why the doc says no its not contagious because it doesn't readily pass between people but its not impossible either. Usually if someone gets it from you its because they had another outside reason to make them become susceptible to your organism, like say a younger brother gets it from an older sibling in the house when puberty strikes and hormones make the younger brother the next perfect host.
    A word about contagion, if its not genetic its contagious, common medical lingo:
    "Its not genetic but its not contagious"..means...its RARE for it to pass to someone else, but not impossible.
    "Its not really contagious or nothing to worry about"..50/50 odds
    "Its contagious"...good chance we will see your family and friends in the office soon

    Don't believe me?....OK...if its not contagious and its not genetic...how did you get it?...just something that appears in thin air once in a while?...just one of those things?...if its an organism that moves its contagious...how contagious is the real question...and why did you catch it or over breed it?

  16. Hey Bill, are you still around?? I'm dealing with what sounds like the same thing as you, and I'd love to get some insight. Thanks!

  17. Hi Bill,

    thanks for the blog, are you still around? Would be great to have a chat with you over skype/fb messenger. Really want to beat this thing and not take anti-biotics.