This one is for all the googlers out there - tinea versicolor
Lo and behold, dear readership - this is one of my few truly useful posts. Although not for you personally. But after doing my fair share of googling myself, I figured it would be doing a favor to all the others to post the solution that has worked for me.
Some of you know I've suffered from tinea versicolor for about 7 years now. It sounds impressive, but it's nothing to be worried about. Tinea versicolor, also called pytiriasis versicolor, is defined by WebMD as "a fungal infection of the skin... caused by a type of yeast that naturally lives on [the] skin". It's not dangerous and it's not contagious - it's not even that annoying: it just causes you to look like some kind of lizard in the summer, because the affected patches of skin don't get tanned. Over time, the small patches merge together and form bigger patches.
In my case, it took years before I realized it was an actual "condition" and it wasn't going away on its own. At first I was told my skin was lacking minerals and advised to take a multivitamin daily and use a moisturizer. Obviously, it did not work. When I realized it was tinea versicolor, I googled (what would we be without Google?) and found that dandruff shampoos could help. So I tried Nizoral, and nothing happened. Then I talked about my problem with my doctor, who gave me some pills I was on for three months. That was last December. I was really excited because I was going on a cruise with Raiontzukai in January, and thought it would be the first time in years I'd get a uniform tan. But I was wrong - the tinea versicolor had actually spread and THAT'S when it became annoying for me.
Up until January, only my stomach and my back were affected. That's why I didn't really care - I mean, it's not like everyone scrutinizes my back and stomach on a regular basis. But during the cruise I realized the spots were beginning to spread to my neck. It looked really weird. And it looked like there was no more reason for it not to get to my face. So I decided to take action.
Nizoral had not worked and the pills had not worked. Instead of going back to my doctor, I decided to try another shampoo. For a whole month I slathered myself in Selsun Blue for 15 minutes every night. And saw no difference. Then I ordered Selsun Blue 2.5%, not really convinced it would do anything more. So I began searching for a more natural cure - again, hello, Google!
The search then got complicated. I found tons and tons of forums discussing the problem, but everyone was in the same situation I was in: looking for something that would work after trying the regular cures to no avail. And nobody ever posted that they had finally gotten rid of the tinea versicolor. (Which is exactly why I'm posting this.) So my only option was to try a few of the natural cures discussed and see if it worked. After all, what did I have to lose?
So in April, I started doing two things daily: eating probiotic yogurt (which is supposed to get rid of the extra yeast in your body) and slathering the affected areas in coconut oil (which apparently is antifungal and, as a bonus, smells great!). I had three months to go before the summer, which I figured was a good timeframe to let my new routine work its (possible) magic. I didn't get a good tan this summer, but as I was in Hawaii for two weeks recently, I got a chance to see the results.
Well, believe it or not folks, it freaking WORKED. And really well, at that. The more recent tinea versicolor - that is, the spots around my neck - are completely gone. The spots on my stomach are barely visible anymore. But where the results are most striking are on my back, which was where the tinea versicolor was most severe for me. I actually had one huge patch of skin that never got tanned. Well I got a back tan this year! It's still the most affected area on my body, but I now only have the smaller patches. I'm pretty confident it will all be gone by next summer if I continue with the regimen.
Now, I can't say whether it's the probiotics of the coconut oil that did the trick, but does it really matter?
I thought so...