Skin Problems? Check your environment first.
I thought I may have ringworm. Reading up on it online really scared me.
This actually looks milder here in the photo, compared to the angry red welts and rashes that marred my face (especially under my eyes), ears and neck in real life. My infection was so bad that two of my office mates told me, “Hey, your blush-on is uneven!” Err…I wasn’t even wearing make-up at that time.
I was told by the first derma that I had become vulnerable to fungi because I seemed very stressed, and that stress causes one’s immune system to go haywire. The second derma said that I may have developed allergy to something that I wasn’t allergic to before. So two of the things I did: (1) take it easy, follow some of my own advice from a very old post “Burn Out! And How To Deal”; and (2) stopped wearing make-up (except for grooming my eyebrows).
Both dermas prescribed steroidal creams. The first one cleared my eye contour area while the second one relieved my neck. Still, I did not want to rely on these forever so I resolved to strengthen my immune system.
The first thing I did was to order some Ilog Maria products again.
I got myself some Propolis Gold and a bottle of Virgin Honey. Thank goodness, I only bought a small bottle of the Propolis Gold because it had a really unpleasant taste. It’s very good for your immune system though, but I think I’ll settle for just the honey from now on.
The instructions on Ilog Maria’s website says that it shouldn’t be used as a sweetener but instead be used for its medicinal properties but I’m using it for both. My morning oatmeal tastes bleh without any kind of sweetener and I’m already restricting my sugar intake. Bacteria and fungi thrive on sugar, so we need to lessen the consumption of this evil evil thing. (*Sigh* Goodbye, red velvet cakes!)
The wife of our CEO, the CFO, also gave me a bottle of Dr. Gerry’s Coco Nectar. This is a pretty good product, and like Ilog Maria’s Virgin Honey, it can be used as a sweetener and has a lot of health benefits. I heard it can also help in fighting dengue fever. (Hm. I could have sworn I took a photo of it but it doesn’t seem to be in my hard drive.)
Killing the Source:
I noticed that a day after I stopped using the steroidal creams, my rashes came back with a vengeance. So I wanted to kill all possible sources of bacteria or fungi. I boiled my clothes but that was not nearly enough. Then it hit me: my condo room mates and I noticed that our bathroom had mildew.
Nasty, isn’t it? It’s all over the shower walls, too. The bathroom was already in that state when we first moved in a month ago. The thing is, the other two girls weren’t as affected by these things as I was. Again, I had to remember what the dermatologists said about me having a weakened immune system.
Mildews are fungi that, if not addressed, is seriously hazardous to your health. It can cause a lot of illnesses ranging from mental (mood swings, depression, dementia) to physical (skin diseases at best, respiratory problems on average, cancer at worst). Just do a quick search on mildews and you’ll see that I am not kidding. Anyway, I decided that it was time for war.
And this became my weapon of choice: Mr. Muscle Mildew Cleaner. Of course, you have to be very careful when using this. Like bleach, it emits really powerful fumes. I would advise people to wear masks, goggles or maybe protect your skin in general as well.
I found a web page that discusses non-toxic means of eliminating mildews, so their suggestions might be safer for people who are very sensitive to toxins. I was just super eager to get rid of the darned things so I turned to the first thing that I saw in the grocery.
Interestingly enough, the page mentions lemon and vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is good for your scalp (in small doses) as it also helps get rid of dandruff (another form of fungi, ugh). And lemon is good for your skin.
New Bathing Habits:
The skin problems stopped, but I did pick up some rather peculiar bathing habits (brought about by the many things I experimented with during my nasty battle with fungi). Like this one:
Whenever my period is about to come up, I get pimples. There was a time when I would just dab L’Oreal Pure Zone toner on them and they’d disappear within two days, cystic pimples included. I found another remedy: Dr. Kaufmann IR Skin-Germ Protection Soap. I would rub it on infected areas and leave them to dry before putting on sunblock. I avoid moisturizing the areas.
I’ve also started washing my hair with Selenium Sulfide on Wednesday and Saturday nights, leaving it on my scalp and then washing it off in the morning with Dove Shampoo.
The Selenium Sulfide + Dove Shampoo combo came from the first derma’s advice and did wonders for the fungi that had also affected my scalp. The best thing about this routine is that Dove Shampoo actually relaxed my hair, making it seem less curly. Don’t get me wrong, I love my curls. They can be just so frustratingly stubborn at times.
An expensive alternate to this is Lush’s anti-dandruff soap. It smells just like the phased-out Fongitar shampoo — ya know, like burning car tires — and works just as well. For people who use it on their head, it seems that the soap can go a long long way. But I went through this within a month because I also use it on my body, being the praning that I’ve become.
My morning grooming time has become shorter and simpler. Since I’m now allergic to make-up, even the expensive ones, my routine is now composed of: moisturizer, sunblock, lip balm (with SPF) and eyebrow grooming kit. LOL. I know that my face doesn’t change much without everything else, but I need my eyebrows. We don’t know when someone is going to take our photo and I hate it when bad angles/lighting remove my natural brows. Have you seen actors and actresses without brows? See? Cameras need help, too. Hahaha!
Other than that, I think I can survive without the foundation, eyes shadow, mascara, concealer and blush. Here’s a comparison.
BEFORE: This was taken during the time when rashes were attacking my face so I was heavily covered with BB cream, foundation, concealer, blush, eye shadow, eye liner, lip balm and blush. I suffered the skin problems for close to two months.
AFTER: Taken when my skin cleared, around two months after the “before” photo. It’s just moisturizer, sunblock, lip balm and groomed eyebrows. Deadmatology 101 na sa eye bags, charaught!
Now for the easy stuff:
The best thing for your skin is still lots and lots of water. Men need at least 3 liters of water a day, while women need 2. Also, sleep well. I know it’s difficult for people in my industry to do this, but it’s a must. It’s one of the reasons I moved near my workplace (besides the fact that it made it easier for me to get to Makati med, my new “mall”, which is a few steps away).
After this ordeal, my bathing routine is not all that has changed. Even my overall lifestyle. I still have 3 doctors left to visit on a weekly basis. I’ll just blog about that when I’m done with my “Live on P100/day” experiment. Heh.