Interview – Emilee P. of Washington State.

Tinea Versicolor InfoSummer At The Lake

I am an avid list maker. I would say most people have a “To-Do-List”. I have a “To-Done-List”! There’s nothing more satisfying to me than to cross something off my list and not have to deal with it again. Life’s too short to have to be doing the same thing over. Right?

Well recently a young lady from Washington state contacted us with her story of how she thought she was done with Tinea Versicolor (TV.) Emilee P. anticipated a wonderful summer this year with family and friends until the anquish of having her second annual bout of TV…only this time it seemed it was here to stay.

Thank you Emilee for offering us your personally written account. Your persistence and advice will inspire everyone looking for a solution to a skin condition that is not only physically uncomfortable, but also emotionally damaging. Please tell us a little about yourself.

Emilee: My name is Emilee, I’m 19 and live in Washington state. I’m a second year nursing school college student and also have a part time job at a smoothie joint (which I really enjoy.) I’m fair skinned, blonde-ish hair and blue eyes, so needless to say I’ve never been able to tan easily, haha. I practice a lot of yoga (about 4 days a week,) as well.

I love being on the water or anything to do with a beach or sunshine, especially when its with my family; or my friends too. I’m an only child, so I’ve always been a finicky eater, but the positive to being an only child is that its made me very independent.

I’ve agreed to partake in this interview because as you will read I have felt very hopeless about treating this disease many times, and my wish is that my interview can help somebody who was feeling like I was. When did you first start noticing Tinea Versicolor on your body?

Emilee: It happened so oddly. In the summer of 2010, my boyfriend, me, and his family all went to Banks Lake, Washington for a camping trip equipped with boating, jet skiing, inner tubing, the whole 9 yards. Plus it was late June and, with Banks Lake being in eastern Washington, it was bound to be 90 degrees or more every day.

We got there and everything was great…but about 2 days after we came back home, I started to notice that there were bright-white spots on my chest that didn’t match my tanned skin. I had no idea what it was and didn’t really bother me till it started to spread to my neck and shoulders. I thought it was dry skin or something, until it persisted.

My mom took me to the doctor, and she said I “probably” had TV. I had no understanding of this disease, but she perscirbed me Ketoconozole to take for a week and see if it cleared it. When it did clear it up, I was so pleased and thought that TV was something easily curable. I was wrong.

Fast forward many TV-free months to the beginning of this July. I had been tanning all throughout May and June, so I was pretty tanned by July. I swear it happened over night when I noticed the TV was back! This time, it was covering my upper arms, shoulders, back and lower arms…it was so noticeable and embarrassing.

Thinking it would easily be cured, I took another round of Ketoconzole. It did absolutely NOTHING. This is when I started to panic.

I began researching what TV really is on the web and discovered a gold mine of information (including this website), which made me realize that TV is not always easily curable, but actually can be very difficult to treat. I also learned that tanning would make it worse (this crushed me, because in WA we only have about 3 months of hot sunshine to enjoy.) But it has also made me determined to kill this disease. What has been other people’s reaction to your skin? How does it make you feel?

Emilee: For me, this has been the hardest part. Since I was a pre-teen I’ve always had perfect skin. I’ve never struggled with acne, (none has ever been on my back or chest), I’ve never had oily skin or hair, and when I would finally get a tan, it looked great. So when I noticed that TV was all over my arms & shoulders (not something easily hide-able in the summer,) I was so upset.

Many people ask me if it was allergies, “sun spots,” or just plain: “whats wrong with your skin?”  There have been many times I cry about it, and I’ve even had some break down about how the treatment I’d previously used wasn’t helping and that this disease would never go away. I get teary eyed even typing about it.

I think women, especially more than men, feel a pressure to be pretty and have perfect skin. When I’ve had that my whole life and then don’t have it anymore overnight, it was awful for me to cope with. Lucky for me, my boyfriend doesn’t care about the spots and loves me anyway. He jokes around and calls them my “cheetah spots.” Have you consulted a doctor? What did he/she do? Has their advice helped?

Emilee: The first doctor I went to, simply prescribed me ketoconozole and said I had TV. She never really explained what it was and I was pretty much left to figure it out on my own.

When the TV returned, (and I had gained a considerable amount of knowledge about it,) I began home treatment: Anti fungal spray, and Selsun Blue shampoo. When this wasn’t working, I went back to the doctor who said if I’m already using Selsun Blue and anti fungals, that there’s really nothing she can do and that I should see a dermatologist. With my great luck, the dermatologist was backed up till October.

Luckily, my real dad lives in Honolulu Hawaii and I was going to visit him the first 2 weeks in August. He sees a dermatologist over there and made me an appointment. I can’t describe how excited I was to see this dermatologist…I was really feeling like it was my last hope.

When I saw him, he prescribed for me Selsun Blue cream 2.5% (a higher active ingredient amount than the over the counter shampoo,) as well as samples of a foam cream. He said that colloidal silver or tea tree soap,  Epsom salt baths, tea tree oil mixed with raw organic coconut oil, Lamisil AT cream and the Selsun Blue he prescribed when used in combination with each other should help. Lo and behold, and long last, it did. You have a very interesting story about how you came to find our website, and how you went on to modify the treatment regimen described there, to better treat your own skin condition. Can you tell us about this?

Emilee: I was so upset and desperate. I didn’t know what to do or where to start to cure my TV before I had seen that dermatologist. I would research online for hours and hours to see if anyone had a successful treatment.

In the Bing search engine I typed in, “Tinea Versicolor and successful treatments”. Your website showed up, and I noticed finally it wasn’t just some “ask a question” forum which I kept getting before. I saw so much information, as well as treatments, diet advice, and a whole community of people who could finally understand how I felt. This is when I emailed Tony.

Tony asked me if I had tried the 4 step regimen. I then tried the regimen, and when I saw how it wasn’t working fully, I decided to tweak it a bit to my needs. Now, my regimen is similar, but just a little different (this is my up to date regimen as of August 2011):

First, I use a tea tree oil soap all over my whole body and the affected areas and let it sit for about one minute before rinsing it off. Then, I use the Selsun Blue shampoo (the over the counter one,) and let it sit for about 5 minutes before rinsing it off. When I get out of the shower and dry off, I then use Lamisil AT spray all over the areas. Lastly, (I’ve got quite the concoction here…) I use pure organic unrefined coconut oil – which you can get at any health food store – mixed with about 2 drops of pure tea tree oil, and add about a quarter-size amount of Lamisil AT cream I apply it everywhere I need to.

It smells great, feels good and is actively fighting the TV. I have dry skin, so I always need extra moisturizer. So when I found out that TV likes moisture, I simply had to find alternate ways to moisturize my skin without feeding the TV. Do you sanitize your laundry and pay attention to your diet to limit yeast promoting foods? Can you tell us a little about this?

Emilee: I wash my bedding about 3 or 4 times a week on the sanitize cycle in my washing machine and dry on high heat. I also am adamant about making sure the towels I use after bathing are washed after every use as well.

About the diet, this is a tough one for me. I’m a vegetarian, so while I may not eat meat, I do eat a lot of bread, fruits, and vegetables. When I found out that bread was on the list of foods to limit, I was bummed. But I have slowly but surely started to reduce my bread intake. But because I am such a finicky eater and vegetarian, I eat so few variety of foods that it makes it hard to cut out certain foods from my diet. Tell us about what products you’ve tried that HAVE and HAVE NOT worked for you personally.

Emilee: I really feel like I have tried everything. Sunscreen didn’t help me much, nor did staying out of the sun. Selsun Blue, Lamisil AT, coconut oil and tea tree oil as well as Epsom salt baths all are very healing and help my TV fade.

Ketoconozole has done nothing, neither has miconozole. This condition is definetly something that is so different for every person living with it. Some may have success with one product, while another person will see no improvement with that same product. Would you say TV is tenacious? As stuborn as anything you’ve met before?

Emilee: Without a doubt. Sticking to your own regimen is the best way to keep your TV at bay. TV loves skin and loves to come back as soon as you stop your regimen. TV seems to never quit or completely go away, but it is manageable and able to keep at bay. Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give to anyone with TV?

Emilee: Don’t lose hope! I lost a lot of hope with trying to heal my TV. But you have to try everything and every product you can with a “trial and error” approach. In addition to this, TV takes a long time to cure as well. I like instant gratification, but TV is not going to give you that…ever. Try every product, stick to your regimen, sanitize your laundry, and don’t ever lose hope. Stay positive. In closing, is there anything you would like to add?

Emilee: I hope that this interview gives someone out there suffering with the embarrassment of  TV some hope that no matter how bad the TV is, it is manageable and will take some time to figure out what will work for you. Stay positive and don’t ever lose hope.