About Me (f.c.)

Last Updated Mar 22, 2019 | 194 comments

acne before and after

I’m a huge believer in transparency, but for privacy reasons I won’t be disclosing my full name at this time. I’ve always been a bit of a shy person, and the idea of having my name plastered all over the internet isn’t very appealing (to say the least haha).

I hope you can understand and respect my concerns. Perhaps in the future when I feel more comfortable about sharing that information with you all, I will. But for now, we’ll use my initials — f.c.

So…. Who Am I?

Just another medical researcher and person passionate about skincare after years of being plagued with skin conditions myself. However, unlike many “beauty gurus” and “experts” out there who claim they once had “terrible skin,” I actually took photos along the way to document everything for proof.

My goal in showing these pictures is to help encourage others in similar positions, and show how much progress you can make when you understand the science behind skincare.

When Did Your Skin Problems Begin?

Oh boy. A long long time ago. It all started at the age of 10 in 5th grade when I was bullied for having cheilitis (inflamed rashy lips). Kids would call me “kool-aid” and tell me to wipe the “ketchup” off my lips. Dicks.

And that was just the beginning of my skin woes. I started breaking out at the age of 14 like most teenagers, only my acne lasted a whopping 11 years. -___- I can write a whole section about the different skin problems I’ve had but the most severe were:

1. Psoriasis


2. Malassezia Folliculitis / Seborrheic Dermatitis.

malassezia folliculitis

3. And of course: Acne / PIH + PIE.

Acne before and after Acne before and after Acne before and after acne scars before and afterAcne before and afterAcne before and afteracne before and afteracne before and after

pimples on chin

This is my skin in natural outdoor lighting. Do know however, that I was using a light tinted sunscreen in this photo (Coola Mineral SPF 30), so some residual redness is subdued.


Sometimes I look at all the skin problems I’ve had in my life and wonder how someone got so unlucky. It almost feels like the universe is testing me to see how many different skin issues I can solve. I try to think of it as a blessing though, because without them I wouldn’t have learned so much and been able to help as many people.

Disclaimer: I know my skin is NOT perfect. Have I made tremendous progress though? Absolutely. And if I was able to clear my skin after years of thinking it was permanently damaged, along with thousands of other readers of this blog — SO CAN YOU!

But just as importantly, I urge you to remember that part of our skin journey is about practicing self-love as much as it is treating disease. We are chasing vulnerability and being real, not perfection. I cannot stress this enough, and I think no other person better explained why than Margery Williams in her children’s book The Velveteen Rabbit:

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”


“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.


“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”


“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”


“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

Why Did You Make This Website?

To help you out. It’s insane how much misinformation is spread around the web and even among experts you’re supposed to trust. This photo was taken at my FIFTH dermatologist’s office. He asked me to tie my hair back and smile. That half grin was all I could muster.

terrible day....

As lame as this sounds, I began crying the first time I tried writing this “about me” section because of this photo. My eyes say it all and reminded me of so much. I know you can’t see them here but they’re tired, hallow, red, and swollen from all the nights I spent crying alone. Here’s an excerpt from a journal entry I wrote back then:

“Crying alone is really really hard, and all I want is to feel normal again and not be afraid to look into the mirror, and move on from this disease that has caused me so much pain and plagued too many years of my life.”

To be honest, it’s often the heartbreak that keeps me going; what keeps me writing and researching even when I don’t want to. I know someone out there feels just like I did, and my only hope is that this website reaches them one day.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone say that they have tried everything. It’s kind of become a cliché phrase among skincare gurus and heartless assholes that exploit other’s insecurities for profit. But duuuuuuuude, I DID TRY EVERYTHING. Strict diets, fancy supplements, natural remedies, a whole lot of skincare — you name it! Here’s some proof:

7 years of products

Yeah…. I guess you can say I’ve been around the block. HA! Looking at that picture is almost like a “Where’s Waldo” game with products you recognize. There are definitely a few skincare-addict favorites in there. See how many you can count!

Anyway, it occurred to me early on (after multiple failed trial and errors) that if I ever cured myself of this god forsaken condition, showing my readers exactly how many stuff I’ve tried would be an invaluable way of building trust — so take a good look. That’s approximately 7-8 years worth of products.

Looking back at this hurts my wallet. I don’t even want to think about how much money was spent for all this. After years of navigating through the skincare scene I’ve obviously developed a solid grasp on what works and why.

What Skin Problems Do You Deal With Now?

None these days, which is such a lovely thing to be able to say. I’ll never take it for granted, and if you have clear skin neither should you! The only real thing I deal with now is the aftermath of bad skin.

I still have some minor atrophic scarring I’m trying to fade, but for all intents and purposes it isn’t there. I’ve asked a few family members and they say it isn’t noticeable. However, if I slack off on skincare or nutrition some problems do start creeping back in (particularly Malassezia Folliculitis and Acne).

A Final Word:

My promise to you is that i’ll never give you false information. That I write everything here from the heart, and with as much of my knowledge possible. I won’t endorse any products or companies unless I absolutely believe in them. If I think a product or claim is shit, I have no problem telling you it’s shit.

I’m here to help guide you through the limited bad skin days you have left. Together, we’ll kick their ass and help you achieve the radiant, bright, beautiful, plump skin hiding somewhere in there so you’ll have the courage to explore the world confidently.

If there are any other questions you’d like me to answer, let me know.



Share my story!


  1. Anon

    Hi, just wanted to say thank you for creating this site. It’s crazy how many similarities your story has to my own, and I suspect many other people’s. Looking back I realise I was duped by a lot of the misinformation present online – whether it was products with false claims or me mistakenly using those which were just not intended to treat my specific skin conditions. 2 courses of Accutane eventually solved my acne troubles, but the PIE was another story (I was shocked to hear the term wasn’t coined until like 2013, I hope now it makes things easier for people going through what we did). Several pulsed dye laser treatments were the only ‘cure’ for the PIE though, it was unusually stubborn, I suspect me damaging my skin barrier during my lowest point when dealing with acne may have had something to do with it…thinking back now it’s insane, I used to step out of the shower and within seconds of my face drying it would become dry and flake all over, little did I know at the time how much repair and healing my skin needed.

    Lord knows if some of the info available today would have been present when I was going through my troubles, maybe things would have turned out differently, could have saved a lot of time! Information, the right information presented in an understandable way for people is a great service, so thank you for that.

    • f.c.

      Hi, stranger. Thank you for the comment. I feel it a million times over. I could have saved myself years of depression had I known what I know now. I’m going to paste a response I left elsewhere on this site because it is relevant.

      “There is no shittier feeling than being lost, not knowing where to turn, and being confused about the complexities of skin, then going to a professional that doesn’t take more than 2 seconds to look at you before sending you away. During the worst of my skin battles, those were the hardest days. I’d think to myself, ‘if no dermatologist, skincare company, or beauty guru can help me, then who can?’

      The answer was me.

      I think that happens to a lot of us in this unique position. We learn that people have ulterior motives, that the professionals can’t solve it for us, so we become more knowledgable than them in the process, driven to find a solution with more motivation than they could ever have.”

      The more people I talk to, the more I realize how common my story is. It’s absolutely astonishing. Hopefully people reading this in similar situations we were in the past find some comfort knowing they’re not alone, and will one day beat it too.

      • Mary Suarez

        Working in research I’m accustomed to looking into things beyond the superficial but your website is absolutely WONDERFUL! I feel I can trust you and your advice and am very happy to have found it. Wishing you everything best in the world. Thank you for taking such a difficult situation and using it to help others, such a sweetheart you are.

      • Remo Cosentino

        Thank you for answering questions about our skin problems. You have proven a point I have noted in my own health problems: doctors are not as helpful as we expect them to be, or as we hope them to be. A number of them have said: don’t do your own research into a medical problem. When I last saw a physical therapist, she and her assistant laughed when I told them I Googled to find an answer to a health problem. “Very bad,” they both said. Well, my research gave me the answer they were not able to give me. I agree with you: only you can help yourself. With intelligence and persistence search online, you can find answers and insight that will help one with a health problem.

      • Sarah

        Wow you played the cards you were dealt wonderfully and won the game 👏🏼 Congratulations your clearly a winner in life.
        I admire your determination and drive. Beauty is only skin deep. You have the most beautiful soul.
        Thank you

    • wendi

      I admire your approach to testing so many treatments on yourself. you are clearly an intelligent individual, probably with some sort of scientific background. I have a similar background–one thing I’ve thought about my skin is consistently negative thoughts, always wishing I had: clear/spotless/even-toned/more tanned/less burnt/less wrinkled/less scarred, etc…blah blah blah…skin. until recently my dermatologist told me that I had: papulopustular ROSACEA! it was as if I had cursed myself into something to rue for real.
      so bravo to you for doing the hard work. I Botox myself (I’m an MD), I do the research, I refuse to take antibotics (even if my derm swears they’re “sub-antimicrobial”). and you & your site just blew me away! thank you.

      • f. c.

        Wow! I am flattered! Thank you for the kind words, especially coming from a medical doctor! 🙂

        “one thing I’ve thought about my skin is consistently negative thoughts”

        Have you read my article about sabotaging ourselves when it comes to our physical appearance? Particularly the section about emotions. I know that feeling all too well. You just have to remember it’s the people who really matter in our lives that will love us with scars and all. Looks aren’t everything. And those that disagree can f*ck off.

        “Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”—Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit

        • Carol

          OMG. Wish I found you 55 years ago. I am now a 72 yr old female. My skin problems have RUINED my life and self esteem. I was a model. That went south. But the absolute worse are the sebaceous hyperplasias. Have had laser. Electrocauterization. Accutane. So many many times. And for last 6 years i have under the skin white bumps that sometimes i can squeeze out white filmy sebum. Derm wants to do CO2 laser. Can not do that again. I cry every day and beg God to take me. My husband died. Men younger than I ask me out but i hate myself and my scarring and white bumps. Any suggestions for hyperplasias. God Bless your kindness

          • f. c.

            Your words break my heart, Carol. I’m so sorry for everything you are going through. :/ If I knew you in person I would give you a hug and offer a listening heart. From one stranger to another, I wish you health and all the best in this world. Please take care of yourself.

    • Carly

      Ok, so I have to ask. I see a curology bottle in your pile, why did you stop using it? I started curology a little over a year ago and it worked beautifully until, like an asshole, I decided to save $20 a month cuz I was clear. Well of course, it all came back. I’m currently on differin 0.1% in my 11th week and went back on my curology prescription (8% azaelic acid, 1% clindamycin, 0.25% zinc pyrithione) Differin has mostly wreaked havoc for me but I see the light at the end and am trying to give it the full 3 months. But, I find being able to chat with the dermatologist on curology to be very helpful, what did you not like about it? (I too have multiple skin issues, hormonal inflammatory acne (occasionally cystic), malassezia (sp?), PIH/PIE and KP)

    • Clara

      Wow congrats on all your hard work and perseverance. Not being confident in your own skin is a feeling so many people don’t understand and it is devastating. I am so happy for you.

    • Emily

      Are you an esthetician? Just curious..

  2. Rachel

    Can you speak about how you addressed your atrophic scarring?

    • f. c.

      If you’re referring to the red acne marks, I wrote an article about how to get rid of them which can be found here.

      As for the atrophic scars, I’ll definitely make a whole post about this in the future after I finish a lot of the other requested articles I have lined up. :p You can always subscribe to the newsletter to be the first to find out when it’s published.

      They aren’t entirely gone, but to very briefly answer your question in the meantime: dermarolling, a series of at home chemical peels (particularly glycolic), and hydration hydration hydration!

      However, I don’t recommend you try these things together (i.e. dermarolling and chemical peels) unless you absolutely know what you’re doing, which is something I will definitely be focusing on in that future article.

  3. Tatiana

    I love you. You are my hero. This has been me for the past year.

    • f. c.

      You’re too kind! Thanks for the lovely words. 🙂

      I hope things have been improving for you!

  4. Penny

    I really enjoy your writing and all the information I get from readin your posts. The improvement in your skin are very impressive. Thank you very much for documenting your research and sharing with us.

    • f. c.

      Thank you for the kind words. I’m very happy you enjoy it! 🙂

      • Georgia

        Hello, I just want to start by saying you have actually changed my life with all this information , my skin is smooth and clear and I am so grateful that your guide has made this happen!
        So I’ve been trying to find a fungal acne safe FAKE TAN for face, I have done hours of looking and non fit the ingredient criteria, I’ve searched loads of products on seiza, all contain glycerin at the least, do you have any recommendations? Would be rediculously grateful xxxx

  5. Patrick

    They all say the you are what you eat. Did you alter your nutrition habits to achieve good skin?

    By the way, thank you so much for this website. You’ve turn your ‘pain’ into a formidable strength to help others. This is very noble of you.

    God bless.

    • f. c.

      Hey, Patrick! Thank a bunch for the very kind words.

      Great question. Funny you mention that, I’m in the middle of writing a big blog post on diet and acne. Hoping to have it out very soon. EDIT: Here it is!

      But yes, I did. I’ve tried all kinds of crazy diets. Veganism, primal, FODMAP-free, low-histamine, paleo, autoimmune paleo (AIP), mediterranean etc. The one that made the biggest difference for me was AIP. It was also the hardest to do because of how restrictive it is.

      My diet isn’t nearly as strict now. I pretty much eat what I want, but still keep things pretty healthy. I mainly avoid diary and wheat. But even with those I’ll indulge every couple weeks. Ice cream, pizza, and chocholate shakes are just too good to pass up sometimes. :p

      And last but not least: probiotics! Those have helped me a ton. Not just for skin, but mental wellbeing too.

  6. Tetiana

    I am so glad I’ve found your blog! So much useful information! Thank you for all that amazing work that you are doing here! It’s really hard to find good skincare blogs with detailed reviews from a person who really understands what he/she is talking about! But now I found such blog! Best wishes! Tetiana

    • f. c.

      Awwww thanks, Tetiana! I really appreciate your lovely words. 🙂 Hope you’re having a great holiday season!

  7. Nadzirah Ruslan

    I found your blog today and i am so happy.

    I like the way u review on things/giving guides because they are comprehensive and solid. I feel like reading scientific review.

    Keep up the good job!

    • f. c.

      Haha thank you for the kind words, Nadzirah! I’m very happy you enjoy it. 🙂

  8. dip

    Hey there u r a wonderful human being helping others in their lonely battles!!! Just wanna say u a thank u???
    my only question to u is
    will vaseline really work for my pie
    cause i wanna give it a try

    • f. c.

      Hey there! Thanks for the kind words. 🙂

      The only way to find out is by patch testing and trying it yourself! Vaseline will definitely help skin retain its moisture, which for me was enough to help fade my PIE. Let me know how it goes!

    • Jacque

      I just want to add that I apply Vaseline to my face, at night before going to bed, when I have a bad case of acne and by the next morning my ache has improved by 80%. I started using Vaseline because it soothes the pain that comes with my acne.

  9. Mia

    Finally someone made this blog.
    I want to thank you for writing information about your skin condition honestly, because I need someone’s advice for my problem. As a teenager I was just fine, never having real breakouts till I’ve been no longer undergraduate student. Maybe the real life I’ve been through; or just some unexplained events triggered SD aka seborrheic dermatitis. I suffered this for about 4 years.

    That’s why I become a Korean skin care junkie. But when I tried Centella Blemish Cream to cure my acne, it got worse. I’m having fungal acne right now *I searched for my condition and found this blog through COSRX Essence*. FYI, I use COSRX Essence too, but the Hyaluronic Acid since I read in journals that somehow it can control SD.

    I read on several blogs I can’t go outdoors without sunscreen and must apply something probiotic to my face for curing fungal acne. Is it true? And what kind of treatment do you use for fungal acne and SD?

    • f. c.

      Hey, Mia! Thank you for the lovely words. 🙂

      I will be making a whole blog post on fungal acne soon. Just haven’t had the time recently after a death in my family. Rest assured I’m spending every minute of free time outside work responding to people here and via email. I’m hoping to have the blog post on fungal acne out within the week.

      As for your questions. No, sunscreen is not necessary for fungal acne. Often times it will make it worse because they contain some variation of a fatty acid that will feed malassezia. However, two sunscreens that I have found work well with SD/malassezia folliculitis are Elta MD UV Clear and CeraVe AM. In terms of probiotics, they can certainly help with an overgrowth of fungus, but more research is still required in this area for me to make recommendations.

  10. Yina

    Hello, stumbled across your website while searching for reviews.

    Really love the layout, the concise and honest content.

    Thanks for the work!

    • f. c.

      Thank you so much for the lovely words! I really appreciate it, and I’m glad you enjoy the site. 🙂

      I hope you have a great weekend!

  11. Rita


    So I have Seborrheic Dermatitis and wanted to know if these fermented ingredients will aggravate my condition: Sodium Hyaluronate and
    Xanthan Gum. They are present in Charlotte Tilbury’s cosmetics. Thank you! Your website is amazing.

    • f. c.

      Hi there, Rita!

      Sodium Hyaluronate is just a humectant and xanthan gum a preservative. Both should be completely fine for SD.

      Glad you like the site. 🙂

      • Rita

        Thank you for responding back! I hope you do a post on SD/fungal acne soon because it affects so many people and they aren’t even aware of it and are using the wrong products. In your opinion, what are the ingredients that I should avoid when I purchase products for SD/fungal acne? I remember I tried SK II (when I didn’t know that I had SD) because I heard how amazing it is and it completely aggravated my skin due to the Pitera yeast in it. You are so knowledgable and have it all down to the science so I hope you don’t mind me asking so many questions. I seriously stopped using all the crap my dermatologist gave me and have been slowly incorporating the products that you mentioned and my skin is slowly clearing up. So THANK YOU for your hard work and dedication on this site!

        • f. c.

          Ahh, so sorry it isn’t out yet. I’ve been swamped with comments across the blog. I’m actually thinking of deactivating them for a week or so I can have that post out ASAP. I’ll be honest, I’ve been putting it off because I know it’s gonna take a lot of reading, researching, and writing. But you’re totally right. I needa get it out sooner than later. Thanks for the reminder. I’ll finish up the two posts I’ve been working on the past couple days, and get started on fungal acne one.

          Ingredients to avoid (off the top of my head):
          -Yeast derivatives (e.g. galactomyces)
          -Fatty acids with carbon chain lengths 11-24 (this rules out A LOT).
          -All oils with the exception MCT.
          -Heavy occlusives (e.g. vaseline, aquaphor)

          And if you want to be extra safe esters and fatty alcohols, though this seem fine for many given that they don’t clog your skin.

  12. Emily

    Thank you for this site, by the way. Many people don’t like to remember their struggles, but you’re kind enough to show us that it won’t last forever. You must feel so much relief after going through that for years. <3

    • f. c.

      Awwww, thanks so much for the kind words! It’s no problem. 🙂

      It most definitely is a relief, but parts of me will always feel weighed down by its past. I don’t want to sound overly dramatic here, but it almost feels like PTSD sometimes hah. It was just a really bad time in my life, and I still have some minor atrophic scars I wish weren’t there but whatevs… What can you do?

      I think Skinacea said it best: “My skin is so much better now, but I still have these strange and irrational moments when I think my skin sucks.”

  13. Julia

    I was wondering if you have tried anything from The Ordinary or NIOD?
    I really enjoyed reading everything ! You’re fantastic!

    • f. c.

      Hey there, Julia! Glad you enjoy the site. 🙂

      I have not unfortunately. Sorry I can’t be of more help here, but Gothamista recently did a great overview in case you’re interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSEsLLrgHsY

  14. Brittany

    I love your blog! I am in a similar situation…only I have Rosacea, mild hormonal chin acne, and seb derm. I developed them after I began to suffer with PTSD quite severely. Skin problems can really lead to much more fear/depression and honestly they ARE traumatizing as well! Others will minimize the effects and say the emotional reaction to these issues are petty or that we are being vain but its not that simple!

    At this point I don’t fully believe my skin damage will ever heal up totally and I’m battling the depression quite hard. I have red scars everywhere and I keep getting more every time I have a flare up or react to something and it seems like i’m just watching my skin deteriorate before my eyes! (recently Vaseline or all bloody things!) It truly is a humbling experience, and just learning better coping tools has helped me to not lose the throttle and cause more flare ups from stress! Looks/ good skin really are not what is important in life…but i think not feeling like a “freak” who is stared at really makes a difference in quality of life! You wouldn’t believe how much happier I would be if I experienced the bonus of putting my skin issues in remission…or even just seeing a big improvement! I have become a bit of a shy and obsessive compulsive recluse….but your articles have given me some hope and I need that hope man! I never want to become suicidal ever again like in the past. I feel like we might be similar in personality and its been very empowering to sponge up your plethora of knowledge as I am still somewhat new to this.

    I want to be free again, and to be an adventurous person like i once was! I’m freaked out about trying new products but it might be the only way to find what works for me and i suppose mistakes/ breakouts are part of the experience as a whole???:S :)????…painful though they may be. I’m glad you have been able to reach the point you are at as well as help others! I hope to some day be where you are now.<3

    • f. c.

      Woah. This comment really hit me emotionally. You do remind me a lot of myself. If you want you can send me a PM and I’ll try my best to help you out as best I can. I know what it feels like to be in your shoes, and it’s truly one of the most painful things I’ve ever experienced. Hang in there, sh*t will get better and your skin definitely isn’t permanently damaged. Trust me on that one.

    • Vicki Rosato

      I too know only too well this terrible feeling of feeling completely downtrodden and shit about myself due to how bad my face is I suffer with bad hormonal acne. I have only just today received azaeliac cream from the ordinary and applied it 3 times today and the change already to my skin is nothing short of a bloody miracle. I don’t know if you have tried it yet but I would definitely give it a shot. I really hope and pray you find something that really helps you and makes you feel fantastic about yourself just try to hang on in there it is a long long road I know only too well I have been travelling myself for 26 years but hopefully the light is near xx

  15. Laura

    Hi there! Wow I wish I found your site sooner! As many have already commented you did such an amazing job with everything. I love the fact you have so many ‘before/during/after ” phase photos, you have detailed in depth and well researched reviews and articles, and overall honesty about your struggles I can really relate to.

    It’s so nice to see someone recommend products that actually has had serious skin issues. It’s quite disenheartening to see many reviewers promote products for acne that literally have one little pimple! I have rosacea and acne that finally shifted from moderate to fairly mild when I made the switch to kbeauty products.

    Keep up the excellent work! I wish you continued success with your skin and all the best with everything!

    • f. c.

      Awwww, thank you so much Laura! Really love comments like this. They make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I hope you have a lovely weekend! And I wish you all the best with your skin and everything, too. 🙂

  16. James

    Hey there! Currently towards the beginning of my skincare marathon. Of all the blogs I’ve been stumbling across lately, yours my favorite. Seeing the progress you’ve made is humbling and inspiring. I’m already looking to work in a couple of your holy grail products (Cosrx BHA and Benton Snail Bee essence, and I’m already using CeraVe PM ?)

    Do you have your routine documented somewhere? Specifically I’m wondering if you oil cleanse. I don’t wear any makeup but do use an oily physical sunscreen (really love the product and it’s not too greasy). When I’m doing my PM cleanse I notice water beads when wetting my face, so I’m concerned about residue. I hear great things but am a little overwhelmed on where to start…process, cleansing oil products, etc. If you have any advice or links to any resources I’d greatly appreciate it!

    • f. c.

      Hey there, James! Thanks so much for the lovely words. I really appreciate them! 🙂 I’m glad I’ve been able to help in any way.

      I don’t have my routine documented, only because it’s always changing! My routine a month ago was completely different than it is now. For whatever it’s worth, I’m currently using Differin, EltaMD AM Therapy, Laneige Water Sleeping Mask, Shark Sauce, and Vaseline. I like them all!

      In terms of oil cleaning, I actually make my own with 90% MCT oil and 10% cromollient SCE. OCM just comes down to trail and error. My advice to you would be patch test your oil of choice by using it as a moisturizer for a week or so, if all looks good try cleansing with it.

      Hope that helps! 🙂

  17. James

    Hey f.c., have you dealt with fungal acne in the past and do you have a guide written up about it?

    • f. c.

      I have indeed! And I’m in the process of finishing a super long guide about how to treat it. Should be out by the end of the week!

  18. Amelia

    You are such an effing beautiful person. Thats all.

    • f. c.

      Aghhh, staph! :p you’re gonna make me all emotional and stuff haha. Thank you very much for the lovely compliment. I really appreciate it, and I’m sure you’re a very beautiful person yourself. I’m wishing you all my best.

      • Amelia

        i dunno, but thank you!

  19. Janessa Abreu

    Hi there in one of your posts you mentioned your acne stems from fungal malassezia yeast. I kind of suspect I may have that bc sometimes my skin itches and theres a red rash looking area. How did you know for sure it was due to a fungus? and what topicals did you use any different than regular acne products (antifungals)?

    • f. c.

      Hi there, Janessa! I’m currently in the process of writing a HUGE guide on treating fungal acne. I will go over in detail there how to discern whether someone has it or not. Should be out by the end of the week! Apologies for the delay, it’s just taking waaaay more research than I would have imagined. Lots of new research in the past 2 years.

  20. Crystal Blue

    Hello! Stumbling on your blog has been a happy occurrence. Because of your detailed accounts about your skin problems, some things clicked in my head as to why I have had a particular set of problems in my middle years after decades of no problems. I never knew that yeasts could inflame my skin as well as my scalp. I wondered why I even developed a bad case of dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis, because it didn’t run in my family, and I was quite attentive to having clean bed linens and a healthy lifestyle/diet.
    It all boiled down to a simple fact: A former lover had worked in a lab, doing experiments on….yeast! We had lived together for a few years, and being the kind of guy he is, he would drop on the bed and doze off…in his uniform, which, in retrospect, was encrusted with yeast culture spills. It was particularly aggressive strain they were working on to speed up fermentation processes for soy sauce. DUH!
    It wasn’t until I took a trip to Korea 3 years ago that my problems started to take a turn for the better. I tried several Korean skincare items, including a shampoo and conditioner with oriental Hanbang herbs. A TCM clinic I visited for the fun of it waved me to a neighboring hair salon, whom slapped an interesting mash of herbs and oils into my scalp for 30 minutes with scalp massage and delivered a stern lecture to use the shampoo and rinse they gave me until it cleared…which it did, in three weeks. I then thought the Asian way might help my reddened, crusted, micro-pustule skin, and started to try things , after a facial at a well known spa in Seoul. I have had a LOT of improvement with the double cleanse method and a consistent routine, without too much drama. A green tea seed cleaning oil, or a camellia seed cleaning based oil, ricewater bright foaming cleanser, then Sulwhasoo balancing H20, 1st care serum, and emulsion., with sheet masks enriched with vitamin C, propolis, or bamboo water. I also used a gommage peel gel 1x month, and Sulwhasoo’s ginseng cream in winter.
    So…you made it all fit together for me! My problems went back in time to the initial yeast exposure, and was exacerbated by the WRONG cleansers and skin care creams. Like you, I had almost given up hope that my visage could be simply clean and clear like it used to be.
    My skin has recovered and that self-critical dialogue in my head has abated. I actually feel a peaceful relief after all these years of mental angst-rage-depression of knowing people looked at me and made negative assumptions, because of my face. A date even assumed I had been drinking already and wrote me off as alcoholic! Sayonara, idiot.
    I will be changing out my foaming cleanser for a low Ph foam cleanser, try the Laneige water sleeping pack for a summer moisturizer and adding the Benton snail bee serum, along with the COSRX BHA/Clay mask/Oil cleanse routine to clear the rest of my now-minor issues away.
    By the way…damn, you’re beautiful. ; ) See ya.

    • f. c.

      I don’t think I’ve ever had a comment make me blush this much before. Haha. Ah, geez…. thanks! ?

      I’m so happy that you were able to figure out what was causing your skin sensitivities. That’s so interesting to hear it started because of your ex who worked with yeast! How fascinating and scary at the same time haha. Now I’ll have to ask my future girlfriend if she handles microbes for a living. I’m kidding. :p

      Anyhow, thanks for the awesome comment. I love the way you write. 🙂 And the a**hole who wrote you off cause he thought you were drinking is definitely a moron. I can tell he missed out. Besides, a beer or wine every now and then is lovely thing. Cheers!

      P.S. make sure to introduce those products slowly, and one at a time. :p The enemy of good skin is even better skin.

  21. Lindsay

    I just wanted to leave a comment to let you know how much I appreciate all of your posts – they are beyond helpful and the perfect amount of scientific explanation for my English-major brain to understand! Having dealt with acne for the last 16 years, a brief stint with pityrosporum follicultis last summer, and now a seriously compromised moisture barrier top it all off, your blog has renewed my motivation and hope that I can one day have skin decent enough to leave my house without spending an hour applying makeup. Also – I find myself laughing out loud throughout your posts, so thanks for lightening up a generally depressing topic!

    • f. c.

      AHH, I missed this comment until now. I’m so sorry! Thank you for the lovely words, and hang in there. In case you haven’t seen it, the new post on fungal acne/pityrosporum follicultis is out! Feel free to check it out and ask any questions you may have. Cheers!

  22. T

    Amazing journey! 🙂 just some small questions: what is your natural skin type? Have you ever tried accutane?

    • f. c.

      Thank you! 🙂 No, I never used accutane. My skin type is combination. I get pretty oily in the t-zone area (nose and forehead), but my cheeks and chin are normal/dry and flake easily if I over do it with active ingredients like chemical exfoliants, retinoids, vitamin C (ascorbic acid) etc.

  23. Thea

    Finally something that makes sense! I actually have some hope! Thank you for putting so much into this!
    So a few months ago, from my own research, I figured out that I have Pityrosporum Folliculitis and/or which I found out today is also called Malassezia Folliculitis. I have been dealing with it for the past year (ha probably since puberty when I think about it) But it has been getting progressively worse in the last 6 months. I’m 26 years old, I have combination type skin, I almost never wear makeup, I eat healthy (80% of the time), I’m pretty active, and the only pill I take is a probiotic.
    I started using Nizoral Shampoo on my body and face for the past couple weeks and it seems to be getting worse(which I realize isn’t enough time to see results). I read your article on Malassezia (which was great) But I am just wondering if you had a specific regimen for dealing with this? There was so many options for products I don’t know where to start.
    Also I know you had mentioned the Oral Ketoconazole was not recommended but the other options I would need a prescription for. Could I use a Natural supplement like Bee Propolis Extract or Grapeseed Extract etc. and get similar results?
    Than you 🙂

    • f. c.

      No problem! Never lose hope. Trust me, things will get better!

      Hmmmmm, I don’t have a specific regimen other than what I do, but it’s probably something I should include in that post. If I were to treat pityrosporum folliculitis today, knowing all that I know now, I would probably use sulfur or stridex (BHA) as the main actives and follow it up with cerave cream or benton soothing gel (depending on how dry my skin type is). If things didn’t clear up with that after a month I would incorporate a 10 minute leave on nizoral mask every time I showered.

      • Thea

        Thank you for the advice! ? I’m going to try this and I’ll be back in a month!!!

        • Thea

          So it’s been 3 months. And I’ve been on this regime pretty consistently. It took about a month and a half and my skin was starting to look better. Not great but better. And everything was on the bright side.
          But now… it might actually be worse then it was to begin with. But I do not think it is the Malassezia acting up. I have bright red acne looking sores with barely any puss in them. But they hurt to the touch and are very profound. And they scab up if I pick at them. On my forehead, cheeks, chin, chest, shoulders, and lower back. After awhile they do stop hurting and go away. I cannot figure out what type of skin condition I have now. I think I’m just going to go to a derm, I just don’t want them to tell me something I already should know and try to perscribe something I really don’t need.

          I’ll be back again soon. 😳

  24. Sylvia

    HI im so glad ive found your blog !!!!!!!!!!!! i have a question do you think Dermamed Acne Prone skn gel will be ok for Malassezia Folliculitis / Seborrheic Dermatitis. Here is ingredients list:

    Medicinal Ingredients:
    Salicylic Acid/2-Hydroxybenzoic Acid (Arachis Hypogaea Seed) 1.5%, Aloe Vera/Aloe Vera (Leaf Gel) 8.5%, Vitamin A/Vitamin A (Cod Liver Oil) 0.5%, Vitamin E/Vitamin E (Glycine Max Seed) 0.5%.

    Non-medicinal Ingredients:
    Water, Tea Tree Essential Oil, Rose Hip Oil, Grapefruit Seed Extract

    And what light moisturizer would you suggest:)

  25. George

    Im pretty sure i have PIE. I mean i have reddish to pink marks on my face but they aren’t scars and they are on the cheeks and nowhere else. I have been using benzac 5% and even 10% and although it helps stop and clean upcoming pimples, it does not help the redness. I clean my face twice a day with warm water, a cleanser and then cold water before applying the benzac to the affected areas. I read your article about PIE and was wondering 2 questions: will it go away with time or is it permanent scarring? Do you have any advice how to reduce the redness and treat it without laser treatment before I see a dermatologist in 2 weeks?

    • f. c.

      Hey there, George? Have you read my guide on treating PIE? I think you’ll find everything you need over there.


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