Treating my “suspected” tinea veriscolor infection. At this point, I have talked about the spots I found on my skin which I felt the evidence was suggesting I had tinea versicolor. So I began my journey of trying to find out how I could eliminate this (if I even had it).
NOTE: I am not a doctor and this post is simply sharing my experience in trying a treatment. This may not be safe for pregnant women, young children, or others with certain medical conditions. Talk to a doctor before trying this. Also, make sure to read how this turned out for me.
How to Treat Tinea Versicolor
As I browsed various medical websites, 2 main treatment options seemed to be the mainstream way to treat tinea versicolor.
- Topical Therapy–This involves using a solution on the body (either Selenium Sulfide or Ketoconazole).
- Oral Therapy–This involves taking an anti-fungal therapy by mouth (prescription needed).
After reading various stories, and looking at our own forum, I decided I would try the topical therapy. Most people seemed to indicate that this works very effectively, and that most doctors prescribe this first anyway (unless there is an extreme case).
The selenium sulfide is found in most anti-dandruff shampoos, such as Selsun Blue. That is sold over the counter in the 1% strength (although 2.5% strength is often prescribed for this condition). Some forums online acted as though the 1% worked fine in treating the condition.
Since this was a relatively inexpensive way to treat it, and because it seemed relatively safe (after all, Selsun Blue has been on the market for years), I decided to try it.
I actually bought the Walmart generic version (called “Dandruff shampoo”) because it was only $3.99. It had the same chemical in it, in the same quantity/percentage.
Also, since Vitamin D deficiency seems to play a role in increasing your chances of getting this condition, I decided to supplement again. I started taking vitamin d supplementation, since I still have not been able to get consistent sun exposure (and it has been very sporadic). So that was my 1-2 treatment plan.
How to Treat Tinea Versicolor with Selsun Blue or Selenium Sulfide Shampoo
The articles online varied in how to do this. Most said to apply the lotion over the whole body (keeping it away from private parts, or sensitive areas), and to keep it on for 10 minutes. Then, the person should take a shower and wash it off. Other articles suggested that people leave this on overnight, and then wash it off in the morning.
So I decided to apply this to my body and leave it on for around 1 hour, and then I would rinse it off. So I did it. My wife was laughing and laughing at me. She called me everything from smurf, to the Incredible Hulk, to an alien. She was doing it only jokingly, of course, and I was laughing along with her because I fully knew I looked absurd.
I thought I’d post this picture for laughs (hey, what can I say, the entertainment here is free….)
Here is a picture of me with the selenium sulfide shampoo smeared on my body:
See, I look just like the Incredible Hulk (minus about 250 pounds of beefy muscle).
What Was the Treatment Like? How Does it Feel?
First, I might warn you that the stuff does slightly burn (or at least it did for me). It wasn’t a painful burn, but it did burn a bit at first. Also, it doesn’t exactly smell wonderful, but at the same time, didn’t stink either (in my opinion).
Also, it is VERY messy. So I would only do this in an area where you can make a mess. Don’t touch anything, or get this on your clothes!
Next, it actually does wash off very easily. I was a bit worried that my skin may have a slight greenish-blue “tint” to it. It didn’t. It washed off and lathered off very easily, even after keeping in on my skin for an hour. I didn’t use soap the first few times, because I wanted to keep my skin very “sulfide-ish.” However, I eventually did use soap. I also didn’t use lotion after the shower, but I did have to start using it because my skin got massively dry.
So I did this treatment for a few days. I applied it over my whole body, including my legs, arms, torso, and face. I did NOT apply it to my private areas, and I did NOT put it on my scalp (although I did wash my hair with it). Some sites suggest not putting it on your face. I did, but it may not work for you, so watch out.
It made my skin feel different. Like it wasn’t as sensitive or something. It felt interesting. It felt as if it may even be working.
A Few More Warnings and Tips On Using This:
Selenium Sulfide shampoo does have a few side effects (especially when you rub the stuff on your whole body), so I want to warn you of those. Mostly they include this:
- It could lead to hair-loss–This wasn’t an issue for me. I didn’t apply it to my hair, except for briefly washing it in the shower. But it does say on the web that this could be a side effect. So watch out for that one. I only used it on my scalp about 2 times during the week. Again, it didn’t seem to do anything at all to my hair (and actually made it feel thicker because it leaves it feeling very dry and thick).
- It Dries the Skin–After only a day or two, my skin started to feel very dry. It had some dry scaly areas. So I had to start putting lotion on immediately after each shower.
- It Does Slightly Burn–It slightly burned my skin while it was on, but it usually only lasted a few minutes. However, it could potentially burn worse for other people.
- My Have Other Health Risks–If you are pregnant, on a lot of medications, have skin wounds, or any other condition, you may want to avoid this completely. It can cause serious health risks, so please don’t use this stuff unless your doctor says it is safe for you specifically to use it. Please.
- There May be More–And there may be other side effects or risks I haven’t mentioned, but that is all I am aware of. You can google side effects yourself to see if anything new is out there. Again, please don’t try my crazy experiments without talking to a doctor first.
Did This Treatment Even Work? Did I Even Have Tinea Versicolor?
It has been slightly over 1 week since I have done this. Unfortunately, it does NOT seem to be working. Bummer.
Yesterday, I went to my mother’s house, and I noticed my nephew also has a few lighter areas of pigment spots on his back, yet he doesn’t have tinea versicolor OR cholinergic urticaria. My mom also had a few areas of pigmentation “dots.” These are very similar (especially my nephew’s) to what my back looked like. I know it isn’t vitiligo, but it does seem to be areas of lighter pigmentation, and it was NOT tinea versicolor.
I had thought I had been much less sensitive, however, yesterday it was very warm and sunny. I did have regular attacks all day, which was very discouraging. It had felt as it I was less sensitive and the stuff was working.
I do think it was worth the try because I had many symptoms which lead me to believe it was possible I had tinea versicolor, the treatment seemed safe to try, and it was very inexpensive and easy. So I tried, and it didn’t work. Oh well.
This leads me to conclude the following:
- I didn’t have tinea versicolor, even though many of the symptoms matched
- Tinea Versicolor is not responsible for all Cholinergic Urticaria symptoms (although it may be responsible in some cases for the similar CU symptoms)
- I only had a few dots of lighter pigmentation on my skin (which honestly are NOT very noticeable).
- The treatment isn’t working, and at this point, I am not sure if I will continue with the selenium sulfide.
- I am going to continue with the Vitamin D for a while, simply because it makes me feel better, I rarely get sun exposure, and at least one person on the cholinergic urticaria forum said their symptoms went away a few months after trying (which could be a coincidence, or maybe not). So I will continue my vitamin d for at least another month, and once it is sunny and warm, I will stop taking it. Again, always be careful and never take high doses of Vitamin D without testing your levels, the stuff can kill you at high doses.
A Few Final Thoughts on Tinea Versicolor & This Experiment
I will definitely give an update in a few days once I am done with everything to let you know how it worked out. I wanted to write this post for the reasons outlined below:
- I wanted to share my experiment so you can know what I have been up to (and whether it worked)
- I wanted to share my reasoning on why I thought perhaps I did indeed have a tinea versicolor infection.
- I wanted to share my experience with Selenium Sulfide, in case anyone who actually DOES have tinea versicolor can know what to expect.
- I suspect some people may get the “itch when hot” problem at some point, and it may actually be treatable for them (if the tinea versicolor is the problem, and it isn’t Cholinergic Urticaria).
- Some on the forum have apparently had this condition, and so I wanted to share my experience in case anyone else gets it.
Okay, so I don’t think all people with Cholinergic Urticaria have tinea versicolor, nor do all people with tinea versicolor get Cholinergic Urticaria. You may want to look up the symptoms, and if you ever have a lot of symptoms that you feel you may have this, you can always go to the doctor to get tested.
So I am back to square one at this point. I will keep taking my Vitamin D for another month or two, but I don’t expect a cure from that alone. I will stop taking that once I get outside regularly.
I will also try to maintain a positive attitude (even though it was very disappointing), and I will move on and try to accept this condition and long for the day it goes away.
I hope you enjoyed reading my recent experience. Sorry to keep you on a cliff-hanger =).