Let's talk about fungus


It’s such a relief to know I’m not alone in the struggle with these things. I started getting them a little over three years ago. They were particularly horrible for the first year until I found a way to treat them that mostly keeps them at bay. At one point, I was getting 2-3 of them a week and was completely miserable. My treatment: washing my face every day with Selsun Blue (selenium sulfide). It’s worked pretty well for around two years, but sometimes I still get them. My guess is that my version of this disease is mostly fungal-related. I also wonder if it’s demodex mite-related, in which case I think the Selsun Blue may be killing off the yeast the mites feed off of or something. Or it’s possible that the sulfur component of the Selsun Blue helps get rid of the mites, as I’ve read that sulfur can do this. This is all speculation, though.

Before I discovered the Selsun Blue treatment, I visited at least ten different doctors and was diagnosed with rosacea and impetigo multiple times. No one ever tested my skin for bacteria, fungus, or mites. Here are some of the things I tried to treat the oozing yellow crusts:

  • Bactroban ointment
  • Clindamycin
  • Several rounds of oral antibiotics (I don’t remember which ones)
  • Manuka honey applied topically (I was even putting it inside my nose for a while when I thought bacteria was causing these)
  • Tea tree oil
  • Neosporin
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Apple Cider Vinegar, which caused me to have horrible outbreaks of the oozing yellow crusts

None of these things worked. I stumbled upon a forum I can’t find the link to now about how a similar condition was caused by fungus, so I went out and bought some ringworm cream and Selsun Blue. Within a week or so, my skin completely cleared, and I went from having a few of the crusts pop up every week to having them pop up every three months or so. (I don’t use the ringworm cream anymore, as I found the Selsun Blue worked well on its own).

About two years before I started getting these weird things, I had blepharitis, which included many of the symptoms other posters in this forum have noted. I went to a doctor who prescribed ketoconazole shampoo (also an anti-fungal) to treat it. I used the shampoo as a eyelid scrub for a couple of weeks and have rarely had issues with blepharitis since then. I think it’s interesting that other posters have experienced both the oozing yellow crusts and blepharitis. There has to be some kind of connection between the two!!

I’ve also noticed that I’m about 10 times more likely to get them if I eat a lot of sweets, so I try to avoid dessert as much as possible. Other than that, I haven’t been able to identify any food triggers. Stress also seems to be a potential factor.

I found this forum because I’ve had two oozing yellow crusts this month, which is a lot more than I typically have, and I’m terrified the Selsun Blue isn’t working anymore/maybe never worked and the oozing yellow crusts just subsided for a while. I sure wish I had known this forum existed three years ago when I first got this condition. I would have felt a lot less helplessly alone.

Anyway, what do you guys think about the connection between fungus and this condition? Have you tried any anti-fungal remedies? Has anyone else had success with selenium sulfide?


I should also note that I typically leave the Selsun Blue on my face for five minutes or so and wash with cold water. I noticed as soon as I started getting the crusts that hot water irritated them.


Welcome here :slight_smile:

In my case, I don’t think it’s fungal. I have used oral itraconazole for 3 months to rule out the possibility of ringworm, but without effect.

Demodex mites feed from sebum. I haven’t seen info about them eating yeast. But things can be complex, indeed, for example: the presence of one microorganism (for example a certain type of bacteria) may cause other types of bacteria (for example staph) to go to war with them (fighting for resources), causing them to release toxins that can cause all kinds of skin lesions.

http://www.livestrong.com/article/293161-selenium-sulfide-for-acne/ says about Selenium sulfide:

[quote]Selenium sulfide is an antifungal agent found in shampoos intended for dandruff treatment, according to the website Drugs.com. It prevents fungus from growing on your skin, and may also have some antibacterial properties. Selenium sulfide also contains sulfur, which has been used for years to treat acne.
Sulfur works to treat acne by causing your skin to peel, which can help loosen and clear the blockages that cause pimples, according to Drugs.com. To use selenium sulfide for acne, you should wash your face and any other affected skin for 10 to 20 seconds with the medicated lotion, according to the University of Virginia.
So selenium sulfide may also be causing positive effects via other mechanisms then it’s antifungal properties.

When I have breakout, I also often think it’s food related, although I don’t know exactly what it is. Sometimes I suspect:

  • Not drinking enough water
  • Spicy/hot food
  • Sugar rich food
  • Tomato?

I did try a sulfur ointment (from De La Cruz) (at the same time with neem oil and some other things), and got a breakout. I suspects that it was because of the sulfur ointment, but not sure. So I stopped using it. I’m also not sure if it’s comparable to selenium sulfide, but they probably do have comparable properties.
Note that in the demodex theory, a breakout may also be a temporary mite die-off phase, which makes the decision to continue extra difficult.

Maybe I should also give selenium sulfide a try.

I’m currently using Soolantra (a cream), and it seems to work well. My skin probably the best in 2.5 years. I still get new lesions, but they are smaller and don’t ooze as they did before.


What’s the current status of your skin?


Want to add I tried ketokonazole shampoo in the past and it didn’t do anything, while it was ultra effective on a tropical fungus I caught during a trip.

Food might play a role but is not likely the cause.


Ketoconazole on the face or scalp only? I have used on the scalp, but not as a daily shampoo. Not sure if it did anything.
Note, that some shampoo’s may contain an ingredient (glyceryl oleate/glycerin mono-oleate) that may promote certain fungi. (My daily shampoo does…) http://www.rosaceagroup.org/The_Rosacea_Forum/showthread.php?34326-Shampoos-containing-Climbazole&p=317800&viewfull=1#post317800

Btw, did that tropical fungus occur before or after your first oozing yellow crust problems?


I’m sure I already had lesions before my trip but very rarely. Moreover that fungus is very common and is mainly located on the back/shoulders making your skin peel. As far as I know it would have nothing to do with oosing lesions. And yes I tried the shampoo on my face (leave it like that for 7 min etc) and nothing changed.


Hi Tso,

Since I last wrote, I continued using the Selsun Blue with some success. I was still getting a few oozing yellow crusts ever couple of weeks, though. I recently invested in some sulfur soap and some neem soap, which I’ve been using on my face for the past couple of days – without any eruptions yet.

I settled on these two types of soaps based on research on getting rid of demodex mites, which I now think are the culprit instead of fungus. I’m crossing my fingers, and I’ll let you know how it goes.

If these soaps don’t do the trick, I’m seriously considering asking my doctor to try out Soolantra. Do you still recommend it as a treatment option?

Looking forward to hearing from you, and let’s get rid of these things for good!


Does anyone have a recommendation for a certain brand of sulfur soap?


I go to Walmart. They sell a 2 pack of sulfur soap in the Hispanic section. Costs maybe $8 max for two big bars that last forever. Your face will smell like match sticks for a minute, but it fades. Go onto walmart.com and search sulfur soap, and you’ll see many of the options that they sell at the store itself.


Getting new crusts every couple of weeks makes testing very difficult. In my case I was getting them on daily basis (about 1 per 2-3 days, usually small, sometimes large). But I do think that you may detect/see them more often when using a bright white led flashlight. In my case, small ones are difficult to spot under normal bathroom lighting conditions, the color of the lesion often doesn’t contrast enough to clearly see them, but when using a bright led light, I see them immediately.

I have experience with both sulfur soap and (pure) neem oil. I was using these:

I used this combination and shortly (few days to a week?) after starting it, I got a breakout that made me quit using these. Note that a breakout may actually be a sign of healing, but it may also be a sign of worsening. The breakout could also be by chance, so I can’t make any hard conclusions out of this experience. If I had to guess, I would suspect the sulphur products to be the cause of the breakouts, I got the breakout after increasing the use of the Sulfur Ointment, I think. Maybe I used it too much, because the Sulfur Ointment may also give a scrub effect.

When it comes to practicality, neem oil and sulfur ointment aren’t fun. Sulphur has a rotten egg smell, especially the ointment, and this smell is difficult to get off. I have also used ZZ-Cream before (also a sulphur based product), and it’s smell got in my bedding sheets, and I could smell on my sheets even after the first couple of high temperature washes.

The smell of neem oil is even worse. (Neem soap is probably a lot milder.) Neem oil is very sticky and water-resistant, difficult to wash off the skin. And the taste is very bad, when it reaches my lips. Also, there hardly is any scientific backup to support the use of neem oil. Those that support/promote neem oil simply say that demodex doesn’t like neem oil, I can understand why…

About Soolantra, yes, I can still recommended it. In my case, it gave quick results and it’s easy to use (no bad smell etc). There is some concern that Soolantra is simply suppressing the lesions by it’s anti inflammatory properties, but in my case, when stopping with it, the results seem to last longer than I would expect from only anti inflammatory. Although in my case I can’t make good conclusions, because it was recent, and I also recently used oral anti-biotics due to a bad throat infection, which also seem to have improved my skin. (Although I suspect the throat infection wasn’t bacterial but glandular fever/infectious mononucleosis.)

The current best known treatment for this disease can be found here: