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Thread: Exfoliation of malassezia biofilms with Aquaphor

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    Senior Member Tom Busby's Avatar
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    Default Exfoliation of malassezia biofilms with Aquaphor

    Yesterday I learned that malassezia grows by consuming oils or fatty acids only with carbon chain lengths of C10 to C24. See, Journal of Clinical Microbiology, May 1999, p. 1573Ė1574. Because malassezia is lipid-dependent but cannot metabolize carbon chain oils and fatty acids greater than C24, I bought 3.5 ounces of Aquaphor, because Aquaphor is 41% petrolatum, which is composed of very long carbon chains of C25 to C30.

    Aquaphor straight out of the jar is very greasy and sticky, and itís terribly insoluble in water -- the Aquaphor would not wash off the knife I dipped into the Aquaphor, even after rubbing dish soap onto the knife and rinsing it under the tap repeatedly -- so I knew Aquaphor would not wash out of my clothes or bedding, which made Aquaphor apparently useless as a daily lotion.

    However, I decided to try Aquaphor as a before shower lotion. I added 10 grams of Aquaphor to 40 grams straight Cetaphil lotion, 200 ml of distilled water, 0.4 grams Citric Acid, plus 20 ml of my home compounded 0.065% Climbazole in Cetaphil lotion. The result was a poor emulsion, even after lots of shaking, as it was clumpy, like soft cottage cheese in watery milk. Then I added 1 drop each of lemongrass oil, clary sage oil, cinnamon leaf oil and Ultrazur-G. After shaking it for about 3 minutes, there werenít any clumps and it was a reasonably good emulsion.

    I applied it to my hands. An hour later I washed my hands and noticed an excess amount of greyish matter as I rinsed my hands, which was surprising because I had washed my hands just an hour before, right before I made the new wash/lotion.

    Then I applied the Aquaphor wash/lotion to my feet. Holy smokes -- the watery lotion immediately began to exfoliate all the grey, callused skin off my heels, and more sticky greyish skin exfoliated everywhere else off my feet. In a couple of minutes the sink and my fingernails had a sticky covering of dead skin flakes. Then I washed my feet with my usual 0.4% Climbazole in Dove body wash. In less than 10 minutes, the thick heel calluses were washed off.

    What I call ďcallusesĒ were not really like a normal callus, more like a hard, non-elastic area of skin, with a slightly grainy grey and white surface -- probably a malassezia biofilm with a lot of keratin mixed in. Iíve had them on my feet for longer than I can remember.

    My normal hygiene is to shower once a day. Moreover, in the past three months Iíve been meticulously washing my feet with a soft brush every 5 to 10 days, and all the other ingredients in the Aquaphor wash/lotion have been part of my routine-hygiene for the last six months. As a result, I have no doubt that exfoliation of malassezia skin films requires a small amount of oil with a very long carbon chain like petrolatum or Aquaphor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Busby View Post
    What I call ďcallusesĒ were not really like a normal callus, more like a hard, non-elastic area of skin, with a slightly grainy grey and white surface -- probably a malassezia biofilm with a lot of keratin mixed in. Iíve had them on my feet for longer than I can remember.
    The idea of a 'malassezia biofilm with a lot of keratin' interests me.

    There is no doubt that I have seborrheic dermatitis but I also have small plaques of something hard and waxy that appear behind my ears, in the creases under my boobs and on my legs. If I'm soaking in the bath I can scratch them off. Or I attack them with my loofah and exfoliating gloves in the shower. I'm pretty sure they're made of keratin but don't look anything like classic KP.

    My derm prescribed Retin A cream which didn't have any effect, except a negative one on my bank balance. I have now bought some Aloe Vera gel to apply before bathing and I will investigate the Aquaphor too.

    Wouldn't it be terrific if we could concoct a lotion that killed and removed this horrible malassezia yeast forever? And how on earth does it infect us in the first place? I wonder.

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    Senior Member Tom Busby's Avatar
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    Malassezia makes a little protective biofilm by using the protein, oils, and sugars it derives from skin cells. This results in the skin plaques that are visible. The visible redness is an inflammatory response, but the inflammation by itself doesn't heal anything because of the biofilm.

    I have the same type of skin plaques you described except not under my breasts. You probably have plaques on your scalp too that are not visible, but you'll discover them after you use a Climbazole shampoo.

    Ketoconazole and Climbazole slowly dissolve the fungal cell walls but the process is greatly slowed by the biofilm. The treatment is very slow but it does work. In my case, it took 8 months of 2% to 1% ketoconazole cream and lotion to dissolve all the skin plaques on my face. My eyebrows were the last place to heal, just last week actually. Redness and inflammation recede as the skin plaques flake off.

    All mammals normally have malassezia on their skin, but only some individual mammals have a reaction to it. It isn't an infection, it's an immune system deficiency, or it's simply a yeast cell that evolved a long time ago and before humans even existed, in a way that allows it to tinker with the host's immune system and avoid detection.

    Doctors aren't taught in medical school to test for malassezia and they say it's commensal, which means everyone has it, so it's widely ignored by doctors. Oddly, all veterinarians are taught in vet school to do a quick tape test for it, and to scrape the plaques with a scalpel, and look at the result under a microscope at 100X on a KOH stained slide. (My vet friends say this once again proves that if there's ever a zombie apocalypse, youíre better off having vet friends than doctor friends. For example, Retin A cream for malassezia?? That doc will be toast after the first zombie rambles anywhere near him. Haha.)

    In the shower, every day, I use a compounded 0.4% climbazole body wash at 5.5 pH, and a normal pH 0.5% climbazole hair shampoo. I compound a 0.065% climbazole lotion to a pH of 4.5.

    Every other day for 4 weeks, I applied Aloe Vera about an hour before I showered, which is a fair test, and yet I found the new lotion/wash with Aquaphor is 10 times better. Usually I test something for 4 weeks, but the Aquaphor wash had immediate results.

    Climbazole 1.5%, 1.0% or 0.5% shampoo is non-prescription everywhere and is made by Hegor in France and is available in the US only on eBay. I don't know about its availability in the UK. Check with your local UK chemist who might be able to mail order it from France more quickly than you can. If you order it on eBay it will ship from Bulgaria and this takes 4 weeks in the mail. If you use Hegor as a body wash, add salicylic acid at 0.5% and citric acid at 0.08% to lower the pH to 5.5. Climbazole becomes much more effective at a low pH.

    You might be able to ask compounding chemist in the UK to make a 0.065% Climbazole lotion, which is non-prescription and authorized by the EU's SCCA's reports. There are three SCCA reports about Climbazole, and your chemist will need to read them all to determine that an all over Climbazole body lotion should be compounded to 0.065%. The wholesale price of Climbazole is only $45 for 25 grams, which will make a lot of shampoo and lotion. If you try the compounding route, please tell me how it works out. I would like to know how compounding works in the UK.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Busby View Post
    All mammals normally have malassezia on their skin, but only some individual mammals have a reaction to it. It isn't an infection, it's an immune system deficiency, or it's simply a yeast cell that evolved a long time ago and before humans even existed, in a way that allows it to tinker with the host's immune system and avoid detection.
    Is there anything I can do from within to improve my immune system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Busby View Post
    (My vet friends say this once again proves that if there's ever a zombie apocalypse, youíre better off having vet friends than doctor friends. For example, Retin A cream for malassezia?? That doc will be toast after the first zombie rambles anywhere near him. Haha.)
    Yes, vets seem a lot more open minded. Although I think my derm gave me Retin A out of desperation. At first Nizoral (Ketoconazole) worked very well then it gradually became ineffective. (Malassezia is so crafty). Now I find honey to be the best solution but sometimes I get complacent when things look OK and I don't apply it regularly enough.


    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Busby View Post
    Every other day for 4 weeks, I applied Aloe Vera about an hour before I showered, which is a fair test, and yet I found the new lotion/wash with Aquaphor is 10 times better.
    I will definitely try Aquaphor on my legs and torso. Sometimes the little keratin plaques are hard to dislodge.

    Many thanks for all this information, Tom, it's really illuminating.

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    Senior Member Tom Busby's Avatar
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    Ketoconazole doesn't actually lose effectiveness -- it's just not very effective in the first place. My opinion is based in part on my own experience and in part on a medical research article that I read recently, but can't find right now, that tested for whether malasezia could attain a resistance to ketoconazole, and they found it didn't.

    Switch from ketoconazole to climbazole. Climbazole really works, slowly, but surely. I still use ketoconazole lotion on my face because climbazole is poisonous if ingested. You'd have to ingest quite a lot of climbazole, but I didn't want to take the chance -- the skin around the eyes and lips is thin and absorbs things quickly.

    For example, a couple months ago, after using a climbazole shampoo for 3 months, I tried a ketoconazole shampoo on my hair for a month, but had to switch back to climbazole shampoo because I wasn't making any progress.

    I don't know of any way to change the immune system response. Medical research is looking into this, in reference to malassezia and DNA genome sequencing, but they haven't found anything that works. As far as diet goes, all mammals can have a deficient immune response to malassezia, and yet all mammals have widely varied diets. To me, diet doesn't add up to anything for malassezia, but if it works for someone else, hurray!

    While talking to a vet about this about 3 months ago, I also learned that this yeast is pronounced as if it were spelled Mala see' zee a. I thought you'd like to know, only because I had previously been pronouncing it differently.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Busby View Post
    Ketoconazole doesn't actually lose effectiveness -- it's just not very effective in the first place.
    Haha. I guess it was just wishful thinking on my part having paid so much money to my derm.

    Although I have to say, the honey treatment works astoundingly well for me. I have recently had a horrible outbreak of seb derm on my face and torso (together with the keratin patches I mentioned behind my ears etc.) and after 3 weeks it has almost gone. I really had to scrub away with the loofah to exfoliate these plaques from my back and chest and they left horrible red marks. But now they are fading and my skin is almost clear. I just need to remember to keep the honey treatment going i.e. cleanse with it daily and do a monthly mask. Oddly, I don't seem to have much of a problem with my scalp as long as I keep away from shampoo with Cocamidopropyl Betaine.

    I'll certainly add Climbazole and Aquaphor to my arsenal and thanks for the heads-up about the pronunciation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Busby;285134
    I don't know of any way to change the immune system response. Medical research is looking into this, in reference to [I
    malassezia[/I] and DNA genome sequencing, but they haven't found anything that works. As far as diet goes, all mammals can have a deficient immune response to malassezia, and yet all mammals have widely varied diets. To me, diet doesn't add up to anything for malassezia, but if it works for someone else, hurray!
    It's interesting because sugar and carbs seem to make things worse for me, but it's not necessarily an immediate change. The yeast seems to be use fats as a source, but does it use sugar in a similar way as well.?

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    Senior Member Tom Busby's Avatar
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    Hi Benjamin:

    Yes, malassezia metabolizes sugar, or polysaccharides, on the surface of the skin, but this yeast is unique in the fungi Kingdom because it also requires oil for its metabolism. In medical literature the description is lipid-dependent. No other fungi is lipid-dependent.

    I believe that diet having no effect on malassezia can be demonstrated the fact that there are thousands of mammal species and they eat many different kinds of diets -- some mammals are herbivores, many are omnivores like us, and some are carnivores.

    Also, I believe that the skin would be dead or at least very unhealthy if anyone could change their diet enough to eliminate significant amounts of oil and polysaccharides from the skin.

    In my experience temperature change has the largest effect on malassezia inflammation, and diet has no effect, but that's just my experience and my opinion. If diet works for you, thatís great.

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    Oh, I forgot to mention, the exact moment when I stopped worrying about diet and malassezia was when I discovered that sea lions also have dermatitis caused by malassezia: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10993190 ; www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9569500

    Sea lions are pure carnivores and do not eat any carbs or sugars per se in their diets: http://www.seaworld.org/animal-info/...-lion/diet.htm

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Busby View Post
    Oh, I forgot to mention, the exact moment when I stopped worrying about diet and malassezia was when I discovered that sea lions also have dermatitis caused by malassezia: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10993190 ; www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9569500

    Sea lions are pure carnivores and do not eat any carbs or sugars per se in their diets: http://www.seaworld.org/animal-info/...-lion/diet.htm
    I agreed the typical yeast diet does not work for everyone. However I am following My doctors advice on this as he is the only one that has offered assistance with this mess. I think the purpose of the diet is not just to cut sugar/carbs because as you go along and heal the gut flora you slowly add these back into your diet. I think the diet's purpose in my case is to restore back to the natural gut flora which has bacteria/yeast but a normal balance. I'm sure my bad habit of drinking a few coke's a day and the ton's of anibotics and other things really screwed my gut/flora up for years. I'm paying big for all of it.

    P.S. I don't know crap about sea lion diets or gut/skin flora but wonder if the ph balance of the water and/or food changes with all the ocean changes due to what ever climate change or ma made pollution is the cause? Or have they always had yeast on the skin?

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