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Thread: Benzyl Benzoate is Working Where All Else Has Failed

  1. #11
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    Hey Sejon, I would say that the oiliness of my skin has normalised to the point where what used to cause me a great deal of self-consciousness no longer does. I now wipe my face maybe a couple of times a day.

    I was quite surprised that I no longer had this greasiness because topicals like antifungal creams and zz cream would not get rid of it. Applying topicals the evening before would also somehow make my face look a lot greasier during the day, almost as if I could never fully wash them off in the morning. Furthermore, I was much better off never applying any sort of moisturiser to my face, regardless if it was malassezia safe or not, because they would never sink in, leaving my skin much greasier.

    For these reasons I suspect it might have been a skin barrier issue, but demodex may also play its part. I believe this is the case because I've also had periods where I've done very little to my skin in the hope of allowing it to repair itself yet the greasiness still remained. I also say demodex instead of malassezia because BB doesn't seem to do a whole lot when its come to the flaking of the typical seb derm areas of my face like the nose creases, inner eyebrows and moustache/beard areas.

    So what I think it comes down to is finding a way to treat demodex in the most gentle way possible, especially when it comes to people like me and you who really did a number on our skin with the overuse of benzoyl peroxide. For example, I've used zz cream before and while it was effective I think that it eventually resulted in a case of 2 steps forward, 1 step back. Any product that contains 10% sulphur, menthol, boric acid and salicylic acid is always going to be harsh on the skin, although maybe I was applying it too liberally.

  2. #12
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    Thanks for the thorough response. One of the reasons your case piques my interest is because our situations are quite similar, having both dealt with a "hyperseborrhea" problem likely due to our histories with benzoyl peroxide overuse.

    A little over a year ago I had diagnosed myself as having "dehydrated" skin, which is a condition that can be brought about by regular use of harsh products (most notably benzoyl peroxide, retinoids, and harsh cleansers). It's often associated with sebum over-production, but the main telling point for me was the tactile texture of the skin on my face -- if I rubbed against it with my finger, I felt this kind of dry traction to it (somewhat like rubbing against sticky glass), whereas if I rubbed my finger against skin anywhere else it would just glide over. My facial skin just did not feel "supple" as compared to the rest of my skin. I also often felt these sensations of tightness on my face, particularly on my upper cheeks. "Dehydrated" (i.e. lacking moisture, as opposed to lacking oil) was absolutely the best way to describe it.

    This revelation spurred me to completely re-examine my approach and adopt a regimen that strictly focused on skin barrier repair. I axed any harsh products from my routine (Differin being the main culprit at the time) and looked for ones that contained ingredients proven to help restore the skin barrier, particularly any that contained generous amounts of urea, which I think is one of the most helpful to treat this condition. After following this regimen for several months, I found that my skin was very gradually feeling less tight -- the process was slow but there was indeed progress. Now when I rub it with my finger it feels much more like normal, supple skin, without that worrisome traction to it. However, despite all this improvement it still over-produces oil, which for me was a big disappointment, since I thought this would have resolved itself when I treated the dehydration.

    In a nutshell, simply being gentle to my skin hasn't fixed the greasiness problem either (even though it's certainly fixed others), so I was always wondering what might be the missing piece to the puzzle. I'll take note, since, given our similar histories, it doesn't seem such a far stretch that something that has worked for you might work for me.

  3. #13
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    Sejon and Nick_1, reading your posts really reasonated with me. I too previously used benzoyl peroxide to treat acne, twice a day for a few years. My face was slightly oily before using BP but now my skin is ridiculously oily! I also think I developed a malassezia problem due to bp damaging my barrier. Although, Iím not too sure if I have a demodex problem due to my main concerns being flaking whenever I rub my face, scalp dandruff, and closed comedones scattered all over my face (what I presume to be malassezia follucilitis but canít be sure)

    Climbazole and sulfur havenít worked for me (possible because sulfur was too irritating on my already weak skin barrier).
    Iím currently trying hypochlorous acid (antifungal properties plus Iíve heard it can kill demodex although Iím not sure), afterwards Iíll have to consider benzoyl benzoate. Thanks for sharing your experience

    The oiliness is very frustrating as it highlights the bumpiness of my skin, plus the constant need to blot
    Iíve always wondered if the excess oil could be causing my skin conditions or if it were the other way round

  4. #14
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    So I've incorporated climbazole for the past 10 days with some confusion. The mix was 6 teaspoons of C8 MCT Oil, 3 teaspoons of Hada Labo lotion, 1 teaspoon of BB and climbazole that amounted to about 0.5%.

    The first few days were going very well but now I can't figure out if my skin is getting worse before it gets better or if it's just getting irritated. Like every other antifungal I've used, the flaking in the typical seb derm areas was resolved very quickly. My skin at the moment feels tight and has small papules very close to my lips and jawline (more on the lower cheeks). I don't associate this breakout with demodex because I've been using BB in one form or the other for around 70 days and die off never looked like this. In fact, I'm fairly sure demodex is no longer an issue because I haven't broken out like I used to for a couple of weeks now. The bumps kind of remind me of the times I've used Stridex and azelaic acid. I've also started using HMW hyaluronic acid, which appears to be an excellent ingredient, and is unlikely to be the cause.


    I'm not really sure what the best way forward would now be. I'm going on holiday on Saturday, so not a great time for this to happen. I will stop using anything other that hyaluronic acid to give my skin a chance to calm down and heal a bit while I'm away and see if demodex comes back. Maybe I'll try hypochlorous acid too.

    What has everyone else's experience been using climbazole?
    Last edited by Nick_1; 27th September 2018 at 12:24 PM.

  5. #15
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    I used Tom's climbazole lotion for a very short time, it really soothed my skin and alleviated the itchiness. I think that your homemade lotion can be irritating, maybe it would be helpful for you to ask Tom Busby, he knows a great deal about the matter.

  6. #16
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    It looks like the only thing you've changed in your routine is adding the C8 oil and climbazole. The latter might cause some increased flaking (following the rule that Malassezia symptoms can worsen at first when using an antifungal), but it shouldn't really cause an eruption of papules. I'd wager that the culprit is the C8 oil, which I notice you're using quite a lot of. For some people, even the "lighter" oils can clog pores. A similar thing happened to me each time I tried using squalane oil -- which so many people claim is non-comedogenic, yet for me it always resulted in a bunch of whiteheads and papules. I even tried using it exclusively as a lip balm, which worked great to moisturise my lips, but resulted in whiteheads around my mouth.

  7. #17
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    Thanks for your input Maria and Sejon. I thought you might have been onto something when you mentioned mct oil, but I checked my order history and mct oil was delivered on the 10th of September and climbazole a week later. So unless there was quite a delayed reaction I don't think mct oil is the culprit.

    Breakouts have been around the mouth, above the outer third of my eyebrow, under my eye, top left of my nose and the lower left of my cheek.

    I think it comes down to one of the following:

    1. Skin irritation

    2. Malassezia die off

    3. Another round of demodex die off

    4. BB has stopped working

    Tom Busby, if you're reading this I saw that you mentioned something about seb derm being about excess keratin and the Japanese having a different view on this than others. Do you think hyaluronic acid alone would be enough to stop malassezia instead of using an antifungal? I've used hmw hyaluronic acid for a couple of weeks and have already noticed a difference in the overall texture of my skin. I don't think there would possibly be a gentler way of treating the skin than using hypochlorous acid for demodex and HA for seb derm.

  8. #18
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    It's funny you mention this reappearance of breakouts and suspect the BB has stopped working, because I'm about 65 days into my ZZ cream trial (faithfully using it every other night) and have been experiencing a sudden reappearance of breakouts also, particularly an itchy rash-like cluster of little whiteheads below the left corner of my mouth. The ZZ cream had mostly kept me pimple-free so this apparent setback seems disappointing. However, I'm considering it quite plausible that people greatly underestimate how long it can take to fully treat a demodex-related condition, and that probably a minimum timeframe of 6 months is more realistic than the oft-cited 3 months, so I'm just soldiering on. I find that more plausible than the idea that an acaricidal somehow just stops working -- the development of resistance isn't an issue here the way it is with bacteria.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by sejon View Post
    It's funny you mention this reappearance of breakouts and suspect the BB has stopped working, because I'm about 65 days into my ZZ cream trial (faithfully using it every other night) and have been experiencing a sudden reappearance of breakouts also, particularly an itchy rash-like cluster of little whiteheads below the left corner of my mouth. The ZZ cream had mostly kept me pimple-free so this apparent setback seems disappointing. However, I'm considering it quite plausible that people greatly underestimate how long it can take to fully treat a demodex-related condition, and that probably a minimum timeframe of 6 months is more realistic than the oft-cited 3 months, so I'm just soldiering on. I find that more plausible than the idea that an acaricidal somehow just stops working -- the development of resistance isn't an issue here the way it is with bacteria.
    Sejon, you may be interested in my experience with soolantra (the most recent 3 or 4 pages of the huge thread). To summarise, I've been using for nearly 5 months now, and am still struggling with break-outs even at this stage. However, I did (rather confusingly) achieve almost total clearance of my symptoms for around 6-7 weeks somewhere around halfway through this process - this at least gives me some faith that something about this approach is working. The very sudden relapse that came after this was incredibly disheartening and hard to deal with, but it is in clinging to the same theory that you put forward here that I too am doing my best to soldier on...

    Best wishes.
    Last edited by davem81; 2nd October 2018 at 08:46 PM.

  10. #20
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    Hi Nick, you asked about hyaluronic acid -- in my experience, it's the single best ingredient to remove excess keratin, aka the "extra layer" of skin that is produced in response to irritation. The irritation can be anything, for example, malassezia, demodex, or simply friction from shoes, gloves, exercise, or sports.

    Even after controlling malassezia and demodex, I found that I had an extra layer of keratin, the medical term for which is hyper-keratinization. This was on my face, slightly, and a medium amount on the palms of my hands, and heavily on the bottom of my feet. Accordingly, for this problem, I'm a good test subject. After using sodium hyaluronate, high molecular weight, for about a year the extra keratin has been flaking off and is almost gone. Before treatment, the extra layer of keratin created an effect that I'd call slightly like an elephant-skin appearance. Now, my skin looks plumper, feels softer, and a lot of wrinkles have filled in and vanished.

    I've found that when properly made, a HMW sodium hyaluronate concentration of 0.30% works as well as higher concentrations -- but you can't just dump it into water and expect such a low concentration to work -- I tried that early on, and it was not good.

    I've found that I don't need to use climbazole anymore -- this is great, as it suggests that malassezia-problems can be eradicated. However, that's not true for demodex-problems, as I still need to use piroctone olamine.

    I also found that tocophersolan (water-soluble Vitamin E) and retinyl palmitate (oil soluble Vitamin A) were helpful, but not to the same extent as sodium hyaluronate. Caution -- retinyl palmitate should never be used topically at more than 0.05%, so don't go cracking a Vitamin A cap onto your skin, because the results will be horrible. At low concentrations though, it's great.

    As for ZZ Cream, here is the German-language label, which looks like it has a lot of irritating and occlusive ingredients, and it doesn't even appear to be in a correct INCI-order, but anyway:
    Inhaltsstoffe: Aqua, Stearyl alcohol, Propylene glycol, Glycerol, Stearic acid, Zinc oxide, Sulfur, Isopropyl myristate, Petrolatum, Glyceryl stearate, Dimethicone, Menthol, Sorbitan stearate, Polysorbate 80, Wheat germ oil, Azone, Salicylic acid, Sodium lauryl sulfate.

    Looking at the label, it seems like ZZ Cream is going to lead to irritation and malassezia-based problems -- just my opinion though. Anyone who wants to test the effectiveness of sulfur against demodex would be better off, in my opinion, using organic water-soluble sulfur from Opti-MSM: http://www.optimsm.com/

    Opti-MSM is very pure, and is easily dissolved in water up to 20% weight to volume. Any concentration above 10% is a preservative, so it would be safe to formulate this. http://www.nutritionaloutlook.com/be...e-preservative . It's about 34% sulfur, so to imitate the 7.1% sulfur in ZZ Cream, you would need to use about 21% Opti-MSM, but I'm not sure if it's soluble over 20%. I haven't tried a 20% concentration in a topical, but it seems logical to suggest it. I have made a sunless tanning lotion (aka a bronzer, with cacao powder for the tanning-colorant) with 10% Opti-MSM, and this is completely fine for anyone's skin, as far as I can determine.

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