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Thread: Benzyl Benzoate is Working Where All Else Has Failed

  1. #21
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    Thanks for chiming in, Tom. Such a remarkable ingredient like MSM really does make the use of inorganic sulphur seem obsolete in skin-care -- why would any company use it in a product when there's an organic alternative that human skin loves? It'd be interesting if the sulphur content in MSM does indeed have an anti-demodectic effect -- I can't see any reason why it wouldn't.

    And I didn't realise a concentration of 10% or higher meant it could be used as a preservative also.

    The only commercially available MSM gels I can find appear to have it in fairly low concentrations -- there's a popular one selling on Amazon but its MSM content is 5%, which is probably still too low for this purpose. I'd be curious to know what the results of a much higher concentration, like the 20% you suggest, would be.

    I find the ZZ cream less harsh than I was expecting, given its ingredients. I had expected the occlusive ingredients, and the isopropyl myristate, to wreak havoc on my face, but surprisingly it seems to have done more good than harm. However I do mix it half-and-half with a moisturiser that I already know my skin tolerates well, because by itself it is just a complete mess that doesn't spread or absorb easily (as if no consideration whatsoever had been put into these aspects). I wouldn't be surprised if better alternatives exist, but I wanted to use something that is claimed to have a strong effect against demodex, and don't want to bother with a prescription for Soolantra -- which I doubt I'd get through the NHS even if I tried, since I don't have rosacea (but had been wanting to rule out demodex as a causative factor behind my acne and/or dermatitis).

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by sejon View Post
    The only commercially available MSM gels I can find appear to have it in fairly low concentrations -- there's a popular one selling on Amazon but its MSM content is 5%, which is probably still too low for this purpose.
    I stand corrected -- the gel being sold on Amazon US by Kala Health has 15% MSM (I just got a reply from the company to confirm this), but the one being sold on Amazon UK by their sister company has slightly different ingredients and just 5% MSM. So, for those who still want to try an MSM product with a decent concentration, the US version might be a good choice.
    Last edited by sejon; 4th October 2018 at 11:37 AM.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by sejon View Post
    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.
    Quote Originally Posted by davem81 View Post
    it is in clinging to the same theory that you put forward here that I too am doing my best to soldier on...
    I should add that this theory does appear to be supported by the soolantra test data. I can't find the direct source off hand, but I've read several times that the success rate was significantly higher after 1 year of treatment than the initial readings taken at 3-4 months.

    From personal experience, though, it's a brutal process...

  4. #24
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    Thanks for that information, Tom.

    I'm inclined to agree that it's a demodex die-off, Sejon and Dave. I found the Soolantra test data which stated that after 12 weeks 38.4% and 40.1% were clear or almost clear, increasing to 71.1% and 76% after 52 weeks.

    This die-off seems to be different and is more inline with the typical die-off that is stated. Die-off was previously more isolated and bumps were bigger, this time there is more a cluster of bumps in specific areas, primarily near the sides of my nose/below the eye area.

    I also feel that climbazole is having an effect. BB and other demodex treatments weren't able to do much about the redness in my eyes, which is by no means severe, but since adding climbazole my eyes are whiter. Interestingly, this means any eye issues I have could be fungal instead of the more commonly stated demodex related. I feel that if I could get rid of a layer of my skin my skin would be normal, not just the texture but I'm talking about its skin tone too. Climbazole is said to work by dissolving the cell walls, which it seems like is happening, but I haven't noticed any additional skin flaking or "dollar bill sized sheets of skin" flaking off. But as you say Tom, maybe it's the sodium hyaluronate that is removing this extra layer of keratin. Despite not experiencing any additional flaking, I can't rule malassezia out as a causative factor though due to the flaking I have in the typical seb derm areas and appearance of my trunk. What I now associate with a further round of die-off could be the way my skin responds to an effective antifungal. At this point who really knows.

    I agree about ZZ cream, there's many ingredients that I would prefer not to use on my face.I will say that ZZ cream works pretty well for reducing the size of bumps quite quickly. I haven't used organic water-soluble sulfur on my skin before, but I had better results using sulphur products with just one or two further ingredients added. I recall mega dosing MSM at one point though that resulted in a more normalised skin tone. Sulphur is something that has always worked best for me. I kind of think that sodium hyaluronate was the missing link for me, given that sulphur could stop any flaking and breakouts but the texture of my skin was still very unsatisfactory. I've come too far now though so will continue with what I'm doing.

    Sejon, I think the 15% MSM gel is only for the one being sold in the USA, in the UK it's 5% from what I can tell.

  5. #25
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    This die-off seems to be different and is more inline with the typical die-off that is stated. Die-off was previously more isolated and bumps were bigger, this time there is more a cluster of bumps in specific areas, primarily near the sides of my nose/below the eye area.
    That's essentially what's happening with me also now. They're not big inflamed spots like the first supposed "die-off" I experienced, but now clusters of smaller bumps. It's just that the locations are different -- I have one cluster below the corner of my mouth, and another one right smack between my eyebrows. And I even have a slight inflammation on my bottom lip -- on the lip itself, rather than the skin next to it, which is highly unusual. None of these has the typical presentation of regular acne vulgaris, so I have little doubt that it's a demodex issue.

    Regarding sodium hyaluronate (HMW), I think it's a great ingredient but I personally haven't experienced these miraculous effects that Tom has often spoken of. For me a sodium hyaluronate (HMW) serum has helped to lightly hydrate my skin without exacerbating any issues, but I haven't noticed any exfoliative properties and it hasn't done anything to relieve the flakiness in my dermatitis areas. I keep using it simply because I find it to be a simplistic, lightweight moisturiser for daytime use. I don't know why it's managed to do so much for people like Tom but been unremarkable for people like me, but I guess it just boils down to everyone's skin being different.

    Sejon, I think the 15% MSM gel is only for the one being sold in the USA, in the UK it's 5% from what I can tell.
    Yes, I caught on that difference recently and edited my post. A shame for those based in the UK -- feels a bit like being short-changed when it's only a third of what the US version has!

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick_1 View Post

    I'm inclined to agree that it's a demodex die-off, Sejon and Dave. I found the Soolantra test data which stated that after 12 weeks 38.4% and 40.1% were clear or almost clear, increasing to 71.1% and 76% after 52 weeks.
    Thanks Nick, that's the data I was referring to.

    Those figures are so dramatically different that there surely has to be something in it. Furthermore, I myself was clear/almost clear after 12 weeks of treatment - and that is certainly no longer the case now, at around 20 weeks. My personal pattern was 6-7 weeks of moderate flare-up's upon starting treatment, followed then by another 6-7 weeks of almost total clearance of my face - truly excellent results. I was just beginning to consider a tapering down of my treatment when a new (and more severe) flare-up, from which I'm still suffering now, began suddenly just after the 3 month mark. Although I'm soldiering on, my big concern at this stage (in addition to simply 'enduring' the heightened symptoms) is that the vastly increased skin oiliness caused by the soolantra cannot be helpful, though I realise I'm talking about a different treatment to you guys here.


    Quote Originally Posted by sejon View Post
    That's essentially what's happening with me also now. They're not big inflamed spots like the first supposed "die-off" I experienced, but now clusters of smaller bumps. It's just that the locations are different -- I have one cluster below the corner of my mouth, and another one right smack between my eyebrows. And I even have a slight inflammation on my bottom lip -- on the lip itself, rather than the skin next to it, which is highly unusual. None of these has the typical presentation of regular acne vulgaris, so I have little doubt that it's a demodex issue.
    This is similar to what I'm experiencing on the '2nd round'. Certainly, there is a far more noticeable 'clustering' of bumps than I've had before, though I'm getting the large inflamed spots as well. It's interesting that you mention the lip inflammation - this is something I've had happen to me on an occasional but somewhat regular basis over the years, and I've always been highly puzzled by it.

    Sejon, can you elaborate at all on how you would distinguish acne vulgaris from 'acne rosacea'? Over the years I've had multiple conflicting diagnoses from doctors with some stating categorically that I suffer from the former, with as many others insisting it's the latter...
    Last edited by davem81; 4th October 2018 at 02:11 PM.

  7. #27
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    Besides the cluster of bumps how is your skin looking? Is there any redness? I was very happy with how my skin looked just 10 days ago and thought demodex was a thing of the past. Now it kind of looks like how it does when stopping any topicals and letting nature run its course - i.e. terrible with breakouts and redness. In a way it looks worse than before I started this experiment. Going back to square one (at least in appearance) is disheartening to say the least. I don't know if there's a relationship, but the past few days I've been ill and it's coincided with the worst outbreak I've had.

    I think I'll take your advice and completely stop using MCT oil. My timeline may even be off. Maybe I only started using MCT oil when the climbazole arrived a week later, maybe the manufacturer is lying about purity, although they say they have certification. It wouldn't be the first time that products without any malassezia food grade ingredients still manage to cause me issues. This was why I tried to simplify things as much as possible.

    Dave, I was thinking about trying using Soolantra myself but the base put me off and experience tells me that it would be a mistake in my case. I think the increased oiliness is down to all the parabens in the product. I used a cetaphil face wash a few times and the oily film it left on my face was very noticeable. Might be a couple of ingredients that feed malassezia in there too.

    About the lip inflammation I most recently had this when I decided to wet shave for the first time in a very long time. The shaving gel I used contained ingredients that feed malassezia.

  8. #28
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    Try Lyclear (permethrin), it's both anti-acaricidal and antifungal.

  9. #29
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    Sejon, can you elaborate at all on how you would distinguish acne vulgaris from 'acne rosacea'? Over the years I've had multiple conflicting diagnoses from doctors with some stating categorically that I suffer from the former, with as many others insisting it's the latter...
    I can't offer much info on acne rosacea because I don't have rosacea at all, even though I have what I suspect is a kind of demodex-induced acne. I think one of the main distinctions between acne vulgaris and demodex acne is that the latter can appear in areas where the former wouldn't -- for instance the inflamed bump I had on my earlobe. Acne vulgaris does not present on ears. Other odd locations where I've occasionally developed bumps are: along my hairline, in my sideburns, on my scalp, in my nostrils, and on the lip itself, as I just mentioned. These instances might be quite rare compared to where i normally develop spots, but the fact that they happen even at all had piqued my suspicion that this isn't standard acne anymore.

    I also think that clusters of spots almost reminiscent of a rash would be more indicative of demodex. I develop these (albeit rarely), particularly in my nasolabial folds.

    Presentation aside, I believe another important factor is age -- I'm 34, whereas acne vulgaris largely affects teenagers and those in their early 20's since it's a condition that's strongly tied to hormones. The older you are, the less susceptible you should be to acne vulgaris. By contrast, a person's demodex count increases with age.

    I also find it interesting that on the internet you can find so many testimonials about ingredients like sulphur helping people's acne when all other standard treatments (benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, retinoids) had failed. A strange coincidence seeing as sulphur can help with demodex conditions. Demodex might therefore be a more widespread culprit in acne than people realise.

    Besides the cluster of bumps how is your skin looking? Is there any redness?
    Is this directed at me? If so, I'd say I'm experiencing just a minor setback. The clusters of bumps are a bit annoying but they're more superficial, which means they heal more quickly, as opposed to the deeper inflamed spots I was getting during the first "die off" which would take like a week to heal. I have redness where the bumps are, and just the typical redness in my chin crease which I've had for years now (I swear if I could ever figure out why the hell my chin crease is always red and has a slight burning sensation, I'd run up and down the street cheering, because the answer has so far completely eluded me, and it hasn't responded to any kind of treatment whatsoever).

    Here's another interesting point that I don't think has been mentioned: MCT oil is often touted on this board because it's been shown that Malassezia can't metabolise it. But people seem to forget that demodex loves to feed on lipids (oils) too, and it's not going to have that strict C11 - C24 diet that Malassezia has. That's not to argue that all (non-essential) oils might be bad for a demodex condition -- I recall reading that seabuckthorn oil might suppress demodex for instance -- but people seem to have this impression that liberally using MCT oil is safe no matter what, simply because it's fine for Malassezia, but that rule might not always apply. Just food for thought.
    Last edited by sejon; 4th October 2018 at 04:06 PM.

  10. #30
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    Maria, I can't find much about Lyclear being an effective antifungal. It also contains some questionable ingredients like coconut oil.

    Sejon, yes it was directed at you. That's a good point about demodex and oils. My skin has always done best when the bare minimum of commercial products are used on it, which means just a face wash, no moisturisers at all however simple, and an effective antifungal/anti demodetic like sulphur. Petrolatum, mineral oil and paraffin are all occlusives that have caused me issues in the past.

    I'll stop using MCT oil and update in a week to see if my skin will be back to where it was 10 days ago. I'm hoping it will be considering how well everything was going. The only reason I added it was because I thought it would dissolve climbazole better.
    Last edited by Nick_1; 4th October 2018 at 04:54 PM.

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