“Fungus doesn't always just show up for the first time on the external surface of our skin, but in many cases, a visual breakout can signal there is an internal imbalance at play. This was my situation. No matter whether I used a clinical or natural healing remedy, if I didn’t seek to rectify the internal fungal colonies, tenia versicolor would live on.”
It was during college in the sweltering humidity of Cleveland summers when I recognized these small, dark patches emerge on my chest. Unconsciously, I would scratch these circles and find tiny white flakes fall off. Later on, I noticed these same white flakes would sometimes show up on my nose. Motivated by the unsightly nature of these dark patches not going away, I began to seek out the name and cause for myself.
After a handful of summers of my own research, I was self-diagnosed with the fungal infection of tenia versicolor (which was later confirmed by a dermatologist). Learning about this topical infection disturbed me, but I was determined to find a solution. I went to one dermatologist who concluded it was my application of shea butter (a natural product). Then they prescribed a steroid cream to apply on my chest. At that time, I had a friend (who is now my husband) well versed in natural remedies from his own health journey. He recommended I try the antimicrobial herbal treatment of pau d'arco - derived from the inner bark of a tropical tree native to Central and South America. The battle of the minds began then, as I pitted a natural remedy against the clinical one. Which one won out? The answer is not as clear as you would hope . . .
Treating tenia versicolor can be very discouraging. Topical treatment can fight the fungus up front, but the dark patches may stay well beyond the life of the fungus. Sometimes these topical treatments try to chip away at the iceberg, yet something greater is under the surface. Fungus doesn't always just show up for the first time on the external surface of our skin, but in many cases, a visual breakout can signal there is an internal imbalance at play. This was my situation. No matter whether I used a clinical or natural healing remedy, if I didn’t seek to rectify the internal fungal colonies, tenia versicolor would live on.
So I asked this question: what am I putting in my body that is feeding this fungus from the inside?
Fungus feeds on sugar. And not only just pure sugar induced foods, but anything which would immediately convert into glucose. My dermatologist mentioned shea butter could be feeding these critters, but there was no exploration of my sugar intake. With this understanding and nothing to lose, I tried the elimination diet to detox and clear out my system. For a while, I went without processed sweets, fruits, and processed grains. I’m really happy to say when I made these changes to my diet, paired with the natural topical treatments, I witnessed a reversal in the dark patchy spots. First it was the disappearance of the white flaky skin on the patches, followed by a lightening of the dark patches…My tinea versicolor was going away!
This was a glorious period during which I fought this infection through a holistic approach, and won. I wish I could say that this was the happy ending of this story, but unfortunately that is not the case. After the fight to rebuild the healthy internal balance of bacteria and detoxing from any bad fungus, it requires a new standard of living to maintain this culture.
Over the last two years, I’ve gone through some major transitions, from moving across the country to taking up a new job in a new industry. The truth is, I lost some of my disciplines when going through these transitions, so some of the patches came back.
I am now on a journey of re-calibrating my internal culture yet again. What is your body telling you? Are you receiving clues from your skin that something might be out of balance internally? The body longs to be in balance, both inside and outside.