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A large head with an angry eye is looking at a small doctor pointing to one of the floating x's in the air.

Wrong Diagnosis

Ever gone to a specialist and they give you the wrong diagnosis?

For years I was trying to figure out my red skin.  What is making me hot and itchy all the time?  So many questions and using Dr. Google to figure things out was not working.  I’d find out maybe it’s this or maybe it’s that.  But nothing worked.

The options offered were always the same

I went to three different dermatologists whose only solution was light therapy and steroid creams at the time.  Which I knew was not going to work, and they were not getting to the root of the problem.

A visit to an allergist

I went to see an allergist and have a skin prick test.  The doctor was very new (and pregnant at the time), I was her first patient, and the skin prick testing went well.  I knew which ones I was going to be allergic to beforehand, pretty much.  But it was nice to talk to a specialist about what is going on with me.  She did listen and I thought that she might know more and give more care since I was her first patient.  She listened to the symptoms I was having; hot all the time, dry, itchy scalp, red skin, feet feel like they are on fire, can’t sleep, and my immune system is a mess.  She said it sounds like Malassezia.  She did not do any skin swabs/scrapping or culture samples.

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Was it a fungal infection?

Malassezia is a monophyletic genus of fungi found on the skin of 7 billion humans and associated with various conditions, including dandruff, atopic eczema/dermatitis, pityriasis versicolor, seborrheic dermatitis, and folliculitis.1

So after she read the symptoms of Malassezia, I was convinced that was what is causing my red, hot, itchy skin.

Nizoral was not working for me

She said the best treatment is fungal cream, tea tree oil, and Nizoral.

Nizoral (ketoconazole) 2% Shampoo is an antifungal medication used to treat fungal infections of the skin such as athlete's foot, jock itch, ringworm, and seborrhea (dry, flaking skin). Nizoral is available as a cream, gel, and shampoo. Nizoral shampoo is used for the treatment of dandruff.

So I am going through the treatment using the Nizoral cream and shampoo, and tea tree oil on my skin.  I stopped using all steroid creams at that time.  Well, guess what? My skin got worse, and I felt even hotter!

I could not sleep, and I felt like a zombie all day at work.  I stopped going to the gym and lost all energy and motivation.

Looking for more answers

I tried to book another appointment with this allergy specialist, but she went on maternity leave.

After months and months of using the Nizoral treatment and feeling even worse, I went back to my regular doctor, who said that it is not fungal.  So it is not Malassezia.

Two years and finally a diagnosis

It took another two years after that for me to finally figure out that I was suffering from red skin syndrome and that my body was addicted to steroid cream and prednisone.

I have to say that I did lose trust in dermatologists and allergy specialists who charge a fortune for an appointment and provide you with the wrong diagnosis.

Have you ever had a wrong diagnosis from a specialist?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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