Sever Carbuncles / staphylococcus bacteria?

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I have had sever acne since I was around 13 years old, large carbuncles formed on my face, chest, back and neck frequently until I started a 6 month course of Roacutane which cleared this up until I was 20, then it started up again and a further course was taken which worked, but it seems that after 5 years after taking the drug sebum production kicks back in again outbreaks occur.

I don't want to make this post too long, so I will say; Roacutane caused sever phychological side effects, so I'd rather not use that drug again.

I'm now 35, I hardly have any acne on my face, but I do get occasionaly get large carbuncles, mostly on my chest and currently have 3 on my chest. I am determined to find out why this is happening and what kind of treatments are available. (apart from Roacutane)

I began doing some extensive research and have taken an interest in a possible cause and cure for this condition.

I found a thread on a website which discussed Staphylocuccus aureus as a cause of outbreaks of sever acne, this bacteria can be found in the nose and ears and can be transfered to other parts of the body and cause infections.

A subject with frequent sever carbuncles used a daily application of Mupirocin (TAO) for 4 weeks that was applied inside the nose and ears, this cleared up the infection and subsiquently cleared up the server acne and  carbuncles. After several weeks another S. aureus test was done and no futher collonisation was found.

Some people who test positive for S. aureus have painful sores inside their nose, I don't have this problem, so this is why I am unsure that my skin is being infected by it.

is it worth exploring this further? I was considering asking my GP if i could have a test done for S. aureus or if being referred to a dermatologist to discuss this ideas is worth doing.

Please can someone with knowledge on sever acne / carbuncles advise me on this?

I appreciate your help.

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  • Posted

    Have you read this page?

    You could discuss it with your GP & if you feel you aren't achieving anything, you could ask for a referral to a Dermatologist but you may well find that your GP is able & willing to arrange the tests & prescribe the Mupirocin for you

    I know that Derm waiting lists are long.

    Good luck Richard

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    • Posted

      I have been to see my GP, she said that because i've had this problem since I was young that it's unlikely that staphylococcus is the cause. She did the test anyway, taking a swab from each nostrel and from one of the boils and told me she would phone me in a week with the results. I also was given Benzoyl peroxide 5% and clindamycin 1% gel (Duac) . She advised me to apply the cream to the areas prone to infection each evening. I'm hoping that the gel will prevent the boils from forming in the future. I will give an update here on the results, so if anyone else suffers from this it might provide useful info.

      Thanks for your help

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  • Posted

    Hi there

    I think it is unlikely that they are carbuncles, from your description they are acne cysts. You also seem to imply you still have mild facial acne? Your hormones are still driving your acne.

    Everyone has staph on their skin, especially in their nose - so if your GP tests you you will be positive. Although roaccutane is the best treatment to get rid of these,  in my view, you shouldnt take it if you are getting psychological effects.

    A low dose teatracyline would be the next best bet to prevent them. 

    There is a non medical treatment called skin accumax - but I think although this sometimes might help mild facial acne - it is unlikely to stop these larger deeper lesions you are getting. 


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    • Posted

      Yes, you are right, I think i meant to say Furuncles, in the past I've always refferred them as boils or cysts, so i've just got those 2 names confused.

      skin accumax would have been nice to try when I was young, as I had  normal acne, but it was quite bad. These days I am getting large boils, but at random times through the year.

      My GP thinks the same way, she told me my body is producing too much sebum and that it's more of a genetic thing, I simply have a skin condition that is prone to infections and that anti biotics or isotretinoin are effective treatments. However, I think they being a carrier of of S. aureus and having an over prodution of sebum could be what's going on.

      There are over 40 different species of staphylococcus, S. aureus seems to occur in 20% of humans and from my research seems to be the main cause of sever cystic acne.

      If you touch your nose then a short time later, you touch another area of your body, for example you squeeze black heads on your chest, you could transfer the bacteria to the hair follicule and it becomes infected. That might explain why these infections seem to happen in random time intervals.

      I suppose I will find out if I am a carrier and if I can treat my nose and ears to clear up the bacteria, then maybe this could be a way of avoiding further infections.

      I am no expert in dermatology, so I am aware that I am probably out of my element here, so I am just trying to look at possible cuases and a more simply approach to curing a problem and avoiding taking drugs that are harmful.


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    • Posted

      Richard - you are a carrier of staph aureus - we all are.

      If you swab anybodies nose or skin it will show staph - it is a commensal of the body. The only reason we swab usually it to check for MRSA. I think you are on the wrong track with the staph aureus - you could wash yourself with hibiscrub if you really want to and clear it - but it wont stop you getting the lesions Im afraid.

      Good luck

      H (Dermatologist)

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