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Strange medical issue, thought I'd ask my fellow oldies, first.

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Strange medical issue, thought I'd ask my fellow oldies, first.

Old 08-13-15, 10:33 AM
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Strange medical issue, thought I'd ask my fellow oldies, first.

Hi Y'all. So I'm having a strange skin problem that is definitely biking related, somehow, and I was wondering if anyone else has experienced it and, if so, how you finally resolved it.

About a month ago I noticed I had a large number of infected hair follicles on my chest, starting around my sternum. (look like zits, juicy and gross, large and small, looking like I was shotgun blasted. it's ugly.) I normally "manscape" the hair on my chest and stomach, because that's the only place on my body where I have enough hair for a tick to hide. (7-6 years ago, I found a tick in chest hair in November, and since I already suffer from chronic lyme, I though it best to do away with that hiding place!) Anyway, it happened that I hadn't gotten around to buzzing the hair for long enough that it had become itchy, and so chalked the infected follicles up to scratching at it. (Remember that Seinfeld episode? It's true.) But after being very careful and washing with hibiclens, etc, it continued to spread and get nasty, so I went to a clinic. The diagnosis was "folliculitis," and the doc prescribed me antibiotic cream. It started to go away soon after and was nearly gone...then I did 100 miles of riding last weekend including my first half century...and now it's back again! And I was so careful about showering and applying the antibiotic immediately after riding! Argh!

So, it really seems to be clustered on my chest and sternum, right where, A), my HRM sits; or B) where the jersey unzips when I need extra venting. I cleaned my HRM and strap with clorox wipes because that seemed a likely vector. But I don't know how to go about disinfecting my jerseys to eliminate that possible vector. (But that's not the topic right now.)

Anyway, has anyone else experienced anything like this? And if so, how did you resolve it? I can't figure out why I'm getting it, and I've never had anything like it before! Help meee!
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Old 08-13-15, 10:37 AM
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You have a Medical Problem.

Return to your Dr.
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Old 08-13-15, 10:37 AM
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+1, I'd ask a MD Doctor if I were you .. not a bike forum ..

Canadiens have easier access .. their politics chose that.
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Old 08-13-15, 10:42 AM
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I suspect that salt from trapped sweat, and/or heat from being under the chest belt are contributing faactors.

I'd make a few changes and see if it helps.

1- don't manscape too close. Buy a beard trimmer and cut chest hair maybe 1/4" off the skin, so it can still offer chafe protection, and mainly so you don't have newly cut hair which can become ingrown (I use a beard trimmer at the closest setting, rather than shaving in the summer, and find it greatly reduces skin irritation on face and neck when I sweat. No issue in the winter, because the air is either cooler or drier or both.

2- apply the antibiotic topical before riding. Try to do it in advance so it can soak in and dry.

3- use talc on the chest to help blot sweat, but you can't do that at the chest belt contacts.

If that doesn't solve the issue, scrap the HRM for a while, and if that solves, see if you can find an alternative to using a chest belt.
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Old 08-13-15, 10:51 AM
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I've never had anything like that. Have you thought to try letting the hair grow out, getting a new HRM? Maybe shaving is opening up your chances for infection there.
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Old 08-13-15, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
You have a Medical Problem.

Return to your Dr.
Agree with this.

After the condition clears, if you want to keep your chest manscaped, there is only one solution.



GH
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Old 08-13-15, 01:57 PM
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I only play a doctor on forums, and I recommend you go to a REAL doctor.
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Old 08-13-15, 03:31 PM
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Thanks to all the people who suggest I see a REAL doctor: If you had actually read my post, I DID. (He is as mystified as I am.) I was prescribed the antibiotic ointment by him. It cleared it up. Then it came back after a great weekend riding. The point of my post was to see if any other riders had experienced anything similar, and if so, what they had done about it.

Jeezus, people, read before you snark.
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Old 08-13-15, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
I suspect that salt from trapped sweat, and/or heat from being under the chest belt are contributing faactors.

I'd make a few changes and see if it helps.

1- don't manscape too close. Buy a beard trimmer and cut chest hair maybe 1/4" off the skin, so it can still offer chafe protection, and mainly so you don't have newly cut hair which can become ingrown (I use a beard trimmer at the closest setting, rather than shaving in the summer, and find it greatly reduces skin irritation on face and neck when I sweat. No issue in the winter, because the air is either cooler or drier or both.

2- apply the antibiotic topical before riding. Try to do it in advance so it can soak in and dry.

3- use talc on the chest to help blot sweat, but you can't do that at the chest belt contacts.

If that doesn't solve the issue, scrap the HRM for a while, and if that solves, see if you can find an alternative to using a chest belt.
Thanks for the ideas, but Sadly, I've done all these things but the talc (which is a good idea) and scrapping the HRM. (Which is what I'll try next.)

What I'm thinking is I'm having a problem with road filth for some reason. Didn't have it last year, though. But I'm riding many more miles now. Maybe I need to keep my jersey zipped all the way for the whole ride to minimize dirt deposit. It's only on my chest and a little down towards my navel, areas that are most exposed when I unzip during a big climb, say. It's really strange.
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Old 08-13-15, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Wheever View Post
Thanks to all the people who suggest I see a REAL doctor: If you had actually read my post, I DID. (He is as mystified as I am.) I was prescribed the antibiotic ointment by him. It cleared it up. Then it came back after a great weekend riding. The point of my post was to see if any other riders had experienced anything similar, and if so, what they had done about it.

Jeezus, people, read before you snark.
Sadly doctors are not psychics or magicians. There are all sorts of idiopathic issues that they are unable to diagnose, or unwilling to put in the time to do so. For example, I'm allergic (or highly sensitive) to my own sweat, which took a few years to pin down 40+ years ago when doctors were had far more time than they do today. It's manageable, but if I were to wear an HRM chest belt and ride on a hot day, I'd come home with a 2" wide rash all the way around which would take 2-3 days to clear. The same thing happens under a tight watch band.

Many of these things are such that once sensitized, they are slow to go away (if ever), so the OP might be best off to skip the monitor a while and give his skin a chance to recover completely. If a few weeks doesn't do it, he might need to give it until next spring before he gives the chest belt another shot.
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Old 08-13-15, 04:47 PM
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Had a similar problem and it turned out to be the soap I was using. It was too strong and using a milder soap and shampoo ended the problem. I know it sounds too simple but it is a thought and it worked very well for me.

The oils, sweat and what ever that your body uses to protect your skin is not a bad thing and probably do not need to be showered off twice a day like I was doing.

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Old 08-13-15, 07:07 PM
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You saw a doc before. You need a second opinion, and not from me. Was the first doc a dermatologist? Sorry for the snark, but you're asking us to come up with something your doc didn't catch? That's even tougher than making a first diagnosis.
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Old 08-13-15, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
You saw a doc before. You need a second opinion, and not from me. Was the first doc a dermatologist? Sorry for the snark, but you're asking us to come up with something your doc didn't catch? That's even tougher than making a first diagnosis.
No, I wasn't asking YOU anything. Again, if you had read my post you would see I was asking if anybody else had experienced something similar. As you did not, I had no interest in you, nor your opinion. Your reading skills are weak, but your Snark knee-jerk is strong. Feel free to leave the thread at any time, as your input is without value or merit, neither having had a similar condition, nor displaying much in the way of reading comprehension.
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Old 08-14-15, 05:25 AM
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You can try making a paste out of turmeric and petroleum jelly, or water--- even triple antibiotic ointment. Just turmeric from the spice rack. Be warned, it will stain the skin and organic fibers yellow.
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Old 08-14-15, 02:29 PM
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Stop shaving and let hair grow back in, see if it comes back when hairs are longer. If that fails use blow torch to remove hair rather than shaving, that should solve it for sure.
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Old 08-14-15, 02:36 PM
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Hey Wheever.

No One here has been a Snark but you.

Visit you local bike shops, show them your chest and ask the mechanic in the shop for advice.
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Old 08-18-15, 01:13 PM
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I regularly had a heat yeast? Infection downstairs. This flared up everytime I went out on the bike. Got worrying about a year ago, i therefore washed The Thing with antibacterial handwash instead of the usual canistan antiwhatever cream, and fluconazole tablets beloved of women who rehgularly have these problems.

Its never returned. I still use the handwash every week to be on the safe side.

Wouldnt recommend for a sore throat, mind. . .
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Old 08-18-15, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by peterws View Post
I regularly had a heat yeast? Infection downstairs. This flared up everytime I went out on the bike. Got worrying about a year ago, i therefore washed The Thing with antibacterial handwash instead of the usual canistan antiwhatever cream, and fluconazole tablets beloved of women who rehgularly have these problems.

Its never returned. I still use the handwash every week to be on the safe side.

Wouldnt recommend for a sore throat, mind. . .
I've sometimes had an issue with hair follicles forming a small cyst. It normally happens from chafing. Ironically, the chafing occurs when I'm not riding my bike. I use a tea tree oil liquid soap, and tea tree oil is a natural antibiotic. I also use corn starch on my legs/inner thighs before I go riding and after my shower. Corn Starch is the main ingredient in many baby powders, but corn starch is cheaper and doesn't have the perfume.

That, and if it is really hair follicles getting infected, see my other advice above. As shaving can compound the problem. But electolysis or waxing fixes the problem on a more permanent basis.

GH
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Old 08-19-15, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by ColaJacket View Post
I've sometimes had an issue with hair follicles forming a small cyst. It normally happens from chafing. Ironically, the chafing occurs when I'm not riding my bike. I use a tea tree oil liquid soap, and tea tree oil is a natural antibiotic. I also use corn starch on my legs/inner thighs before I go riding and after my shower. Corn Starch is the main ingredient in many baby powders, but corn starch is cheaper and doesn't have the perfume.

That, and if it is really hair follicles getting infected, see my other advice above. As shaving can compound the problem. But electolysis or waxing fixes the problem on a more permanent basis.

GH
Thanks for the suggestions.

I've read that tea tree oil will stain my jerseys. This isn't a problem with shaving, per se, it's a problem with biking in the heat. I haven't buzzed now in three weeks, and the folliculitis was pretty much gone. Then I did a long weekend of biking, and it came back even though I haven't shaved and was still using the antibiotic cream. My doctor is mystified and agrees I need to get samples taken to see if the bacteria is something unique. I'm getting that next done week. it's very odd, but clearly has to do with heat and humidity and dirt. (and possibly my PI Elite Jerseys with N-R-Cool, a reaction to the carbon in the fabric...but doesn't explain why only on my front.)

When I ride in the heat, I have to vent by unzipping, and my Dr hypothesizes that maybe I pick up a bacteria I'm particularly vulnerable to on the road. Dunno. I'm really surprised this doesn't happen to anyone else. Sigh.
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Old 08-19-15, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Wheever View Post
Thanks for the suggestions.

I've read that tea tree oil will stain my jerseys. This isn't a problem with shaving, per se, it's a problem with biking in the heat. I haven't buzzed now in three weeks, and the folliculitis was pretty much gone. Then I did a long weekend of biking, and it came back even though I haven't shaved and was still using the antibiotic cream. My doctor is mystified and agrees I need to get samples taken to see if the bacteria is something unique. I'm getting that next done week. it's very odd, but clearly has to do with heat and humidity and dirt. (and possibly my PI Elite Jerseys with N-R-Cool, a reaction to the carbon in the fabric...but doesn't explain why only on my front.)

When I ride in the heat, I have to vent by unzipping, and my Dr hypothesizes that maybe I pick up a bacteria I'm particularly vulnerable to on the road. Dunno. I'm really surprised this doesn't happen to anyone else. Sigh.
Well, I don't use straight Tea Tree Oil. I just use soap (and shampoo) that has it in it. I wash it off afterwards. I could see that if you used straight tea tree oil, and didn't wash it off that it could stain something.

Have you tried getting a tighter, better wicking jersey that you don't have to unzip?

GH
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Old 08-19-15, 04:24 PM
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Uh oh . . . I'm going to say a bad, bad word: Dermatologist! There, I've said it. Walk-in clinic probably not the best choice. Start with your primary care physician and get a referral. If you don't have a PCP, get one. Diagnosis isn't that difficult, it just takes time.
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Old 08-19-15, 04:31 PM
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Don't shave, get a barber's trimmer and give yourself a buzz cut, leaving your chest hairs 1/8-1/4 long. Wash the sweat off with soap and water right after you ride. If the infection keeps up, see a doctor.
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Old 08-21-15, 09:43 PM
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Last year after lots of snorkeling with wetsuit I developed Folliculitis, which was treated topically and with oral antibiotic. Presented with similar symptoms as yours. It is also commonly caused by hot tubs that are not properly maintained.

+1 for a visit to a Dermatologist!
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Old 08-21-15, 10:17 PM
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Give the OP a break. It was clear he is actively seeking medical treatment, not asking people to play internet doctor. But if you've never had a mystery diagnosis situation or a rare condition that baffles your doctors, you really don't know what he's going through. Over the past 10 years, I've seen it happen multiple times with my wife, and you have to turn over every stone if you're going to figure it out. It's obvious from his original post he's acting responsibly and is only seeking information that might help lead him in a direction to discover the cause. After going through this stuff with my wife, I shared his irritation at being lectured by people who likely have no idea what it's like to have your doctor say, I don't know and I'm not sure there's much I can do.
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Old 08-22-15, 10:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Cyclosaurus View Post
Give the OP a break. It was clear he is actively seeking medical treatment, not asking people to play internet doctor. But if you've never had a mystery diagnosis situation or a rare condition that baffles your doctors, you really don't know what he's going through. Over the past 10 years, I've seen it happen multiple times with my wife, and you have to turn over every stone if you're going to figure it out. It's obvious from his original post he's acting responsibly and is only seeking information that might help lead him in a direction to discover the cause. After going through this stuff with my wife, I shared his irritation at being lectured by people who likely have no idea what it's like to have your doctor say, I don't know and I'm not sure there's much I can do.
Thanks for coming to the thread with a little understanding of the situation and reading comprehension, man. I appreciate it!

In the final paragraph of my initial post, I SPECIFICALLY asked to hear from people that had experience with something like this, but nonetheless I've gotten plenty of well-meaning redundant recommendations for washing, drying, hygiene, and to see a dr/dermatologist, snark, and speculation. (I see the poster of #23 ACTUALLY had an experience with folliculitis. That's a first for this thread.)

And having now seen a dermatologist, his answer is "huh. I dunno. Could be a number of things. Folliculitis is pretty common. The samples don't show anything novel, but we only check for staph and strep, in the first round, anyway. Could be you're allergic to your jerseys. Have some antibiotic ointment." Which was what the doc at the clinic said, and it was just a bigger tube of the same stuff. That'll be a $50 co-pay, please. The only thing he DID say that was different, is to recommend that I disinfect my jerseys, and gave me the name of a product by the German company Persil that should be safe for the fabric.

Anyway, I haven't been riding much the last week, and it's been cooler and less humid and it's gotten better. Not gone yet, though.
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