My Sudden Skin Problem: The Culprit

Not too long ago, I suddenly suffered from a skin problem, and I struggled for weeks to determine what the culprit was, through a process of trial and error.

This was uncharted territory for me.  I’ve never had skin problems, so when it comes to diagnosing skin problems and knowing which products to use to treat them, I am completely naive.

Then suddenly, the skin on my face started itching.  It started itching, and it was dry.  All along my cheeks, and sometimes spreading to my jaw line and chin.  Towards the end of the saga, my lips were also affected.  They were red, dry, cracked, and prone to bleeding. What was going on? I jokingly told my co-worker that maybe I was finally hitting puberty and developing acne.  But it was not, in fact, acne.

I started off making a mental list of all the things that could possibly be causing my skin problem:

  • Facial Cleansers
  • Moisturizers
  • Makeup removers
  • Makeup

Facial Cleansers.  I hadn’t changed my facial cleansers recently, so likely it wasn’t due to my facial cleansers. Next!

Moisturizers.   I had recently changed my moisturizer, so naturally my first thought was that my skin was reacting to the new moisturizer.  Even though I stopped the new moisturizer and resumed my old one, the skin problem persisted.  Not it.

Makeup removers.  I’ve been using the Garnier Micellar Waters for a while now with no issues.  I’ve been using the blue one, and recently switched over to the green one, which is the mattifying formulation.  I thought that maybe whatever the mattifying component was was not agreeing with my skin.  Even after stopping the green micellar water, my skin did not improve.

Makeup.  The only thing that I recently changed with my makeup was my primer.  I had pulled out an old primer from Maybelline that I had tucked away because I initially didn’t care for it, in an attempt to give it a second chance.  Again, even after stopping the primer, nothing improved.

Long story short, after all that trial and error, I discovered that it wasn’t the products that I was applying to my face that was the problem.  The problem was hidden in a gray little sponge in my shower, also known as the Konjac sponge, that I used to wash my face in the shower.

I’m no dermatologist or scientist, but I can only assume that my little Konjac sponge was playing host to bacteria, which was causing the irritation on my face.

Here’s why I think the problem was the Konjac sponge:

  • It’s recommended that you change the sponge every 3 months, and I had had it probably for at least a few months.
  • It’s recommended that you let the sponge dry and not keep it in a humid environment, and I was too lazy to remove it from the shower.
  • At first, I was using it only on my face, and only my cheeks itched.  Then I started scrubbing my jaw line, and my jaw line started itching.  Towards the end, I also used it to exfoliate my lips and my lips developed a reaction.  Coincidence?  I think not.
  • After I stopped using the sponge, my skin and lip problem cleared.  Just like that.

So moral of the story: keep your products sanitary!  This was probably entirely my fault, and not any fault on the part of the Konjac sponge manufacturers.

I’m a little scarred by my experience (mentally, not physically!  My face has gone back to normal!), but I think I’ll be taking a break from facial cleansing sponges for now.


Thanks for reading!



    1. I think it might be for the best if you know you can’t keep up with all the maintenance it requires. I was honestly grossed out and horrified when I realized how much bacteria must have been in that sponge. What tipped me off was that the sponge was starting to disintegrate on its own. It just started falling apart bit by bit, and I imagined it being eaten alive by bacteria. Yuck!

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