058: On Tinea Versicolor And Finding Confidence w/ Steph Gaudreau

Chronic skin rashes can be isolating. We often want to shut ourselves away and hide to prevent embarrassment and judgment.

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My guest today is Steph Gaudreau. Steph believes women have the right to be strong and take up space because the world needs our voices.

She's a nutritional therapy consultant, strength coach, best-selling author, podcaster, and Lord of the Rings nerd. Steph lives in San Diego, CA.

Join us as we talk about Steph's journey with Tinea Versicolor, and why your skin condition does not define you.

Has your skin condition made you feel embarrassed and alone? Tell me about it in the comments!


In this episode:

  • When did Steph's skin condition start?
  • The shame caused by skin conditions.
  • You are valuable and worthy.
  • Steph's book and why it is different from other health and wellness books.



“I think that's probably the number one thing that I've learned is to make sure you're not sitting around in sweaty clothes.” [4:54]

“When it comes out, it does make me more self conscious about my skin and how I look and stuff like that.” [7:17]

“You're a real person who has their struggles, but every body has their struggles and it doesn't mean you're any less valuable of a person.” [10:00]



Find Steph online

Harder to Kill Radio podcast

My appearance on Harder to Kill Radio: How to Conquer Your Skin Issues

Follow Steph on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | YouTube


058: On Tinea Versicolor And Finding Confidence w/ Steph Gaudreau FULL TRANSCRIPT

Jennifer: Hi everyone and welcome back to the Healthy Skin Show. Today I've got a good friend who's joining me. Truth be told, it's a friend that I've spent quite a bit of time with in person and a lot of time chatting back and forth online. We live on different sides of the country, but she's someone who I looked up to for a long time and feel very grateful that I can call her a friend. And then to just have her here and share her wisdom and her experience with you is truly a gift. Her name is Steph Gaudreau. She believes that women have the right to be strong and take up space because the world needs our voices. She's a nutritional therapy consultant, strength coach, bestselling author, podcaster, and Lord of the Rings nerd. She lives in San Diego, California with her wonderful cat. We share that as well. Thank you so much for being here, Steph. I appreciate it.

Steph: Oh, thanks so much for having me. It's so good to be here and to celebrate this show that you have and all the great things that you're doing in your business. It's amazing.

Jennifer: It's really nice that we get this opportunity to connect with people out there who feel very stuck. And that's one reason that I wanted to have you on the show today is to share your experience with skin issues that you've dealt with in the past. Because I know when I dealt with my issues, I felt really alone. I felt very embarrassed and ashamed and I didn't know anybody else that was going through it. So can you talk a little bit about what the skin issue you had? And when did it start?

Steph: Yeah. Oh Gosh, I think the first I ever learned about Tinea versicolor is because my mom had it and I got, I've gotten a lot of things from my mom and Tinea is one of them. I noticed that she would get these darker patches on her skin, these almost circular, it almost looks like a flat rash and it's not red, but it's just a discoloration and it can get kind of red. But I would always notice that she would have this discoloration. So in the winter time, sometimes it would appear like darker on her light skin and then the reverse would happen in the summer. Those spots would stay very white. And so I knew relatively early on that this was just something she had, but I didn't really know what it was. And the first time she ever explained to me that it's a fungus, I think I was like, Oh wow, okay, that's gross. And that's pretty much all I knew about Tinea. And then I ended up getting Tinea myself, and again, I'd had, I didn't make the connection back to watching her go through it when I was a kid. And then I sort of started, I noticed I was developing these patches of discoloration. Again, sort of darker tan color, but in spots. And this gave me a really interesting insight into what it's like to have conditions like vitiligo because, and this is a very different situation than that, but I became extremely self conscious of this because I would get it mostly on my shoulders. This is where it would show up a lot. And then you know, around where my sports bra would be obviously because of fungus and warmth and being in the gym and stuff like that. But to have it so prominent, especially during the summer where those spots would essentially like get bleached out on my skin as my skin got a little bit tan in the summer. And I was really self conscious of this. So I have finally had to go to the doctor and figure out what is this thing. And the doctor said, okay, well this is, this is Tinea versicolor, this is a fungus that lives on everybody. But for some reason in some people it just overgrows and that's why you get these patches. But the treatments either are like folk treatments, at the time, all I could find was put apple cider vinegar on it or go on these really heavy duty medications. So I ended up sort of not knowing what to do. And one of the things that I kind of went for the middle solution, which was it's a shampoo or like a cream that you put on. It's almost like a liquid and it smells very sulfury. It doesn't smell very good and that took care of it. But it came back and it's come back a few times since I had it the first time. The last time I had it again, I spent a lot of time in a gym. I do Brazilian Jujitsu, we're constantly sweaty. I mean I change out of my sweaty clothes as soon as I can. I think that's probably the number one thing that I've learned is to make sure you're not sitting around in sweaty clothes. But the last time I went to the doctor, and I said, hey, I have this thing called Tinea versicolor and it's back. And all the things I've tried to get rid of it on my own haven't worked, you know, what solutions do you have for me? And so I was offered again this, you know, shampoo. I was offered a sort of like a spray that I could put in my hair. And then I was offered a pill, which was essentially the equivalent of an antibiotic, but an Antifungal pill. And when I asked my friend who's a doctor, what I thought, oh, this seems a little bit extreme to take this pill. And when I asked my friend, who's a doctor, what is this medication? And she just thought, well if you want to obliterate your gut then go ahead and take that. And I said, no way. So, you know, I just think that there's not a whole lot of knowledge out there about what it is. And being that I work at the time I was working at a gym, I would come into contact with a lot of people. I'd see a lot of people, you see a lot of people's bodies cause they're wearing tank tops or they're shirtless or it's a crossfit setting. I would notice occasionally I'd see people that would have the telltale spots of Tinea and I'd ask them, do you know what this is? And they'd be like, I have no idea. I've had this my whole life. I've had it for a really long time. I'm really embarrassed by it. You know, I usually want to cover up because it's ugly. I just don't want to show it. And so I would tell them this is a thing called Tinea versicolor and they had never heard of what it was. So that's just something that I've had to deal with pretty much on and off. And luckily now I don't have it. It comes back every once in a while, but now I know that there are certain things I can do. And then for me as well, I would get really flaky and my scalp. And then of course we have that association of Dandruff or like that you're dirty cause you don't wash your hair. You know, it just brings up a lot of stuff for people and it brought up a lot of stuff for me where it, it's not something that's really, you know, it's not disabling for me but when it comes out, it does make me more self conscious about my skin and how I look and stuff like that.

Jennifer: It's interesting too because everything that you do and the one thing that I love, I mean there's many things I love that you put out into the world is that you offer people this way to embrace who they are and share their thoughts and just take up space instead of feeling like you have to hide. And I know for myself I didn't have that, but I would hide because it was on my hands and people shake hands. And so in this particular case, like you said, it's embarrassing if you have, you want to go out swimming, if you want to go to the beach, if it's just really hot and you can't bear to have that area covered if you're at the gym, any number of things. It's just really interesting that there is shame no matter what type of skin condition you have that seems to be woven into it. It's like this traumatic experience that results because you end up with something where your skin is not showing up perfectly. And do you think, and now in hindsight, cause it's sort of behind you, so to speak, and you also have a much different perspective on your life and health and whatnot. Do you have any words of wisdom to maybe share with everybody who's listening who right now is still stuck in that phase of like they're really embarrassed and they feel a sense of shame about their skin?

Steph: Yeah, I mean, I think the thing that resonates for me is something that I learned from Brené Brown, which is, guilt is sort of like when you feel bad because you did something and shame is when you feel bad because you're a bad person. In our journeys, when we experience things like skin issues, where does that transfer over from something we just feel, we feel bad about the thing to feeling bad about ourselves. And I don't know where that line is for different people and I don't even know if he can pinpoint one event, although I'm sure for a lot of folks there is like one thing that happened to them, somebody made a comment, somebody even, you know, they had the perception that somebody looked at them strangely that they saw they were staring or they looked away or you know, those things, we can internalize them even if that's not what the person was intending. And I think even from my husband and his Eczema, all the things that he's dealt with, the biggest thing that I would just want people to remember is that you're, you're a whole person. You're a real person who has their struggles, but every body has their struggles and it doesn't mean you're any less valuable of a person or worthy to take up that space because of your skin and the issues that you might be dealing with your skin at any one moment. And that there is power in your story. Brené Brown also talks about this, like when we name the thing that we feel ashamed about, we take away its power. And I think, you know, that doesn't mean everybody necessarily needs to become a blogger or devote a social media account to their condition. But I think the more we can open up about that and the more we can use our voice and say, you know, these are the things that I'm going through. The more it normalizes it. And you'd be surprised how many people will come out of the woodwork and say, you know, I also had this, or I dealt with this too. I had something similar and it really affected me. And thanks for making me feel not so alone. So the more we can share, the more we can just step into that. I think the better. And I know that's not always the case. We sometimes want to run and hide or hide ourselves away because we have this perception that people are going to make judgments about us.

Jennifer: And you're very right on about that spot on, I would say. I know I constantly felt like a leper basically. I thought I was literally gonna have to stop teaching. I wasn't gonna be able to go out anymore. I had to stop exercising. I had to do a lot of different things, not just because of the shame, but also the pain that I was physically in. Another thing I wanted to talk about too. So you have this new book, which I think is honestly one of the best, most practical, most reasonable, like I even learned from it, of how to make changes over the course of 30 days. And, and the thing that's nice about it is it a, there's really no dogmatic nonsense in it that leads to further food fear. Cause I feel like a lot in the wellness world especially, but even in the skin world, people get outside of the just dermatologist cycle and they're like, okay, what's the next thing I can do that can help me? And they get stuck in this idea that it's all about food and they start micromanaging every little thing that they eat, thinking that that's going to fix it. And they end up on very tiny diets. And I think what you offer people is a really smart way to start making simple changes when you haven't really cleaned up your diet. And on top of it, adding in some movement that if you're uncomfortable right now going to the gym, cause I know like I couldn't go to the gym, I didn't want ever anybody to see this. And if people saw me touching equipment, my hands are all messed up. They would freak out. So you have this really great book with also these fitness things, fitness routines or just exercises in them that you can do at home and you don't really need any, you don't really need much equipment at all. Do you want to just talk a little bit about what the book is about so that if people are like, hey, I don't really know what to do next but I know I need to start making changes, I would love for them to learn more.

Steph: Yeah, absolutely. And thanks for the kind words that means a lot. I know that there are tons of books out in the market that talk about nutrition and fitness and what goes on in between your ears with your own thinking. And I really aim to provide something that was a little bit against the grain. So like you said, a lot of people have been through so many restrictive diets. They've just been focusing on cutting things out. Use exercise to punish themselves for what they eat or they just feel like the barrier to entry is so high that they can't get started. And one of my favorite things to do is to like chunk it down so that it's so easy that I made, it almost seems like too easy, right? Like how, like is that gonna do anything? And yes, I think for myself working with so many people over the years, I see that most people want to make gradual change. We have to honor where people are at in their lives, the access that they have to certain resources and equipment and food even and that and acknowledge as coaches that not everybody is in the same position. So I really wanted to make something that was accessible and that would help people learn how to add in some of these habits and almost like test drive certain things that they can then put into this toolbox and reached back into later on. Maybe the time's not right for them to exercise now or maybe it is and they want to figure out how they can work this into their lives. I mean, a lot of the women in my community are busy moms or in their workplace, they don't have three hours to go to the gym every day. And so the constant thought is, well, unless I can do hours and hours, then like, why bother? You know, I'm not able to do as much as someone else or the people that I see on social media. So I really wanted to create something that was approachable that would give people real sustainable, lasting behavior change. Because, I mean, you can do anything for a week really, but what can you do? What are the skills, the habits, what are the behaviors? What are the the rituals that you can keep doing for a long period of time. I'm not interested in what you can do for a week. I want to know that in five years maybe are not doing the same exact things, but you've really found a way to incorporate good nutritious food into your life that also allows you to enjoy social situations and being able to go out with people that you know, enjoy life being like just having health as a goal. Like where you're just working on your health all the time. Certainly there are times where that's going to require more time and attention and then the idea is that you've developed those patterns, you develop those habits that you can carry forward with you. I call it healthing so hard, like healthing so hard isn't your focus. It's I'm living in my life and I'm able to incorporate things that really make me feel good on a daily basis. One of the things I do is I have in that program or in this book, a whole sequence that you can use for this 30 days that's, you can do it at home with a couple sets of dumbbells and like a bench or something sturdy like a sturdy chair. And I actually do these workouts on my front porch all the time because sometimes I don't go to the gym and I just want to get a quick workout. So you know, you can stop right now. Go do that, spend half hour, come back in. You don't have to commute. You can watch your kids, they can do it with you. I mean, I just wanted to make it really accessible and really flexible for people with the intention of getting away from the strictness and the idea that building health has to be hard and it has to be something that we can never enjoy and that exercise can't, it's only supposed to hurt. Like it can't be enjoyable. And that the ultimate goal for me is to help people build their health. And weight loss is sometimes an outcome from that, but sometimes it's not. And I try to be real honest and upfront with people about that too is can you build this sense of inner strength? Can you feel good on a daily basis? Can you add to your health in a way that you're able to fully enjoy your life? And if I can help you accomplish that, then I feel like I've done my job.

Jennifer: And this is perfect. As I said, for people that are struggling right now, especially if you're at the beginning of your food transition out of a diet where you just like don't care to eat anything to something that's way healthier and that's sustainable too. I love that all the meals are very practical. You don't have to be a chef. Also, the fact that you could do these exercises at home, was the one thing I was really impressed. I was like, I could do these at home. This is so great because I don't need to, I'm not comfortable say, you know, like when I was in the midst of this, I wouldn't go into the gym. That was done. That got taken away from me. And so to be able to do some movement at home, to help deal with stress, because movement is great for relaxing, but also, I mean you don't always have to use weight either. It can just be body weight. And I love that you're guiding people through that and giving them these options because those two pieces, the food and the movement are important no matter where you are on your journey. And so I just want to remind everybody that Steph also has a fantastic podcast. It's great for mindset. It's not PG. So keep that in mind some of you love like the PG thing. It's not PG, but I will say I was very blessed to be a guest on her Harder to Kill radio show earlier this year. And I'll link that episode here so you can also check that out. But she's also just got a lot of encouragement and wisdom that she shares in a very real way. That again, the idea of it's okay to take up space. You don't have to feel like you have to shrink from your life and you don't deserve to be in your life anymore because of what's happening to you. And I think that's, that's a lesson and a reminder and wisdom that we need repeated over and over and over again. As you move through your journey. , and stuff, everyone can find you over at stephgaudreau.com we will put the links to all of that. You're also on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest. You've got a youtube channel and you've got a great gift for everybody. It is your five day healthy habits kickstart. And that may be a really great way to get involved in what stuffs has to offer cause she's also a lot of different fitness programs and things like that that you can stream online. Is there anything else? Like, we've got the book, the Core 4 book that is now available. And so you can get that on Amazon and probably in most other places, right?

Steph: Yeah, pretty much everywhere you can get books.

Jennifer: Awesome. And we'll put a link to that. So we'll make it really easy in the show notes for you to find all of these resources from Steph, connect with her. I feel so lucky that I get to share all of you with Steph because she been a real inspiration for me over the last few years and she's also got a lot of great recipes over on her website as well. Her website is a wealth of knowledge, so I know that you will love it. Thanks so much Steph for joining us. I really appreciate it.

Steph: Thanks for having me. I appreciate that.

"I think that's probably the number one thing that I've learned is to make sure you're not sitting around in sweaty clothes."