Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Tea-tree objects identified

(The latest version of this article can be found here:

Over on the incredibly long biology-online thread, someone was going into great detail on his experiences with tea-tree oil. He posted a link to a photo album:


I'd expect a lot of fiber photos, but was surprised to find most of the photos were of things that looked like blobs of some kind of gelatinous stuff, like this:

(lots more on the site, check it out).

Intrigued, I read that all he did was rub tea tree oil on his arm, and the fibers appeared. Fibers? He must include these blobs as some kind of compressed fiber.

Anyway, I got some tea tree oil and rubbed it onto my arm - smelly stuff!

Nothing seemed to be happening for a while, I notice the small hairs stuck to the skin, maybe that's what people were seeing. Hmm, or maybe as the oil drys, the hairs pop up?

Nothing really going on, I stared at my arm, shining a flashlight, wishing I had a magnifying glass. Then suddenly I noticed a tiny little speck at the base of one hair. Whoa! I'm infected! I pinch the skin, and gently scrape it off with a sharp knife, and transfer it under the microscope, x200.

Hey, that looks familiar - it's a "fiber" thing. I have Morgellons!

Zoom out a little:

It's about 1mm long, 0.25 mm wide. Not sure where that fiber came from.

Okay, so I'm not itching. I probably don't have Morgellons. So what is this thing?

It's a sebum plug.

Hair on your arms is rooted in little pits called follicles. Sebaceous glands in the follicle secrete an oil substance called sebum. The follicles can become blocked (both with or without a hair growing from them). A plug of sebum forms in the follicle and can harden.

Tea tree oil dissolves the material (skin and hardened sebum) blocking the top of the follicle, and allows the sebum plug to emerge. Tea tree oil is a well-known treatment for blocked pores.

Tiny fibers could quite easily become trapped in the follicle and become part of the sebum plug. Not many of the photos actually have fibers though.

Shutterfly guy - you are collecting sebum plugs.

He also has a video of a sebum plug dissoving in some alcohol. It's quite an energetic dissolution - titled "supernova". Sebum is fat, alcohol dissoves fat. Fat is semi-soil and dissolving it is a naturally violent reaction due to localized changes in surface tension and density.

Here's the big picture of my sebum plug, produced from my arm by the application of tea tree oil.:

Not photos of Morgellons.

Here's another sebum plug (60x)

You can see how people might think it was some kind of fibrous organism

(The latest version of this article can be found here:


At 10:17 PM, Anonymous London said...

What a complete jerk you are. You can sure tell us what we do not have, yet you sure as hell can not tell us what we do have. By the way, since you do not think you are doing anything offensive to those of us that suffer, why do you choose to write anonymously?

Do you not have any heart? We have little children that are dealing with this wicked disease.

I'd like to meet you one day- you know, to spread the love....

At 9:41 AM, Blogger Margellons said...

I've no idea what you have. I was just identifying some photos of sebum plugs.

At 5:05 AM, Blogger Smileykins said...

Excellent, except you see, nothing of any reason can penetrate their group. They all have the same "disease", remember. You're doing a good service, here, and not being a jerk, as you well know. Anyone else can see that you are. Their doctors haven't taken the time to explain everything in detail, like you are. They probably assume that their patients know their own bodily functions. Some may wake up to your message, if they'll allow thesmselves to, although, it's a fact that many can't. Imagine having such hopes of validation and vindication, and how strong that motivating force is.

At 4:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's commonplace for them to go apeshit on anyone that tries showing them any trace of sound logic. They even perceive that as a threat rather than attempts to assist.

At 4:58 PM, Blogger Margellons said...

Oh, I'm not too worried about convincing people like London. She's just a useful source of links that help set the framework. She herself is not going to agree with me on anything.

I'm more concerned with the more marginal people, who have not yet fully slipped into the seductive abyss of circular irrationality.

At 3:40 PM, Blogger yug said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 3:57 PM, Anonymous Blue Dog said...

Several of the "Morgies" have reported hair loss. This can be caused by excessive sebum. Excessive sebum can also take the pigment out of hair, giving it a transparent appearance. It can also flatten hairs.


Some of the "Morgies" have reported a "thickening of the skin". Excessive sebum can spread and dry into layers that look like skin. As fresh layers are deposited, and older, deeper layers dry into fine powder, the "skin" is thickened. Some individuals have misidentified the dehydrated layer as an "egg layer".

These dehydrated particles contain enzymes and when they are dusted onto sensitive skin, they sometimes cause a burning sensation. This can easily be mistaken for the bite of an arthropod. Stress is one of the primary causes of excessive sebum.

Blue Dog

At 3:39 AM, Blogger Smileykins said...

Thank you, Blue Dog. Yes, many believers report hairloss. Some might even have more hair if they didn't pull it out and perform experiments on it, soaking it in alcohol and looking at it under magnification.

Although it comes as no surprise, I hadn't known about any of the believers complaining of a thickening of their skin. So, after seeing this, I just wanted to also add that the upper layers of the skin respond to trauma, such as chronic scratching, by thickening up and taking on a leathery texture, and that it's referred to as lichenification. Too much tea tree oil can even do it.

Seborrhea and psoriasis are such distinct possibilities, also, in this vast and unique land of the morg. Will any believers look into that? Of course not.

The National Institute of Health estimates that 15 million people in the United States have some form of eczema. About 10 to 20 percent of all infants have eczema, however, in nearly half of those children, the disease will improve greatly by the time they are between 5 and 15 years of age.

That could be why little Andrew Leitao is so much better. I had improved around age 5-6 years, but when you've got eczema, you've got it for life. Remissions are wonderful times. I also had prickly heat, known as miliaria, too. Wonder how many morgies have that? Milia too, I wonder. Endless possibilites.

Anyway, of course, there is no cure for eczema, and far too many people are resistant to learn what a bitch it is to have. Its nature is sort of like it just has a mind of its own. Treating it is a constant, and things have to be eliminated in your life that everyone else takes for granted.

It's quite astounding, that believers in morgellons, even though it's unrecognized in the real world, believe that they're right on the brink of: "exposing the cause", who is responsible for "giving it to them", and they think that "a cure is close at hand".

That's so special. Why can't other people have such hope, instead of, oh, someone like pessimistic me, without a cure for my eczema, and nobody but my own genes to blame it on.

For those who don't get me, that was supposed to be funny, and I have permission to be.


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