Buy my private email address! (must use laptop or pc to seem buy button)

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Topical Steroids And Topical Steroid Withdrawal

It's been over a year since I have posted on here, so thought I would take the time and do it now. I found myself asking someone I have helped with topical steroid withdrawal in the past for help this morning. I figure that's the end when I start asking people I helped in the past for help myself! So, halfway through my email I turned my letter into a post for my blog instead. It went like this:

Hi xxxxxx, I was wondering how your skin is doing and how the new psoriasis drug you are taking is doing overall. My 3 week experiment with prednisone was a total disaster. I am now far worse than before I did it. It seems to have undone years of healing in a very short period of time. I'm not near as bad as my first year, but my body seemed to have regressed back to the same stage I was at in months 8-11 of my tsw. I am now convinced use of topical steroids leads to permanent damage of the immune system, or it's ability to keep certain things in check like it had before using ts. I imagine if one doesn't use much, and never uses again, they wouldn't get permanent damage. I also have seen this with many people I have helped over these past 3 years. But for the rest who used a lot over a long period of time, we're just kinda shit outta luck in a way.

I really don't know what to do. My marriage is in shambles from this. A woman can only take so many years of her man being a helpless mess. But, I'm more concerned for myself at the moment and how in the hell am I going to clear my hands (permanently) so that I can do things without the unbearable pain, move forward, and not get stuck with a whole new problem like those who fell for protopic did. And those who fell for cyclosporine and other immunosuppressive drugs that seem to end up being more harmful than helpful.

It's been a little over 3 years now since I went to the top dermatologist on the west coast with a referral from a derm who had no idea what to do with me. The new guy was so shocked at my knowledge on topical steroids and the damage they cause, and my insistence that he help me in my topical steroid withdrawal, that he didn't quite know how to handle the situation. He was visibly upset, and appeared very embarrassed in front of his assistants at my request for help, and at the paperwork I had given his assistant (minutes before seeing me) to read before seeing me. It was text about information on tsa/tsw, Itsan and other websites, blogs, etc., related to tsa/tsw.

He looked like a deer in the headlights, like a man caught in bed with a another man's wife! The expressions on his face were priceless at times. Like, "BUSTED"! But, I wasn't there to call him out on his BS. I only asked for his help in my topical steroid withdrawal journey. He offered me protopic, which I declined because of what I had read on blogs from people who were doing protopic withdrawal at the time. I have recently read that it is now known to cause cancer!

Towards the end of that visit three years ago, he ended up very curtly yelling at me that "You have chronic eczema and will have to be on steroids the rest of your life"!

What does this man know that I don't? Perhaps the truth? Perhaps knowledge that the very drugs he and his peers prescribes to people cause permanent damage to the body, and once one has inadvertently overused topical steroids they are fucked for life? Perhaps the ts undoes the bodies ability to keep eczema, psoriasis, and asthma at bay like it had been able to prior to using, permanently in many cases?

Yes, I can completely change my diet, eat raw veggies, nuts, seeds and fruit only, and my symptoms would probably improve quite a bit. However, I do not want to spend the rest of my life depriving myself the pleasures of life. If I had to do that then what's the use of living? That might work for some, but for others like myself, forget it. There is a quality of life issue.

So, I am stuck. The one doctor that likely knows exactly what has happened to my body refuses to share his knowledge with me, and apparently has no desire learn from my own experience with tsw, much less acknowledge tsa/tsw as a realty. Or, offer an intelligent and knowledgeable way to heal.

I have a letter in front of me from this derm with a $5 bill taped to it dated December 15, 2015. The letter starts with "Dear so and so, I am writing to request your help with an important nationwide study of how patients are affected by atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema". It goes on blah, blah, and then says "The study sponsor is a biotechnology company working on developing a new therapy for atopic dermatitis."

EXCUSE ME! I have fucking steroid induced eczema, not eczema or atopic dermatitis! For fuck sake! What the hell is wrong with this picture?  I have been so pissed off about this letter that I can only write about it now, a full year after receiving it. I very recently called this doctors office and requested to speak to an assistant to ask if the good doctor would be interested in hearing what I have experienced since I last saw him. I said I felt it would be beneficial to him, and maybe, just maybe he could now finally help me, assuming he has learned something about tsa/tsw since I last saw him. Was told no, I would have to be considered a new patient since he hasn't seen me in 3 years, and was told I could talk to a woman who handles their studies. I left a message with a short summary of what I wanted and the woman never called me back. What a surprise. That shows me that even though this doctor, this very highly esteemed doctor, doesn't even have the slightest interest in knowing what symptoms someone he has seen 3 years ago has experienced since then going cold turkey with stopping ts. No interest in helping me either. Just exactly what the fuck are his interests? Well, let's take a quick look.

I checked the "Dollars for Docs" website and learned this man has taken in over $100,000 in kickbacks between 2013 and 2015 from big pharma for various things like consulting, travel and lodging, meals, promotional speaking fees, food and beverage, etc. Big pharma also apparently funds his studies. Or, should I say "their" studies. The whole thing is so sickening to me. But, the worst thing of all, I have literally no doctor to turn to for help.

I thought about "outing" this man, and the institution he works for, by showing the letter here with his and their names, but I fear it will do me more harm than good. I don't have the money to fight doctors or big pharma in court. I also have to rely on the medical community in my area for help as I age, so I best not push things too far and get on their shit list anymore than I already am. And, it's not just this one doctor. It's all of them!

My next post will be about my current and ongoing research and experiments using Dead Sea salt baths regularly (again for the first time in years), along with intermittent use a special Calendula salve (safest and best one on the market with least amount of ingredients), to see if I can't finish healing my skin. Yes, you heard me correct lol. I'm going to make an attempt at final healing through using the very thing I have been so adamant about not using (a moisturizer)! However, I have not changed my opinion on the use of moisturizers what so ever. I am interested in seeing if the intermittent use of Calendula flower salve and regular dss baths will bring about the desired effect I'm looking for. I will be applying it only on small spots where my skin is broken. I'm going to experiment with both putting it on a day before doing a dss bath, and then stay dry for a day or so, and putting it on after dss baths to see which works best. Or, not work at all. We'll see.

I had great success early in my tsw using this particular Calendula salve. Problem was, it's in an olive oil base, and studies show olive oil damages the skin barrier with repeated use after about 30 days. My own experience using it showed this to be true as well. So, since I have no Calendula flower salve in a decent base, I will just use this sparingly, as in once every 2 or 3 days. Or, daily for a week and stop for a week. Haven't decided on which yet. Most creams, lotions, salves, ointments, etc., available on the market  today with Calendula flowers have way too many unneeded ingredients, making them useless, and even damaging imo. The ingredients in this one are: Organic Calendula Flowers in a base of organic unrefined olive oil,  beeswax, tea tree oil, and grapefruit seed extract. Perfect except for the base. People who have access to my personal email can contact me and I will let you know the name of the product and where to find it if you like.

Carrying on with this blog is extremely time consuming. It's been over 3 years now and although I have seriously contemplated deleting the blog and moving on with other things, I know it would be a great disservice in the face of all the dis-information out there about tsa/tsw, moisturizing, etc. This blog gets thousands of hits every month, yet I don't sell advertising space. I could, but find it rather tacky. So, support my blog! I have added a "Buy Now" button for those of you who want my personal email for contacting me privately. It is a one time payment and good for as long as I have the email address, and I've had the same one for over a decade now. The button does not display on smartphones, so you'll need to use a laptop or desktop to see it.

What are you buying exactly? Daily personal access to me and my 3+ years experience with tsw via email. Due to time restraints, I no longer will be answering questions on my blog, only via private email. However, I do encourage everyone to contribute and share your experiences here. And, to feel free to debate issues, share your thoughts, whatever you like. I will continue to respond to most posts if engaged in debate.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Topical Steroid Addiction and the Moisturizer Connection

Hello all! Its been nearly a year since I've made a post on my blog and I have finally gotten inspired to write one today. I am still in topical steroid withdrawal. and STILL not 100% healed. However, my symptoms are mild, and have been since my one year mark. Apparently, the skin barrier in my hands was so destroyed from overuse of topical steroids that it is still trying to fully heal from the damage after 3 years! Over the last three years I've seen many people heal completely, some within just 3-4 months, and have seen others still quite not there after 1-3 years of topical steroid withdrawal. The difference in healing rates is rather obvious to me. People who used topical and/or oral steroids intermittently, or for a short duration of time, seem to heal the quickest. Just the opposite for others who used ts heavily for prolonged periods of time.

What really inspired me to write today is a theory I have come up with. I have much attention in these last three years to people who are using topical steroids. Friends, acquaintances, the general public, and family. I always pick their brains on how long they have had skin issues, why they started using topical steroids, what potency, how long have they been using, how much, and how often. I see a common theme throughout all these people. It is this: a small rash pops up on the skin, they treat it with over the counter topical steroids until such time they no longer work and other patches of rash show up on the body, and out of frustration they go to a doctor for help. The doctor prescribes a more potent topical steroid than what one can buy over the counter and sends you home. It works like magic, just like the over the counter steroids used to do.

However, as time goes by, the rashes being treated begin to spread, again. Other rashes pop up on other places on the body (usually near the paces we used ts, but not always), again, where one never used steroids, or had any problems before. WTF! Well, most of us know what happens after that. It continues to worsen over time until we finally search the web and find out what is really happening.

Topical steroid addiction (TSA), or poisoning, whatever you want to call it. The cure? Most of us choose topical steroid withdrawal (TSW) and begin to address the actual cause of our original skin problem. We learn the topical steroids only treat the symptoms, but not the actual cause. And they eventually stop working for many of us.

We also learn that topical steroids are creating the rashes that we and our doctors were attributing to eczema or atopic dermatitis, etc. 

That last sentence is the most important to understand so I will repeat it. We also learn that topical steroids are creating the rashes that we and our doctors were attributing to eczema or atopic dermatitis, etc.

We know that not all people have serious problems using topical steroids, and yet some do. Here is where my theory comes in. It is actual two parts. I believe that people who DO have problems with using topical steroids are people who have certain genetic make-ups, making them far more susceptible to topical steroid addiction, and the associated problems that come from it. And also making them more susceptible to common skin irritants. It seems to be people like myself, who have family members that have had childhood eczema, psoriasis, or asthma.

The second part of my theory is why most people seek medical help for various skin eruptions, and what leads us to use topical steroids in the first place. To me, this is the most important part. It's a very simple theory. Not proven, but common sense and a little knowledge on how the skin functions, and one can easily understand.

At some point in life whether 2 months of age or 30 years of age, we get a small rash. The rash is commonly treated with topical steroids if it doesn't go away, right away. Or, treated with moisturizers, and then on to topical steroids. What exactly causes this first rash to appear? Well duh? It's the skin being irritated by something. Chemicals in a blanket, baby powder, harsh laundry detergents, soaps, shampoos, chemicals in foods, etc. Most make-up, lotions, most all moisturizers, etc., have ingredients that have known skin barrier damaging properties to them. Even the most natural things can cause skin eruptions if the skin is smothered with them for a prolonged period, in effect causing a situation where the skin is not able to function normally.

Again, it's a very simple theory that only requires a little common sense and logic to grasp. When people break out in a rash, it is almost always caused by contact with a skin irritant. But, they don't treat the cause. They treat the symptoms. Treating symptoms never addresses the cause, therefore, we rarely get the desired effect.

I have seen countless numbers of people in various stages of topical steroid use. I cringe every time I see and talk to them. Most people do not understand, as they are not taught this information, and are rarely told this by their doctors. Many are also erroneously (oftentimes negligently) told by their doctors to use topical steroids for far too long periods of time. Far more than what the pharmaceutical companies who make the drugs suggest to use (two weeks per year). Many doctors are ignorant of the side effects of many drugs they prescribe, and their proper use. Some are very aware, but don't care, as their only interest is making money. I'm not painting all doctors with one brush. There are good doctors out there. Problem is, it's like finding a good mechanic or any other profession. People are people. Some are honest, but many are not. Many (imo most) doctors are also unaware of the dangers of ts use. In the case of general practice doctors, they are far too busy to even research the topic when you present it to them. No fault of their own in many cases. It's just the way our medical profession is set up these days.

How many doctors address the actual cause of skin eruptions as opposed to just prescribing topical steroids and sending you on your way with improper instructions on how it should be used? I could make an educated guess with my own life experience and say maybe 5%?

People who have skin issues are usually people who have genetic make-ups that make them far more susceptible to common skin irritants compared to others. At first sign of a rash, whether on your newborn baby, or on you, look at the potential causes of the rash and treat the problem from that perspective. Treating the symptoms incorrectly can obviously lead to extremely serious complications months and years later, as the thousands, if not millions of people doing topical steroid withdrawal can attest to. How to treat correctly? Look for the cause and remove it. If your genetic make-up makes you more susceptible to skin problems, learn what to avoid. Things like moisturizers, lotions, suntan lotions, I could go on and name thousands of products. It would be much easier to just say go all natural in your diet, laundry detergent, soaps, etc. Never put crap on your skin, period. No insect repellents, no suntan lotions, no moisturizers, etc. Worried about the sun? Wear a hat, or limit your exposure. Mosquitoes? Wear long sleeves and avoid areas with lots of mosquitoes. Dry skin? Drink more water and stop putting crap on your skin, which is very likely the reason you have dry skin now. Etc., etc., etc. Allow your skin to heal with only the aids of sunshine and air. And by avoiding the chemicals that caused the dryness in the first place. Don't buy into the modern snake oil salesmen of the day you see on your television set. They are out to make money off you and your lack of knowledge. Read up on how the skin functions and you will realize that putting anything on it other than water, air, and sunshine is very likely damaging to it, especially is applied for prolonged periods of time.

All comments and questions welcome.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Picture Update - Month 25 - Topical Steroid Withdrawal Worked For Me!

Yes, topical steroid withdrawal really did work for me! Oh boy where do I start? It's been so long since I have made a post on my blog. I was checking out the web for any new sites and blogs a couple days ago when I came across a site that mysteriously rhymes with Itsan. But it's not Itsan. It's called Etsin! The site holds itself out as a eczema and topical steroids network, and offers help, or should I say an alternative to tsw. But, it appears to me it is there to discredit tsw and bloggers who advocate tsw. The site says "TSW has received increased attention by bloggers in the last few years – spreading by means of sensationalism and unfounded fear. Advocates of TSW defend it as the safest alternative to treating steroid addiction but factually, it poses far greater risks than tapering topical steroids – in regards to the treatment of eczema." I found this statement to be hilarious to say the least. Note, it says in regards to the treatment of eczema. How misleading is that statement? First of all, people who are doing tsw are NOT doing it to treat eczema. Let's just get that straight from the get go. They are doing it to recover from the damage that topical steroids have caused to their bodies. What a convenient way to create confusion amongst those who don't know the difference.

It is very ironic how that website also says rather than risk tsw, the better way is to use topical steroids and taper down! That is simply not possible as thousands of people worldwide have shown. At least for not those people anyway. Duh! You think we haven't tried tapering down?! Then they have several testimonials from past customers (read victims) testifying how great people are doing while on their steroids! I can't help but laugh. But sadly, this is not a laughing matter. I read no testimonials of people saying they used ts the way the site suggests and who have stopped using them for an extended period of time with no reaction. Check the site out and see for yourself how their alternative to tsw is to use more steroids with the idea one can taper off them! How ridiculous is that for those of us who know the truth?

I have much to say but really am sick and tired of tsw and all that comes with it, so will just post pictures of my hands as they are today and let you decide whether tsw is the way to go, or using ts as that site suggests. The site seems to confuse damage from ts with eczema. They don't seem to get that people doing tsw are not doing it because they have eczema, they are doing it because the ts they have used for whatever reason has finally caught up with them, and they are experiencing steroid induced rash, period. But, maybe that is their intention eh? To create confusion so the masses don't learn the TRUTH.

On moisturizers. I used to believe not using moisturizers would help speed the recovery process of tsw. I no longer believe that now. However, I do believe using moisturizers slows the recovery process for obvious reasons. If one constantly irritates an already destroyed skin barrier with moisturizers, obviously the skin will take longer to heal. That is just plain ole common sense. This is not to mention the greatly increased discomfort moisturizing causes while doing tsw.

So anyway, you fucking moronic so called doctors out there, here are my hands after two years of NOT using topical steroids. Well, to be fair, I did use them a couple times about a year ago which was a BIG mistake. If I hadn't, I know I would have healed much sooner. Not the best pictures but best I can do today. There is a pic showing my left arm, my right arm looks the same. It came out dark and I didn't feel like retaking it, since I'm right handed it's kind of difficult for me. What little leftover scabbing you see on my right palm is greatly exaggerated with these close-up pics. It is just the remnants of a former destroyed skin barrier, which is now nearly fully healed. When viewing these pictures keep in mind that two years ago my hands literally looked like raw hamburger meat.

Anyway, you fucking money grubbing Derms, take a good look here what stopping the use of topical steroids does as compared to your patients you so delightfully prescribe them to on a daily basis. You fucking bastards. So, I'll have to be on steroids for the rest of my life huh Mr Derm? Say again? Fuck you, you sick motherfuckers. My testimonial shows without a doubt that the ONLY way to recover from topical steroid addiction is to stop using the steroids. It IS the steroids that causes the condition, therefore, it IS the steroids that must be stopped. Fucking morons. I'm a living testament to this.

Show me one person who has "tapered" off topical steroids and has skin that looks like this after one or two years of that last application. You can't you fucking derelicts. I know. Most of my family has been using ts for most their lives on & off. They can't stop because when they do the steroid induced rash is created and comes out demanding more steroids. I did stop. It was hell, but well worth it. I'll never need to use them again to heal the damage my previous use caused for the rest of my life. Just the opposite of what the top Derm on the west coast told me when I pleaded for his help and support in stopping. I had to go it alone. Bastard! All I really want to know is in the hell can you sleep at night knowing what you are doing to your fellow man?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Update on My Topical Steroid Use - Don't Do It!

After 15 months of not touching topical steroids and going through hell I used them again twice over the last 2-3 months very sparingly for about 4 days both times. I thought since I had been nearly fully recovered in the last 5-6 months that using a tiny amount would not set me back at all. I was wrong. It's been a full month now since round two, and although my skin didn't revert back to day one of my tsw, I have had steroid induced eczema show up on my right arm, an area I have never used ts on, and an area that has been 100% clear for 6-7 months. I also have experienced that dreaded bone deep itching again on my right hand that had been gone for many months. The itching has subsided now and things seem to be settled down, but I can definitely tell there is a very real connection with cellular memory. A couple people warned me about this possibility and they were right. Kudos to you guys, you know who you are.

The net result of me using again is basically a set back of healing since I first used again back in early September, and on top of that, a loss of about 3 months of healing time. Now I have to bite the bullet and not use again, ever. I have no regrets what so ever though, and would do it again if the same situation presented itself. But, not many situations would make me want to lose 3-4 months of healing time.

Dr. F suggests people can get through tsw using systemic steroids, but I wouldn't go there myself after this experience. What he has said makes sense, since oral steroids do not affect the skin the same way topicals do, but there are unknowns I don't want to find out. Not to mention the risks of having a lowered immune system and other associated problems that go along with systemic steroids. Now, if I were a much worse case, and it was from ts use only, I might consider it. Luckily I'm not and won't.

For me, it's been very difficult recovering due to not being able to use my hands for so long. I have to be able to work and make a living, and it was all but impossible for me to do that the first several months of my tsw. Anyway, my hands are a little worse than they were at the end of August before using that first time in September. Having 100% healed hands was a nice break. I had only experienced this at my one year mark when I was healed for two weeks. So, it was really nice to feel normal again both in September and again in October. I used a second time so I could do a trade show. Again, I have to work. I've used up all my savings and have gotten far behind financially due to that first year of debilitation. I have another two week show to do coming up very soon and I will not be using ts for it. I will do the show even if I'm bleeding all over the place and my hands are sore and swollen. Fuck topical steroids! And fuck the people who make them, prescribe them, and push them. God damn the pusher man. Can anyone tell I'm sick of this shit yet?

So, the jury is in with my experiment on myself. I have to warn you, do not try it. Not only does it make things worse after the initial fast healing subsides once you stop using, but it is even more apparent to me just how dangerous these drugs really are. So, if you want to use for a special need like I did, just know that 1) it will set you back months in your healing, and 2) it will make you very tempted to use over & over again. I can handle the temptation but can imagine others may not. So please take it from me and don't even go there.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

I Used Topical Steroids For The First Time In 15 Months and Glad I Did!

What I'm about to say is going to be controversial. But, what is new? After 15 months of going through topical steroid withdrawal I used my old ts Betamethasone Dipropionate Ointment USP 0.05% twice a day for two days and about 3 other applications a few days later. My skin cleared 100% and remained that way for about two weeks and then reverted back to where it was prior to the 3 days worth of applications. It did not revert back to where I was 15 months ago. I knew it wouldn't.

If I had to do my tsw over again, and knowing what I know now, I would have used it much earlier. I would have no problem using the stuff for a total of two weeks yearly just to bring relief at key times during my tsw recovery period. In retrospect, I wish I had used it during my wicked 7th month flare, and again a couple months after that. I believe TS are relatively safe to use if used as directed by the pharmaceutical companies, which is two weeks per year. Remember, it's our doctors who failed us by not telling us this info and by continuously filling our prescriptions.

I used my old Rx ts which actually expired in Feb of this year. I have a huge tube of it which I starred at for 15 months before making the decision to use it. But please keep in mind, I only used it so I could avoid an infection from the ocean. I do plan on using it again, only at 3 month intervals, and for only two small applications per day for 2-3 days. I'd love to use it right now but I know I have to wait another two months. I would only use it if I really needed to (as in the case of going to Hawaii like I just did), or if I felt I needed a break. I currently have one finger that is slightly swollen and inflamed but I will not put myself in a position ever again where my body will become addicted to it. I DO NOT want to go through tsw ever again! I believe TS are safe to use two weeks per year, period. Any more and you take the chance of becoming addicted and having to go through tsw again. So knowing this, I figure I can break those two weeks up into about 5 three day applications spread apart by several weeks or months (14 days worth total).

Remember, it's the amount one uses and length of time one uses that determines whether we become addicted, and whether our bodies are damaged. It was the accumulation of 20 years of using a small amount every couple of days that finally caught up with me and caused steroid induced eczema to break out on other parts of my body. At 15 months tsw my body has pretty much recovered from most of the damage those 20 years did, along with the following two years of heavy usage on my hands.

Everyone talks about changing diets and so forth to get at the root of the cause of the skin rash that led us to using ts in the first place. My skin was fine before using ts 22 years ago. I just had a tiny spot of psoriasis that really didn't bother me, so I am not interested in depriving myself of the food I love to eat. I can always eat a clean diet when I die, and I will die eventually. There is no stopping that. It's a quality of life issue for me, which means a trade off. If I live to be 70 instead of 80 or 90 then in the large scope of things it's not all that big of a deal to me. At least those years were spent enjoying myself. I could have died a number of times via other means by now so I feel quite lucky to be here anyway.

My point being, I had little skin problems until I used a very tiny amount of ts daily for 20 years. My skin was fine prior to using 22 years ago (just had a tiny spot of psoriasis the size of a pea), and it has been fine since, except for what the ts did to it on the last two years of using it after it had accumulated in my system for 22 years. It was not my diet that caused steroid induced eczema to break out on my body. It was the steroids.

Anyway, my skin continued to worsen the closer I got to leaving on my vacation and once I got there and talked to some locals about the risks of going into the ocean with open skin I decided I'd rather risk using ts for a few days then risk an infection which could be life threatening. I'm very glad I made the decision to use them, albeit it was an extremely difficult decision to make. But, I can't tell you how good it felt to have fully healed skin again! Ever since I healed fully at my one year mark and went back to using soap and shampoo for two weeks before breaking out again, I broke out in a large eczema like rash behind my left leg and it would not go away. It acted like regular eczema and wasn't an issue but it was a daily thing where I'd scratch it until all the scabbing was gone once a day since then. Now it's gone! I put up with it for the last 9 months, but again, now it's gone! I wish I had put ts on it 5-7 months ago. Just a very tiny amount and just for a couple days, maybe three.

Will using ts like I did at that point in my recovery set me back to square one. NO! I would have to use it for another 22 years to get to that point. I feel as though it was more of a help than a hindrance, but the key is minimal usage for a short period of time. One only needs to read Dr. Fukaya's work to understand why this is safe to do. It takes two weeks of usage before the outer layer of skin (epidermis) begins to break down, and months before the inner layer (dermis) begins to break down at which point one can safely say we have become addicted. Using ts for a few days in very small amounts isn't going to harm anyone in any long lasting way imo.

So again, if I had to do it over again I would have used ts to clear my skin at key times during my tsw. I just would be sure to not use more than two weeks worth of applications in any one year period. I figure I have at least one weeks worth to go in the next 12 months and will happily use it if my skin gets unbearably bad.

Remember, we all got into this mess because our doctors failed to tell us to use for two weeks or less per year and we all used ts every day for years. The doctor that initially prescribed betamethasone to me told me to apply it every day regardless if the rash was gone or not to keep it away. All doctors I saw for the next 22 years years after that just kept renewing my script, but never once did one single doctor I saw over those years tell me to stop using it, or tell me the risks of using it. I was asked why I was using it but never told anything after answering the question. This would be like a doctor telling me to use antibiotics, but not how to use them, and continuously filling my script for them for multiple years.

My skin cleared 100% for two solid weeks a few months ago and I began to take showers and be normal again. I used both soap and shampoo for the first time in a year for two weeks. The soap caused my hands to break out again. I asked Dr Fukaya about all of this in my search for answers and this is what he told me just a couple days ago:

"It is a wise idea that you utilize TCS while caring not to be addicted or overuse. TCS is really a good medication if used smartly. Most of sufferers of TSA/W can’t accept it psychologically.
It is a good news that TCS worked well on your skin. If you are still through TSA/W, it would not work well.
As you find, detergents or soaps are aggravating factors to eczema. Please find Dr. Cork’s description in the following article.
Now your skin must be through hypersensitivities after TSW.
You could use soaps again in a year or two"

What I found interesting was this comment, "Most of sufferers of TSA/W can’t accept it psychologically." Man, I sure could identify with that statement! I thought I would never touch the stuff again no matter what. I was pig headed for thinking that way. If it's safe to use for two weeks a year why not take advantage of it and use the damn stuff at key times when most needed? That psychological barrier was really tough for me to break through. I waited all the way into my second day in Hawaii before making the plunge. Too many locals told me do not go into the water with broken skin or I will get an infection sure as shit. Well, that was finally enough to convince me to go with the lessor of the two evils. I wasn't going to not go into the water. No freaking way! The only reason I was able to overcome my fear was the knowledge I had acquired.

On a slightly different but similar note, I believe that the ingredient polyethylene glycol plays a major role in all this and have to research and find the study I had found many months ago on it. When I was first prescribed ts there was no propylene glycol; propylene glycol stearate; white petrolatum in it but after a year or so I noticed it was added. I vividly remember asking my pharmacist at the time for the "old" stuff without the added ingredients and told it was no longer available. When I research this ts I always find this warning: "This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems." You better believe it! At least two of those "inactive" ingredients are highly damaging to the skin. I will find the study on how propylene glycol interacts with ts and how it affects the body and post it (see my last post in the comments section for these studies I posted links to). You will then see what I'm eluding to. It appears big pharma uses this ingredient for two reasons. 1) a very cheap filler. 2) It damages your skin in the long run while the ts heals your skin in the short run. Therefore, using ts with that ingredient puts one in a position where the skin will never fully heal, which leads one to continue using ts. How convenient eh?

In the meantime, who here has that ingredient in the ts you used? I would bet every single one of you has used this deadly chemical in either your ts, or in a moisturizer. Fess up, inquiring minds want and need to know.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Skin Update, False Alarm - Not Fully Healed Yet!

I announced at my one year mark I was fully healed but it wasn't a week or two after that I had a flare and my skin broke open again. So, I must retract my healed statement and say I'm not fully healed yet, and I'm now on month 14. The flare has been very minor and has lasted for a few weeks, just a few small skin breaks on my palm with the usual itching at night. I think what caused it was I started showering and using both hand soap and shampoo again for the first time in a year. After about 3-4 showers I noticed the skin on my hands was extremely dry and felt compromised. Then, a few days after noticing that, it broke open. Of course it doesn't help matters much that I eat plenty of sugar daily. I refuse to change my diet for a non life threatening illness and will take the trade off of a longer withdrawal period to eat what I want.

With that said, my recovery has still been a walk in the park since around month 4-5 due to MW at month 3. Not that it's been easy. because it's truly been a royal bitch the whole way. Just compared to the living hell I was in the first few months it's been easy. Almost a minor nuisance actually. Again, that is compared to the first few months.

I'm going to Hawaii soon for a vacation I had to cancel last year at this time, and if I have any open skin breaks a couple days before leaving I'm going to use my old tube of topical steroids to close them up so I don't get an infection from the pollution in the water. I've thought this out thoroughly, even talked to Dr. Fukaya about it, and feel confident that at my stage I can use ts for two weeks with little to no residual ramifications from it. The key will be to not use it again for a minimum of one year. Dr. Fukaya agrees. So, if I need to do this I will report how it goes, and how things go once I cease using it again after those two weeks. I never thought I would ever touch the poison again but there is no way I'm going to not go into the water in Hawaii.

I read something rather interesting the other day while researching the subject of going into the ocean with open wounds and discovered that up until 60-70 years ago it was very common for people to use the ocean to heal different wounds to their skin. Something about the salt helps wounds close. It dawned on me when I read this why Dead Sea salts are so beneficial and have been for me throughout this last year. Not only do you get the benefits of the minerals from the dss, but the salts themselves help close wounds. Something I was unaware of and never thought about. I maintain to this day the best way to recover from tsa/tsw is not moisturizing, doing dss baths, and taking the right supplements. A good diet and exercise helps too if you have the willpower for it. And, last but not least, a positive mindset. Wishing everyone a fast healing.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Undisputable Evidence Moisturizing Prolongs TSW Recovery

I recently had an interesting exchange on someone else's blog with a woman who owns ands sells natural skin products and want to share it so people can gain a better understanding of the negative effects of any and all moisturizer products on the skin no matter if you are in tsw or not. At the end you will see I posed my theory to Dr. Fukaya and got his opinion. This should be very helpful for anyone who has questions as to whether they should moisturize or not. The blog this occurred on and the person's name I had this exchange with will remain unnamed for privacy purposes. Since I prefer not to mention names I'll just refer to the person as "moisturizer advocate". After reading this and the information in the links provided, you will see that moisturizing your skin slows healing from tsw considerably.

Moisturizer advocate:
I was only looking at your blog to see if you might want to review our Calendula Cream. It is a water free emollient with anti-inflammatory calendula, water free means no preservatives or emulsifiers, so it is really good for very sensitive types. We have had many amazing customer reviews and just won Gold in the free from skin care awards problem skin category. I would just like to send you some, maybe it will help. Read about it on our web site under calendula cream section. If you would like some just email me, I will send it for free whether you want to review or not.

But what about this study?

Many people going through tsw have discovered that NOT moisturizing makes a significant difference in healing times, severity of the condition itself, and in general, comfort and manageability of their steroid induced eczema.

Also, your website's claim "Our waterless Healing Calendula cream contains soothing lavender essential oil to soothe the itch." is not true for all people. Lavender is a common skin irritant for many people.

I applaud your effort to provide natural skin care products, and know firsthand Calendula is a very effective healer, the link above shows why people shouldn't moisturize long term. But even if used short term while in tsw, all moisturizers will irritate the skin and prolong healing, even though it may appear they are beneficial in the short term.

Moisturizer advocate:
Dan, do you have access to the full text of the study you flagged up? I am very interested to find out what sort of moisturiser was used. I am pretty sure it would be an emulsion of water and emollients held together with emulsifiers as this is a 'conventional' moisturiser. If this is the case I would expect it to have a detrimental effect on skin barrier function and therefore make skin more susceptible to irritants. This is because you outer layer of skin, the stratum corneum, is a delicate balance of lipids and water. I have argued for some time that applying emulifiers to any skin is a really bad idea. This is why I have been promoting moisturising, and cleansing, with 100% natural oils. Natural oils contain the same fatty acids used by your skin in the stratum corneum they neatly repair breeches without disruption. I would be amazed to find any study finding this sort of moisturising detrimental.

I don't understand why moisturising is a bad idea when in TSW, can you explain please and do you believe moisturising with natural oils has the same outcome as using coventional moisturisers? I am very interested to learn more about TSW.

I hope those wrestling with the terrible dilimma, about whether to moisturise or not have the benefit of understanding how different moistuising products and indeed simple carrier oils work on the skin, how they affect skin barrier function and how skin barrier fuction works (googling stratum corneum is a good idea). I really feel this is important when making an informed decision, and an informed decision is really necessary at a time like this.

Also, to answer you point about lavender, I agree there are people allergic to all sorts of natural compounds, but fortunately there is a huge range of options including simple pure oils like virgin coconut, olive etc. I always advise patch testing any substance to check for reactions and I strive to alert customers to the potential allergens in my products, I take on board I have maybe not emphasised the essential oils issue enough, I will look at this. I am thinking about these issues as I consider extending my range of products too.

 I don't have any other info on that study other than the link to what you saw. No doubt a moisturizer that has an emulsion is more damaging to the skin than one without it, but that doesn't necessarily mean moisturizers without emulsions are good to put on the skin. Nor does it change the fact that people are led to believe they need to moisturize their skin when they really don't. I believe that using a moisturizer that doesn't have an emulsion ingredient in it is better than using one with it, but using no moisturizer is even better yet. As to seeing studies on whether this sort of moisturizing is detrimental, see this study on olive oil, which is the base in many "natural" moisturizer products: Also see: And, check this one out:

Why promote moisturizing anyway? It's harmful, not helpful. The only thing one needs to understand is that applying any moisturizer to the skin weakens the skin barrier if done for more then a couple weeks or so. See

During tsw the skin is extremely hypersensitive and anything put on it makes the itching that accompanies tsw far more intense. That is just one reason why people shouldn't put anything on their skin during tsw. Another is, moisturizing the skin basically tricks the body into thinking it doesn't need to moisturize itself. And there is more as well that I don't have time to go into here.

Patch testing is useless during tsw due to false positives that occur due to the effects of tsw.

Let's distinguish the hype from the truth. Hype: you need to moisturize your skin for various reasons. Truth: you don't need to moisturize your skin because your body has the ability to do it on it's own, and trying to do it for the body only interferes with this natural process and weakens the skin barrier in the long run, even in people with healthy skin that aren't in tsw.

I do lump all products together when I say moisturizers. But it really doesn't matter. Putting stuff on your skin other than pure water is not good for your skin no matter what it is with few exceptions. There is no need to establish what works for anyone because what works is allowing the body to do it's thing, not treat symptoms and make the situation worse. People who believe they need to moisturize have simply allowed themselves to be brainwashed. No disrespect meant, that's just the truth as I see it. It just makes logical sense to me.

Why do you think very few men moisturize their skin and don't have a need to? And most all women moisturize their skin and feel they have a need to? Women think they need to moisturize because of conventional wisdom from the medical community (same people that promote ts), and because they believe the hype they see on the television and read on various publications. And, because they have compromised their skin barrier by applying various moisturizers to their skin most their lives. Problem is, it's like ts. The skin just gets worse over time. Allow your skin to function on it's own and the "illusion" of needing to moisturize will eventually be gone. Continue to moisturize and the skin will continue to have problems and you will think you need to moisturize. Just like ts. Again, you have to ask yourself why men have soft skin all their lives without moisturizing to see my point.

I believe there are natural oils one can safely use on their skin only if they use them short term, as in a day or a few days, but that's about it. These are just my opinions but I try to back them up with studies when possible. Itsan made a claim a couple of months ago that they have never seen anyone heal from tsw in under a year. I know one person who healed in 9 months, and I healed in just a year and a couple of weeks. The difference between us and the many hundreds of others in tsw is we didn't use moisturizers. The rest are all still struggling with tsw due to moisturizing and keeping their skin barrier in a weakened state. It's all very obvious. I've been telling people this since I did MW at the beginning of month 3 of my tsw when I could see moisturizers like Calendula and Shea butter were very effective short term but then the skin worsened after a few weeks.

As for Lavender, it's a well known skin irritant, much more so than most other plants. But, I'm open to changing my opinions if anyone can disprove what I am saying. Anecdotal evidence shows I'm correct, as do studies done by people who aren't selling products, or doing studies with a predetermined outcome in mind for the purpose of selling products.

After writing this I decided to ask Dr. Fukaya if he agreed with me as to my idea that moisturizing has negative effects on the skin not only with people in tsw but also people with healthy skin and his answer is interesting. See my question to him and his response at the bottom of this article here:

Monday, July 14, 2014

Cured & Healed In One Year! Picture Update

Well, it's actually a couple weeks over one year but close enough to say one year. I started taking showers again last week for the first time in a year. Even used soap and shampoo on my entire body as well for the first time in a year. I'm completely healed and can tell. No more itching. No more skin splits even though I have been working with my hands up to 15 hours per day for the last two months. No more mini flares. No exercise, no special diet, just lots of ice cream and my typical heavy on the dairy diet. If I had eaten properly and quit smoking I'm confident I would have posted this post 3-4 months ago. So to you Itsan vets, there you go fools. I guess I get the last laugh LOL! Fools!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Picture Update - TSW One Year Mark!

Wow! What a journey this has been! Tomorrow marks my one year mark doing topical steroid withdrawal and so much has happened. Yet it seems like a dream and as though nothing much ever did happen. That's only my mind suppressing the memories of the most bone deep intense itching I had ever experienced 24 hours a day, day after day after day! The pain and the feelings of desperation and despair. The unknown. And the fear. The memories are easy to bring back when I want to! I just feel so bad for those people who have near full body cases, and anyone who has a case worse than what my own was. Mine was difficult enough and that was just the hands, arms, and legs. And I guess several other small spots, but nothing significant. 

I feel as though I'm talking about this in past tense and I guess I am. Although I'm not fully healed from tsa/tsw, for all intents and purposes it is pretty much behind me. I have mostly dry scaly patches of skin that's still trying to heal all the way. Just to quickly summarize, ever since I stopped moisturizing my skin at the beginning of month three and started doing Dead Sea salt baths, I have been about 90% better. In the last month before stopping topical steroids, and the two months after stopping, I was fairly incapacitated and in unbelievable pain and discomfort. Moisturizing my raw and weak skin exasperated my rebound symptoms to a large degree and when I stopped moisturizing my skin I finally began to recover. The skin recovered quickly at first and then very gradually and steadily until I was nearly completely healed. Then, a major flare hit me at month seven that lasted for 6 weeks. That flare caused skin that had been healed and normal for months to revert back to nearly where it was in the beginning. Even worse on the tops of my hands. The experience wasn't near as bad as the beginning of tsw since I wasn't moisturizing, and the itching and pain wasn't near as bad as the beginning. It was just a nuisance and a pita more than anything.

Below are pictures taken today showing how much my skin has improved since my last pics during my 7th month flare. They looked better a week ago, and they'll look better in a week. That's how it's been. But they are steadily healing with each week that goes by. I really can't complain as I feel good and can use my hands. My main problem is (besides my lifestyle), I work with my hands a lot daily for long hours and I often irritate them as they are obviously not healed 100% yet. However, they aren't bad for how much I put them through.

I still have insomnia and will itch in my sleep most every night but my skin is tough enough to where it doesn't break unless I dig especially hard. I have areas on my palms and fingers I still treat with tea tree oil and dss baths on occasion when needed. I still get tiny mini flares that I don't really recognize most times as they come and go. I also have some steroid induced eczema on the backs of my legs, but that is nearly gone now. I doubt I'll have another setback like the monster flare I had in month 7, but I didn't expect that so I can't really say what the future holds. I can say, flares or not, I feel nearly healed and expect to be there within weeks. But frankly, ever since I did moisturizer withdrawal in month three, I have not only felt really good compared to the months previous to that, but also got my life back. And my skin began to improve steadily ever since.

I do want to note that I eat a lot of sugar and dairy, smoke like a chimney, and get little exercise. And I'm barely still 58 years of age. Which means I'm almost 59 lol. If I can spend most of my tsw in relative comfort, normalcy, etc, basically live a normal life, then you have lots of hope if you are younger, don't smoke, don't moisturize, eat a good diet, and exercise. There is zero doubt in my mind I wouldn't be 100% healed by now if I had taken those exact extra measures. We all have to make our own choices and my symptoms just don't bother me enough to make those changes in my lifestyle. But for those of you who are just starting tsw, you would be wise to support your body to the best of your ability. If you are younger, keep in mind young people heal much faster than older people do.

For a wealth of information on tsa/tsw come join our new forum HERE! We're here to provide an open, quality source of information and support regarding corticosteroid withdrawal, with content generated by the people experiencing it firsthand. Our forums were created out of a need for a central hub of information and community regarding steroid-induced eczema.

Pictures - One year tsw

Friday, April 18, 2014

Your Most Effective Tool For Healing Is Not What You Think, Or Is It?

There is a story which doctors commonly like to pass around to each other which goes something like this: I had this woman who came into my office 40 years ago when I was just starting out my practice who said she was sure she had cancer. I did some tests and assured her she didn't have cancer. She came to my office every year for 40 years saying the same thing, "doc I just know I have cancer, it runs in my family". I would always do my best to assure her she was fine and send her on her way. She would say things like "I know I have cancer now will you check me again?" Well, one day after 40 years I did my usual tests to show her she was fine but discovered she had cancer. When I told her she had cancer she exclaimed rather loudly "I told you I had cancer!"

What I want to pass along to you is this: the mind is more powerful than the foods we eat, the supplements we take, exercise, MW, etc etc. In fact, the mind is so powerful we can make ourselves sick, and we can also heal ourselves with the ways in which we think on a daily basis. Have you ever noticed that really negative people are always sick? That really positive people are always healthy? It does not matter what you eat as long as you believe it won't harm you. Same goes for many things. I'm sure you've heard the phrase "mind over matter". There is a direct correlation between what we think and how our bodies react. Think stress. Think emotions. Our bodies are made up of trillions of cells all communicating with one another at lightening speed. What sets off the communications is the thoughts in our heads, and past thoughts still in every cell in our body. Our thoughts truly manifest physically in our bodies. This is quite clear in how the placebo effect works.

Over my lifetime I have tried everything from the strictest of diets, herbs, supplements, drugs, you name it. What I have learned though is the mind has a much more powerful effect on the body than all these things combined. This is why I cringe when I read in peoples blogs how they wish time would just pass so they would be done with their topical steroid withdrawal. Time really has little to do with healing. Time is nothing more than a concept. All we have is the "now", the present moment. The future and past only exists in our minds. Learn to live in the present moment to avoid the pitfalls of the mind dwelling on past regrets, future worries etc. Here is a quote from one of the most spiritual beings on this planet:

“Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.”

― Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

Letting Go Of Psychological Time By Eckhart Tolle

"Learn to use time in the practical aspects of your life — we may call this “clock time” — but immediately return to present-moment awareness when those practical matters have been dealt with. In this way, there will be no buildup of “psychological time,” which is identification with the past and continuous compulsive projection into the future.

Clock time is not just making an appointment or planning a trip. It includes learning from the past so that we don’t repeat the same mistakes over and over. Setting goals and working toward them. Predicting the future by means of patterns and laws, physical, mathematical and so on, learned from the past and taking appropriate action on the basis of our predictions.

But even here, within the sphere of practical living, where we cannot do without reference to past and future, the present moment remains the essential factor: Any lesson from the past becomes relevant and is applied now. Any planning as well as working toward achieving a particular goal is done now.

The enlightened person’s main focus of attention is always the Now, but they are still peripherally aware of time. In other words, they continue to use clock time but are free of psychological time.

Be alert as you practice this so that you do not unwittingly transform clock time into psychological time. For example, if you made a mistake in the past and learn from it now, you are using clock time. On the other hand, if you dwell on it mentally, and self criticism, remorse, or guilt come up, then you are making the mistake into “me” and “mine”: You make it part of your sense of self, and it has become psychological time, which is always linked to a false sense of identity. Non-forgiveness necessarily implies a heavy burden of psychological time.

If you set yourself a goal and work toward it, you are using clock time. You are aware of where you want to go, but you honor and give your fullest attention to the step that you are taking at this moment. If you then become excessively focused on the goal, perhaps because you are seeking happiness, fulfillment, or a more complete sense of self in it, the Now is no longer honored. It becomes reduced to a mere stepping stone to the future, with no intrinsic value. Clock time then turns into psychological time. Your life’ journey is no longer an adventure, just an obsessive need to arrive, to attain, to “make it.” You no longer see or smell the flowers by the wayside either, nor are you aware of the beauty and the miracle of life that unfolds all around you when you are present in the Now." Excerpted from Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now, pages 56 to 58.

"According to Deepak Chopra our deepest thoughts and feelings play a significant role in the healing of a patient. This has been seriously underestimated in western medical practices. The body is constantly recycling every atom in every cell. In a year’s time the body is completely renewed and every atom in every cell has been replaced.

 Then what exactly is it that keeps that tumor in its place if the whole body is rebuilt every year?

 Deepak explains that the blueprint for the physical body is the subtler quantum body. Diseases appear in this quantum body before they manifest in the physical body. As long as the disease is not removed from the quantum body, the blueprint, the body will continuously reconstruct the body along with the tumor.

According to Deepak the mind has the capability to produce every drug that Hoffman La Roche sells only at no expense, in the purest form and in the perfect dose.

The ability of the mind to heal the body may explain the well know placebo effect, the effect whereby a patients is cured by his own suggestion since he has been administered only a dummy. The ability of the mind to heal the body could also be at cause in the miraculous spontaneous remissions of cancer that have been reported so often in the medical files but for which there is no medical explanation.

 The nocebo effect is the opposite effect of the placebo effect; it is the negative effect that the doctors’ diagnoses have on the cure of their patient.

 Therefore the doctor-patient relation is of a crucial importance in the healing process. It is a western ethical code that the patient has the right to know his medical condition in all cases, however the drawback is that when a doctor straightforwardly gives a patient the diagnosis ‘you have an incurable cancer sir’, he has actually given his patient the death sentence.

 The diagnosis ‘incurable’ kills the patient’s last hope for a cure and along with it his mental abilities to heal himself, besides that he will probably have a mental shock as well."


Ok, back to me talking now. I am not a very educated man. Just self educated with few social skills. But, after studying books by both Tolle and Chopra for decades I have a complete understanding of how our thoughts actually do manifest our reality, not only in our body, but also in our external universe as well. I am far from being where I want to be spiritually but will never forget the lessons I've learned from these two highly enlightened people, and still practice as much as I can to change my thought patterns and behaviors to create a better world for myself and others. The book that initially got me interested in this decades ago was a very short read called the "Seven Spiritual Laws of Success" by Deepak Chopra. I highly recommend people read this book over and over and then move on to some of the other books by these two authors. "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle is a must read for those who want to learn how the ego works against us and how to learn to separate yourself from it and to understand that you are not your body. You will also learn how to rid yourself of the built up emotional pain body you carry with you, how to live in the moment, and many many important things.

So, back to the title of this post. The most effective tool you have for healing is your mind. Use it wisely and be richly rewarded. Again, all the diets and supplements we take will do us little good if we don't use the power of our minds effectively. The mind has far more power over our healing than all of those things combined. Thoughts manifest physically at lightening speed. Just a couple brief examples: Man sees a woman and becomes aroused. The "arousal" first starts in the mind via thought, and then manifests physically in the body. Man sees food and salivates. Man gets upset at something and blood pressure skyrockets. Pulse beats faster. The physical reactions begin with the thoughts. Learn to harness this power by observing your thoughts and changing them to be whatever you want them to be. All of our actions are choices whether they be subconscious or conscious. Learn to make conscious choices by constantly observing your thoughts as they come and go. This way you can create the realty you want to create and not the one you subconsciously create.

Don't just look to moisturizer withdrawal, clean diets, and supplements for your healing alone. Learn how to use your mind to heal as well. It is much more powerful than anything I know of. Remember, what you believe is what you will create. I believe, if we combine a good mindset to go along with things like moisturizer withdrawal, clean diets, and supplements etc., we can surely optimize our healing.

I will be 100% healed from my own topical steroid withdrawal in under one year. I try not to say I "hope" to be. I say I "will" be. Big difference. It's all about the belief systems. Few people understand these things which is why there is so much pain and suffering in the world. This will change eventually when enough people become "conscious".

That's it for today folks. I'll post my 11 month pics in about a week, and then my final pics one month after that. After that I'm off to other things I've neglected for the past year. I wish you all a quick and comfortable healing.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

10 Month Picture Update - Topical Steroid Withdrawal

Here is my 10th month picture update. I'm fully recovered from my last huge flare which lasted 5-6 weeks before calming down and am finally back to healing again. My arms and legs are 99% normal again and the only symptoms left are on my hands. This is pretty much where I was 3 months ago before this last flare kicked my butt. The nice thing about it though is because I don't moisturize the flare was easily manged and wasn't all that difficult to get through. It was just a pain in the ass.

What you see on the tops of my hands is purely steroid induced eczema. I have never used ts on top of my hands other than on my fingers. I first started applying ts on my right palm where you can see it is still struggling to heal. That area received the most ts out of any area on my body. The left palm received about half as much ts and has been healed for many months, even though both palms were completely destroyed when I stopped using ts and began tsw. It didn't break out during this big flare and even the right palm barely did. What broke out was my arms, legs, and tops of my hands. And it was nearly as much rash as when I first started tsw. Actually it was more now that I think about it. The rash on the top of my hands spread to completely cover them and they gave me the roughest time because they were very irritated the whole time and I would easily scratch off all the fresh thin scabbing every time I got them to scab over. It seemed like an endless process of starting over the entire 5-6 weeks. Like groundhog day I suppose. But once the flare died down that problem went away and they are quickly healing again.

The legs and arms broke out worse than I first started too and they also stayed irritated throughout the flare and would ooze as well. They healed first (again) and my hands are well on the way. The symptoms you see barely bother me at all. The only time they bother me is in my sleep and I get that infamous itch attack. But, my skin is so strong from not moisturizing that it just doesn't break open unless I tear into extra hard, which I always try to avoid. My main problem right now is I refuse to eat a good diet. I take all the right supplements but am willing to take the extra time to heal in order to eat and drink what I want. There is little doubt in my mind I wouldn't be in much better condition if I were to change my lifestyle. But as it is, it's just a dry scaly rash that doesn't bother me so I guess I'm willing to put up with it for now.

I get asked all the time when do the oils start to come back after stopping moisturizers. I have asked Dr. Fukaya this question and will post my question and his answer under this post in the comment section later when he answers me. Happy healing!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Moisturizer Withdrawal Guide - Topical Steroid Withdrawal

How to do moisturizer withdrawal successfully: The following is the most effective way to withdraw from moisturizers during topical steroid withdrawal that I am aware of. I pioneered this method myself through trial and error, and through much experimentation and research. I hope you find this information useful in withdrawing from moisturizers yourself.

This guide works best for those of you who are already in tsw and are using moisturizers but wish to make your recovery more comfortable via MW. And, perhaps a little shorter. To get the desired results, please keep in mind that the key to success in this method is the stopping all moisturizers, lotions etc.

List of things you will need before you begin:
1) Dead Sea salt from Israel
2) Pure Tea Tree oil
3) Alcohol & fragrance free Witch Hazel
4) Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar
5) The ability to not leave you house for two weeks if possible

To begin:
1) Stop using all moisturizers, lotions, etc. on your skin
2) Bathe 20 minutes a day using 1-1/2 to 2 pounds of natural Dead Sea salt per bath at tepid water temperature (important)
3) Use Tea Tree and/or Witch Hazel on broken skin when needed
4) Avoid all stress
Optional oral supplements:
1) Flax oil daily
2) Vitamin D3 daily (very important, have blood work done to know your Vitamin D range)
3) Quercetin (heals blood vessels, natural antihistamine)
4) Omega3 fish oil
5) MSM

Using Dead Sea salt baths is your most effective tool next to sun exposure. Dead Sea salt baths work best for when the skin is broken, and should be reduced in frequency when the skin isn't broken. Doing dss daily should be reserved for those times when one is initially starting MW and has a lot of broken skin. The baths should be reduced to every other day asap, and then 1-2 per week for maintenance. I try to go as long as possible without baths or showers at this point to allow the skin's natural oils to come back. I am 9-1/2 months into tsw, and about 90% healed, and I still am not using any soaps or shampoos of any kind, just water.

The reasons for daily Dead Sea salt baths are many, but the most important ones are 1) to dry out the skin and heal open wounds 2) the daily bath re-hydrates your skin, and 3) the minerals absorbed from the salts are very beneficial for inflammation and many other things. One can avoid using all soaps using bath soaks to stay clean as well. MW is the real key and Dead Sea salt baths, tea tree oil and other things are used for healing open wounds. It's the combination of the Dead Sea salt baths, sun exposure, and other little things that make this method the most effective. Not any one thing alone.

Healing Properties of Dead Sea Salts
The following list details some healing properties of the minerals found in Dead Sea Salt:

Magnesium: Aids sleep and relaxation, promotes quick healing of skin tissue and provides the skin’s surface with anti-allergic elements, essential for cell metabolism.

Bromide: Soothes skin, relaxes body muscles, and calms nerves.

Iodine: Important for the correct functioning of the thyroid gland and aids in the body's metabolic exchanges.

Sulfur: A natural disinfectant (constituent of certain vitamins). Known as a powerful detoxifying agent, as it works closely with the liver to rid the body of toxins.

Potassium: Helps balance moisture in the skin and body, aiding in the reduction of water retention and in the nourishment of cells. Potassium also regulates the nervous system.

Calcium: An essential mineral, known to strengthen bones and teeth. Also strengthens cell membranes and cleanses pores.

Sodium: Relieves stiffness and muscle cramps. Sodium is also a powerful detoxifying agent, helping cells retain nourishment and expel waste.

Zinc: When applied topically zinc is known to boost the immune system. Internally, it is a key factor in enzymatic regulation of cell proliferation.

Get as much SUN exposure on your skin every opportunity you get. Alcohol and fragrance free Witch Hazel works well on persistent oozing spots when no sun is available. So does not rinsing after a dds bath. Be very careful with sun exposure early on in tsw to not get sun burnt. Buy a home UVB unit if you can afford one for those winter months.

What to expect when doing Moisturizer Withdrawal:
It depends on the degree of your symptoms. Below is a short summary of my own personal experience which should be helpful. I had severe topical steroid withdrawal/steroid induced eczema  symptoms on my hands, and much less severe symptoms on my arms, legs, feet, and other areas. Below that is a Q&A.

In week 8 of my topical steroid withdrawal I quit moisturizing, exposed my skin to the sun as much as possible without risking sunburn, did daily Dead Sea salt baths, and my skin splits, cracks, and fissures healed over quickly for the first time since I began tsw. In the beginning, the skin on my hands dried out so much I couldn't bend some of the fingers without breaking my skin open. But I was determined to make those skin breaks dry and scab over so I stuck it out. For about 3 days the pain was extremely intense. By the 4th day my situation became more bearable, and by about day 7 or 8 my skin breaks had all scabbed over and the old skin started to peel off on it's own, day after day, revealing new skin underneath. It took a couple weeks from start to finish and it was brutally painful because the skin on my hands dried up like the Sahara desert. My fingers and palms were red and swollen, and my skin felt hot like I had an infection.

In the first couple days the intense burning, itching and nerve pain along with tightness of the skin was nearly unbearable. I had one finger dry halfway closed and couldn't fit a glove over my right hand in the second or third day, so I soaked in a bath to soften the skin and was able to straighten my finger out without breaking the skin open. It dried in the sun extended and I then I couldn't close it all the way ugh! That was better than being stuck closed though, at least I could get a glove back on. But, after a couple more days of self induced torture my skin dried over, scabs formed and fell off, and new skin was in it's place. The relief was unbelievable. For once I didn't have to wear gloves to guard against infection! Yay!!

 The skin barrier on my palms was completely destroyed from my prior prolonged and increased topical steroid use, so moisturizer withdrawal will not be as painful for everybody as it was for me. For many it should be a much easier experience than what I had. Again, depending on the severity of your symptoms and how badly the skin barrier is damaged, and other factors. For me, it was well worth the extra pain for a few days to be much more comfortable for the rest of my multi-month tsw journey. I am currently at month 6 and nearly healed. Have been nearly healed for the last couple of months, but my skin seems to have hit a "stagnant" period and I haven't quite recovered fully as of yet. So, I can't say I'm finished with my tsw quite yet, but I can say ever since I quit using moisturizers my symptoms have improved by about 90%. The improvement went quick at first, then steady improvement over a period of several weeks, and now like I said, stagnant. However, stagnant or not, my tsw barely bothers me now and I expect it will be 100% finished sometime in the next few months at most. Apparently, it takes a long time for the body to recover from the damage long term steroid use causes. The main purpose of moisturizer withdrawal is for comfort. If it speeds up tsw, then that's just a plus. The difference between going through tsw moisturizing and going through tsw not moisturizing is like the difference between night and day.

After my first two days of nearly 90% healed skin I applied a moisturizer again (don't ask me why I don't know) and immediately went back into a flare within hours, good Lord!  It took another 2-3 weeks to heal my skin again by stopping moisturizing and repeating the method I used the first time, mainly dead sea salt baths and sun exposure. The second time around was almost as painful as the first, but not quite as bad since my hands were in better shape this time around. I recently experienced a third flare which was brought on by stress, and although it's been my worst flare to date, my skin is healing back faster then before. If I went back to moisturizing I would be in a continuous flare, I know from attempting it before.

Below are some common questions and answers on MW. It would take too long to cover every possible question in my Q&A here, so if you have any questions please post them in the comment box below and I will respond as soon as I can. As for the reasoning behind what I use for MW, and as to the whys, detailed information can be found throughout my blog, including links to studies which support my views that moisturizing is detrimental to the skin barrier. Even with healthy skin.

Some common Q&A:

Question: So now at 4 days w/o moisturizer I'm dealing with flaking on my ring fingers and tops of both hands. Its unsightly but not quite as red as before when I was using lotions and oils. Hard to bend the fingers and the yellow/honey colored crust is in parts. Just curious what the next stage brings in healing based on your experience?

Answer: Things will continue to slowly improve.

Q: About the salt baths: how often, and did you rinse with clean water after the salt bath? Any exfoliation during the soak when skin was wet? Even after one soak I can tell the redness is less and some of the trouble spots on my legs are beginning to dry out.

A: I do dead sea salt baths once per day and as my skin heals and starts to feel better I cut it back to every other day or so, depending on how my skin is doing. Also, soaking in chemicals like chlorine can not be good, so if you can afford it, buy a chlorine filter either for the bathtub, or one for the water line entering your home. I have read one can add 1,000 mg of powdered Vitamin C to the bath water to neutralize some of the deadly chemicals found in common tap water, so that could be an option. However, I don't know enough about this subject so you may want to research it yourself.

I have read everything from rinse immediately afterwards, to getting out of the tub and waiting 30 minutes before rinsing to allow the minerals from the salts to absorb more, to don't rinse at all. I have tried all three ways and sometimes I rinse immediately, and other times I get out of the tub, pat dry and wait 20 minutes before rinsing in the shower. You are basically trying to mimic being at the dead sea. From what I understand, people who go there go into the water for awhile and then lay on the beach in the sun and dry out, and go back & forth without showering probably until later in the day or evening. I find not rinsing can have more of a drying effect on the skin. I have noticed that when I rinse immediately afterwards, any skin breaks will sting slightly. I figured maybe that was because the bath coated my skin with a thin film from the salt minerals and the rinse washed it off, so I have experimented a little with the other methods and haven't settled on any particular way as of yet. I do rinse immediately for the most part but still experiment with waiting about 20 minutes and then rinsing off any salt crystals remaining on my skin.

Getting sun exposure is very important if you can during the MW process. No need to worry about the skin getting too dry from the sun. You want it to dry, scab, and heal.

I wouldn't suggest exfoliating because when treating our damaged skin we need to allow it to grow and shed naturally and we don't want to inhibit that process by revealing new skin before it's ready. Just soak and allow the dead skin to fall off on it's own when it's ready. You don't want to rush that process. Don't pick it off with your hands during the MW process!

Because I don't want any soap at all on my skin due to it's strong ability to strip the oils from the skin so easily, I never use soap and I don't shampoo my hair. When my 20 minutes are up I usually just rinse in the shower briefly and rinse my hair as much as possible with water only. My hair is actually cleaner and healthier looking doing this than when I used to shampoo it. I have tsw symptoms on different spots on my face and one ear so I often will lay on one side in the tub with one ear and half my head in the water for the first 10 minutes and then turn to the other side for the remaining 10. Sometimes I will also hold my breath and put my face directly face down into the water several times also. I have a spot on one eyelid, side of my nose, and a couple on my chin. All of these spots have cleared now so I don't do that now as much as I used to.

Q: What is the bleach and apple cider vinegar for?

A: I did a bath about once a week with 1/2 cup of bleach added to the water as a precaution for infections. Do not combine with Dead Sea salts. Just water and 1/2 cup straight bleach added to warm water for a 15 minute soak. Never bath or shower in hot water, it strips the skin's oils as much as soaps do. I would add 1-2 cups of Bragg's Apple cider vinegar to a bath about once every week or so to balance the ph of my skin. 10-15 minute soak.

Q: How do I manage the dry spots re-splitting?

A: I found this to be my most difficult thing as the skin is so thin from the topical steroid damage. Especially on the areas that received the most ts. I use witch hazel and/or tea tree oil between baths to control these splits, and keep them out of water other then when bathing. If I feel they have been exposed too much and they are turning red and sore I use water diluted Tea Tree oil on them a few times per day. The dead sea salt baths should help those skin splits heal within a few days, but they do tend to pop open again depending on how weak and thin the skin is in certain areas.

Q: What kind of gloves have you used?

A: I buy the cheap XL white cotton gloves and wear XL latex free vinyl gloves over them when I need to get my hands dirty or wet. I don't do this often though as it makes my hands sweat. I was buying the Cara brand gloves but found a seller on the web with a large amount, "Magid TouchMaster Cotton Glove, Men's Jumbo (Pack of 60 Pairs)" for $28.83 with shipping on Amazon. These are thinner but I like them a lot more than the Cara brand because they fit better. The Cara brand gloves are made too small even on their XL size.

Q: So how long after you stopped moisturizing did you get relief?

A: It took me about a week to get relief, but about two weeks for the process to complete. Once the old dried skin sheds off (I was careful to allow it to shed on it's own and not help it along) new skin appears. That whole process took me about 10 days to two weeks. The skin still remains very hypersensitive at this stage, since one is not over tsw at this point, but from there on I was much better able to handle my symptoms.

The basics are staying moisturizer free, do daily baths with 1-2 pounds of natural dead sea salt, and get as much sun as possible on the areas that bother you, without getting sun burnt of course. Tea Tree oil diluted with water and alcohol free witch hazel helps a lot in between baths for oozing areas and tiny skin splits.

Q: What did you do to manage the evening itching?

A: The evening itching is maddening no matter what because your body's histamine levels rise throughout the day. I have tried cutting back on eating fermented cheeses, sugar, canned fish, chocolate, coffee, pickles, ketchup and many other foods, but have found that my diet consists mainly of the very things I need to avoid so I have chosen to suffer more itching to eat what I want. However, I still try to keep things in moderation though. The mind plays a key part in healing so you don't want to make yourself miserable. Strict diets are too difficult for me unless I am facing a life threatening disease. Not so for everyone though. It's a personal decision that only you can make.

Please be sure to comment below on your experiences with moisturizer withdrawal so others can learn from your experiences as well.