Monday, November 18, 2013

Discover My Secret To Speeding Up Topical Steroid Withdrawal

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When deciding to do topical steroid withdrawal, most people will do just about anything to ease the pain and itching they experience. The symptoms are often so severe that we can't help but try and find ways to make ourselves as comfortable as possible while we wait for the body to begin producing it's own cortisol once again. This takes time and we all want to speed this process up in any way possible. We research diets, which moisturizers are best to use....wait, did I just say which moisturizers are best to to use? Let's find out.

After we stop using topical steroids, the skin becomes extremely sensitive to any and all stimulus for a quite a while. The skin can’t even tolerate the most natural of moisturizers, much less tolerate moisturizers that have skin irritants in their ingredients. The skin reacts to various stimuli and the eruption is similar to original eczema. However, it is merely steroid induced eczema and is usually misdiagnosed by physicians as atopic dermatitis. It is the eruption of atopic dermatitis, but it is caused mainly by long term topical steroid use, not by things that typically might cause atopic dermatitis. Remember that original atopic dermatitis itself has a tendency to be healed naturally, as does childhood eczema. Steroid induced eczema is only healed by cessation of topical steroids.

Quitting topical steroids puts our bodies in turmoil because we are no longer producing cortisol on our own due to using synthetic cortisol (topical steroids) for too long of a period of time. Without the cortisol, the blood vessels in the skin stay open, creating inflammation, nerve pain, and intense itching. At the beginning of withdrawal, the steroid induced eczema initially becomes much worse. Steroid induced eczema will also often erupt on areas of the body where we never used topical steroids. Even these areas are often hypersensitive.

Gradually our bodies re-learn how to produce the cortisol on their own and the symptoms lessen as time goes by. The skin slowly heals and the steroid induced eczema slowly disappears. The skin's hypersensitivity will vary in degree and length of time, depending on many factors, with the biggest factor being whether one uses moisturizers or not during the withdrawal process.

Since the skin is extremely hypersensitive in the beginning stages of topical steroid withdrawal, one should avoid using moisturizers of any kind. Using moisturizers during this period only irritates the skin, prolongs healing, intensifies itching. People are lead to believe that they need to moisturize during this time which is very unfortunate. Using moisturizers during the early stages of withdrawal is likely why so many people have such a difficult and long recovery period, and why so many have such horrible flares or rebounds.

Hypersensitivity after withdrawal decreases as time passes. For me, it took nearly 5 months. I'm currently at month 5 and my skin's hypersensitivity has decreased by about 90% now. I used various moisturizers in the first two months with very poor results. So I quit moisturizing, and after the initial moisturizer withdrawal, I started healing much more quickly. Actually, that is when I started healing in a significant way.

Most people who begin their withdrawal process use moisturizers with the idea they are helping relieve their symptoms when they are actually doing just the opposite. As a result, these people often have extremely difficult recoveries. Ask yourself, if my skin is super hypersensitive, should I be putting things on it that irritate it? Clearly the answer is no. Think about it. Common sense and logic suggests the very worst time a person can apply moisturizers to their skin is during the withdrawal process due to the skin's hypersensitivity. 

Hypersensitive skin does not react well at all to any stimuli, so slathering Vaseline, or any other product on your skin does not do you any favors, despite conventional wisdom. If you are already using moisturizers you should stop and allow your skin to heal naturally. Otherwise, you will likely experience a much longer withdrawal period, and much more pain. 

The skin barrier is severely damaged in the areas where we used the topical steroids the most, and as a result, this is the areas that have the thinnest skin and are the most hypersensitive. This is the last place you want to put anything on your skin. 

The skin will heal in time but you can support your body and skin in healing by doing the right things. And, by avoiding the wrong things. Moisturizer withdrawal during tsw is "a hard landing" as Dr. Fukaya puts it. However, you need to ask yourself, do you want to experience even more pain than what you're experiencing now just for one week in order to be able to recover in a faster and more pain free way for the rest of the duration? Or, do you want to have a long drawn out recovery with skin splits and wounds that never seem to heal, along with all the other problems that continuous moisturizing causes. 

Moisturizing with many common over the counter products can actually contribute to further damage of your skin barrier. Even moisturizing with natural moisturizers for extended periods of time have negative effects on the skin.

I haven't heard from many whom did tsw without moisturizing in the beginning, but would like to hear from those people who have. Many people in Japan do it this way. I imagine it is an easier way to go than to have to withdraw from it after initially using it. But, it's well worth the effort anyway. I have posted my own experience with withdrawing from moisturizers two months into tsw, and how I did it, in other posts on this blog for those who want to know what to expect and how to deal with that first difficult week. I'm always available for you if you have any questions. Others that have posted their MW experiences here are available as well. 

So, which moisturizer is the best one to use during topical steroid withdrawal? Based on all available information that I have learned from my many months of intensive research, and personal experience, I would have to say your own body is your best moisturizer. Let your body heal naturally. You will be glad you did. 

Support your body's natural ability to heal itself through good diet habits, positive thinking (believing), and don't smother your skin with anything. That folks, are the basics of speeding up topical steroid withdrawal! Be sure to watch for my future posts on this and related subjects to topical steroid addiction and withdrawal. And, be sure to view comments on my blog from others who have had a much easier time of tsw than most do. Our combined experiences reveal what you want to know about tsw but rarely hear anywhere else :). 





 

31 comments:

  1. it would be great if you could post some pictures to prove how well you are doing. id like to see some before and after mw, up to the present! there is a lot of claims on this blog, but a picture speaks a thousand words (like the pictures on all the blogs that healed with copious amount of moisturisers!!) ;) ps i think you have a point, i just moisturise on my face and neck, and only once or twice a day. i agree though when skin is broken, it is better not to use anything for sure!

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    1. It's only been two weeks since I last posted pictures and I want to wait until later in the month. Probably one more week. My hands are greatly improved in these last two weeks but unfortunately, I got over zealous with my nearly healed hands and started using them a lot, working with tools like pliers and screwdrivers, causing too much pressure on my hands. Which in turn has caused the skin to break open again on one finger. I am 90% healed, when taking all my symptoms in consideration. But, the skin barrier on my right palm hasn't recovered 100% yet and is still slightly weak.

      Unfortunately, I didn't take pictures of my skin before my MW because they were a bloody raw mess, swollen with inflammation and extremely painful. I didn't have the ability, physically or emotionally, to take pictures at the time I started tsw, or at the time I did MW. It wasn't until after MW that I was finally able to function half way normally. My dw doesn't know how to use a camera either, but even if she did, taking pictures would have been the last thing on her mind as well since she became over burdened with having to do all the household chores that I used to do, along with working a full time job. None the less, that was the last thing on my mind at the time.

      Also, it never even dawned on me to take pictures until I read other tsw sufferers blogs and saw how they were documenting their journey's with pictures.

      Believe me I wish I had taken pictures. Not only for my readers, but also for myself to be in a better position to sue my past doctors, if I should decide to do so. Which I doubt I will because you practically have to lose a limb, or flat out die, to be able to successfully sue a doctor for malpractice these days. Like you said, pictures speak a thousand words and I'm sure pictures would have much more impact on a jury than doctor notes and just my word.

      But, I do have copies of my GP's notes about my condition at the beginning of my tsw, and two Dermatologists, if anyone insists on verifying how bad my condition was at the time. I will happily post these when I get them all together. But, pictures would be so much better I agree.

      I'm very happy to see your comments on moisturizing! Moisturizing raw skin does the opposite of what most people think it does.

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    2. Anonymous,

      Firstly, one who is truly suffering from TSW and not using moisturizer has no need to post prove of claim of speedier recovery. Why?

      1) There is no financial incentive in telling you not to use moisturizer.

      2) The pain suffered just by having TSW is so drastic that when we say there has been improvement, it is very real to the person. We don't lie about it. Because when it hurts, it really hurts. When the skin clears up, we don't sugarcoat our improvement because we "just know".

      Of course you should not believe without proof, but the onus is on you to decide and try for yourself.

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    3. Leslie, thank you for your comments. I was going to say something to that effect but my comment was already getting too long. It is an important point though. I have no reason to even exaggerate since there is nothing to gain. Besides that, I'm an honorable person. Some things we just can't prove.

      I only do this for the unsuspecting newer people that come along who need correct information. Itsan's treatment of me only intensified my desire to reach people before they do. Although I may be late in reaching these people, it's ok because, even after starting tsw via using moisturizers one can withdrawal from them pretty quickly. And spend the rest of their recovery in a much more comfortable way.

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    4. Anonymous,
      I appreciate your comments so please keep it up and don't be shy. People need to see all sides of this so they can make up their own minds based on all information available. I'm sure your first question of providing proof through pictures is something many people would also think when they find this blog. So, it is a valuable comment. All I can do is show what pics I took and take it from there. I can always do a post later too that shows the text of my doctors observations on the condition I was in at the start. Which I will do for the future people who stumble across this blog. I have a good domain name called steroidfree.com tied up which I plan on using later. It will have much better functionality then this blog does.

      Also, as time goes on more and more will do tsw without moisturizing and they will post pictures on their blogs. I think within a year most will be doing it via MW.

      And, just for the record, I'm one of the few that have actually pioneered how to do this successfully, at least here in the U.S. I had no one else's experience to go by, I was completely on my own and very apprehensive in the beginning. The information I learned from the recent Japanese conference came out after I did this.

      I did it by using simple logic. Dr. Fukaya's blog about the mice study was what got me to thinking about it. I'm not knocking women here at all because I love women dearly. But women think with more of an emotional mind whereas men think with more of a logical mind. I would bet my bottom dollar Anonymous is a woman. Anyway, understanding the psychology helps a little in understanding the wide resistance to MW. I would never in my wildest dreams expect a woman to have figured out how MW is a better way to go for tsw.

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    5. Your comments about women only detract from your message and in my opinion, lessen your credibility.

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    6. You sound like one of those "politically correct" millennials in college. Do I have that about right? Better find yourself a safe zone. Do you really think I care about my credibility? I'm not selling anything here so my credibility is a moot point. You should appreciate the FREE information here, and not look a gift horse in the mouth.

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  2. How do you use the Collodial silver spray vs the Tea tree oil? My hands are an awful crusty dry cracking mess right now. I have one little spot that continues to ooze.

    now my 4 year olds regular eczema is awful but I am scared to put anything on him

    Any advice you have for me or him would be appreciated! Happy healing to everyone! i too got overzealous cooking and doing yoga.....suffering with a few new cuts :(

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    1. I'm sure jsan can help with the colloidal siver. She had said it was really good. I plan to get some this week. I had a split open up a couple days ago on my finger and the tea tree isn't getting the job done the way it usually does. She said when tea tree oil doesn't get it the colloidal silver does. But, now I remember, we were talking about fungus on my fingernail. Anyway, I'm sure she can shed some light. She is probbaly out walking and enjoying the fresh air and sights, something I should be doing but stayed up too late last night and am way too tired today. Got to take a nap :)

      I had eczema that covered the insides of both my legs and arms (ankles to knees & wrists to elbow) from the age of 1 until my late teens. It should go away on it's own when your child hits the late teens or early twenty's at latest. In the meantime, I would not put a damn thing on it and look to diet changes and possible allergies to find the root of the problem. While doing that, you might do daily oatmeal baths, alternating with daily dead sea salt baths. That should be very be helpful. Avoid soaps etc that damage the skin. Use 100% cotton clothing and bedding, especially undyed white cotton.

      For me, since I grew up with it I didn't know any better and therefore it didn't really bother me. I would scratch until I was a bloody mess but since I did grow up with it I was used to it. It gets much better in the summer if you take him/her to the beach a soften as possible. When not able to go to beach get plenty of sun. It will get worse i n the winter months but there are home UVB light units available too.

      It really won't bother him/her much as long as you don't put anything on it. Hope this helps.

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  3. You are right Dan, I was out and about all day and caught a terrific sunset!

    http://instagram.com/itkasan

    I replied to Ingrid via email as she sent me the same post as an email.

    I don't use much tea tree oil, just where something looks fungal. If it doesn't budge then colloidal silver ointment which knocks everything out! I am using that on a couple red spots and fingers with success.

    Everything you said about children Dan sounds spot on. Food sensitivities, also healing the gut with lglutamine and a GAPS protocol would be another thing I'd look into. Of course environmental chemicals, detergents, perfumes, shampoos, soaps etc. I was with a lady with bad eczema a few days back and was astounded by how artificially scented her home was! And yet she thought she had done everything to heal, yet there she was living surrounded by such an irritant.

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    1. jsan, what beautiful sunsets you have in your neck of the woods! Wow! A double rainbow at lunch as well. Very cool. Good suggestions on the environmental chemicals. It reminded me of something to tell ingrid.

      Ingrid, I forgot to mention that the main things that always made my skin break out were wool and certain types of laundry detergents, even in adulthood. I've used "All free and clear laundry detergent" for decades and don't have a problem with it at home. If I stay at hotels on the road I sometimes will break out in a rash over a large portion of my body from the sheets in the beds. But it always went away on it's own after a few days once I was back home. This was the only times I would break out with eczema during adulthood, other than a small occasionally patch that would "travel" on my body over the years. For example, it would be on the side of my neck for 4-5 years and disappear only to reappear behind my knee for a few years.

      In my opinion, the best way to treat your child's eczema is to identify what irritates his/her skin and avoid it. In most cases is what jsan said, environmental chemicals. I definitely wouldn't treat it with any creams or lotions, they just irritate the skin more. Many people travel to the Dead Sea for the benefits to their eczema so I would see how those dead sea salt baths work too. It usually takes a couple weeks to see results from them in cases like normal eczema and psoriasis. Hope that helps!

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    2. jsan, I couldn't find the colloidal silver ointment at my local stores so bought a spray called Sovereign Silver. It's 99.999% pure, just silver and water. Have you ever heard of it? I'm trying it out on a skin split on my finger but it's meant to ingest and I'm not sure how often I can spray it on. They have a website if you are unfamiliar with it. It has smaller molecule size and is supposedly better and purer than regular colloidal silver. Let me know what you think.

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    3. I've used a spray once and didn't like it. I find the ointment seems to work better for me. It's oil free and not even remotely moisturizing. It seems to soothe irritation. I hope the spray works for you!

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  4. If anyone is interested in my progress three weeks into MW (day 55 of TSW) click here

    http://ingridsallen.tumblr.com

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  5. I don't think the link is clickable and not sure why many on my blog aren't. I need to look and see if I have a setting set wrong in my settings. However, all links here can be copied and pasted into your browser to access the sites.

    Ingrid, your hands look great! Thanks for posting the link!

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  6. Cool! Anyone have tips for the cold dry air!??

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  7. hi everyone. I was reading through this comment thread last night. I have also started MW and a week in I am definitely less itchy and my legs and torso are looking great! Waiting for my upper body to follow suit. You can check out my blog here if you like, I have added you to my blogroll :)
    http://rubyredandtsw.wordpress.com/

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    1. Hi Ruby, I just added your site to my blogroll. Please comment on your MW experience here when you have time. I am curious as to how that first week went for you upon MW. Did the skin splits and other wounds dry and scab over? If so, they will peel off revealing new skin. Be sure to NOT pick the dried skin off, and just allow it to fall off on it's own. I know that is difficult but it's very important for the new skin to have that protection until it's ready for the world.

      Are you using dead sea salt baths? I have plenty of tips for dealing with almost any tsw symptom. If you are having any problems with anything such as skin splits that won't heal, sleeplessness, etc. etc., I am here for you.

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  8. Hello!!

    When I found out I had eczema my doctor told me to use hydrocortisone 1%cream on my face and he didn't tell me its not for long term use so I have been using it for 3 months everyday causing my skin to thin and damage. I stopped using it a few days ago and it got so red itchy and spreader :'(

    Do you know how long or approximately how long it will take me to recover?
    You said not to use any moisturizer, so if my face is super dry should I just leave it that way?
    I have been using emu oil and coconut oil cause I heard its good for eczema. But would those damage hypersensitive skin/ tsw stage skin?
    Please help! What else can I do to speed up the process ? Its so brutal I feel like a monster and can't even leave house :(

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    1. Hi Diana,

      Sorry for the late reply. I've been out of town. If yoiu only use for 3 months I would estimate you would recover fuly in a month or two going by Dr. Fukaya's info. That is if you aren't putting toxic crap on your skin like most moisturizers on the market. As for things like Emu and coconut oil. Although those aren't toxic, they still smother your skin and keep it from being able to function naturally. That prolongs recovery.

      Anything will irritate your skin during tsw due to the skins hypersensitivity. I believe the best method is allowing the body to work it out on it's own. You can help the body do this best by 1) avoid all white foods, nightshades, fermented foods, and alcohol. 2) do Dead Sea salt baths. I hope this helps!

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  9. Hi! I just found your blog and am 1 week into TSW and have severe RSS. I decided to today to do Moisture Withdrawl. Do you have any recommendations on how to handle the oozing crust wounds that cover my scalp? I have long, curly hair and it's getting really gross!
    Thanks!

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  10. Hi Jessica, I used dead sea salt baths. Best!

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  11. I can't believe I just now found your blog. I'm doing TSW and have been doing it for 9 months -- with minimal results. Then I read your blog. I've been using lotion all day, every day. OMG! I can't believe I've made it WORSE! I'm heart broken. Ugh! More shedding, cracks, etc. Do you take oral benedryl for itching? How is your skin doing? Thanks so much for this blog!

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  12. Hi! I've been doing TSW for 9 months with minimal results. Now I know why. Lotion. I've been using it all day, every day. I'm stopping today. I nearly cried when I read that I've onlyh been making it worse. Do you do oral benedryl for itching? Is it OK to soak my hands in dead sea bath salts? Thank you so much!

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  13. Hi there! Please see my most recent blog post to see pictures of my skin as it is today. I'm doing great, thank you :) I used a similar drug as benedryl for itching right before going to bed at night. It's a prescription drug, generic name is atarax. I also have taken MSM to help with inflammation. Dead sea salt baths are great when done correctly and at the right times. Please review some of my various threads on these various subjects for plenty of info on what I learned. Also, the links on the right side of my blog to various studies. How bad are your hands? How bad compared to the first two months of tsw? You can post your answers on my most recent thread titled "25 month picture update" posted last week. Be sure to read that post and thread if you want to have a better understanding.

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  14. Hey, Dan! Thanks so much for your reply! I've been reading through some of your previous blogs (thanks for taking the time to journal about your recovery) and your anger and frustration mirrored my fury when I realized that my own dermatologist was telling me to use TS for "however long you need it." How irresponsible! Anyway, I'm focusing on recovering and am on day 2 of MW. Again, thanks for your response and for your website! I'm so glad you're doing better!

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  15. Hi, I'm in week 2 of TSW. Luckily was only using Hydrocortisone but unfortunately have been using it twice daily for 15 years so my whole body and particularly my face is in a bad way. I've quit using moisturisers but I'm not sure what to do about the emulsifying ointment I've been using instead of soap since I was a child. I haven't used soap since I was a baby because it gives me eczema so I've used emulsifying ointment in the shower instead. Strictly speaking though, it is a moisturiser. I really don't want to have to go without it but if I'm accidentally moisturising by using it and prolonging this horrible experience then I will quit. I can't find anything specifically related to this online though so I was hoping someone could give me a tip? I really just need so reassurance! Really grateful that so many people have blogged about their experience, has been a huge relief to know that people can get through it. Rachel.

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    1. Hi, the emulsifying ointment is definitely not something I would ever use. It has ingredients that I believe are harmful to the skin, and is a moisturizer as well. Paraffin wax is a white or colorless soft solid derivable from petroleum, coal or oil shale. Anything made from oil refining is damaging to the skin barrier. Doing dss baths, or just plain water baths, allows one to get clean by soaking for 20 minutes without the use of soaps of any kind. This is how I have stayed clean for two years now. The emulsifying cream is much worse than the ointment due to it's other ingredients. However, in any case, clogging the skin pores causes the skin to think it doesn't need to produce oils so it doesn't and becomes dry. And, the skin regulates body temp by perspiring, is in a constant process of shedding dead skin cells, and is also one of the bodies ways of eliminating toxins. And a host of other things. Clogging this organ and you keep it from doing what it needs to do naturally, and you harm it. So, even the most natural of moisturizers are not good to use, especially while in tsw. So, my tip is, if you want to go through tsw without using moisturizers and soaps bathe for 20 minutes when you feel you need to get clean. I hope this helps!

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  16. Doing great, Dan! Thanks a million for your excellent guidance and continued communication about your journey! I can't thank you enough! I've still got a ways to go, but it isn't as scary knowing you're around! Thanks!!!!!

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  17. I'm in my second month!
    It's the hardest thing I've ever done!

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