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!

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 no moisturizing. 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 - best source in the US is at
2) 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 (very important)

1) Alcohol free Witch Hazel
2) Organic Tea Tree Oil

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 (during MW only) 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. Rinse well. 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. Again, 10-15 minute soak, and then rinse.

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.

NOTE: Some people may be allergic to Tea Tree oil, so you would have to judge for yourself as to whether it's useful for you or not. I've used it on & off for at least 35 years for various things, mostly in place of antibiotic ointments when I get a cut or something similar.

Q: What kind of gloves have you used?

A: Size XL white cotton gloves, and I 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 buy the "Magid TouchMaster Cotton Glove, Men's Jumbo (Pack of 60 Pairs)" on Amazon. These are the perfect gloves for people with severe TSW symptoms on their hands. They are extremely thin and very comfortable to wear. My hand size is medium, so don't be afraid to buy the larger sizes. Otherwise you'll end up with gloves that fit too tight due to shrinkage when washing them.

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, or every other day baths with 1 1/2 - 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. Alcohol free "Homestead" witch hazel helps a lot in between baths for oozing areas. TTO worked great at times for healing tiny skin splits. Other times, it would exasperate things, so one has to experiment a little to find if tto works for them.

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. In early TSW, even drastic changes in diet have little to no effect, due to the intensity and severity of the disease. However, a good diet can only be helpful regardless.

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

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Moisturizer Withdrawal During Topical Steroid Withdrawal

Many people are now finding out that not moisturizing is a much better way to get through topical steroid withdrawal as opposed to moisturizing. They are discovering that not moisturizing brings much more comfort, allows the skin barrier to recover at a much faster rate, allows the skin to strengthen, and in general allows one to lead a normal life while recovering from topical steroid poisoning. Something that moisturizing during tsw does not bring.

The purpose of this post was to show the various ways I have learned to deal with my symptoms since doing moisturizer withdrawal approximately seven months ago into one place for easier understanding and referral. I'm short on time right now so will just ask that you check out the many posts I've written on my blog on this subject.

I have learned many things in those seven months of dealing with tsw via no moisturizers and feel what I've learned should be of value to those of you who have either began tsw without moisturizing, or those of you who have made the transition from moisturizing to not moisturizing, commonly referred to as "moisturizer withdrawal".

There is plenty of info on this throughout my blog, but much of it is me talking about things I did at those specific times. And some of the info may not be relevant now, or outdated. I have learned much from my experience on what works well, and what doesn't work so well, in dealing with the various tsw symptoms while not moisturizing. Feel free to ask questions.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Vaseline - Alleged Benefits Debunked With Facts

Petroleum jelly can create the illusion of moisturized, hydrated skin, all the while suffocating your pores. It's water-repellant and not water-soluble, meaning it merely seals the barrier so that moisture does not leave the skin. So while you might feel the instant gratification of a softened surface, you're actually drying out your pores by keeping out air and moisture. Because petroleum jelly forms a seal over the skin, it disrupts the bodies process of elimination of toxins through the pores, potentially trapping them under the skin. It slows cellular regeneration, which can damage collagen, elastin and connective tissue and contribute to the appearance of aging.

There are thousands of websites promoting the benefits of Vaseline for various skin ailments and I wanted to post a few sites that post information that isn't so readily available that shows just the opposite of what these sites claim. Most sites that promote the use of petrol chemicals for the skin have a profit motive behind them. Most sites that talk about the dangers of using these products DO NOT have a profit motive behind them. Most doctors recommend using Vaseline. Most doctors also promote the use of topical steroids. My goal here is to try and debunk the conventional wisdom that Vaseline should be used for comfort during topical steroid poisoning recovery, or topical steroid withdrawal as it's commonly called. And to show that using this product actually damages the skin, especially hypersensitive skin that people who have stopped using topical steroids have. Also, keep in mind that studies also show that continuous  moisturizing with anything, regardless of how safe it is perceived to be, damages the skin barrier.

I have a tub of Vaseline sitting in front of me right now. It reads "Vaseline 100% Pure Petroleum Jelly". On the back of the tub the active ingredient reads "White Petrolatum USP (100%).

Side Effects of Petrolatum:
"Petrolatum, commonly known as petroleum jelly, is a byproduct of petroleum. Petrolatum is a soft paraffin or wax mixture sold as a topical skin ointment. It is acknowledged by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as an approved over-the-counter skin protectant and is used in the manufacturing of cosmetic skin care. However the side effects of petrolatum include finding the petroleum byproduct in breast tumors, suffocation of the skin, premature aging and aggravated acne."

Petrolatum Found In Breast Tumors:
"A study linking the petrolatum impurity polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons or PAHs to breast cancer was completed at Columbia University. The study indicates that breast tissue of women with breast cancer were 2.6 times more likely to have increased amounts of PAHs attached to their DNA than the breast tissue of women without breast cancer. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are found in oil, coal and tar deposits as byproducts of fuel burning. Researchers June K.Dunnick, Michael R.Elwell, James Huff and J.Carl Barrett of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, NC also found that PAHs were found in the mutated genes of test animals with mammary gland cancer."

Petrolatum May Suffocate the Skin:
"Research at the Herb Research Foundation noted that skin absorbs up to 60 percent of the chemicals in products that it contacts and these chemical move directly into the bloodstream. The Organic Make-up company notes that the petrolatum developed for its cost effective glide in make-up application suffocates the skin by absorbing these chemicals directly into the bloodstream decreasing oxygen absorbed through the skin."

Petrolatum May Cause Premature Aging:
"As with many carcinogens such as nicotine, environmental pollution and chemical additives ingestion and absorption of these products can increase free radicals that can cause the skin and organs to age at a rapid rate or wear prematurely. Petrolatum found in many cosmetics can cause skin irritations and rashes. Skin that does not receive sufficient oxygen as noted in the Herb Research on skin suffocation can cause the death of skin cells and thus premature aging to skin cells."

Additional Effects from Petrolatum:
"Petrolatum or mineral oil jelly and mineral oils can cause skin photosensitivity or promote sun damage. Petrolatum may interfere with the body's moisturizing mechanism, leading to dry skin and chapping despite its cosmetic use as lip protection. According to the Environmental Working Group, petrolatum may be found in one of every 14 products as well as 15 percent of lipsticks and 40 percent of baby lotions and oils. The Federal Drug Enforcement Agency restricts petrolatum in food to 10 parts per million, and insists that petrolatum used in food packaging or drugs meet governmental standards on impurity restrictions for PAHs."

The Dangers Of… Petroleum/Mineral Oil

Mineral Oil:
"A derivative of crude oil (petroleum) that is used industrially as a cutting fluid and lubricating oil. Mineral oil forms an oily film over the skin to lock in moisture, toxins and wastes, but hinders normal skin respiration by keeping oxygen out. It blocks the pores and the skin’s natural respiration.

Mineral oil is known for not absorbing water. It has been used as a brake fluid for cars, bicycles and airplanes. As a very cheap material, the cost benefit is great because mineral oil is very plentiful.  Mineral oil is also used to clean kitchen, utility and ceremonial knives and swords.

John Hopkins University named mineral oil in cosmetics and moisturizers as the number two cause of aging. The first being direct exposure to the sun.The result is premature aging and increased health risks.

Mineral oil may also cause allergic reactions and dryness. It traps dirt and bacteria and blocks the absorption of vitamins/minerals/botanicals that may be in a product.

Mineral oil is popular with manufacturers because it is inexpensive and makes skin smoother and softer to the touch and more attractive to the eye. Unfortunately, the damage that is being caused behind the scene makes it an undesirable ingredient in any skin care product.

Thanks to companies like Johnson’s (Johnson & Johnson), unconscious parents are putting petroleum on their precious new baby’s skin, causing the skin to become hard and dry."

Side Effects:
"Several long term side effects of petroleum jelly have been observed of late. The main reason behind this can be the fact that petroleum jelly is used in a large amount on a regular basis, by many people. No doubt it has plenty of healing and moisturizing properties and it also makes the skin feel smooth and soft. But the fact is that the smoothness and softness that we feel is actually the layer of petroleum jelly that we keep on adding over the skin. It protects the skin but also restricts the pours of the skin from letting the toxins and actual moisture out."

"This makes the secretion of all the toxins and unwanted substances to form a layer under the actual layer of petroleum jelly. The whole process results into several skin disorders and leads to dandruff, acne, dryness of the skin and hair and skin irritation.

"Petroleum jelly and mineral oil are petroleum-based products, the same substance gasoline is made from. Such products can be harmful to your body, because it cannot eliminate the substance quickly. Petroleum products are constantly being scrutinized and studied."

Harmful Effects of Mineral Oil & Petroleum Jelly

What Is It?
"Mineral oil and petroleum jelly, which are widely used in cosmetics, are made from petroleum, a crude oil substance that comes from the ground yet can be very toxic. Different refining processes transform petroleum into paraffin wax, greases, and plastics. The Vaseline company describes its petroleum jelly product as "a mixture of mineral oils, paraffin and microcrystalline waxes that ... literally melts into skin, flowing into the spaces between cells and the gaps in our lipid barrier. Once there, it re-solidifies, locking itself in place."

"Since petroleum jelly and mineral oil (its liquid equivalent) attach to your cells and are not water soluble, they can be difficult for your body to eliminate, sometimes causing buildup in various organs of the body. The oxygen and nutrients skin needs in order to release toxins and repair itself can be blocked by the "barrier" created by petroleum cosmetics. Petroleum substances can also be listed as "petrolatum" on ingredient labels. Petroleum is not considered safe for ingestion or internal use in large amounts, yet is the base of many lip balms."

“But My Doctor Recommended It For My Compromised Skin?” The Dangers (and Alternatives) To Petroleum-Based Products

"Did you know that your soaps and shampoos could be endangering your health? Although cancer patients may believe that by keeping themselves clean they’re keeping germs at bay, the majority of household and cosmetic soaps on the market contain dangerous petroleums and petroleum by-products (like paraffin gel or petroleum jelly), which can have severely negative effects on overall health.

Contributing author to Greg Ciola explains the danger petroleum can present in the work place (as well as in our bathroom cabinets): “Auto mechanics are warned that long-term exposure to petroleum products can cause skin cancer and other skin maladies…yet we’re led to believe by the cosmetics industry that these products clean and moisturize your skin.” Unfortunately, many physicians continue to recommend petroleum-based products (such as moisturizing creams or ointments) to cancer patients, without realizing the dangers. The author of the blog “Avoiding Cancer One Day At a Time” adds that if petroleum products use fossil fuels (which accumulate and damage our environment), why do we want to put those ingredients on our skin?

Recent studies reported by the Chemtox website suggest stunning side effects of toxic petroleum ingredients: “Petroleum based chemicals are being found to cause significant attritional effects to the nervous system and immune system after prolonged exposure. Illnesses identified in the medical research include adult and child cancers, numerous neurological disorders, immune system weakening, autoimmune disorders [and more].”

An additional study performed by the Susan Lehman Cullman Labratory for Cancer Research found that mice—that had contracted skin cancer from weeks of ultraviolet light exposure—increased their tumor rate from 24% to 95% in 17 weeks after consistent applications of name-brand moisturizers. (Placebo creams had no effect.) Researchers believe that two of the petroleum-derived ingredients found in the moisturizers (sodium lauryl sulfate and mineral oil) promote UVB-induced tumor growth. This means that although many cancer sufferers and fighters believe they are helping their skin by treating with daily moisturizers, they may actually be harming themselves with toxic chemicals.

Petroleum ingredients appear in many common cosmetic products and cleansers, and can be listed as any number of petroleum derivatives. By-products most commonly include mineral oil, paraffin gel, propylene glycol, or PVP/VA Copolymere. Research done by the Environmental Working Group adds that, “Many of the cosmetic industry’s chemical safety assessments reveal that common petroleum-based cosmetic ingredients can be contaminated with a cancer-causing impurity called 1,4-dioxane.” According to natural-product producer Aurora Group, petroleum can be used in everything from lip gloss (as petroleum oil) to nail polish (as solvents like toluene)."

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

What Is Eczema And How Can We Best Manage It?
What is Eczema?

Dermatitis (Greek: δερματίτις dermatitis "(disease) of skin," from δέρμα derma "skin") or eczema (Greek: ἔκζεμα ekzema "eruption") is inflammation of the skin. It is characterized by itchy, erythematous, vesicular, weeping, and crusting patches. The term eczema is also commonly used to describe atopic dermatitis[1][2] or atopic eczema.[3]

In some languages, dermatitis and eczema are synonyms, while in other languages dermatitis implies an acute condition and eczema a chronic one.[4]

The term eczema is broadly applied to a range of persistent skin conditions. These include dryness and recurring skin rashes that are characterized by one or more of these symptoms: redness, skin swelling, itching and dryness, crusting, flaking, blistering, cracking, oozing, or bleeding. Areas of temporary skin discoloration may appear and are sometimes due to healed injuries. Scratching open a healing lesion may result in scarring and may enlarge the rash.
Definition of ATOPY

: a genetic disposition to develop an allergic reaction (as allergic rhinitis, asthma, or atopic dermatitis) and produce elevated levels of IgE upon exposure to an environmental antigen and especially one inhaled or ingested
What is atopy? Sidestepping semantics.


Atopy may be viewed as the manifestation of a still-undefined defect. It is characterized by certain clinical findings and frequently by derangements of the immune and autonomic nervous systems. The atopic diseases are a group of seemingly unrelated conditions--eczema, asthma, rhinitis, and perhaps hypertrophic sinusitis, vernal conjunctivitis, and migraine--which cluster in individuals and families. In the respiratory tract and eye, eosinophils in tissues and secretions are characteristic and are not dependent on the presence of immediate hypersensitivity. Symptoms suggestive of mast-cell mediator release are common to all the atopic diseases, and there is some evidence that nonimmunologic mediator release is enhanced in atopic patients. In the most clearly defined atopic diseases, eczema and asthma, approximately 80% of patients have increased IgE responses to normal environmental allergens. Accompanying and perhaps underlying the enhanced IgE responses are deficiencies of T cell numbers and function, particularly in suppressor T lymphocytes. Evidence exists that decreased beta 2-adrenergic function and increased cholinergic and alpha-adrenergic responsiveness accompany and perhaps underlie the atopic diseases, whether allergic or nonallergic.

My Thoughts:
I had childhood eczema, and both eczema and asthma runs in my family. It's obviously genetics in our case. The ways I learned to mange my eczema growing up were far better than treating it with drugs that only make it worse. I am referring to potent topical steroids, over the counter Hydrocortisone, and the like. Eczema is something some of us have to learn to live with and learn to treat in natural ways. Treating it with these powerful drugs only makes things much worse in the long run. It's very obvious that the medical community doesn't know what actually causes it but it's been around for centuries and people have managed fine without their toxic chemicals that only treat symptoms and not the actual causes.

These pharmaceutical companies along with the assistance of their crony buddy politicians and greedy Dermatologists will do whatever it takes to convince you to take their drugs. They are in it to make money. And believe me this is a huge money making business. And I mean HUGE! Everything from all the different drugs they have developed and continue to develop, to the propaganda about moisturizing. Big, big business.

Allow me to repeat something I posted recently.

Conceit, Arrogance And Bigotry

"The great tragedy of orthodox medicine is that doctors have always been suspicious of anything new and often reluctant to listen to theories and ideas which contradict traditional attitudes.

From Paracelsus to Lind to Semmelweiss, medical history is littered with doctors who learned the hard way that the medical establishment does not take kindly to original ideas or to new concepts which threaten the status quo.

Medical students are taught that they should avoid asking uncomfortable questions and young doctors who wish to succeed know that they must remain unquestioningly faithful to the established truths.

Any physician who rocks the boat, makes waves or swims against the tide will soon find himself floundering in deep water - and struggling to survive! To be successful in our society a physician must respect the prejudices of his elders, adhere to the dogma of his teachers and shut his mind to theories which do not fit in with orthodox medical doctrines.

Modern medicine is, much like the black magic medicine of the middle ages, an unstructured, unscientific discipline in which uncertainty, confusion and ignorance are too often disguised with conceit, arrogance and bigotry.

At a time when the half-life of medical information is shrinking and the limits of traditional, interventionist medicine are daily becoming more and more apparent, this ostrich-type behaviour is difficult to understand and impossible to justify.

Unless doctors are prepared to consider the unexpected, the unlikely and even the apparently impossible, patients must regard rigidly orthodox interventionists with a certain amount of suspicion and cynicism."

I think this sums up the problem quite well. So, if you really want to manage your eczema in the most effective ways, stay away from doctors and learn how to avoid the things that you have learned that make your skin break out. Don't believe the hype about using moisturizers. They are almost as bad for your skin as topical steroids are. Remember, childhood eczema dies out for the most part when we get to our late teens. If you are an adult past the age of say about 20, and you still have eczema, it is not eczema. It's a rash caused by ts called "steroid induced eczema". If you are an adult and never had childhood eczema but had a rash appear seemingly out of nowhere. Don't go to the doctor and allow them to prescribe topical steroids or you will regret it. Just figure out what caused the rash and eliminate the problem. Once the cause is eliminated the rash will disappear. Same with childhood eczema. Once you identify what you are allergic to just stay away from those things. And getting allergy tests isn't the answer in my opinion. Those tests are usually misleading.

If you have a newborn baby with a rash, for God's sake don't allow your doctor to tell you to put anything on it! Every single thing on the market for babies is toxic. From topical steroids to baby oil. Vaseline, you name it. They all have toxic ingredients that exacerbate the problem. Even if they didn't have the toxic ingredients, they don't and can't work. Rashes go away on their own if allowed to. There are also natural methods that can take care of all these things. From Dead Sea salt soaks to colloidal oat soaks. And many many other natural methods. Eating the right foods is a major contributor to healthy skin. That means foods that are natural. Not GMO, or foods that are sprayed with chemicals. I'm talking organic folks. The way you spend your dollars can either support the industry that is thriving on your ill health, or deprive it and put them out of business. Spend those dollars wisely.

Is It Just Me Or Is Anyone Else Noticing This About Moisturizing?

Is it just me, or is anyone else noticing how people who have stopped moisturizing are dong very little complaining about their symptoms, while people who continue to moisturize are still crying like babies and suffering immensely? It seems to me that 9 out of every 10 people who have stopped moisturizing during topical steroid withdrawal are doing much better and are stating such. They say they are much more comfortable and their skin is strengthening. They have found the way and will never go back to moisturizing during tsw. Why will they never go back? Because moisturizing during tsw makes life a living hell. When will ITSAN wake up to this fact? They obviously have the most influence over the majority of tsw sufferers, yet they still continue to resist such overwhelming evidence. Why is this? What is it going to take to get those few people who run that site to accept the obvious?

Read the various blogs and see for yourself and draw your own conclusions. Many people are finally crawling out of the hell hole they were in when they were moisturizing. It's undeniable now :)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Is ITSAN Using Fear And Scare Tactics To Solicit Donations?

Apparently, a new mass email mailing was sent out today to members of ITSAN, and who knows who else this organization may have on their mailing list. I received one even though I remain banned from the site. I found it rather insulting. The subject line of the email reads "Where would you be without ITSAN"? You have got to be kidding right? At first I thought it was a sick joke. But apparently it's not a joke. I feel ITSAN is using both fear and scare tactics along with pictures of suffering children to get people to donate money to them, rather than depending on their own mission statement of spreading the word about tsa/tsw. And, I feel this tactic is highly disgusting to say the least. I also feel it smacks of preying on the fears of people who are already suffering. And, I feel ITSAN is holding itself out like they are the only source of information, when in truth, they have been giving very poor advice to suffering people doing tsw ever since their inception. And, they have repeatedly ignored valuable information contributed by others. They even have gone out of their way to discredit valuable information people have contributed, and hidden the information from the public and members of their own organization. So, not only are they NOT the only source of information, they are a source of poor information to boot. In light of the actual facts, I feel ITSAN is seriously crossing the line here in the way they ask for donations for their private organization.

Below is a copy of the text of the email. I'll let my readers decide for themselves. To me, the wording of this email and use of children's pictures is sickening. I'm sure many of you have the email so you can see the pictures yourself in there and make your own conclusions. Here is a copy of the text:

"Dear Friend,

Without the International Topical Steroid Awareness Network (ITSAN) you or a loved one might still be lost in the frustrating search for a cure for "uncontrollable eczema". There would be no shoulder to lean on during the painful process of Topical Steroid Withdrawal. There would be no one asking the medical community to recognize Steroid Induced Eczema and Red Skin Syndrome. ITSAN is the only organization of our kind.

There would be no trustworthy organization to go to for resources, no inspirational stories of healing and experiences of those that have conquered Topical Steroid Addiction. No information-packed ITSAN Newsletter.

There would be no global network of support communities. No one to provide you with accurate, reliable literature and videos for you to understand this condition and that help educate you and others.

And there would be no strong unified voice to speak to the media and lawmakers and get the message out about the dangers of topical steroids.

Like most of us you may have spent thousands of dollars searching for the answers to your skin's problem. If your skin is addicted to Topical Steroids, then ITSAN has given you a valuable solution. What is that worth to your peace of mind to find out the very medications prescribed to help, were/are causing this worsening condition?

Only your contributions keep us going. click Please make a tax deductible donation today. You may also give monthly recurring donations.

We're counting on you... just like you're counting on us. CLICK HERE NOW TO GIVE.

With much appreciation,

ITSAN, Volunteer Board of Directors
ITSAN is a 501 c 3 non-profit charity"

Without ITSAN we might be lost in our search for a cure? Really? Did I read that correctly? I knew I had to stop using topical steroids before stumbling across ITSAN's website, as I'm sure most people do. I knew instinctively I had to stop using steroids and did so before even searching for info on the web about the subject. After stopping ts use, I confirmed I was on the right track when I came across an article by Dr. Rapaport. Then a blog by someone going through tsw. So, ITSAN acting as though people can't find the "cure" without them is pure hogwash.

"There would be no one asking the medical community to recognize Steroid Induced Eczema and Red Skin Syndrome".

ITSAN may be the only "organization" out there spreading the word, but it's individuals who are actually having a much larger impact in spreading the word on tsa/tsw. The above statement made by ITSAN is false and misleading. Many individuals including myself have and continue to ask the medical community to recognize Steroid Induced Eczema and Red Skin Syndrome.

As for resources, finding ITSAN when I did only caused me more harm than good. I wasn't interested in a shoulder to lean on! I was looking for information, as I'm sure the majority of people who stumble upon ITSAN are. If I had not relied on ITSAN for my information in my first several weeks of my own tsw, I could potentially have saved myself two months of unnecessary extra suffering. I find no value in that kind of resource. When I tried multiple times to educate ITSAN on better information to help reduce the suffering of other people going through tsw, I was ridiculed, insulted, marginalized, and basically treated like a child who didn't know anything because I hadn't gone through years of tsw myself. And then eventually banned off the site. And yet they continue to hold themselves out as a "trustworthy organization to go to for resources, inspirational stories of healing and experiences of those that have conquered Topical Steroid Addiction"? It really bothers me to see this type of misleading language in an email soliciting donations. And to know others fall victim to the same thing I did.

"Where would you be if there was no ITSAN?" I can not even believe my eyes when reading that one. In my opinion you would be better off! I could care less if ITSAN asks the medical community to recognize SIE/RSS, and I thank God ITSAN is the only organization of it's kind. I also feel it will be a cold day in hell before the medical community will ever recognize tsa/rss, or anything else related to tsa/tsw, so I see those efforts by this organization as a total waste of resources for now. That is just my opinion of course. I feel there is far too much money involved for the medical community to give anything other than lip service to this subject for many years to come. The best resources available for this type of effort is us individual tsw's. We can blog. We can tell our doctors, friends, and relatives. That is what we've been doing and will continue to do. That is how the medical community will eventually recognize tsa/tsw for what it is and eventually change. It will take a long time due to the huge amount of $ involved in the industry. Not to mention tryng to convice the same people about the damaging effects of moisturizing. That should be quite the chore as well.

Folks, the steroid and moisturizer business is big business and isn't going to change in my lifetime, and probably not in yours.

And again, a "trustworthy organization to go to for resources". Really? Who can trust an organization that tells suffering people that nothing can heal them other than the passage of time, and to moisturize your skin if it makes you comfortable, when we know this is wrong? An organization that claims they know of no one who has healed by not moisturizing when we know there are people who have?   

"No one to provide you with accurate, reliable literature and videos for you to understand this condition and that help educate you and others". Uh huh. Right. Well ITSAN, you aren't the only source for information. I suggest you get that through your thick skulls.  

"Where would you be without ITSAN"? Well, ever since I figured out what I was learning at ITSAN was wrong (my first month there), and figured out how to treat myself on my own, I have been doing very well thank you :)

My purpose here isn't to bash ITSAN. It can be a very valuable organization if it were to choose to do so. But so far, I feel the organization has proven to do more harm than good for people suffering through tsw, and only breeds an atmosphere of despair, hopelessness, and negativity the way it is run. The way this email is written is just more evidence of just how out of touch this organization truly is. And, relying on fear/scare tactics and misleading statements in an attempt to get donations out of people just isn't right.

ITSAN, you are just one small organization and if it weren't for people such as myself you wouldn't even exist. So, get your facts straight and stop acting like you are "the" authority on the subject of tsa/tsw when you clearly are not. And please find a way to ask for donations that doesn't include using pictures of suffering children and doesn't come off sounding like you are so desperately needed when you are clearly more of a liability than you are an asset to the tsw community.

To you devoted ITSAN members: I'm sorry but the subject line of this email that ITSAN sent out just makes me ill. You can clearly see where I've been without ITSAN. And look at where JSAN ended up without ITSAN after being sidetracked like I was temporarily. ITSAN may be a great site for people to gather in one place, but it probably should be just for that purpose and for information sharing. You are doing the real effective work and ITSAN should rely on you, not your money.