Friday, January 31, 2014

How To Successfully Do Moisturizer Withdrawal Using Dead Sea Salt Baths

The main purpose of this post is to put all of the information I have learned over the last 6 months about the benefits of doing Dead Sea salt baths in one place for easier access which should lead to a better understanding of how to use them. And hopefully, a better understanding of the potential benefits of dss baths for people going through topical steroid withdrawal. This includes links to controlled studies, and my own personal experience in using dss baths for treating my severely damage skin caused by topical steroid usage. Currently, I have the info scattered throughout my blog and putting it all on one post should be much more helpful.

There is a not so obvious, but very serious lack of knowledge and understanding amongst the topical steroid poisoned (commonly referred as "topical steroid withdrawal") community on how to effectively treat the various symptoms that TS use has caused them after stopping their usage. And, how to effectively recover in the most comfortable and quickest possible way, which is after all, what we all want to do. The information is readily available but not being disseminated to those who need it.

Frankly, I am appalled at the lack of good information made available for people going through topical steroid poisoning and recovery. Or, should I say "topical steroid addiction and withdrawal" as most call it. The word "addiction" doesn't seem to be a very appropriate word to use if we truly want to raise awareness of this disease. The word "addiction" has negative connotations, and also has a negative stigma attached to it. The word "addiction" also is an extremely broad term and is very subjective. The word  "poisoning" seems much more appropriate as it is not vague, and better describes the true nature and effects of TS use. I suppose it can be considered an addiction but still don't understand why we in the US don't call it poisoning. As Dr. Fukaya showed in a recent experiment titled How Topical Steroid actually affects your skin - Tested by Dr. Fukaya! we can see the effects of TS on skin and just how are poisonous they really are.

Let's look at the benefits of Dead Sea salt baths, followed by quotes and links to controlled studies.
From the Department of Dermatology, University of Kiel, Germany.
Proksch E, Nissen HP, Bremgartner M, Urquhart C

Abstract Magnesium salts, the prevalent minerals in Dead Sea water, are known to exhibit favorable effects in inflammatory diseases. We examined the efficacy of bathing atopic subjects in a salt rich in magnesium chloride from deep layers of the Dead Sea. Volunteers with atopic dry skin submerged one forearm for 15 min in a bath solution containing 5% Dead Sea salt. The second arm was submerged in tap water as a control. Before the study and at weeks 1-6, trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL), skin hydration, skin roughness, and skin redness were determined. We found one subgroup with a normal and one subgroup with an elevated TEWL before the study. Bathing in the Dead Sea salt solution significantly improved skin barrier function compared with the tap water-treated control forearm in the subgroup with elevated basal TEWL. Skin hydration was enhanced on the forearm treated with the Dead Sea salt in each group, which means the treatment moisturized the skin. Skin roughness and redness of the skin as a marker for inflammation were significantly reduced after bathing in the salt solution. This demonstrates that bathing in the salt solution was well tolerated, improved skin barrier function, enhanced stratum corneum hydration, and reduced skin roughness and inflammation. We suggest that the favorable effects of bathing in the Dead Sea salt solution are most likely related to the high magnesium content. Magnesium salts are known to bind water, influence epidermal proliferation and differentiation, and enhance permeability barrier repair.

Healing Properties 

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.

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.

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.

Controlled Studies
A series of clinical research studies have been conducted in order to evaluate the effectiveness of Dead Sea salts as treatment for psoriasis. According to several published studies, about 80% -  90% of psoriasis patients visiting the Dead Sea for treatment are either completely cured or significantly improve. Most of us don’t have the time or the money to travel to the Dead Sea, as a result more studies have been conducted to test the effectiveness of Dead Sea salts when used at home. The results indeed show that Dead Sea salts are effective in improving the symptoms of psoriasis – take a look for yourself!

International Journal of Dermatology
A 1999 study published in the International Journal of Dermatology tested one hundred patients with psoriasis who sought treatment in the Dead Sea. 75% of these patients were clear of their condition after four weeks of on-site treatment. Of this group, 68% remained clear (in remission) through 4 months, and 43% were clear after six months.

Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology
In a 2003 study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, twenty seven patients traveled to the Dead Sea for treatment of plaque psoriasis. The treatment consisted of daily bathing in the Dead Sea and controlled sunlight exposure. 48 percent of the twenty-seven patients were cleared of psoriasis completely and stayed in remission. The other 41 percent demonstrated a positive response to the treatment.

Israel: Dr. Zvi Even Paz
In 1989, Israeli dermatologist Dr. Zvi Even Paz conducted a study to evaluate the effects of Dead Sea Salts on 50 psoriasis patients. It had already been established that bathing in the Dead Sea itself brought relief, but it was not known if the Dead Sea salts would have the same effect when used in different environments (such as a bathtub).
47 of the 50 patients experienced significant relief after soaking in a bath containing Dead Sea salts. The best results came to those who soaked in two pounds of salts (divided into 3 baths) three times a week for six weeks.

Germany: Dr. J. Arndt
Dr. J. Arndt conducted a controlled study involving 50 psoriasis patients, between 14 and 77 years of age. All patients were treated using Dead Sea salts in partial or full baths and were treated with the salts in a controlled way. In a full bath, 2 kgs of the salts were dissolved in a bath at a temperature of 27 C. The partial baths were made with a concentration of about 10%. The baths lasted for 20 minutes and followed by a rinse. The patient remains in a warm, packed condition after the bath to enhance the effect of the salts.

The treatment lasted for 3-4 weeks, with 3-4 baths per week. Within only one week of treatment, symptoms diminished, including itching and scaling joints. Other symptoms such as spread, redness and infiltration continued to decrease. Improvement was steady- after four weeks, patients were clear of all symptoms.

The symptom patients were most concerned about was itching, and they were thrilled to be relieved in less than one week. Sleeping disturbances go hand in hand with the itching and are widespread in psoriasis patients – and sleep also improved in Dr. Arndt’s study.

Both patients and physicians in the study interpreted the drastic decrease in discomfort and scaling within one week.

Healing was complete in 27 patients (54%), and in the other 22 cases, there was vast improvement in their condition. Tolerance to the treatment was excellent in all patients involved in the study, and none of the participants experienced any side effects whatsoever, dermatological or otherwise.

There are 21 minerals in Dead Sea salts that are thought to have anti-aging properties. The salts are very unique, because 12 of the minerals found in the Dead Sea cannot be found anywhere else. It is said that Cleopatra often bathed in the Dead Sea which is perhaps what kept her so famously beautiful? Magnesium chloride, potassium chloride, sodium chloride, calcium chloride, bromide, sulphates, and water of crystal are all found here, although the sodium in Dead Sea salts is much lower than the salts of any other ocean on earth.

 Benefits of Dead Sea Salt
Various pictures of salt at the Dead SeaThere are many minerals in the Dead Sea and it’s salt that are excellent for your skin. These minerals include magnesium, bitumen, sodium, potassium, iodine, zinc, calcium and many more. Each of these minerals has their own special properties.
The Magnesium levels in Dead Sea salt are 15 times higher than that found in the Mediterranean Sea. Magnesium has been shown to have beneficial effects for those with psoriasis, in particular providing relief from itching. Magnesium is also essential for cell metabolism and promotes quick healing of skin tissue and provides the skin’s surface with anti-allergic elements.
Sodium is great for dry skin because it helps to allow moisture to be absorbed more easily and Bitumen is an anti-inflammatory agent that is also found in Dead Sea salt.
Potassium is great for people who have asthma because it improves the oxidation of the muscles and the nervous system and Iodine is a necessary component in the development of the hormone thyroxin.
Zinc is helpful because it contains antioxidant properties which help to reduce the early signs of aging and help to speed up the healing process.
There are many different ailments that Dead Sea salt can be beneficial for. It can be helpful for people who have dry skin, cellulite, psoriasis (as mentioned above) and a whole host of other skin conditions. Soaking in salt water is great for people with these conditions, but because of the high concentration and the particular properties of Dead Sea salt it is so much more effective than regular salt water alone.

My experience in using Dead Sea salt baths
Below is a short summary of my own personal experience which should be quite helpful, especially for those with severe tsw symptoms. 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. Please bear in mind when reading this that although using dss baths were key for me, as was sun exposure, one can benefit just as much from using dss baths if your symptoms are not as bad. Frankly, even more so. The dss baths are very effective at clearing small spots over your entire body anywhere you used TS in lessor amounts. Larger symptom areas are a little harder to clear but the baths help with those as well. Not moisturizing is a must though. This information is for those who want to find comfort during their tsw. If you moisturize, dss will be of little benefit to you as will anything else you do.

Dead Sea salt baths are an important aid in helping one succeed with not moisturizing and in making your skin heal and feel better. You will have very dry skin when you stop moisturizing it. That is the object so don't let it alarm you. Dead Sea salt baths have a further drying effect on the skin and should be used according to your symptoms at any given time. Some people may start out their tsw with severe symptoms and may experience something similar to what I did. Others with less severe symptoms will want to use the baths less frequently. The goal is to be comfortable as possible while going through tsw. One must stop keeping the skin moist and allow it to heal if one wishes to achieve this goal. Dead Sea salt baths aid in that effort in a huge way.

You will find that you will be much more comfortable once you stop moisturizing, and doing dss baths are an effective means in aiding you in that effort. Comfort doesn't happen overnight. It usually takes a couple weeks to a month, depending on various factors. But once you make the transition, you will find that you are much more comfortable, and you will also find that your skin will show noticeable improvements. When people stop moisturizing they experience very dry skin at first and have a difficult time adjusting to it. The skin tightens up, can often crack, and feels extremely dry compared to what they are used to. Doing Dead Sea salt baths can be extremely useful in bringing relief from this effect even though they have a drying effect themselves. After a couple weeks the skin adjusts and the itching is noticeably reduced. Most skin splits and open sores are closed. All of a sudden you are comfortable and feel better than you did before starting tsw. It isn't that difficult and the payoff is huge.

I haven't moisturized in many months now and it makes me shutter to even think about the effects it had on my skin. And trust me when I say, we are not "different" in the sense of how moisturizing affects our skin. There are people that try MW in a unsuccessful way and are quick to exclaim that "MW didn't work for them", or "it was too uncomfortable". And "some people may benefit while others may not". "It's not for everybody". "We're all different". "Do what's comfortable for you". That's all hogwash! Don't believe any of that BS for one moment. People that say these things never did their research and never did MW correctly. Some try it and go back to moisturizing for a day and try it again, etc. Many try it by moisturizing less than usual. Others will give it a go but don't give it enough time. And, one of the biggest mistakes people make is they try it without the aid of dss baths. Therefore the reason for this post in the first place.

Also, ranking right up there at the top is most people who try MW don't look to those who have done it successfully for guidance or help, they try and reinvent the wheel and do it "their" way. Personally, I always copied success in life and it always gave me an edge in business by doing that. If you want to succeed at MW look at the ones who have succeeded for how they did it and copy what they did. Reinventing the wheel is great but no use in repeating mistakes made in the past by others before you. Don't be afraid to ask questions.

I recommend using water diluted pure tea tree oil as another aid when doing MW for closing any small persistent skin splits that don't heal after a couple weeks of doing the baths. These tiny buggers will still come and go since the skin is still very thin in different areas where ts were heavily applied. But they will decrease in time, because once you stop moisturizing the skin, it begins to toughen up pretty quickly. Another plus is when you do scratch in your sleep it doesn't cause near the damage due to the skin being so much stronger.

Before I did MW my hands were like hamburger meat for three months. One month before stopping ts, and two months after while I rebounded and moisturized. I could see that moisturizing my hands was only making them stay in the same condition with no improvement. The areas I never moisturized on my arms and legs were already getting better but my hands were staying a total mess. They were really bad and I was at my wits end after enduring so much pain and intense itching 24 hours a day. I had already researched endless hours and one night I was just sitting on my couch fiddling with my hands, contemplating everything I had learned, and out of the blue comes this eureka moment! It hit me at once. I knew right then that all I needed to do was to stop moisturizing and allow the skin to dry and scab over like any wound you want to heal. I knew that occlusive dressings wouldn't work since I had tried them. But this new idea made so much more sense to me. I couldn't take another month of huge gaping fissures in my palms and in the joints of my fingers. They were spreading to the tops of my hands from between my fingers. I was nearly 100% disabled. I had to do something and it dawned on me exactly what I had to do and how to do it. Stop moisturizing, do dss baths, and get sun exposure.

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 in months. 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 the skin breaks dry and scab over so I stuck it out. For about 3 days the pain was extremely intense. I had to take a strong painkiller on either my second or third day (don't remember which). I split it in two and took 1/2 in the early part of the day and the other half later. It helped some. By the 4th day my situation became more bearable, and by about day 7 or 8 my skin breaks had all scabbed over nicely 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. My fingers and palms were red and swollen, and my skin felt hot like I had an infection. Keep in mind that my symptoms were quite severe to begin with and I was already experiencing a great deal of pain so the added extra pain did not really make much of a difference to me. NOTE: For those with less severe cases, this process should not be nearly as difficult as it was for me. I also had no information about how to do this since none existed in the U.S. at the time. That made it all the more difficult not knowing exactly what to expect other than what I had anticipated from a lot of thought and research on how the skin functions. Dr. Fukaya's researech on mice certainly contributed heavily to my theory that it would work.

I also had a script of antibiotics available at a moments notice if I were to decide to take them. I did make the decision to take them on about the 3rd or 4th day due to concerns over swelling, deep open cracks, redness and hotness of the skin. I didn't have a fever but that was the only missing infection symptom and I wasn't about to take the risk of having to stop in the middle of my attempt at doing this so I felt the antibiotics might protect me while I put my skin through the ordeal.. Looking back, I don't really know if I needed to take them or not.

As I was saying, 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 dss bath to soften the skin and was able to straighten my finger out without breaking the skin open. After doing the bath I went out into the sun and held it extended so it would dry that way and I could get a glove back on it. But, after a couple more days of self induced torture my skin finished scabbing over and began to slowly fall of on it's own, revealing new skin in it's place. The relief was unbelievable. All of my deep fissures and skin cracks were finally closed up. And there were many. Probably 20-30 total on my palms and fingers. After several more days of doing dss baths and exposing my hands to the sun I was able to get a few areas of raw oozing skin between my fingers to final heal over and stop wearing gloves. What a relief! I didn't have to wear gloves to guard against infection any longer!

Again, 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 8 and have been very comfortable ever since stopping moisturizing despite occasional flares and setbacks that are common with tsw. The main purpose of moisturizer withdrawal is for the comfort it brings. If it speeds up tsw recovery (which I believe it does), 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. But one needs to do MW correctly if they are to succeed. Using dss baths and tea tree oil helps tremendously in accomplishing this. 

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. It took another 2-3 weeks to heal my skin again by immediately stopping moisturizing and repeating the method I used the first time. The second time around was almost as painful as the first, but not quite as bad since my hands were in better shape that time around.

After I had healed my open wounds I began to cut back from doing dss baths every day to every second day. And, then later to every third day, and then I started going as long as possible without any baths or showers. I usually ended up feeling like I needed to do a dss bath about every 4-5 days for a period of a couple months. About a month ago I expereinced a huge flare and had to go back to every other day but now I'm much improved again and have cut back to every third day a couple weeks ago. I'm still on that maintenance schedule for now but almost ready to go back to once every 4-5 days asap.

There are different ways to do MW but this way is practically fail safe. Whether you are just beginning tsw or have been in it for a year, it can be done at anytime you are ready to make the effort. If your skin feels comfortable via moisturizing, and you are pleased with your progress, then I suggest you keep doing what you're doing. However, I have seen very few people that are comfortable and feel like they are progressing. Yet many of them say they are comfortable. It is quite perplexing to me. Either you are comfortable or you are not. If you are truly not, and feel you are healing too slow, then give MW a good 4 week try and see for yourself. You can always go back to moisturizing at any moment you like so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Look over the studies I have posted on my blog on how continuous moisturizing damages the skin barrier and ask yourself, "do I really want to keep moisturizing"? 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Is Vaseline Safe To Use For My Eczema?

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.

Time permitting, I will post two different basic protocols I believe that can easily be followed as guides for recovering from topical steroid poisoning without using products on the skin, which often makes the recovery process extremely uncomfortable, as well as prolongs recovery. One will be for those who have extreme symptoms, which will include very limited use of moisturizers and/or hospitalization, and the other will be for those who have mild to not so severe symptoms. Everyone's' symptoms vary in severity mostly based on how long one used TS, what strength of TS used, and how much and how often used. It's past time for basic protocols on how to best deal with this problem and I aim to remedy that. I am no expert and not a doctor. But a little common sense is all that is really needed on many of these issues. There is no doubt in my mind that my methods can be improved upon. But we need a starting point if things are ever going to change for the better and that is what I will try to accomplish in my next post.

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)."

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Topical Steroid Poisoning - How To Control Eczema On Hands For Adults And Children

DISCLAIMER: All information posted on this web site is the opinion of the author and is provided for educational purposes only. It is not to be construed as medical advice. Only a licensed medical doctor can legally offer medical advice in the United States. Consult the healer of your choice for medical care and advice.

Many people get eczema on their hands but there is a general lack of information available on how to best protect the hands, and how to rid one's self of the eczema, whether it is caused by topical steroid use or not. And to make matters worse, what information available is mostly poorly researched and misleading at best. I feel compelled to add my two cents in an effort to help people make better decisions for themselves and their children. Many can potentially be offended by what I say here, so if you are a defensive type personality you might as well just hit the back button right now. If you disagree, I hope your disagreement is based on actual facts, logic, and reason, and not based on preconceived notions.

I grew up with childhood eczema and both my arms and legs were covered with it from the age of one until the age of about 14 or 15. I don't remember having it anywhere else, or it spreading to anywhere else on my body, and to my knowledge it didn't. Childhood eczema is like growing up with poor eyesight, you really don't notice the difference until you finally get glasses (I also grew up near sighted and didn't get glasses until I was age 11).

I was not miserable from ether, but rather a normal happy kid who enjoyed the outdoors most of the time. I had scratched my skin until it bled countless times. My way of finding immediate comfort afterwards was to cover my broken bloody skin with dry dirt. It gave me immediate relief and back to play I went. I never once got an infection during all those years. Am I saying to put dirt on your child's broken and bloody skin? No, of course not. I am saying what I experienced. You make your own conclusions, and be sure to look at the big picture.

Yes, there is itching and scratching, and blood and scabs. But if left alone (no steroids, creams, lotions, moisturizers, soaps, etc.) you don't really experience all that much discomfort when growing up with it. It wasn't until I lived with my Aunt and Uncle that I experienced unbearable discomfort, and that was due to my Aunt slathering Vaseline on me and my cousins arms and legs nightly, wrapping them in plastic wrap with gloves over our hands, and taping everything. It doesn't work! It only aggravates the problem and makes it worse. It causes increased itching and further damages the skin barrier. We always ripped it apart out of desperation due to the increased itching the Vaseline caused.

Unfortunately my Aunt didn't know any better and was doing what she thought was right. Naturally I don't blame her for it. She likely did it based on conventional wisdom at the time. That was the mid 1960's. Topical steroids were out at the time but luckily for me she never used them on me, nor did anyone else before living with her. The old method before Vaseline was to treat the eczema with some kind of coal tar I think. I was fortunate in that I was raised by a Mother who was very busy and didn't "dote" after her children like they do now-a-days.

Parents, if it isn't too late, leave your kid alone and the eczema will go away on it's own when your child gets to their late teens. Ask anyone that has had childhood eczema and wasn't treated with anything for it and you will be able to confirm this. If your child gets a rash it is caused by things like heat, lotions, baby oil, mineral oil, diaper rash, foods you are feeding your child, etc., etc. Things like Vaseline, baby and mineral oil is toxic and irritating to the skin. Don't put that shit on your kid! Same for most all things marketed to new parents to put on their children's skin.

These things commonly are what lead to topical steroid usage in the first place. Baby gets a rash from toxic baby oil or some other toxic crap like baby powder or some nice smelling lotion. Baby then gets worse rash. Baby then gets prescribed topical steroids. Baby then suffers immensely for a very long time due to the very first thing which led to the last. People commonly keep relying on their doctors and they are given stronger and stronger steroids over the years until, finally baby is an adult wondering what the hell happened. That's if they make it that long. Seems many aren't making it past a couple years or so these days. That's probably due to newer and stronger steroids that are continuously being invented by our lovely pharmaceutical companies. These drugs are pure poison to the skin and have no useful purpose imho. It seems most drugs are made to alleviate the effects that prior drugs have caused.

Do not take conventional wisdom at face value. It is often more wrong than right. When it comes to children, they cannot defend for themselves so it's up to you to educate yourself so you don't do more harm than good for your children. Listening to doctors and other people like myself without doing your own full and thorough research can lead to very serious consequences, so educate yourself and make your own conclusions and decisions. Use doctors and people like me to gather information from, but make your own educated decisions once you feel you have a good understanding of the issues and information available. I can not stress this point enough. Everyone makes mistakes. So all we can do is learn from them and move forward. I realize not everyone has the luxury of doing a lot of research due to various circumstances, but for most, skip watching TV for awhile and you would be amazed at how much time that frees up to do the research and learn.

I strongly urge anyone that has a child with eczema or "atopic dermatitis" to read this article called For parents of the children with atopic dermatitis by Dr. Fukaya, a leading expert on the subject.

If your child has already been treated with topical steroids, and you are now helping your child get through topical steroid withdrawal, or "topical steroid poisoning" as I prefer to call it now, you have a whole different ballgame to deal with. You are going to have to watch your child go through hell recovering from the damage the TS have done. While helping your child get through this very difficult period, don't take the doctors advice that poisoned your child in the first place and apply skin damaging products like Vaseline and most any other moisturizer. Things that destroy the skin barrier are not going to improve the skin's condition no matter what failed logic you hear.

If the child has extreme severe damage from the TS you may wish to use a moisturizer. But if you do, use one that is relatively safe like organic white palm oil or Shea butter. Better yet, find a Calendula salve that doesn't have olive oil as the base. Good luck with that though. You would have to make your own as most people aren't aware that olive oil has been shown in studies to damage the skin barrier as well. Therefore, it is in practically every natural skin moisturizer on the market. But remember, studies show that continuous moisturizing of the skin damages the skin barrier, so use moisturizers very sparingly if you must use them at all. If the case is not extremely severe, definitely consider no moisturizers at all. It has been shown to be the most comfortable and best way to recover from TSP for reasons I've already mentioned. I have many posts on the subject of no moisturizing and moisturizer withdrawal on my blog if you would like to learn more.

Also, occasional Dead Sea salt baths can do wonders for the skin when done correctly with normal or steroid induced eczema. Most importantly, the sun heals the skin better and faster than anything I know of. It is your true medicine for skin problems of all kinds. But, wearing sunscreen blocks the sun and you won't get much benefit from sun exposure if using it so keep that in mind.

There are links to studies on everything I've talked about here on my blog. At the end of this article I give information on where to get the best gloves to use for protecting hands with open wounds that can be caused by eczema or steroid induced eczema. For children, I would suggest smaller sizes than what I have shown as the article was originally intended for adults. I would look at the Cara brand as well for kids as they tend to be quite small and they are thicker. Both brands shrink quite a bit because they are 100% cotton and not pre-washed to my knowledge. Be sure to wash first before wearing. Not everyone will prefer wearing cotton gloves for one reason or another. This is only my preference and what I personally believe to the best kind of gloves for people to use that need to protect their hands.

Where to buy the right gloves at the best price.

For gloves, see these. They are very thin, fit much better than the cheap Cara brand ones, and will shrink when washed so don’t let the size scare you. When I have to wear them I literally change them at least 20 times a day always keeping my hands protected from outside elements, especially water. When I want to use my hands for things like dishes etc I put x-large disposable vinyl gloves over the cotton gloves. I never wear plastic gloves on my bare hands. These are the ones (see item number 130603214676 on eBay) I buy and I always buy them in the x-large size. My hands are small for a man so again, don’t let the sizes I’m giving you fool you.

Be extra careful to wash your gloves with very little chemical free detergent, and add a few drops of tea tree oil to the water. Wash on double rinse cycle and dry in dryer on medium heat. You don’t want to aggravate the skin on your hands by wearing gloves that have detergent or chemical residue still in them. And when wearing them practically 24/7 you want them clean as a whistle and completely free of any chemicals whatsoever. I hope this information helps some of you who have skin problems on your hands. Feel free to ask any questions.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Too Late Now For Desperate Attempts To Discredit The Benefits Of MW - Sorry!

Well, well, well! It seems Joey still doesn't get it and is still trying to discredit myself and others who have shown the benefits of MW. She ignores all information on how moisturizing damages the skin barrier, inhibits healing, and very possibly slows recovery. She still ignores the fact that for most people MW makes their TSW journey a much more comfortable journey than it is via moisturizing. Now she has taken to attacking me and others on her blog and spreading more confusion. It is Joey and people like her that is confusing the issue, and the way she worded her post and and her question to Dr. Fukaya shows just that. It is very apparent that she does not understand the issues. Here is her recent post on her blog. Below are two comments I posted in response to her attacks and her obvious general lack of understanding, on her blog that I know she won't publish. So, I wanted to put them here so everyone can see both sides of the story instead of the one side that is so commonly shown by people like her. Sorry Joey, and the rest of you long time suffering vets. The cat's out of the bag now and you won't be able to stop people from finding comfort any longer. There are enough people doing MW now, and enough who are having success at it, that you will no longer be able to fool the majority any longer!

UPDATE 1/27/14: As noted by Leslie deep into the comment section of this post, Joey has deleted her post so the link above goes to a dead page. She made a new post on her blog saying...

"I deleted my last post on moisturizing or not during TSW because it was written during a moment of knee jerk reaction to complaints from bloggers about feeling pressured to stop using moisturizer."

Firstly, one has to ask themselves why she didn't leave it as is and update it? Could it be because she also had a long rant on there about how moisturizing isn't possibly addictive and Dr. Fukaya's answer didn't fit in with her complete lack of understanding of moisturizer addiction? Secondly, I have never pressured anyone to stop using moisturizer. I don't even know how that is possible. I have only posted occasionally on others blogs about the benefits of not moisturizing. Thirdly, if bloggers have contacted her about me advocating moisturizer withdrawal on their blog you have to ask yourself what was the motive behind that, and why would they complain to Joey and not to me, or just not publish or delete my posts? I'm not a member of ITSAN and these blogs are independent of ITSAN.

Her replacement post further shows her clear lack of understanding of the simple fact that we don't all have severe burn unit type cases of TSW, and how not using moisturizers can be extremely beneficial for many of us who have milder cases. It seems Joey is running more of anti MW crusade rather than a true support forum for TSW sufferers. Why someone would complain to her about my advocating the benefits of not using moisturizers is very telling of the kind of dangerous group think atmosphere that exists on the forum. Joey is viewed as the "sheriff" and in the eyes of most forum members. She is also the ultimate authority on how best to deal with TSW in the eyes of the forum members. She controls what information is showed, what views are allowed to be expressed, and influences the conversation to reflect what she believes. The problem is, her approach is very wrong. But she is also reflecting the views of the entire ITSAN board, let's not forget that. ITSAN needs to find a more constructive approach if they truly care about people suffering through TSW, and not just in defending their outdated points of views on how to best deal with TSW.

UPDATE 2/4/14: Someone had inquired with me as to what Joey had said to warrant my seemingly personal attacks towards her on this post. This is unfortunate in that without Joey's original post where she viciously attacked my character, my post here appears like I am attacking her. I want to make it clear that I am not. I have spoken the truth, and what had actual happened since she wouldn't allow me to defend myself on her blog where she attacked me. The two posts below are copies of what I sent to Joey which she did not publish. Was I to just not defend myself? No, she left me no choice due to the egregiousness of what she did. She could have contacted me privately, which she hasn't done since banning me, and/or she could have published my response to her character assassination and allowed me to defend myself. I may have a few personal viewpoints expressed here and there, but please keep this all in context of what happened and what led to me writing this post in the first place. Joey replaced her "replacement" post again and took out the image she had of people "blowing their own horns", in effect making some things I had said to her in my response below even more confusing to people who read it now. I don't think that was the intent but that's the residual effect. Again, for people who didn't see her original posts before she deleted them, please keep this all in context. Reading the comments below this post from others will shed some light as well.

I followed up your question to Dr. Fukaya with what should have been asked. But no matter what he says, it seems some people misinterpret his answers and are not understanding him. So, if you don't understand his first answer you probbaly won't understand his next. He speaks in somewhat broken English and is from a different culture. But if you read carefully what he says you will understand what he says. The following are my two responses to Joey on her blog that I know she won't publish. She has already published a post by a pro moisturizing person which was done after my comments. So, even though I say I "know" she won't publish my comments on her blog, she may yet, but it definitely appears that isn't going to happen. And Joey, moisturizer addiction is real. The skin stops moisturizing when it is moisturized externally. There IS a short period of withdrawal before the skin "realizes" it needs to start moisturizing itself again.

My first post to Joey in response to her attack on me:
"Since your post is an obvious personal attack on my character I feel compelled to defend myself. You were very disingenuous, even borderline outright dishonest, and omitted key information in your question to Dr. Fukaya. You failed to mention people who have completed TSW in under a year via not moisturizing, and all the people currently finding good success, and you presented a distorted version of the truth. More importantly, you failed to mention my main thesis of MW making the journey much more comfortable to endure than moisturizing does. That has been my main contention all along, not so much that MW speeds up recovery, but that it makes recovery many times more comfortable. And this is a very important distinction since there is so much pain and suffering endured during TSW.

Why don't you ask him what his experience has been with the comfort factor for his patients that have not moisturized during TSW compared to the ones that have?

I hope you understand that in his answer he basically said that yes, MW speeds up TSW. He also said Dr. Sato believes in the method even more so. He eluded to the "hard landing", but if you were to ask him how long the hard landing lasts he will tell you up to 4 weeks at most. I think he has already written about that in his blog. His answer about admitting it is fruitless for others to refrain from moisturizer was also already given in his blog and by that he means people who want to use moisturizers and feel a need (addiction) should by all means do it that way if that is the way they want to do it. Again, all he is saying is yes, some people are addicted to moisturizing, and it's fruitless for them to attempt MW if "they" think "they" need them. Kind of like it's fruitless to stop TS if you think you need them. He goes on to say "Dr. Sato recommends disuse of moisturizers more strongly than me from his own experience."

2nd post
"Like DR. Fukaya told you "It's not complicated". So, why are you trying to complicate the issues? You obviously exaggerated your own use of moisturizers by saying you used very little when you and I both know that's not true. You made it sound like you've seen just as many people get through TSW via moisturizing as you've seen via not moisturizing (not true), and in general were very misleading in your comments to Dr. Fukaya. Also, you are misleading in saying that people such as myself advise others, and especially new ones to TSW, that no moisture is the ONLY way to help the skin, speed TSW up and prevent flares etc. The title of my most recent post on January 16th on my blog is "Clarification On Why Moisturizer Withdrawal Is Best For Comfort". NOT "Clarification On Why Moisturizer Withdrawal Is Best For Speeding Up TSW"!!

And your advice to people is still "Carry on in the way that suits you best with comfort and patience my friends". Well, that's fine except for the fact that the Itsan site and it's vets like yourself promote the use of moisturizing as THE way to find comfort! If you truly wish people to carry on in a way that best suits them then you wouldn't be promoting one method over the other. You would be neutral, and allow people to see all information available and encourage them to do what works best for them like DR. Fukaya does. Instead, you continue in your lame attempt to discredit the fact that MW is a much better way to get through TSW for "most" people.

As for blowing horns, I don't need to suffer for 3-4 years like you and your buddies to understand that MW makes the journey much more comfortable than moisturizing does. I experienced it firsthand as have others. There is plenty of research and studies available for those who wish to decide for themselves whether moisturizing is a better way to go or not. Your condescending and arrogant attacks on me and others only show your true nature. I'm not blowing horns, just trying to undo what damage YOU manage to do with your very definite lack of understanding of just about everything when it comes to healing.

You don't even understand what moisturizer addiction is and you made that very clear by what you said. And, as for flares many months or years into TSW. MW has little to do with flares other than if not moisturizing the flares are less intense and clear faster lol. The only one that should be embarrassed here is you my friend. Your clear lack of understanding of just about everything when it comes to TSW is appalling for someone in the position that you are in."

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Clarification On Why Moisturizer Withdrawal Is Best For Comfort

I feel compelled to write this new post because there is so much confusion on moisturizer withdrawal. Bear in mind that most studies are done with a predetermined outcome already in mind, and very often the desired results are reached. Amazing huh? Same way for me in researching the best way to do MW. I felt my skin wasn't healing due to moisturizing, and then proceeded to find info to back up my theory. But, I don't have a financial incentive. Companies and the medical industry make trillions of dollars over time from the sale of moisturizer products, so naturally they will hire consultants and companies to make studies showing how effective moisturizers are. There is a huge financial incentive there. Same way for topical steroids. But, studies showing how damaging moisturizing or using TS are, don't have a financial incentive. Therefore, there are far less studies on that side of the equation. I put more weight on the latter studies and when combined with logic and common sense I can easily separate truth from fiction.

I think people misinterpret Dr. Fukaya’s “hard landing” language and think it’s something extremely difficult to do. He is just eluding to the fact that MW can be hard temporarily for the first couple weeks (my interpretation and also my experience). And I’m sure this can differ to a great degree depending on how severe individual cases are. Also, this applies to beginning tsw when the skin rebounds the worst. It is only logical that MW must be much easier to do after getting through those initial first 2-3 months of TSW where the rebound is at it's worst. Most people who have actually done MW will tell you it is not very difficult to do, and that one can find much more comfort this way. There are those who are so convinced that moisturizers are the "key" to comfort that they subconsciously make sure MW doesn't work for them, if they even attempt it at all. It's just simple logic and really not very difficult at all after the initial first week or so. One week of extra pain and discomfort in exchange for many months of comfort.

As for my comments in the past on itsan. Itsan's views and influence with people doing TSW is all too apparent on nearly everyone's blogs. We don't need controlled studies to prove anything on things that are obvious, despite what many say. You may need a study if you want definitive proof. But are you after proof or are you after comfort? If I catch a cold bug I don't need controlled studies to figure out if I really did catch a cold bug, or to figure out effective ways to deal with it. If I’m standing in intensely hot sun and I feel it burning my skin do I need studies to know if I should get out of the sun? Do I need to wait to see if other people burn first before making my decision? Of course not. Common sense, logic, and instincts dictate what I do. No time to wait for controlled double blind studies or see others burn first.

I can understand doubts when there was no information available. But this is no longer the case. And doubts or not, common sense dictates that moisturizing hypersensitive skin during TSW irritates the hell out of it. It also further damages the skin barrier further. Studies that are done with no financial incentive show this to be true. This is not rocket science. If wet skin breaks down the skin barrier than it is better to keep the skin dry. If keeping the skin covered in moisturizers damage the skin barrier and inhibits healing, then it is better to not use them. If not using moisturizers during TSW enables people to go through the journey in a much more comfortable fashion, than that is the most optimum way it should be done. Naturally, there will always be exceptions to the rule, but for the majority of TSW’s, moisturizing is a very wrong method of finding comfort. But again, people have been led to believe just the opposite in the past. It’s way past time for people to update their conclusions imo.

I am not that brave or courageous and the fact is MW is not very difficult for most cases of TSW. It can be very difficult if one takes the approach that it will be difficult I suppose. There is far too much confusion over this with people that haven't done it, or haven't done it in a successful way. Let me be clear. I did not endure that much pain. I was already in so much pain from moisturizing for two months at the outset of my TSW that a little extra pain didn't make much of a difference. It lasted for 7-10 days. Well worth the normalcy that followed for many months as I continue to recover.

I don't see people that are moisturizing as being very comfortable from what I read daily on their blogs so not sure why people aren't understanding this. I am just a worn out old hippy who abused his body all his life and I don't have any special endurance capabilities. In fact younger people should have a much easier time of both TSW and MW than myself. So, why wait for me to finish TSW when I have already shown how much more comfortable I have been since MW? Why is it when you add my experience with MW along with others like jsan, and the consensus of the Japanese doctors, what Dr. Fukaya and Dr. Sato say, that you think you still need to see "controlled" studies? Because that's what itsan espouses. How much freaking evidence do you need? Can you not see the pain and suffering people are experiencing after many months and years of moisturizing while in TSW? Including yourself? These people are only suffering at this point because of continuous moisturizing and the belief that nothing cures TSW but time imo.

I have both psoriasis and childhood eczema. I also have atopic dermatitis according to doctors. My skin wasn't born with any less ability to self moisturize than anyone else. I may be more prone to allergic reactions, but that's it. Has nothing to do with my body's ability to moisture itself. It only means that there are things that can damage my skin barrier if in too much contact. Just look at blogs where people are crying out in pain and misery after months and years of TSW via moisturizing. Base your decisions on common sense and logic. No studies needed. I and others have loudly exclaimed how much better we have been due to MW so there is no need for anyone to keep waiting. And it's not a matter of waiting to see if MW heals me faster. The major reason for MW is to be comfortable. Again, all I see on blogs is how extremely uncomfortable people are. These people are the ones that moisturize. Here are some good links to help enlighten you on the subject of moisturizing and MW:

Please read email exchanges at bottom of this site:

Read the consensus of the doctors from this referenced conference:

Various studies showing moisturizer affects on the skin:

Dead Sea salt controlled study results:

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Infamous 7th Month Flare? Pictures And Commentary

My skin started to flare Sunday December 29th and I thought it was just a reaction to my falling off a month long good diet and general stress from the Holidays. Just another minor flare. A week later the flare continued to worsen and my normal techniques weren't having much of an effect so I started thinking what the hell is happening here? This is nowhere like the minor flares I've experienced in the last several months! I then discovered my new laundry detergent was the likely culprit. Now, in retrospect, I have to wonder if it wasn't the infamous "7th month flare".

Steroid induced eczema popped up on nearly all areas of my body that had been completely clear for months. My arms and legs mainly, but other smaller spots as well. This was different! My left hand got infected and swelled up, very red and hot, so I put myself on a course of antibiotics, and started doing more frequent Dead Sea salt baths. The skin on my left had turned into a raw oozing area, and after a couple days of that I decided to not rinse after my dss bath this time. When you don't rinse your skin after a dss bath, it drys out your skin much more than it does when not rinsing. I was trying to get that large oozing area to dry and it worked. It's very drying to the whole skin so I try to avoid doing this when possible. In retrospect, I used to do dss baths daily when doing MW and when flaring, but now think it better to do them every other day. I think daily is over doing it unless your skin is really torn up. Once the skin is calm and mostly free of skin breaks then I just do them as maintenance when needed.

The pictures below were taken on December 10th. They were taken a day after my oozing dried out so it doesn't show how bad it actually looked without the scabbing. I would have taken them sooner but felt like shit and wasn't into it. I had dried this area out once but I scratched the entire scab off the next night so had to do "re-dry" it again. As you can see, the steroid induced eczema spread like wildfire on the tops of my hands. I was about 95% done with TSW and now I have reverted back to the condition I was in many months ago. However, I don't have the intense pain and 24/7 itching that comes in the first couple months of TSW. I did have a few nights of that deep intense itching on my right palm but have managed to not tear it apart and the itch is now subsiding.

I didn't allow myself to feel despondent, or feel like I was starting all over again. No feelings of desperation. I understand my body is still recovering and it will take longer than I had initially hoped. It does suck beyond belief, but when life hands you lemons you make lemonade, period. I am very confident I will be back to where I was before this flare within 2-3 weeks. I also believe I will be done with TSW within my 8-12 month time frame I gave myself. It might be closer to 12 months, but just as long as it doesn't go past one year I'll be happy.

The best thing about this flare is the fact that my palms have remained healed for the most part! Although I used betamethasone ointment sparingly over 20 years, this is where I used the bulk of the topical steroids, and was the area that took the longest to heal. And the area to heal last. I initially started applying TS on my right palm near my pinky finger about 3 years ago and over a period of 2 years the rash spread to cover my entire palms and fingers before I stopped using and started topical steroid withdrawal. The other symptoms didn't appear until I stopped TS. My palms gave me the most problems due to serious skin barrier damage from the TS. As you can see from the pics of my right hand, this flare came close to causing it to revert back to the bloody mess it used to be. But, fortunately, it didn't quite make it.

I have never once put TS on any of the areas you see in these pictures, other than on my palms. Before starting TSW, and for 3 months after TSW, my palms looked much worse than what you see on top of my hands. Much much worse. TSW has been a cake walk for me since MW compared to what it was before doing MW. And, as long as my palms remain free of skin splits, deep fissures, etc., this other crap doesn't bother me near as much! I'll post a new picture update as soon as I am healed back to at least where I was before this flare. I hope that will be soon! The pics below show my right hand, left hand, right arm, and both legs. Left arm pics didn't come out after a couple tries so I gave up. The left arm looks like the right arm.


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Jsan Just Completed Topical Steroid Withdrawal in 9 Months!

Jsan asked me to post this for her because she is currently unable to post to blogs with her iPhone.

"So I'm done TSW. No doubt about it. There isn't a single area of rash anywhere on my skin anymore. No peeling no dryness nothing. I'm completely soft normal strong skinned. I get up, get on with the day. No itching at night nothing. Just overnight around Friday it all finished. I was only mildly itchy behind my knees and on a patch of neck/face and wrists for over a month on and off. Then it was gone. Completely utterly gone. My nails are back to being long and manicured, life's back to normal.

I've been so busy going out all weekend drinking bottles of red wine, eating cheese, chocolate, go go go and my skin is as it used to be before I used steroids. I was doing this all month, but still had bits of itching. It's completely non-existent now. Just like that, vanished.

I was able to wear polyester with no discomfort last week that was my big sign. Took a super hot shower and used a scented shower gel just for fun for a party. My skin was soft right after towel drying. No dryness anymore. No need for tea tree or silver. Just back to normal. Overnight every single last remaining area turned just normal.

Stayed at the party drinking two bottles of red over six hours. Then walked downtown with a friend and hung out.

Got up late today, ate, splashed face, threw on make up and a gorgeous short sleeve poly top, raced to a birthday party. More wine, cheese choc etc. my skin is normal. Cats and perfume, no reactions nothing.

Heading our now for dinner with friends. Wearing sleeveless scoop neck dress.

My husband today felt my neck and knee area hell even backs of my elbows, and it's like it was before steroids. Silky normal skin.

Having gone through full tsw three times now, the biggest factors in my opinion in healing are:

No moisturizer. I cannot emphasize this enough.

No baths unless you have cuts. Minimal bathing til your skin gets stronger.

Msm supplementation

Being busy but stress free.

Goodbye tsw at 9 months!!!! Been here before and I recognize when it's over. And no there will be no more "flares" sorry vets, I know where I'm at. :)"

Friday, January 10, 2014

I'm Still Not Moisturizing!

Over the last couple months I have watched many people come to my blog to read my moisturizer withdrawal guide and "attempt" to learn how to effectively do MW. There has been a slight problem though. Only one or two of those people have actually followed my method correctly! All others have instead tried to reinvent the wheel. My method was the result of thousands of hours of research, and trial and error. Folks, I have already tried many of the ways you are trying and those ways are NOT near as effective as the method I spelled out in my MW guide post. This is why many of you aren't seeing the same results.

Many have decided to just reduce how much they moisturize instead of complete MW. One person I know of is attempting MW by taking hot showers instead of Dead Sea salt baths. Hot water strips the skin of all oils and is damaging to the skin when in TSW. Reducing moisturizer application instead of stopping it will not do much for you. Neither will attempting to decrease it over time and then stop. These ways only cause people to suffer more and come to the belief that MW isn't very effective. Then they go back to moisturizing and wallowing in self pity.

My method works extremely well, and if you truly want to be successful at MW in the most effective way, you must do it correctly. Unfortunately, I don't have many people to back up my claims about my method, only because most think they can accomplish the same thing in a different way. You can't! Yes, you can find some success, but not the kind of success if you were to do it correctly. Doing it the wrong way or in a half-assed way and then saying it doesn't seem to make all that much difference is really cheating others from knowing the truth about just how effective MW is with TSW. The ones who have done my method correctly have seen great success. One such example is Ruth. She posts here once in a while but is doing so well now she is busy with having her life back so she doesn't post that often. She does email me privately all the time with progress reports and I can tell you she is very pleased with the results!

There are a few long time TSW sufferers who seem to desperately want to prove that MW isn't very effective. What can I say that I haven't already have said? These particular people seem to enjoy being miserable and that's their prerogative. They seem to want to prove me wrong in the most desperate of ways. I think most people that have been around for a while understand why. They will hold out one or two examples of people who have healed using moisturizers the whole way and say see! So an so healed in 14 months without doing MW. Good lord! The examples are usually of people who took well over a year to heal. And, very important to note, all of them are people who are very young. All 5-6 of them lol. How are the other 99% doing? Well, some are 4 years into TSW, some 3 years, many 2 years. etc. People that are in their 20's heal a hell of a lot faster than people in the 50's. I would expect these people would have healed slightly faster if they had done it without using moisturizers. At a minimum, they would have had a far easier and more comfortable journey to their final recovery.

Some will say it's way too hard. These are people who have been in TSW for a long time and doing MW at that stage is actually very easy and not hard at all. Doing MW within your first two months of TSW with very serious skin barrier damage is a hard landing. I know I did it. The second time I did MW it was a breeze compared to the first time. I know if I were at month 4, 8, 12, 18 etc., MW would be so easy to do at that stage. If done in an effective way that is.

I've tried to help many people by encouragement them to do MW on their blogs, and many of them have decided to give it a shot. But, most have done it in a way that isn't very effective. Some people have done it in an ineffective way to disprove it works, in my opinion. I believe this to be a subconscious thing and not necessarily done on purpose.

So, I have given up on posting on other peoples blogs and encouraging them to do MW. It has been mostly a fruitless effort on my part when people decide to do it, but do it the wrong way. And then exclaim how they saw only limited results! Not to mention the ones who do it and loudly express how it didn't work for them. This is so detrimental for people who haven't tried it and are waiting to see how others do. Not to mention all the new people to TSW that come along daily.

If you truly want to get the benefits that myself and many others have from MW, you need to do it in the most effective way. If you do it half-assed then please keep your opinions on it to yourself if possible since you really aren't doing it in an effective way. We don't want to scare new TSW's from doing MW as it is extremely beneficial. And please, don't try and change a method that is tried and true. Don't try and reinvent the wheel and then loudly exclaim how it isn't very effective! It's fine if you want to say "your" method wasn't effective. But your method isn't true MW, and many of you aren't doing it right by using the proper techniques.

MW is zero moisturizers, not tapering moisturizers, or using less moisturizers. There are many things involved in doing it effectively that people just aren't doing. So, for you new TSW's out there, don't listen to these naysayers and do yourself a big favor. Do MW in an effective way if you really want to find comfort.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Excellent & Affordable Price Available On A Good UVB Narrowband Home Lamp!

I had a recent flare starting around x-mas due to a change in laundry detergent I was unaware my dw made. This flare started around x-mas and didn't clear up quickly like they usually do when I fall back on my dss bath method. As the days progressed I had to start wearing gloves again as my eczema had spread. It also popped up on one arm and a leg, and then both legs, and a little on my forehead. The symptoms reminded me exactly of the times I had spent several days in motels and broke out in the same way from the laundry detergent they used. I have always used "All Free & Clear" because shit like Tide makes me break out.

After about a week of daily dss baths and my skin getting worse instead of better, I couldn't understand why my old reliable method of dss baths no longer was working. I got to thinking about it and a light bulb went off. This is the same reaction I have had on my skin in the past from sleeping in Motels on sheets washed in harsh laundry detergents! So, I checked what the detergent we are using reads, and sure enough, "All" made a subtle change to it and it read "Oxi Clean" & "Stain Remover" when it didn't use to. It still read "free & clear" though (free of fragrances & clear of dyes). So, I researched it, found the ingredients (very difficult thing to find btw), and sure enough it was a bunch of toxic crap. I then scrolled down and read a thread that confirmed my suspicions. See the first couple posts on the thread below....

Hope Scratchy and Itchy is Correct November 19, 2013
I have been struggling to figure out what has caused this unbearable itchy rash all over my skin. Then I remembered I tried the Oxi All instead of my regular All. After reading these reviews, it looks like I am on to something. Hopefully re-washing my sheets and clothes will result in a clear up as this is unbearable. How do companies get away with putting such irritants in clothing detergent?
— Itchy and Scratchy, Annandale, VA

Severe rash and ich November 03, 2013
If you sweat after washing with this product you will break out into one of the worst rashes you have ever had. Think of the areas of the body that sweat first and holy makeral you are in an ALL scratching/rash hell! It is embar
— Jkennedy, Hendo NC

Got Skin? October 30, 2013
Stainlifter oxi-clean, waterfall clean. Used for several weeks before breaking out in an unpleasant skin rash. Even when using a small amount of this stuff (is anyone dumb enough to use a whole cap-full of this gunk?), the product produces significant allergic dermatitis everywhere my clothes are pressed against the skin. Stopped using it and ran all clothing through a hot rinse, and the symptoms vanished. ALL should recall this stuff and sell it to the Syrians for use as a blister agent chemical
— Scratch and Itchy, Tucson, AZ

After seeing that I knew what had happened and why my hands were getting worse instead of better. As the shit started irritating my skin, it got only worse because I started wearing gloves again. The gloves had the detergent chemicals in them and I was unknowingly poisoning my hands much more. I was putting witch hazel on them and then putting gloves on and sealing them to my wet skin to make some oozing areas dry. After a week of this my hands really blew up. I can't F'ing believe it! Anyway, once I figured this out, I immediately washed all my clothes and bedding in a super long 2 cycle wash in hot water since it was late at night and I didn't have any other laundry detergent that was not so freaking toxic. I then made the decision to bite the bullet and start going to tanning salons (yuck!), so started looking into it. I know my healing slowed significantly when the sun disappeared in October and I didn't want to wait for another 6 months for it to come back. I want this shit gone and I want it gone now!

UVB Narrowband 311nm Lamp
I did a lot of research and this unit is the best quality lowest price handheld home unit available. See item number 221180408912 on eBay. It is brand new, made in Germany, and is the lowest price available for an effective UVB lamp. I do NOT recommend buying the cheaper ones from China!

UPDATE: This page is outdated.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Moist Wound Healing And Moisturizing Are NOT The Same Thing!

There seems to be some confusion about both moist wound healing and moisturizer withdrawal. Moist wound healing and moisturizing are NOT the same thing. I want to try and clarify what moist wound healing is, and also why I feel it's not an appropriate method for topical steroid withdrawal treatment any more than moisturizing is. First, an excerpt from a recent email exchange I had with Dr. Fukaya on the subject.

Hi Dr. Fukaya, what is your opinion on the use of the "moist wound healing" method for people going through TSW?

Dr. Fukaya: "It is a method for wound healing with minimum scar which has become popular recently in Japan. It is not a specific method for eczema sufferers."

Dr. Fukaya, I apologize, I forgot to include this with my previous question. What is the difference between moist wound healing and moisturizing? Thank you so much!

Dr. Fukaya: "Maybe I have already answered to the question by the last reply. Moist wound healing is for the deep wound and moisturizing is for the superficial skin."

Now keep in mind Dr. Fukaya has also said in the past... "I agree with Dr. Sato in that moisturizer withdrawal speeds up in certain cases. However, it is a hard landing method. I know some patients drop out from TSW itself by selecting moisturizer withdrawal. If you are enough strong and like to shorten the TSW period, I recommend it. In your age, I suggest you can use moisturizer in the future after TSW. People with normal skin also use moisturizer when they become elder. I suggest you should refrain from soap in taking a shower or bath. It will remove sebaceous matter which is a natural moisturizer." For the record, I am 58 years of age.

Moist wound healing and moisturizing are NOT the same thing! Slathering on Vaseline weakens the skin barrier, causes irritation and aids moisturizer addiction, meaning the skin stops making it's own oil. Keeping superficial wounds moist is NOT an effective, faster healing, or a better prevention for healing TSW symptoms like some people currently believe. Moist wound healing is for deep wounds.

Below is an explanation of what moist wound healing is used for by WiseGEEK.

"Moist wound healing is an approach to wound care where people keep the wound moist to promote rapid healing with reduced scarring. This is not effective or appropriate for all wounds, but can be suitable for patients with issues like diabetic ulcers and burns. A wound care specialist can evaluate a patient to determine which option is best and provide specific advice on dressings and wound care procedures.

Traditionally, the approach to wound care was to keep the wound dry. This promoted the formation of a scab, allowing healing to take place below the surface. Doctors believed this limited odors, chances of infection, and other common wound care problems. In the 1960s, the approach to wound care began to shift, and some care providers started recommending moist wound healing for some situations."

My thoughts on the subject: Moist wound healing and moisturizing should not be confused. Neither is an effective method for dealing with topical steroid withdrawal symptoms for many reasons. MW is best for tsw symptoms, and we don't need science to validate this. You don't need double blind studies or science to understand simple things. Please note that a wet environment can also be detrimental as this could lead to maceration and tissue breakdown.

Moist wound healing is for an actual wound where you keep it permanently covered until healed and do not disinfect, bathe, etc., the wound. It allows the wound to regenerate without forming a scab. It is an approach to wound care where people keep the wound moist to promote rapid healing with reduced scarring. This is not effective or appropriate for all wounds, and certainly not appropriate for TSW steroid induced eczema. Any more than it would be appropriate for "normal" eczema.

On Moisturizing:
Studies suggest that long-term treatment with moisturizers on normal skin may increase skin susceptibility to irritants. See Effect of long-term use of moisturizer on skin hydration, barrier function and susceptibility to irritants.

My conclusions: In understanding why the skin reacts the way it does during TSW as most of us do, it is not difficult to understand why the moist wound healing method is not an effective method for TSW. The term "moist wound healing" specifically refers to wound care where people keep the wound moist to promote rapid healing. It is best suited for deep wounds, serious burns, amputations, deep ulcerated wounds and the like. Moist wound healing should not be confused with moisturizing. Moisturizing is slathering a product on your skin. Here is a common explanation. Find out what moisturizers can and can't do for your skin and how to select a moisturizer that suits your needs. If you believe what you read on that site I have a bridge I'd love to sell you! Take note of that last sentence on the second page.

"If a moisturizer doesn't improve the condition of your skin or you notice skin problems after using a moisturizer, see your doctor or dermatologist. He or she can help you create a personalized skin care plan by assessing your skin type, evaluating your skin's condition and recommending moisturizers likely to be effective."

Like maybe TOPICAL STEROIDS? What a merry-go-round! Destroy your sin barrier with chemicals like Dimethicone and toxic petro chemicals and go to a Derm and get prescribed topical steroids to take care of the damage. Even if you were to ignore most of the suggestions and use the most benign moisturizer such as organic white palm oil, studies show you will still weaken or destroy your skin barrier with prolonged use. All evidence points to moisturizer withdrawal as the most effective method for dealing with TSW. The skin's hypersensitivity, a moist environment is detrimental as this leads to maceration and tissue breakdown, and the irrefutable fact that continuous moisturizing even with the safest things like pure water damages the skin barrier over time. It's not rocket science. Just common sense.