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.

http://www.sfbsc.com/dead-sea-salt-research
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. 


 http://www.sfbsc.com/psoriasis-treatment

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.

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.

 http://www.sfbsc.com/psoriasis-treatment

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.

 http://deadsea-bathsalt.net/

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"? 



21 comments:

  1. This is an awesome post Dan!! Very informative and well written!! I'm going to increase my DSS baths to 2 a day until my UV light comes in. My hands are at that bad part of MW where movent causes cracking of the skin and PAIN! Oh hopefully just a few more days of this! (Pan out to me banging head against the wall)

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    1. I keep finding spelling errors and such and had to delete this reply twice now just to correct them. I have an edit button but it doesn't work. Can't wait to get my website up and going! Anyway, if there are any more errors here I'm just going to ignore them.

      Thanks Tracy! I really wanted to add more info and clean it up a bit but think I can do that later. I just got back in town from a short break. Had to get out into the woods for a day and clear my head :) I wouldn't normally do more than one dss bath a day. I have done them twice a day before but found it to be overkill and not as effective. It all depends on the skin and how it feels. If it's really giving me fits I'll usually do the baths once a day for a few days, and cut back to every other day, and so on. As odd as it sounds, for me the goal is to stop taking them. Because if you need to stop, then it means your skin is mostly healed and is not irritating you much at all.

      After a few weeks or so of experimenting, you learn (know) when to use them and when not to use them. I only did them twice a day maybe two times and it was due to the skin being in it's very worst condition. Also if using less than 1-1/2 - 2 pounds you won't get much mineral benefit so keep that in kind. Many think they can use a cup or two. They can but they don't get any benefits from such a small amount.

      I think there is something very beneficial about the combination of allowing the skin to dry after a dss bath for 24-48 hours, the minerals from the salts, re-hydrating the skin again, and repeating the process over and over. It brings temporary relief from the dryness, and also allows dead skin that has built up via scabbing to fall off (just the dead skin that's ready to fall). Repeating this process for a couple weeks or so can help the skin in a lot of different ways. It's really difficult for me to explain. You should find the baths bring temporary relief from the pain that the cracking causes, and after a week or so at most, these cracks will be gone as will the pain. After the first couple or few days, any remaining small skin splits can usually then be healed with water diluted tea tree oil applied a few times a day. I can usually heal those in 2 days but have had a couple persistent ones before that took much longer to finally get closed and stay closed. But I don't discontinue the baths, just reduce the frequency as much as possible.

      Please, let me know at any time if you have any questions at all during the initial phase of this process. I know how painful it can sometimes be, depending on the severity of one's symptoms. If I know exactly what your doing, and how your skin is reacting, I can usually tell you things like whether I think you should do the baths less frequently, more frequently etc. As well as other tips too numerous to mention here.

      From what you said above, I would do one dss bath per day or every other day. You want the skin to dry for a full day or two before re-hydrating because the skin needs to function on it's own and if given the chance it will. You should see a lot of improvement after just one week :)

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    2. I only took one bath a day the last 2 days - couldn't find the strength to do more. I think I am way under dosing my baths....I only put 2 cups of the DSS in my tub (standard size) as any more than that my skin burns too much. Even with the 2 cups my skin burns to the point where 20 minutes is really pushing it....I typically last only 15 minutes. I don't know how to get through the burning....it does not lessen at all....never has whether I used moisturizers or not.....the burning is still severe. The burning is on any broken or even irritated skin. I would guess it is due to the high magnesium levels....mag will cause a burning sensation in people's veins when we give it to them IV in the hospital if given too fast. I have also used magnesium oil in the past for asthma attacks and found it would severely burn any broken skin.
      If you have any thoughts on this, I'd appreciate it!! :)

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    3. Every single person that I have gotten to try dss baths has said the exact same thing. Please review Ruth's posts in one of my previous posts on this where her and I first started communicating on doing this. Although, we did so much communication via personal emails I can't remember how much info is on my blog about her same experience that you are mentioning. I'll drop her an email and ask her to comment here her experience with the dss baths.

      I and her and everyone I have ever heard that has tried dss baths start out with far too little salt, and experience some discomfort at first. It can't be the magnesium because you aren't using enough salts to absorb ANY magnesium. It is the chlorine and other chemicals in your water that stings so much. When using 2 pounds of dss it is enough to overcome most of that stinging that the chlorine causes. I don't have a chlorine filter and my skin breaks always sting when I rinse after a dss bath. That is because the water rinses away the dss film left on my skin quickly. Because of this I sometimes will wait 20-30 minutes and then rinse. I notice when I do that I rarely feel the chlorine sting. However, this also increases the drying effect of the baths so I don't always wait to rinse.

      Also, even though using the correct amount of salts will help immensely in reducing the chlorine sting, you will still feel a slight stinging sensation for the first 10 minutes on average of your baths. But, it is minor and by minute 15 there is almost no stinging at all. And by minutes 15-20 zero stinging. Trust me on this Tracy. As you know too, often our fears can manifest physically so it's important to not fear doing this. You've read all the controlled studies where it has been said in every single one that noone experiences any side effects.

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    4. The dss baths are what I look forward to when my skin is at it's worse with broken bleeding open wounds, and that is only because of the relief they give me. By the 20 minute mark all my pain, stinging, and itching is always 100% gone. But you will experience increased itching throughout the day and night from the dryness and the skin scabbing over after each bath. That is one the main reasons I prefer to do the baths every two or three days. You might be the exception to the rule, but I truly don't think you or anyone is, if an exception to the rule even exists with these baths.

      Make sure you are using pure natural dss salts from a reputable source that come from the south end of the Dead Sea, and make sure there is nothing added to the salts like fragrances etc. Whether they be natural fragrances or not. I know that two cups of my course dss that I buy from my source weigh almost exactly one pound. So, if you don't have a scale you would want to use at least 4 full cups if your salt is course grain to get 2 pounds per bath. Even up to 3 pounds in fine. But I always use two myself. Again, at first the fear does make us "feel" more stinging than we actual are feeling, if that makes any sense. I went through it myself. I started with a couple tablespoons I was so afraid. Within a week I was up to a pound to two pounds, and within another week I was doing a full two pounds, after I had learned more about the proper amount to use and also had seen that it really wasn't stinging as much as I 'thought" it was. Also make sure you use a meat thermometer or something similar to make the water at 99 degrees and no hotter. And no scratching while in the tub. Again, I still feel stinging for the first 10 minutes when I have open wounds (which I have lately with my recent flare), but it is mild and by 20 minutes completely gone and my skin feels great at that point.

      I remember back when I was helping Ruth I couldn't understand her persistent complaints of the dss baths stinging so much and I told her how perplexing it was to me. So, I started paying close attention after that to how my baths were affecting me as I had been doing them for so long by that point I had forgotten about the mild stinging. I noticed that I was indeed experiencing mild stinging (something I had gotten so used to that I no longer even noticed until I looked for it), so I would time it so I could tell her when it went away. To this day those times are still the same for me. I'm going to email her right now and see if she can give some input and her own experience with this stinging sensation and what she thinks about it. I haven't talked to her in a few days but she has been doing really well since she started MW and the dss baths about a month ago. Maybe it's been more like 6 weeks now.

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  2. Hello, I am in my second bouts of TSW. I tried it for a month earlier this year and broke down due to the pain and inability to mother my young daughter.

    I recently stopped Triamacrlone cream about a month ago and for about 18+ years have used over the counter hydrocortisone when I wasn't dousing my skin up with prescribed meds (all very mild). Well not too long ago I would discover that each time I would shower and go days without moisturizing my skin would somehow get better.

    My second time trying TSW I will be refraining from moisturizers, only not completely. I plan to use Earth Amanda Angel Baby's oil or Egyptian Magic Cream sporadically in absolute dire cases (or maybe when I need it to complete tasks for my 2 year old).

    I'm only 3 days in lol but I have not had nearly as intense of a flare as I did the first time when using moisturizers. This time my face flakes lightly, my hands are cracked pretty bad but the skin isn't inflamed, hardly itchy and although it is spreading just a bit, the skin is still smooth and much more comfortable than the first time.

    I'm awaiting my DSS because they truly work wonders. While on steroids I would use them and it would completely clear my skin before another flare (now known as TSW).

    Thanks so much for your post and encouraging other to let the skin heal naturally through this process. I'm planning on creating a blog to aide as a case of TSW sufferer whose decided to grow through the journey moisturizer free after 18+ of TS and compare healing times.

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    1. Hi Paris,

      Thank you for sharing your story, especially your experience with dss baths. A word of caution. The Egyptian Magic Cream has bee pollen and bees gather this pollen from many different sources so you could have a reaction just from that. I believe it has olive oil in it which has been shown in numerous studies to damage the skin barrier. But regardless, although trying to do MW the way you describe seems plausible, I feel it is self defeating none the less, and only keeps your most bothersome symptoms from healing, which is a big part of the goal of MW in the first place. If those symptoms aren't too severe you would be far better off not moisturizing them in the long run. But, that is only my opinion and maybe it would be useful if you have no other option. Be sure to read oregenes blog I posted a link to below. It is a unique perspective and case. He didn't use dss baths and I think if he had he would have been all that much more successful and comfortable. Be sure to check the info I posted on which gloves to use and where the best deals are to buy them. Feel free to ask questions anytime. Let me know when you get your blog going. I wish you the best in your journey!

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    2. Hi Paris,

      Please come join the new forum and help us get some discussions going. It would really be appreciated and very helpful for the entire tsw community. Thanks, and hope to see you post something there soon! No pressure to post if you want to lurk though just so you know. I'm sure you will eventually see a discussion you'll want to chime in on. If not, no problem.:)

      http://forums.nomoresteroids.com

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  3. This is not so much dss related but more of a MW success story I think many going through tsw would benefit from reading. He is "oregene", a fellow tsw sufferer. His symptoms were very extreme yet he arrived at the same conclusion as I did on what moisturizers were doing to his skin and did MW on his own just about a month before I did. See Oregen's recent post on his blog titled Day 346. His story is an interesting one and well worth the time to read his archives and view the pictures he posted of his skin in the worst days he had of which there were many. He has an interesting assessment of MW everyone going through tsw should read. Be sure to see my comment and question to him, and his answer on his most recent post as well. A very informative post and well documented journey. Although Oregene says he benefited from MW, he also says he would have not moisturized the first several months of his tsw knowing what he knows now. He has experienced the same benefits as all do who stop moisturizing for good during tsw and he even managed to do it successfully even without the aid of doing dss baths, of which I believe would have helped him get through the ordeal. I can only imagine how much faster he would have healed and found more comfort if he had used dss baths. Anyway, anyone considering MW should read his blog. It is very insightful.

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  4. Hi Tracy and Dan,

    The DSS baths gave me stinging for the first bit (about 10minutes) and then the 2nd part was itching (the other 10 minutes). The FIRST FEW times I did the bath, they stung way more than now. I mostly take one every 10 days if needed; I'm back to brief showers at the moment....I know this might be counter, but I wonder if a small bit of shea butter or palm oil before you get in the bath would help for the first few times and then you stop that once the stinging burring is either milder or completely gone. I did use aquaphor on my face the first couple of baths (afterwards) because I could not move my face and it was too taught to eat. I now only use water. ... Anyway, I'd try a smidgen of some kind of oil-and I mean SMIDGEN before the bath and see if it helps a bit. I really had itching more than stinging...and even now, it is the same kind of experience. I hope this might be helpful!

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    1. Thanks Ruth! I appreciate your quick response. However, I respectfully and completely 100% disagree with putting a moisturizer on for this purpose. You know I respect your opinions, I just disagree with the moisturizer part here.

      Tracy, I did have a difficult time keeping Ruth on task with the moisturizers lol. Her moisturizer comment is well intentioned but it truly defeats the whole purpose. Women in general are so difficult to talk into not using moisturizers lol! I understand though because the need to moisturize our skin been ingrained into our heads since birth.

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    2. Tracy, I remember when I made the mistake of trying moisturizing again after doing my first MW and my hands had healed up pretty good. I thought that they could handle it. And, I wasn't aware of just how bad moisturizers are for the skin at the time. I put some Shea butter on my hands and within a couple hours it started driving me insane with itching and I had to do a dss bath immediately to try and soak the darn stuff out of my skin. While I waited for the bath to run I washed my hands with soap to try and get as much of the Shea butter off as I could first that's how desperate I was. Just that one time moisturizing after getting away from it set me into a flare which lasted a good week to two weeks so I'm not so keen on even a tiny amount. I think this is why Dave didn't succeed at MW in 3 attempts. He went back and forth between moisturizing and not moisturizing in a short period of time about 3 times and got himself in a real bad situation with a bad infection from flaring from it so badly. But, I did want you to see a different opinion from someone other than myself on this subject. And the more info the better!

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    3. Thank you Dan and Ruth for your replies! I have no intention of ever putting anything on my hands until all this has cleared and passed for a long time! I will say however that I don't have a problem with chlorine as we have a well. The well water has been tested for multiple things and is considered to be very good water. If I go up to 2.5 cups of DSS (which I get from a reputable place that has no additives whatsoever), I cannot last more than 5 minutes....and I have a very high threshold for pain. 2 cups is still causing a lot of burning pain....I have tried different time intervals....15, 20, 25,and 30....really biting my lip the whole time in pain. The burning does not stop at any point or even decrease. I have tried taking baths with the same DSS in other people's water....well and city. I get the same burning. If I take a bath with no DSS, I get no burning, so I know it is not my water. I have even tried switching DSS sources and get the same burning. I have been trying to work up to 4 cups as I measured it out one day and know that is how much I need for effectiveness....I've even tried just doing all 4 cups....only to burn like mad lasting less than 5 minutes. I wish I could say I am wimpy and need to just deal with it, but I'm not wimpy by any means. In fact the mental side of this is my strength....knowing I will have to deal with pain for something allows me to prepare for the pain and I'm able to get through whatever it is with different mind and physical "games". But the DSS have always been a form of torture for me....wrote a lot about it on my blog...I often wondered how people got such relief from baths and I couldn't find a way to make my bath give me relief even when I went into MW. Decided to just not take one today...not sure if they are helping or not as still dealing with the MW on my hands. Thanks again for all the info...just not sure how I want to proceed with everything right now.

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    4. Dang Tracy! I don't get it. There must be something in your chemistry that is different than most people? I'm truly stumped after reading this. I mean, you can see the studies and how they say nobody has experienced any negative side effects what-so-ever.

      Well, jsan never did dss baths and she made it through. She's a firm believer in her method of just doing showers and no soaps etc., tea tree oil and colloidal silver. I tried the pure Sovereign Silver spray and it didn't agree with me, but did discover it works like a charm for healing my herpes blisters when I had my first one show up a few weeks ago in almost a year.

      The thing is though, I don't think jsan had real bad multiple cracks and splits etc., as in a severe skin barrier damage when she did tsw her third time. She can correct me if I'm wrong.

      I have to think about this more. I would do an oatmeal bath with lots of ground up oats. It's soothing and can only help. You can do that with just your hands in a big pot or bowl if you don't feel like bathing too since it's mainly your hands that need comfort right now. Or/and you can do soaks with tea tree oil in the water which should help heal some and also is a good infection preventive. I wouldn't mix the two, but for now if it were me I would do one now, the other tomorrow, and just keep alternating. Maybe do a ACV bath one day every week or two. That's all I can think of for now and you are probably already aware of those options. I do think doing daily baths even if just water only is beneficial while transitioning to no moisturizers due to the reasons I mentioned before about re-hydrating and allowing dead skin that's ready to go, go. Since you have tried a few dss baths recently you probbaly should let your skin calm now since it ought to be quite dry and tight? If so, and if it were me, I would do a nice soothing oatmeal bath for 20 minutes in 100-101 degree water. And, if awake 30-60 minutes later, apply water diluted tea tree oil on any small sore skin splits that are sore to the touch. This always stings for me for a few minutes or so, but it goes away and feels fine after that. I'm just tying to think of a way to help calm your skin and at the same time heal all open skin breaks. I'm sure it's not sunny out either :(

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    5. I also find a lot of comfort from wearing cotton gloves when my hands are acting up. I often will wear them 24 hours a day when flaring, changing them as much as 20-30 times per day at times. I use them often with witch hazel to dry large areas where I scratch which causes them to weep or slightly ooze, and allow the gloves to stick to the skin which drys it out and helps form a new scab. Once my skin scabs over my pain goes away and then it's just a matter of not scratching again and giving the skin underneath enough time to fully heal. When I'm flaring or scratch my skin open in my sleep, I do dss baths and then put the gloves on to protect my broken skin from dirt and getting infected. The gloves feel good when I have them on. Occasionally I take them off as it starts to get irritating somethings, and then put them back on and my skin feels good again.

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    6. Thanks Dan! Trust me, I am just as stumped as you are! I have raw, organic oats so I will pulverize them a bit and try that for a hand soak. The tea tree oil doesn't burn too bad but found it was not doing anything for the cracks or sores after a week of applying 2-3 times per day. But then again that was with me working and continuing to kill my hands in harsh soaps. Maybe all it boils down to is me not working for a few weeks just to heal my hands. Then I can experiment when NOT working to see what works the best.

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    7. Yeah, I'm running my bath water right now due to scratching the crap out of my hands in my sleep this morning. I'm so stubborn about what foods I eat. Hard to be good when you are out of town visiting relatives. I think you are spot on with the tea tree oil and you will find it will work well once you get some of this major damage healed up a bit. It did little for me in my early days when my hands were a complete disaster area. But after that it worked really well. I've used it for 25 years for different things. It can still serve well for preventing infection even very diluted though if needed. I also think you are also spot on with realizing you need to not work for at least a few weeks and you will have to rely on everyone in the family to do things for you and not feel guilty about it. I also felt very bad about ignoring my cat for a couple months early in my tsw. I had no choice at the time. I was so bad off I didn't even want to pet him with gloves on! I made up for it though when my hands cleared enough to take the gloves off and be normal again. That lasted for what, about two or three months I guess before this big flare set me way back. I'm on the mend now but it sure was a bad one. But, I never did have a difficult time with this flare due to still being off of moisturizers. Even though I get itch attacks every time right before my skin is healed. You know how when a wound scabs over and it starts itching right before the final healing.

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    8. Dear Dan,

      I'm feeling SO GOOD NOW I think I'm having a hallucination! So, took a DSS bath this morning, teeny bit of stinging, teeny bit of itching and virtually nothing afterwards. No itching, pain or stinging all day today and my skin isn't dry nor taught. I cannot believe this..all WITHOUT moisturizer and sleeping without any *aids* for at least 3 weeks now. THIs is INCREDIBLE!!

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    9. That's excellent news! Thank you for posting. Hopefully others who have been using dss baths will post their experiences as well. Thanks again!

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  5. My DIY Moisturizer Withdrawal Guide was written mainly as a guide to help in transitioning from moisturizing to not moisturizing while in TSW. I want to give an example of how I currently use the Dead Sea salt baths for maintenance after successfully making the transition. I haven't used any moisturizers on my skin in 6 months. Here is an example of why I did a dss bath today.

    Due to my refusal to stop eating foods high in histamines I ended up scratching my skin in my sleep last night once again, and shredded the dried healing scabbed over skin on the backs of my hands and fingers. So, today they were very sore and when this happens I do a dss bath and basically start over again in an attempt to heal my skin. The bath stung a little for the first 10 minutes, and my skin was still very sore until about 10 minutes had passed. But after that, both the the stinging and soreness was completely gone. Minor itching until about the 15 minute mark. When my timer went off at the 20 minute mark, I rinsed in the shower, patted dry, and headed back to my living room window where the sun was shining through quite intensely even though it was about 20 degrees outside at the time. I don't usually have the luxury of using the sun this time of year but was happy to have that opportunity to get some, especially while my skin was soft from the bath.

    After a while I put gloves on to keep my hands protected from dirt etc., and it's about an hour or so later. My hands are dry, don't itch, and the soreness is gone. It feels great and I know I have to be careful again for several nights or I will end up back in the tub starting over again. That's pretty much it, other than I will use water diluted tea tree oil on any skin splits that may show up between now and the next time I do a bath. That will likely be in about 3 days based on how things have been going for the last month. I refuse to eat foods I love to eat so I pay the price. I know when I do stick to a clean diet I don't have this problem with the itching at night in my sleep. But regardless, this is how I generally use dss baths for this type of problem. I just finished eating an ice cream bar and some chocolate covered raisins. Yum! Yes, I'm hard headed and stubborn. Hope this info helps someone.

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  6. Hey Tracy,

    I tried an oat bath yesterday and it didn't go very well. I wanted to experiment to see if they would ease the dryness and itching I experience any quicker in the first day after doing a dss bath. This dss bath itching always subsides for me within about 12-15 hours, and then continues to subside for days until either my skin starts acting up again, or I take a bath just to get clean.

    I think all I did was take away a day's worth of my natural oils coming back. My skin was beginning to feel better but after doing the oat bath it reverted to the same dry itchy feeling I had the day before after doing my dss bath, instead of staying the same or improving.

    My initial impression is to not use oats or any other bath soaks to try and re-hydrate the skin or seek comfort from the dryness when doing dss baths. It probably needs to be one or the other and I think if having to choose one I would definitely choose dss baths for their superior benefits of the salts. But for people that can't do dss baths they have other choices. I think the key here is to bathe or shower for comfort and/or healing, depending on what one uses, and then wait it out for at least 3 days before doing it again And wait longer when possible.

    I think the skin needs to dry and stay that way to allow the natural oils to come out for as long as possible before soaking the oils out again. Doing a bath the second day just strips what oils that were starting to come out. Unless one is making the transition from moisturizing to MW, in which case I would do baths daily at first and then every other day, etc until I could go as long as possible without water at all. All depending on what condition the skin is in at any given time.

    It seems to me from this experiment that our oils begin to come back immediately after stopping moisturizing, whether it be from using moisturizers, or from soaking in baths. It's just that we don't notice them until we've gone several days and then our senses can tell the difference. But our senses can't tell they are coming out that first couple days even though they actually are. The natural oils we aren't sensing might be a part of the reason the initial itching after dss baths die down after close to a day has passed. My skin felt great before bathing and I almost didn't do it because of that. I definitely feel I set my skin back one day. I should have waited. No regrets as I learned a lot from this experiment. That is, if my conclusions are correct.

    So, in other words, no matter what method one uses to dry and bring comfort to the skin while not moisturizing, whether it be Epsom salts, dss salts, oat baths, plain baths, showers, etc., I'm coming to the conclusion that the skin begins to recover immediately afterwards, even though it doesn't feel like it is. A full recovery obviously would take time to complete, but I believe it does start immediately and my experiment and experience with taking dss baths has led me to that conclusion.

    I think one needs to go as long as possible between any kind of soaking or long showers (water exposure) to allow the skin to heal. But the length of time all depends on the current condition of the skin. If it continues to improve stay out of the water. If it starts to digress take a bath or shower. I always seem to reach a point where my skin begins to feel irritated again and I take a bath at that time and start over. That's my story anyhow and I'm sticking to it! :D

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