Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Moisturizer Withdrawal Update - Girls, Girls, Girls!

Girls, girls, girls! Many of you are attempting to not moisturize by moisturizing. After being moisturizer free for several weeks, one girl I saw hit a stagnant period and apparently was unable to get her skin splits to fully heal over. So, she has done a 9 day experiment and discovered that one foot has improved faster using moisturizers on it, while the other foot remained the same with no moisturizing. Now, she has decided to do limited moisturizing on all of her worst areas. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!

Another is finding good relief combining a moisturizer with colloidal oats in dss baths. The jury is still out for me on this one but I am very concerned and I'll try to explain why. This is still moisturizing and although she is finding a lot of comfort in the short term, I am concerned about the long term. This seems to be a great short term method for bringing relief to people who have eczema or other rashes, but tsw symptoms are not the same, and they last for several months to years. So, this method can't possibly work unless done in a manner where the moisturizers are eliminated within a week or two of beginning this way. Not to be added back unless it's many weeks later and again only for a week or so. Very similar to how ts should be used if one were to use them.

My fear is once eliminating the moisturizer, people will then add it back as soon as they experience a little dry skin and discomfort. Which in effect will cause one to believe they need to continue using the moisturizer in the baths. Again, I can see these baths working in the short term just like putting Vaseline on the foot for the first girl has, but give it a few weeks and look out. The only true way to find the long term comfort you are seeking is to not moisturize at all and then learn how to manage the various symptoms that come with not moisturizing. These symptoms are very easily managed.

I commend all of you for trying to find comfort, but a word of extreme caution. One only needs to look at what happened to Dave awhile back to see what can happen when switching back & forth between moisturizing and not moisturizing. Just one thing to consider. But my main point is this: Moisturizing may help the skin in the short term, but in the long term it is damaging and only puts you back to going through tsw via moisturizing again. It will defeat the whole purpose of not moisturizing in the first place. The girl who found that her right foot improved over 9 days while moisturizing it, and the left foot that she hasn't been moisturizing didn't improve in the same time frame, has discovered that by moisturizing she is seeing improvement.

However, this is common to see in the short term with moisturizers. She will also discover in a month or so down the road that her feet will be the same or worse than they are now. Why? Because the skin barrier will weaken more in time from the moisturizing, as opposed to strengthening in time from remaining moisturizer free. This is the exact same illusion that ts have. The skin splits and cracks will likely constantly reopen and close again due to being kept moist. It's that simple. Don't overlook the entire reasoning behind not moisturizing in the first place. It's not only for comfort, but more importantly, it is to allow the skin to strengthen so that you may be more comfortable. The other girl who is doing the combo baths is finding a lot of comfort right off the bat, but will it be the same two months from now? Hard to believe it will if she continues using moisturizers for that long. Comfort and improvement at first, but give it a few weeks and the moisturizers will do their damage. Just like ts.

There are ways for the first girl I mentioned to heal those cracks in her feet while staying moisturizer free. I should know. I have been doing this for 7 months now. Since my initial MW, I've experienced everything I see people now talking about and more. My first couple of months were the most difficult in getting all skin splits closed and staying that way. Since then it's just been a matter of being mostly healed over, and then a mini flare or itchfest in my sleep opens up a spot or two, and within a couple days I get it closed again. Or, I would get a few open splits and a couple raw irritated areas, and get them healed again usually pretty quickly. It's been that way up until this last monster flare I just had. My last flare was nothing like all the previous mini flares and lasted 5 weeks. It caused the entire tops of my hands to become 100% covered in steroid induced eczema, and both my arms and legs that had been healed for months broke out very badly. All areas were oozing badly and were highly irritated and flaring badly for about 3 or 4 of those 5 weeks. I had to take a round of antibiotics in the first week it was so bad.

Still, if I had moisturized my worst areas during that flare I would be a world of hurt right now. Instead I have no open splits and am improving very very quickly. Both arms and legs are 90-95% healed. Tops of hands are back to where I was before the flare and look to be fully healed much sooner than I even thought a couple days ago. My palms remain healed even though I scratch them very hard in my sleep. The tsw monster is obviously still inside my body but it is losing the battle, and in the meantime while I wait for it to give up the ghost, I am very very comfortable and lead a normal life. I have been eating ice cream every single day for the last month! And, drinking coffee and eating pretty much whatever the hell I want. Just thought I would throw that out there because I'm not using any special diets or getting much exercise. Yet I am doing great and my case wasn't an easy one by any comparison.

Again, I am very comfortable now and have no problems other than that itch attack that comes about two hours after I fall asleep. My skin is so strong now, that no matter how hard I scratch it doesn't break open. This would NOT be the case if I had moisturized my worst areas over the past 5 weeks and I know this from my first two months when I saw great improvement with both Shea butter and a Calendula salve I used, only to watch my skin fall apart again after a few weeks. It stopped improving and fell apart because the moisturizers became ineffective after a few weeks and at that point they had become damaging to the skin barrier.

I also see others who have stopped moisturizing for a while now but still have a lot of itching, discomfort, and all kinds of problems. All of these problems have very easy fixes. Not moisturizing presents a whole different set of problems for the skin than does moisturizing, and there are easy fixes for all of these problems, whereas with moisturizing there isn't.

I implore all of you to be very careful in thinking you can moisturize and not moisturize at the same time. It's illogical. Again, look to people who have spent months not moisturizing to learn how to deal with the various problems that can come with it like the dry feeling skin, stagnant periods, splits & cracks that won't heal, excess itching, etc., etc. There are very simple ways to take care of all these things so your moisturizer free recovery is as successful as mine has been. I am especially skilled in how to manage severely damaged hands from a severely damaged skin barrier, as that is what happened to me. But I also had used ts on other areas of my body and have had to find ways to clear all areas including the head, face, eyelids, ears, arms, legs, genitals, feet, etc. Well, I think that pretty much covers everything. 

46 comments:

  1. I forgot to add that a lot of people seem to look at my blog and leave it with the idea in mind that my success with MW, and with spending the last 7 months not moisturizing, is mainly because I use dss baths, tea tree oil, and witch hazel to deal with my post MW skin symptoms. It is far more complicated than that. I also use a variety of other things. But most importantly, what I use and how I use it depends on the current condition of my skin on any given day. This is why I always encourage people to ask me questions on these things before using them themselves if they are attempting to duplicate my success. All of these things can work against a person of not used correctly. Only experience and trial and error brings the knowledge I have to offer. And hey, it's free! Feel free to take advantage of it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey Dan, I think you're referring to this post I wrote: http://steroidfreeskin.blogspot.com/2014/02/9-month-update-is-moisturizing-harmful.html

    I just wanted to say I'm still continuing the experiment and did not conclude anything about whether one side is better than the other. I don't think 9 days can give a definite answer about whether the moisturized side actually healed until it's well, actually healed.

    I'm not actually moisturizing on all of my worst places, just some to see how the progression changes. I would say the main difference between the two is that the dead skin that falls off is thinner. Now, I can't say whether that is a good or bad thing. But what if now that these cracks are closed, I stopped moisturizing? I'm not saying whether this will actually work, but it may be another way to manage these issues besides tea tree oil/witch hazel/dss baths.

    I know I have let you down Dan! But I really want some fair comparisons here. (I'm sacrificing myself for science, lol) Again, I still do think keeping our skin as dry as possible is important! hence the ever so light dab of vaseline that I use for these spots, just to provide lubrication against friction between the thickened skin. I'll keep you posted on my progress, I know we think we know the answer but.. I'm keeping my mind open as I hope you do as well.

    Have a good one--

    Megan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Megan, I just want you to know I wasn't picking on you or anything like that. I'm only concerned for you as I know what the experiment will lead to. You really should tough it out and use some of the things that can heal those cracks as your skin adjusts to no moisturizing. Especially dss soaks. There are multiple reasons for why these are so effective for making the transition, that I can't go into all of them here. Once you get over the hump you will find true comfort for the remainder of your recovery. And, you will also find that your skin will continue to heal from that point on gradually and steady, yet very noticeably when comparing week to week.

      There may be better ways to close those skin splits and cracks other than dss baths, tea tree oil, witch hazel, and various other methods I use, but if they exist I am unaware of them and see no sense in trying to find new ways until the old "proven" ways are exhausted. These are not even "old" yet anyway when it comes to tsw.

      You really need nothing other than to wait it out, but if you want to speed up the process of healing those skin breaks I found that all of those things are very effective in doing that whether used alone, or used together (I don't mean combining). But they are especially effective when used appropriately for each situation you come across with your skin on a day to day basis. This is where I can help those who want it.

      Believe me, I have a very open mind. I just have been through this already and have researched literally for thousands of hours. But most importantly, I have experimented already with practically everything people are now experimenting with and I settled on what works best for very good reasons. My research showed me what may work best, and my experimenting on myself confirmed what did work best and didn't work so well. I can show people how to do this in the most effective way I have seen, but people have to want to learn and be open to it. This is why I stopped posting on other blogs recently. People aren't going to listen if I go around offering advice that isn't asked for.

      Not to sound pushy, but you really should take my and Leslie's advice and not moisturize at all. You will be glad you did in the long run. And take it further if you like and have me show you how to heal those skin breaks. I could help you get it done in less than a week. The dss bath soaks just accelerate the process. The tea tree oil is very good at closing any skin splits that may reopen in between the dss bath. But, if one can not do the baths, they can do Epsom salts instead. Not as effective at healing skin but can help in the drying out process. Sun exposure is even better. Better yet is combining all together in the protocol I have developed.

      Or, one can do no baths at all. I just know what works best and I'll just leave it at that. What works best works best. Just like I said many months ago about not moisturizing works best. People are beginning to understand that now. So months from now people will find that everything else I use also works best. Not blowing my horn. Just telling it like it is. I may be wrong and have been wrong before.

      Anyway, Once all scabbing is done it will fall off and then you begin a much different journey from what you're used to. But again, there are ways to accelerate that process. No sense in making it last 2-3 times longer than it should. I'm strictly speaking of making the transition from moisturizing to not, and not addressing the issue of limited moisturizing as I am completely against it other than in emergency situations. I do wish you the best!

      Delete
  3. I was wondering what you think of Dr. Fukuya's lotion. It is not a moisturizer.
    It is suppose to strengthen the skin barrier. I used it early on but I was too inflamed
    for it to be of any value back then. I am at a dry (nighttime itchy) stage where I don't think I need DSS baths. I am feeling fine, but wonder is there is something that would help.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rosemary,

      I used it daily after each dss bath from about the beginning of my second month for about four weeks. I had completed MW and was doing really well and for some reason I decided to wait for a few hours after my bath one day and then applied it to my hands and it sent them into a flare that lasted about a week. I was surprised so tried it again after I got over the flare and got the exact same reaction. Tried it weeks later and same thing. It didn't bother other areas of my skin but it definitely did where my skin barrier was the most destroyed which was my hands. I had come to the conclusion that it was very irritating to my hypersensitive skin from day one, but I hadn't notice it sooner because I was in so much pain due to other early tsw symptoms before completing MW.

      I had tried it a third time sometime since and still reacted badly so I have a large unused bottle just sitting that really has no value to me. I must have used about 2-3 small bottles before buying the larger one. I ended up quitting it about the same time I received the large bottle in the mail. Talk about Murphy's law.

      Anyway, I concluded the small amount of preservatives in it are what irritates my skin and feel what good is it if I have to wait to be nearly healed before I can use it?

      I just went my longest without a dss bath, which is my goal. I only use them when I feel my skin needs it. Otherwise I wait as long as possible without showering or bathing. This allows the natural oils to come back. Even if you feel dry they are still there and come out more the longer you stay out of water. I still itch every night in my sleep at least once so I still self medicate as much as I can to get enough sleep and also to keep from scratching at key times when my skin is recovering and scabbed over. I use 40-50mg Atarax about 2-3 times per week for those nights.

      Since I'm still not using any soaps or shampoos I soak in a dss bath about once every 6-8 days to stay clean. if my skin allows me to make it that long. I normally could last about 3-4 days before my skin would need a dss bath. Lately though, since clearing from this flare, I have managed to go much longer and the skin is improving better and better. I hope this helps.

      Delete
  4. I put DrF's lotion on yesterday and today. It didn't irritate, but that's about all I can say.
    I do Ambien for sleep emergencies--I cut one tablet into 8 parts and don't allow myself to take any more than that in a week. I've gotten by the past 7 days with only 1/4 of a tablet. I've gotten used to sleeping with gloves and that helps. A couple of hellish nights I tried boxing gloves...I think a had strange dreams those nights, but my skin wasn't scratched up in the morning.
    I have gone long, long times without baths or showers. I took my first shower in at least 6 months on Monday, and won't be doing that again soon--red and itchy afterward but it did pass pretty quickly. I did the DSS baths when you suggested until my broken skin was healed.
    I going to continue to just clean up at the sink. Also, the ACV was/is great for itching, but I worry its damaging to the skin barrier and re-vitalizing that is my highest priority.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting. I hate to be such a big dss fan all the time but I think the dss baths work well for maintenance. When you reach the point your skin breaks are all healed, doing one every 7-10 days seems to help the skin all that much more. I think because of the benefits of the minerals to the skin, and possibly also because a 20 minute soak re-hydrates the skin. I often wonder if routinely re-hydrating the skin this way helps it in some way. I can see using acv this way but would give the skin equal time. As in at least 50% of the time nothing on it but air and sun of course when possible. We can get sun exposure through our windows in the winter on cold sunny days. I've only had one day I could do that so far this winter, but it felt really good!

      Delete
    2. I have the larger 150ml bottle of Dr. Fukaya's skin repair lotion available for anyone to buy for $65.00 USPS Priority shipping included. The bottle is 5" tall (not including the top) with 1" of the lotion used, leaving 4" worth in it which is about 4/5th left. Pay via my donate button and leave the address you want it shipped to and it will be shipped same day as payment is received as long as payment is received before noon PST. I'll delete this comment once it has sold. This is a good deal. I can't remember exactly what I paid but now it was well over $100.00.

      Delete
  5. Hello all...

    I have to say, I have taken MW to the extreme, and even shower withdrawal! I haven't had at DSS bath in two weeks. I have had two showers since that time--as long as I'm not working out--I can get away with it. Last night, I had 1.5 glasses of red wine which would normally, as recently as December, produced an all night long itch attack with broken skin and serious consequences. I had an itch attack last night and it lasted 15 minutes. Then, I soundly went to sleep. When I woke up this morning no itch and not much damage at all and I was scratching pretty intensely.
    I have just gotten back to the gym regularly so this will be the next phase of experimentation for me...
    BUT< I want to be crystal clear on this: I followed Dan's advice to the T--I did not deviate and try to recreate the MW wheel, so to speak...and it was painful at times, and it was itchy at times, but over the course of several weeks I was recovering at an accelerated pace when for basically the last 10 months, nothing had worked well at all. I started MW in mid-December, and Dan was kind of enough to cyber-hold my hand when the pain or itch attacks would come on and encourage me to keep at it. Let the eczema dry out. He also sent me articles from the hours of research he has poured into this so I could read and think about this path in depth.
    MW worked so well for me, I'm not even at month 6 of TSW, and I am essentially 90% healed. I have a couple of areas that are stubborn, but on their way out too.
    So, my suggestion is to follow Dan's advice, research and blog 100% and take advantage of his time now when you can ask questions!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ruth,

      Thank you! A very timely comment I might add. I haven't heard much from you lately and am glad you are still doing so well. I really have no idea why most people are ignoring my experience and knowledge on this subject. It reminds me all too well of how my personal discoveries were received on the forum last year.

      My biggest concern isn't for the individuals who are currently doing MW, but for the many who come later and see all the people who failed so miserably at it, and the ones that exclaim how it didn't work for them, or it didn't make a difference. Or, it's too painful, etc. etc. Many try it and go back to moisturizing. Practically none do it in a way that is optimal like the ways I suggest. You did and have reaped the exact same rewards I did. I too have spent the majority of my tsw in great comfort since MW.

      Like you, I was essentially 90% healed within a month after doing MW and have remained that way since, with the exception of a recent bad flare. But I'm back to where I was again and things are looking really good. I might fully recover in the next couple months. If not, no matter because I feel normal and can live with my current condition for years if needed. Thanks again for the kind words and commenting on your experience here.

      Delete
  6. Dan--
    I didn't realize continuing the DSS baths was still a good idea after the breaks healed.
    You were very clear; I just didn't get it!
    I agree with Ruth that you know what you are talking about and reinventing the wheel is not a good idea.
    Thanks again, Rosemary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Rosemary. It's been a learning experience for me the entire time but I have learned a lot in the last 7 months of experimenting. And yes, people should take advantage. But hey, f they want to find a better way more power to them and good luck with it. I'm more concerned for new people who read their blogs, just like I'm concerned for new people to tsw who find ITSAN.

      Personally, I would have loved to have had access to the information I have made available back when I began my tsw. I would not have tried to find a better way after seeing that kind of success, unless it just flat out didn't work for me after trying it exactly like the person spelled it out.

      There were times I was doing too many dss baths and didn't realize it. And there were times I thought that after being able to go without doing one for an extended period that I didn't realize I should continue to do them, just not near as frequently as during the initial MW phase. I found after a week without one, that even if my skin doesn't feel like it needs one, that they help quite a bit more even at that point. They are very drying to the skin so it's important to not do them too frequently unless needed. But once a week or every 7-10 days seems ideal for maintenance, and seems to be very helpful.

      Delete
    2. Hi Dan--
      I have decided to go to Mexico for 10 days. This cold and snow and greyness has gotten to me. Do you have any idea how much sun is a good idea? I plan to get some everyday that I can. Mexico City is not hot--it mostly high of about 75 degrees during the day. That is where I will be most of the time. I will spend 3 days in Oaxaca which is warmer--it has highs in the 80s. Any idea of how much sun is a good idea and how much I can increase it each day.
      Any advise will be useful. I am not flaring and have just a few tiny spots of broken skin.
      Thanks for any help you can provide.

      Delete
    3. Hi Rosemary,

      That will be good to get some sun! I would get as much as possible but always to be sure I don't get burned. I would not give in to the temptation to use sunscreens as they will irritate your skin and block you from getting Vitamin D3 and the other good things we get from sun exposure. In other words, you would get no benefit from being in the sun if you put anything on your skin. You just have to judge it by your own past experience with sun exposure. Just be extra cautious for the first few days and expose yourself multiple times per day, rather than once or twice for longer periods of time. I would also be careful during the middle part of the days and anytime near water, especially if in a boat on water. Carry clothing and/or a hat you can take off and put on easily as needed. If you are sweating you are getting too much sun too. I hope some of that helps. Have fun!

      Delete
    4. Thanks Dan--this is very helpful. I think more people, not just those in TSW, should avoid sunscreen (and moisturizers).

      Delete
  7. Dan, you've convinced me I need to try this. I went without moisturizer once for 12 hours but then ripped all my skin off and used moisturizer again. How do I avoid the itch?? It's usually at night. I already take 50mg Atarax/night which doesn't really do anything for me. I also take 1-2 unisom sleeping pills which also doesn't help me get to sleep before 4am every night. Any advise would be really appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Katrina,

      I'm glad you decided to try it again. There is no one size fits all approach so it's difficult for me to tell you what I'd do without knowing key information such as how long have you been in tsw, the severity of your condition, etc etc. Can you give me some background? There are several ways to control the itching but knowing your situation better would enable me to better answer your question.

      Delete
    2. Okay, here goes. TSW for 2 full months after 20 years of usage and the last 5 being almost daily with a 1 year break for pregnancy. In hindsight, i must have gone through this when I was pregnant but blamed my out of control skin on the pregnancy. Wish I had never started using them again! Anyway, my problem areas are, in order of severity, my neck, face, arms, and hands. My neck is always hot and the most often place I have my itch attacks (along with my face). These areas are the weakest and the skin breaks the easiest here. I apply lotion a million times a day to avoid the overly dry feeling bc that tends to send me into an itch attack as well. The only comfort I get is from a nice pack. Lately, when I itch, I get twitchy legs like when you scratch a dog. Is there anything else

      Delete
    3. H Katrina, that sounds like you are going to have a tough time of it. We all do, it's just some of us don't realize how bad it is for others with worse cases than their own. In other words, we all tend to think our case is the same as others with minor differences. Of course this isn't the case. Having this on the face is really difficult as it is, but also the neck and hands are very difficult areas. Especially the hands. When you stop moisturizing you'll find you'll have a difficult time turning your head because when you do the neck will crack and it's painful. That is, until you have been off moisturizers for a couple weeks at which time that problem should go away.

      Many people are attempting MW by using limited moisturizing. This is not MW so don't allow yourself to be fooled into thinking this is something that will work. If I were you, I would read my entire blog and try to understand the reasoning behind everything I use to aid my skin and do what I did to to treat my tsw to a "T".

      First thing to do is MW. Initially, you will spend a good week in intense pain and extreme discomfort, followed by a week of less pain, and by the third week you should begin to feel much much better, since by then you will have all breaks closed and your skin will have made the transition. From there you can spend the rest of your tsw in relative comfort and lead a normal life. Since you are already 2 months in tsw this is an excellent time to do this. I did my MW at the end of my 2 month mark.

      If I were you, I would follow my DIY Moisturizer Guide to a "T" and ask me questions daily as you begin and in the first 2-3 weeks until you complete the transition from moisturizing to not moisturizing. It will be hard but it will also save you many months and possible more than a year of suffering. There is one person I know that has the tsw symptoms on her face, neck, and hands and you should look over her blog and read the last couple months of posts and comments there. After almost a year of suffering needlessly by moisturizing she stopped and immediately started healing. She has many pics you can compare to. She had to do it without the aid of all the things I use but she did it and is quite pleased with the results. She has a high threshold for pain. See Tracy's blog.

      The reason I ask that you read my blog to get a good understanding of why I use what I use is so you can do this with confidence, and if you don't understand the reasoning behind the various things I use, you will have much self doubt about what you are doing and that isn't very helpful.

      Let me very clear. There is no place for moisturizers. During tsw they only prolong the skin's own ability to heal itself and keep one in a state of no progress for many months and often years. So, you can spend the next year or two the way you are now with very slow improvement between now and the time you finally heal, or you can do MW and spend that time living a normal life. Be sure to read Leslie's blog as well. He doesn't moisturize and is doing very well. Neither of these two people use my methods, but it does show how well people do when they stop moisturizing. I believe my methods help assist in accomplishing this a whole lot easier than just cold turkey. Especially read my dss post here. Let me know if you have any questions or concerns at all.

      Delete
    4. What do you recommend for he itch?? I just don't see how I will ever heal if I keep ripping off all my skin

      Delete
    5. Hi Karina, first I want to apologize for misspelling your name! For the itch I recommend not moisturizing for the itch. During tsw the skin is hypersensitive and any external stimuli is going to make it react. If you moisturize it you may think it helps but in actuality it's one of your main causes of your itching right now. I can tell you many ways to help relieve itching but none of them will help while you moisturize. Your itching won't go away 100% by not moisturizing but it reduces it by probably in the neighborhood of 80-90%. Just a rough estimate. I agree with your last statement and all I can say is you have to stop moisturizing first.

      Delete
    6. Karina, the itch is probbaly the last symptom to leave in recovery. It can be reduced greatly by not moisturizing, but not eliminated. After you have made the transition there are things that help with what itching remains such as avoiding alcohol, foods high in histamines, etc. Try to understand that the itching is partly psychological and you want to distract your mind as much as possible from your skin. You can drink a teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in a glass of water at night before bed. There are things that help but as long as the skin is kept in a weakened state by moisturizing it won't strengthen. The strengthening part is so important if you want to stop tearing your skin to shreds. Once you stop moisturizing your itching decreases substantially, and when you do scratch, your skin holds up much much better as it gets stronger if you allow it to heal.

      Delete
  8. Karina,

    The itch is what drove me to MW and Dan back in mid-December. Approximately 60 days after starting MW, I am healed enough to return to my normal life of going to the gym 5 days a week, having a glass of red wine 1-2 times a week and eating chocolate again, all with moderate but controllable itching that no longer interrupts my day for hours or my nighttime sleep. I really am THAT much better..and I spent years, not days or months, years being awakened several times a night or not even falling asleep at night because of constant itch. Dan is right on about foods high in histamines, but that is only part of the puzzle. You need to get off moisturizers immediately. Yes you will itch and yes it will hurt sometimes too but your skin will start to become stronger within days and you won't be ripping your skin open and leaving it ready for infection.
    I started with DSS baths a few times a week soaking only for 20 minutes in 2 cups of salts. I itched in the bathtub too...BUT, unlike Dan, I would pat dry and then literally cacoon myself in down blankets in my bed for 1/2hr - 1hr and let the itch pass..and it always did. Eventually, before I got back to the gym, I literally did not bathe or shower for 10 days. I also made sure I didn't sweat in those ten days and that gave my skin a jump start to toughen up...I was flakey and dry and it hurt to move but that passed too.

    MW is the key to getting over TSW as efficiently as possible. I had broken facial skin and peeling for the last few years and now people tell me I look "gorgeous". ;) Even my Derm was astounded.....

    The itching will decrease incrementally over time and itch-rests that would go on for hours (in my case) will become a thing of the past. Listen to Dan and do exactly what he says.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Ok I start tomorrow... I'm scared!! I cut back this week bc I started to notice a pattern. Every time I would moisturize, I would start itching uncontrollably. I was initially going to wait until my husband isn't travelling for work so much, in about 3 weeks, so he could care for our toddler. But even partial MW is painful enough to make me just want to get it over with. Luckily my mom is coming tomorrow to help me through day one, other reinforcements throughout the weekend are lined up, now I just have to do it. But like I said, I'm scared. I tried tea tree oil on all 3 trouble spots: hands, neck, and mouth/chin area. My hands burned a little but on my face & neck the pain was intolerable. What else can I use in place of tea tree oil? Also, I tried the baking soda in a glass of water and that didn't do anything for the itch. Any other suggestions?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Karina, do you have dss? Are you using pure tea tree oil and diluting it plenty with water? If you are diluting it enough it won't sting much at all. The less you dilute it the more it will sting. Alcohol and fragrance free witch hazel by the Homestead company can help. I just bought another bottle myself today on Amazon which is the only place I can find the right one that is unscented.

      If you plan on doing MW without doing dss baths at the same time it's going to be much rougher than with dss. The dss baths will heal your skin breaks while you make the transition and if you don't use them the transition could take much longer unless you have access to plenty of sun. My best suggestion is dss baths for both the itch and for MW. I can give you a contact where you can probably have it at your door in 2 days if you don't have already.

      Delete
    2. I do have DSS and I did not know I should dilute the tea tree oil...no wonder!!! My witch hazel arrives tomorrow. So I guess I'm all set?! Still scared... It's been about 5 hours so far and it's already quite painful. I just need to get through tonight and then my first bath without moisturizing afterwards. I literally cannot remember ever taking a shower or bath without applying moisturizer immediately after. If I can get through these 2 things, I know I can get through the rest.

      Delete
    3. I'm glad you have dss. Hopefully natural and from a reputable co. Here is a detailed summary on how to do the dss baths properly: You always want to use 2 pounds per bath or you won't absorb enough of the minerals. Bathe for exactly 20 minutes each time. Studies show that is the perfect time where the body absorbs the minerals, and longer soaks in water is damaging to the skin barrier. They need to be done in a way that best suits each unique situation. For you, to start out with I would do 2 pounds of natural dss (best is from the south end of the sea) per bath, and just do one bath every 2-3 days whichever you feel you need. The baths are very drying to the skin and often will make me a little itchy after I dry out and my skin gets real dry. That itching lasts for about 12 hours and then my skin feels great. So, best to do your baths late in the day and when you wake up the next morning you will feel great and won't be as itchy. I usually do mine mid day just because that is the most convenient time for me. Never use hot water. Use tepid temp water which runs between 95-99 degrees. I use a meat thermometer to get the temp perfect every time I do my baths. I like 98-99. When using water hotter than tepid temp your skin actually detoxes rather than absorbs. Hot water alone will strip all oils out like soap does. Use a kitchen timer set for 20 minutes. I usually add hot water to the bath at the 10 minute point just to bring the bath temp back up a little because by then it drops down to about 94-95 and gets a little chilly. It doesn't matter how cool it gets though. The important thing is no hotter than 99 degrees.

      I rinse quickly in a warm shower and rinse my hair at the same time. You want to rinse most of the crystallized salts off your body but not so much that you rinse all "film"residue" off. Sometimes I will pat dry after the bath and wait 20-30 minutes and then rinse in the shower. This helps if you want to absorb more of the minerals from the salts but also can contribute to a little extra dryness and itchiness for that first 12 hours. Remember, the goal in these baths is to dry the skin to heal all broken skin, and heal as much of the rash as well. Never use any soaps or shampoos. The 20 minute soak keeps you very clean. I shampoo my hair about once every couple months. It's amazing how clean it stays just using water. Use the witch hazel and/or water diluted tea tree oil later for any oozing spots that occur in between baths. Let me know if you have any questions. You only have to suffer for less than a week before you begin seeing relief. And within a couple weeks you will be far more comfortable than you have been, and you will be able to lead a normal life through the rest of your recovery, which can last for quite along time depending.

      Delete
  10. Thanks for all the info! Do I have to shower after every bath?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You don't have to but you will be much itchier if you don't rinse. It would be like going to the beach and not showering after swimming in the ocean, sort of. My point is, you need to rinse the salt off unless you are after a super dry effect. I've done it a few times but it is very itchy and I wouldn't recommend it.

      Delete
  11. Dan, did you sleep during MW? I'm 17 hours in... Ripped off all my skin last night and oozed like crazy. Getting stuck to the pillows & sheets is very uncomfortable... Didn't sleep much at all. Also, the eczema has spread all over my body. Is that normal??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I slept an average of 3-4 houris a night before and during MW. After I completed MW my sleep patterns improved quite a bit. Since your skin is broken and oozing you should do a dss bath today and do it exactly the way I spelled out.

      I only used ts on my hands mainly but in small amounts on other areas. When I began tsw I broke out in steroid induced eczema all over both legs and arms where I never once used ts. So, yes that is typical to happen. As long as your skin is broken continue daily or every other day dss baths and they will dry it out and heal. The MW transition is hard but if you can hold out for a week you will begin to see many benefits and after two weeks you will really feel the difference.

      Delete
    2. Karina, how are things going?

      Delete
    3. The first 2 days went really smoothly. So smooth that I was wondering what all the complaining was about! It was certainly uncomfortable but I didn't have an itch attack and therefore didn't have any ooze. But then... I had an itch attack on my neck and that's when the real pain set in. The oozing, itching and intense raw pain have stayed since then, though not as bad as that initial time. I'm on day 4. My witch hazel hasn't arrived yet (grrr) so I'm hoping that arrives ASAP. Looking forward to (and dreading) my bath today so hoping that dries out my neck a bit. Other than that, my face and hands are completely dry but definitely not as itchy, which is good. I think my biggest problem is the mindless picking & itching bc that leads to the real itching. But I'm having a hard time stopping!!! Will I develop new skin on my neck if I keep getting itch attacks there?? Ps- there have definitely been moment of weakness where I almost succumbed to the temptation of moisturizer (or diaper rash cream for the oozing or neosporin for the painful open spots) but am proud to say I have not caved!!!

      Delete
    4. Don't worry about the occasional times you lose it and scratch yourself to a bloody mess. The skin will heal again. I seem to do it once in a while mainly due to my diet. Just did it again about 5am Sunday morning and my fingers are just now beginning to feel better, as in the pain is finally gone now and they are healing again. It took another dss bath and several applications of water diluted tea tree oil to get them healed. But hey, not bad for what, 24 hours? If I scratch too hard and really rip the skin off it gets very sore for a couple days, which is what I did this time.

      I always looked forward to the dss baths but always hated all the hassle involved in doing them. I guess it's not all that much but I never was one to sit around in a bathtub lol. I always seem to forget to mention, be sure to drink a large glass of water when doing the dss baths. It helps keep you hydrated.

      An hour or so after your bath, if your neck starts oozing again you can always try the water diluted tea tree oil. Just be sure to pour a lot of water over the Q-tip before applying it. It really does work well, but in cases of early rebound in tsw and in flares, it doesn't work as well. That's when I depend on the witch hazel and thin cotton cloth more for those larger oozing areas.

      Way to go on hanging in there and not succumbing to the temptation to put stuff on your skin! I know the feeling but if you succumb I promise you will regret doing it. Others have, including myself, and it just sets you back. Hang in there!

      DO NOT scratch when doing your initial MW if you can avoid it. You want the skin breaks to scab over and fall off on their own. After that it isn't so important.

      Delete
    5. Sigh... Well I'm still pushing through this. I THiNK my face is getting a little better but my neck is still soooo bad. I just can't help scratching at night. It's almost like I go into panic mode and rip it all off. Anyway, I started a blog recently and thought I should direct you towards it! That way you can see my pics and current state. It's ditchtheitch.blogspot.com.

      Delete
    6. Hi Karina,

      It looks very similar to what I had to go through with my hands when I did mw. I can usually get through my nights without doing much scratching if I take 50mg atarax before bedtime every 3-4 days, and using Valium the other nights. The Valium doesn't help much in stopping me from scratching but it helps me get to sleep. So, because the atarax is the only drug I have found that actually will keep me sedated enough to not scratch if used just once ever 3-4 days, I use it only for the nights when my previously scratched skin has gone from being painful to scabbed and healing. This is where it really starts getting itchy. If I use atarax 2-3 days in a row it doesn't work for me and I'll scratch. So, I learned to use it sparingly for the times I really don't want to ruin my nearly healed skin. I usually will do 40mg, and then 50mg the next night or two nights later. Then I have to wait at least 3-4 days before using it again. I never drink alcohol on days I take these drugs. Never mix it with atarax. Alcohol at any time will make you itch more than anything too.

      That is my post mw routine. It is imperative you don';t scratch during the mw transition. Do whatever you can think of to not scratch that hard. If I were you I would be doing a dss soak once a day until the transition is complete. The daily soaks will allow the excess build up of dried dead skin to come off at the end of the baths and you dry out again repeating the process until it finally is done. If you scratch like you did do an extra bath right afterwards to restart the process.

      Do you have painkillers and a script of antibiotics on hand in case you need either? You must not scratch your skin off at anytime during this initial mw process. Anytime after you get through this period is fine but not now, and not until the dried scabbed skin falls off on it's own, which takes about 7-10 days total. I'll add your blog to my blog list.

      Delete
    7. Karina, how is it going today? Did you manage to get through the night without scratching? Remember, by doing dss daily right now it will allow some of the excess dead skin to come off every time you bathe and after a week or so your mw transition will be complete.

      Delete
  12. No, I still itched last night :( but not as much so maybe that's progress? I guess I will see tonight.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Catch me up. Are you doing dss every day and exactly the way I do them? I wouldn't bother with the tea tree oil until after your MW process is complete. Are you noticing how some of the dead skin comes off at the end of your baths? It's this cycle that helps so much in doing mw. Not to mention the benefits your skin is getting from the minerals. be sure not to rush it. At the end of your bath just lightly rub off any skin that wants to come off easily. That's it. The next day repeat the process and soon what remains will all peel at once in a 1-2 day period once you get to the finish line which again is about 7-10 days. You should be in so much pain that it helps in keeping you from scratching during this process. The goal here is for the skin to scab over with each bath and then fall off on it's own by between 7-10 days of starting the process. Sorry if I'm being repetitive.

      Delete
  13. Yes I've done everything as you said and yes I notice dead skin coming off in the baths. The problem is I scratch off any progress I make by the end of the night. I'm feeling pretty desperate right now. I feel like I'm never going to heal bc I keep scratching myself raw. Last night was particularly bad and I'm in alot of pain today. I'm on day 8...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When I did MW twice, my hands were so sore they were too painful to scratch them so I'm not sure what to say about this other than I would be taking lots of atarax at night so I don't scratch. Are you taking atarax? Regardless, if you can hang in there your skin is getting stronger every day while you are not moisturizing. You may have even noticed a difference already. Even with scratching you will make it due to the skin strengthening. But again, it's far better and faster if you don't scratch. Again, are you taking atarax? If so, how much and when do you take it?

      Delete
  14. I've noticed the skin on my face has gotten stronger but not my neck. Last night I took 100mg of atarax and 10mg of ambien. Didn't work...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well the max I take is 50mg so if 100mg didn't help you need to stop taking it for about 3-4 days so it will work for you when you do take it. I rotate different things but the only thing that works for me is atarax and I can only use it once every 3-4 days for it to keep me knocked out. Your skin on your neck may not feel stronger but it is. All I can say is hang in there if you can take it. As long as you keep doing daily dss soaks and keeping that neck in the water for the duration of each soak, you will get there. I wish I had a better answer. I am currently trying to gte my hands to fnsh healing but awoke last night after 2 hours itching like crazy so I stopped myself and got up and drank coffee for the rest of the night. I'll catch up on my sleep this afternoon. That is one way to deal with it. And, ice cubes are your best friend right now. Or, ice packs. When you begin to scratch jump out of bed and run for the fridge and grab ice, That is what I also did in the beginning. I broke myself of scratching in my sleep at the time by doing that. I should have mentioned this before. If you can make it another few days I think you'll have it made.

      Delete
    2. Karina, I emailed you. If you don't have it check your spam box. Let me know...

      Delete
  15. Hi Dan, I am on day 3 of moisture withdrawl. I have eczema on my face and neck, it rarely oozes but is just super dry. Are dss baths necessary for me since my skin doesn't ooze? My face is so dry, flakey and feels like sand paper. Hope I get relief soon. Oh and a little background on me. I'm 23 with eczema since I was 4 years old. Had it on my joints as a child, was mild throughout highschool (occasionally used TS) but got moderate-severe eczema on my face and neck for the first time 4 years ago & it hasn't left since. Been using 1% hydrocortisone 2-3 weekly for 4 years. Please help also advise on how long you think my withdrawl should last, I have my brothers wedding in 3 weeks and I'm getting nervous! Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jaytee, I can't advise you but will say what I'd do if in your shoes. I believe if you hadn't used ts when you first did your eczema would be long gone. There really is no such thing as adult eczema. Childhood eczema goes away in adulthood. I did dss baths daily at first, and then cut back to every other day for quite awhile when I first started my tsw. I don't know how long you have been in tsw, so can't really say. I know they can't hurt, and are beneficial from everything I have read, and from my own experience. I want my skin to feel dry like you describe so it can heal on it's own. My rule of thumb is if no soreness, swelling, broken skin, no dss baths. Withdrawal typically will last 1/3 of the time you used according to Dr. Fukaya. But, I've seen people who used sparingly recover in weeks. It all depends on many various factors. Hope that helps!

      Delete