Sunday, February 9, 2014

Month 8 Behind Me In Topical Steroid Withdrawal "Recovery"

I prefer to call TSW "topical steroid recovery", since it seems to be more of a recovery from poisoning than it is a true drug withdrawal. I guess it's all semantics and doesn't really matter as long as everyone knows what one is referring to.

Well, I hit month 8 a little over a week ago and couldn't be more disappointed in that I'm still dealing with this shit after this long. I spent 5 months of slow steady healing, after doing moisturizer withdrawal (ceasing the use of moisturizers other than bathing in water) only to see my body recover 95% and then revert back to almost where I initially began. My 7th month flare was unlike any of the minor mini flares I had experienced along the way and truly caught me off guard. After seeing and feeling the pain and intense itching, sleeplessness, and other symptoms gradually disappear over a period of 5 months, I was quite shocked that my 100% completely healed arms and legs could break out again in steroid induced eczema to the extent they did. And how the crap on the tops of my hands spread to cover the entire surface and slowly creep up my wrists and arms. The only saving grace is I didn't get that intense pain and fire sensations, or the 24/7 intense itching that comes in the first couple of months of TSW. Did get some of the old "zingers" back off & on though. No pics this time. Hands look the same, maybe a little better. Arms and legs 80% better.

I have never once used topical steroids on the tops of my hands (other than my fingers), or on my arms or behind my knees. Nearly all the areas I used TS remained clear throughout this huge flare. How freaking weird is that? It did try it's damnest to break out in my right palm, the place I first used TS on either hand, and the area that received the most TS. This was my worst area and was the most damaged. I should say completely obliterated. But, I was able to keep it at bay by using a combination of dss baths, and Tea Tree oil applications on spots that started to break open. I was getting very concerned my body was going to continue to flare until my palms were also a mess. But, luckily the flare has eased up and I'm back on the mend. My arms and legs are greatly improved and the tops of my hands are improved too, just not as much as the arms and legs yet. This flare lasted about one full month.

So, what happened? What caused this flare? Was it atopic dermatitis? Was it my original eczema coming back? Or, the actual continuation of recovering from using topical steroids? I've asked myself these questions a thousand times. I initially thought it was a change in my laundry detergent. Then I thought it was stress. Then I thought it was going back to smoking and eating a crappy diet after successfully quitting. The answer is going back to smoking and a crappy diet, getting stressed out, and changing my laundry detergent all contributed in setting off this flare. Obviously I wasn't fully "recovered" and I aggravated what was left by taking away the support I had given my body. The body had lost it's edge I had given it and succumbed. It was like the TSW monster was hiding in it's cave just waiting for the right opportunity to strike. And strike it did!

If I only had the sun again. Oh Mr. Sun won't you come back and heal my skin for me so I can eat what the hell I want to eat and not suffer the consequences so badly. I'm sick and tired of this shit! It's been over EIGHT freaking months! What other diseases take this long to recover from? I really don't see how anyone could endure this for years. My hat off to you folks.

I say it's been 8 months but I was having a hell of a time with my hands for a good year prior to stopping topical steroids. I would typically have between 10 and 15 band aids on my fingers covering large skin splits. As fast each one healed another would take it's place. By the time I stopped using TS my hands were so destroyed, not only from the long term use of the TS, but also from occlusive use of TS, that it's hard to imagine how I ever got my hands to heal. And the palms have the thickest skin of the entire body. They ended up in such bad condition by the time I stopped it makes me shudder to think about even now. But, I also can't believe how strong my palms are now too. I can scratch them quite hard and they hold up to it. I have to credit stopping the use of moisturizers for this. And the fact that I went through month 4-7 in total comfort compared to the months before I stopped moisturiuzing.

You didn't really think I wasn't going to mention moisturizing did you? Lol. No way Jose! Even though I have been still suffering in one way or another in the last several months, I have been so much more comfortable than I was when I was moisturizing. There is zero doubt in my mind that moisturizing during TSW makes one extremely uncomfortable, and prolongs the skin's ability to recover. I know, I sound like a broken record. I keep saying it only because it has remained a constant. I haven't moisturized to bring comfort to my often super dry feeling, sore and itchy skin during this flare for a reason. I know full well what would happen if I did. Before stopping the moisturizers I couldn't function for 3 months. Totally couch bound. I could barely do what I had to do to stay alive. I had lost nearly all ability to work, or do anything else that involved the use of my hands. Like making something to eat. Or even going to a store. After stopping moisturizing I was able to function again like normal. My severe condition changed so dramatically in such a short period of time that I was truly amazed at how my hands were in better condition than they were in many months prior to even beginning my TSW.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Looking back I can see things so much clearer than while in the midst of the constant pain and the insane itching. Damn you people for making these poisonous drugs and pushing them onto unsuspecting people. And it's not just a few people but millions of people. Even babies right after they're born. You assholes! I hate you fuckers even more now than I did 8 months ago. And I don't hate. What a paradox! I need to remember that. Well, hate or not, damn you idiots anyway. I sincerely hope every single one of you get what you deserve and I know you will. That is how life works. Karma. I only have to ask myself what I did to deserve this misery myself. It certainly makes me look inward and examine my whole life.

How ironic. I'm sitting here eating a dark chocolate covered ice cream bar and typing with one hand. Talk about stubbornness. There is a direct correlation between what I eat and how much I itch at night. I know it. Yet, I am willing to take the bad with the good just like people who moisturize are willing to do the same in the name of what makes them feel comfortable. I can accept that and want to apologize to all that I have been a little too harsh on and critical of. I shouldn't be so judgmental and I know it. But, it's important to accept that moisturizing is not any better for you than eating ice cream is for me. I only want the truth to be told and not fairy tales.

Many people have been through 8 months of TSW via moisturizing and have documented their experiences. Not nearly as many people have documented their experiences going through TSW via not moisturizing. I know my blog has a lot of value and I get a lot of views so I trudge on. Looking back I wish I had stopped moisturizing my skin sooner. Actually wish I hadn't of at all just to see what difference it would have made. So far, all who haven't moisturized or stopped moisturizing, seem to have had a much easier time of it and have also seemed to have been able to function much more normally throughout most of their TSW recovery. There is something to be learned from that.

Currently my skin feels dry only from excessive bathing, but it tends to get better each day as long as I refrain from scratching the dried scabbed over areas and have to take a Dead Sea salt bath and start all over again. I don't need to do dss baths daily or every other day since my condition isn't like it was when I first made the transition from very raw skin that was being constantly moisturized to very dry skin with no external moisturizer other than bath soaks. That was a completely different situation. Now, I just need to make it a week or longer without scratching my healing skin and I should be in much better shape. It is healing even with the damage I cause but much slower than I want.

For the last month, about every 3rd day after a bath I would scratch intensely, effectively tearing the old skin off causing bleeding and lots of oozing. It is like a small wound that is almost healed and then itches like crazy right before it does heal. Like a mosquito bite that scabs over and when it's close to healing it begins to itch a lot and you scratch it off prematurely and it bleeds a little. So, when I rip my skin up I take another dss bath to bring relief and begin the healing process again. This has been going on for about 5 weeks now. Not very painful or all that difficult to get through like the early days were. Just irritating as hell. Starting Friday I began taking atarax when I would awaken from the itch and that has bought me two days of mostly scratch free nights now. Tonight it will have to be something else because I can't stand the effects that atarax has on my body. And it's just not very effective when using it every day, at least for me.

The healing process seems very similar to people who moisturize. Two steps forward one step back. Actually, people who moisturize seem to be taking one step forward and one step back for the most part. Personally, moisturizing is something I fear as much as TS from my experience with it during my first two months of TSW. If people find it an easier method for them I have no problem with it myself. I hope that by not moisturizing I will be recovered in under a year. That goal post has been moved because at one time I was shooting for six months. In any case, my recovery hasn't been too bad since I stopped moisturizing at the end of month two.

Finally, Ive tried to reach out to several people over the months offering my help in attempting moisturizer withdrawal with very limited success. My main goal was to get enough people to try it and provide more evidence it's a viable option so the consensus of the "group" would change and the majority would then be able to benefit. I apologize to anyone I offended in this effort and only hope you will one day understand why I have done what I have done. There are many people doing MW now with success so hopefully the concept of not moisturizing as a credible method of going through TSW will be embraced by the entire TSW community soon.


  1. Hi Dan, so sorry to hear of your recent flare. :( I can understand your sentiments about just wanting to get back to normal after all this time. I'm only at 40-some days TSW, but I have been suffering severe rashes for over 2 years now--I'm ready to be done too!

    I had a question for you--as I'm still debating the moisture/no moisture issue--do you have any knowledge/have you experimented with corn starch? I just learned that my mother's cousin also battled some very substantial rashes (including eczema, psoriasis) about 10 years back. She ultimately ended up seeing an acupuncturist who helped cure her. Anyway, she gave me the following advice:

    "I have some advice for you that should create an environment in which your skin can heal. To begin, purchase some fragrance free Dead Sea salts. You will need a substantial amount, because you are going to use a cup or more each day. Also pick up some raw oatmeal, food grade sesame oil, and corn starch. It will also help if you incorporate olive oil, wheat germ oil, or fish oil into your diet. It will also help if you take a good pro biotic.

    Stop taking hot showers which are very drying to your skin. Instead, do the following:
    Grind the oatmeal into a finer powder
    Dissolve a cup (or more) of the Dead Sea salts in in hot water until It is all completely dissolved. The adjust the temperature of the water so it is on the warm side of tepid.
    Add the ground oatmeal
    Add about 1/4 cup of the sesame oil.
    Soak in this as long as you are able to do so each day. The Dead Sea salts rapidly promotes healing. The oatmeal quiets the itch, and the sesame oil provides moisture. When you get out of the tub, gently pat your skin dry, and then dust your entire body in corn starch. The corn starch actually acts as a moisturizer by holding the moisture in your skin, but It also allows your skin to breath naturally. Throughout the day, if you get itchy, dust the area in more cornstarch, you will be surprised at how pleasant this feels. When you use liquid moisturizers you are creating a moist environment where bacteria and fungus can thrive. It is much better if you stop depleting your skin of its natural oils by stopping the hot showers. Stop using anything topical except for soaking in this salt, oatmeal, sesame oil solution and following with corn starch. I really do think that this will begin to provide you with some relief. If you are still experiencing inflammation itching after a couple of weeks, I will talk to my acupuncturist who helped me. Please let me know how it goes."

    Just curious to hear your thoughts, if you have any to share. :)

    Thanks so much. Hope you're feeling a little more resilient again!

    1. Hi Stacey,

      This is too long so will have to post it in two parts. I forgot to mention I am 58 years of age and don't heal nearly as fast as someone half my age does. This is the part that drives me crazy when I see young people going through this. They are young and vibrant with healthy bodies. I was that way at one time but not anymore lol. Recovery for people under 30 should not take that long, unless they moisturize of course. People really need to connect the dots on this. If you gain an understanding of just how extremely hypersensitive the skin is during tsw you will understand. I've talked about this in one of my older posts and I believe Dr. Fukaya talks about it on his blog.

      Thank you for posting on my blog and asking for my opinion. I truly appreciate that. Since you are debating the issue be sure to check what Tracy said in her recent post. She is a nurse and works in a hospital too, so going the no moisturizer route is probably against everything she has been taught I would assume. But she has concluded that she wished she had done MW a year ago right from the get go.

      The advice you were given is very interesting. She is correct about staying out of hot water. It strips all oils out of your skin. She is also correct about the dss. Possibly incorrect about soaking for that long though. Especially during tsw. Studies show that soaking in water for 20 minutes is ideal and any longer can contribute to skin barrier damage. But, I have never understood this though because how do professional swimmers spend 8 hours a day in water for years? This has always perplexed me.

      Olive oil is very good to eat but very bad to put on the skin. She is right on with the omega3 oils and daily probiotics. I would add a tablespoon of flax oil as well and Vitamin D3, depending on how much sun you get, and/or what your blood tests show your levels are at. Also look into MSM. She is correct imo on just about everything, but....

      I have never combined my dss baths with other ingredients other than once in a while I will add 1,000mg crushed vitamin C to the bath water because I read it neutralizes some of the chemicals in chlorinated water. I prefer a chlorine filter but don't have one.

    2. I have done many oat baths years ago for their soothing effects and absolutely always loved them when I did do them, but only two since tsw. I just recently experimented with trying an oat bath the next day after a dss bath to see if it would ease the dryness and itching that the dss baths seem to cause for that first day. It backfired on me and made me just as dry and just as itchy as though I had done another dss bath. So, I concluded that after a bath I just need to tough it out for that first day and then the skin calms down and gradually feels better. I don't think oat baths helps something as serious as tsw symptoms. The dss baths most certainly do.

      I have no experience with combining different things in my baths and no experience with corn starch either. But, it sounds very interesting to me. See and

      My opinion is this. This treatment may help some with minor shin rashes and true eczema or possibly even psoriasis, along with a good diet, but not for steroid induced eczema type symptoms, because they are so much more severe. More importantly, because the skin is so hypersensitive in tsw and not that way in cases of diaper rash or true eczema. This is the main reason any and all moisturizers should not be used during tsw. The skin is in hypersensitive mode and reacts to every external stimuli it comes into contact with. Also, it is such a small amount of dss that you would get zero benefits from the minerals in the salts because you have to use at least 1-1/2 to 2 pounds per bath to absorb enough of the minerals from them to benefit.

      I have done acupuncture many times years ago and found it to be just slightly effective in treating various things. It balances your energy so it is good, but there are so many stronger forces at work when in tsw that I doubt it would have much of an effect. It certainly couldn't hurt though due to the fact that it forces one to relax and takes your mind off everyday stuff. And anything that supports the body can only help.

      So, due to the ineffectiveness of such a small amount of dss, and the irritating nature of adding an oil, I wouldn't go there. Even straight oat baths do little for tsw symptoms. They are fantastic for skin problems that are not of tsw nature though. But the steroid induced eczema, and the nature of tsw as an ongoing process suggest that these kinds of things would be completely ineffective. It's actually just a way of moisturizing with no benefits from the dss. I found that oat baths just don't do anything in this condition for me. You could try an oat bath and see if it helps. But even if it gave you temporary relief for an hour it still doesn't have the healing properties that the dss have. You could try mixing the two but forget the oil during tsw. Any other time would be fine but again, the skin is so hypersensitive that the oil will only irritate it. And, I feel mixing finely ground oats with 2 pounds of dead sea salts is counter productive. The intention of using the dss is to dry the skin and heal all open wounds, reduce inflammation etc. Trying to add in something that counter acts that just doesn't make sense to me. This is why I tried them separately one day apart. And that didn't work at all. I know this isn't what you want to hear but I do hope this helps.

    3. Stacey,

      The more I think about this the more it intrigues me. I sincerely apologize for overlooking a key thing here. I was in a hurry earlier and didn't read your comment correctly. She said a cup or more of dss and a cup is about a pound so that does make sense. It seems like this might be worth a try. I wouldn't do it as I'm scared to death of moisturizing now from what I experienced the two times I tried to go back to them. Plus, I know that long term moisturizing is damaging to the skin barrier. But, this could turn out to be something who knows?

      If I were to do this I would adjust it a little. I would make sure I use between one and half to two cups of dss. Never make the water warmer than tepid temp which is about 98-99. I would keep it between 95 and 99 at all times. Always soak for 20 minutes exactly. Check water temp at the 10 minute mark and add hot water to bring the temp back up from 94-95 to 99 for comfort. And only do these every two or three days and not every day. That is what I would do. I still have my doubts though but it is an interesting idea and possibly could work of you make those adjustments. Please keep me posted if you try it.

    4. Hey Dan, thanks so much for your reply! It's difficult sometimes when people give you skin advice, isn't it? You can never tell if they realize the extent of your skin issues or not, even after they've seen pictures of your condition. They say "I had rashes covering my entire body in the past, too" but, since you don't know exactly what they mean by "rashes," it's difficult to know if you should take their advice or not. I figured I would check with you because I know you use DSS baths a lot.

      I think I might these baths at some point to see if it feels as soothing as she says. I've tried oatmeal baths in the past and I found them to be irritating, so I might not include oatmeal. I haven't tried DSS baths yet, but I have a good feeling about them. The only baths that I've done have been with "Ancient Minerals" and those have felt very soothing.

      I know you don't agree with my moisturizing protocol, but I'm sure you can understand the dilemma of "should I actually try this idea or not?".

      I've changed up my moisturizing a little bit over the past couple weeks--and am trying to be a little more "minimal" with it.

      This may sound silly, but this is what I've been doing lately: When I get in the shower, I quickly slog my whole body in coconut oil (so the water doesn't strip my body of it's natural oils). Then I shower fairly quickly and try to get out of the water as soon as I can (so the coconut oil is still somewhat coating my skin). When I get out of the shower, I touch up my face with palm shortening or jojoba oil and leave the rest of my body alone.

      My face seems to do well with some moisturizer (coconut oil/palm shortening/jojoba oil) so I'm still doing that, but my arms & legs seem to do much better without it (besides what I've described below with my showers). My body kind of dries out over the course of the next few hours, leaving me feeling dry everywhere else. If I put additional moisturizer on my arms for any length of time, they get all bumpy and become much more itchy and sensitive throughout the day.

      I've only been doing this for about a week, so who knows if I'll continue with this protocol or not, but it's felt "right" and has left me "mostly" comfortable (how comfortable can one be with TSW?).

      Anyway, here I am on your anti-moisturizing blog talking about my moisture protocol..... hehe. ;)

      Once I try these types of baths I'll let you know what I think, for your reference.

      Keep up the good fight! And thanks again for your input! I really appreciate the time that you put into your responses. :)


    5. Hi Stacey, I did an oat bath just recently and didn't find it to be irritating at all, just had no soothing effects like they used to for me. I'm sure that's partly due to my condition, but I also didn't grind my oats properly and had to rinse afterwards. I should have ground them into powder form and not rinsed. I wouldn't take them out of the protocol if you try it. It truly is an interesting idea and would be worth trying a couple times just to see. If I were moisturizing I wouldn't hesitate to give it a try. It doesn't mention rinsing so I assume one shouldn't rinse if trying it.

      I've experimented with rinsing and not rinsing after dss aths and it does get very itchy if I don't rinse, but maybe having both the oats and the sesame oil would counter act that. I would double check and ask if you should rinse lightly or not. Or find out by doing a bath and not rinsing I suppose. If I found it to be intensely drying and irritating afterwards I would then rinse and try again the next day and rinse afterwards. No soaps ever of course. With my dss baths, I have found that patting dry and waiting 20-30 minutes and then rinsing seems to allow more of the minerals to be absorbed by my skin then if I were to rinse immediately afterwards. But not rinsing at all can sometimes be very itchy from the salt residue left on the skin.

      My initial reaction was this can no way work but I overlooked the fact that she did say over a cup of salts so that really blew my theory out the window. I usually try to think outside the box and this idea is definitely interesting. I just would keep the baths limited so my skin gets as much time without moisturizers on it as it does having moisturizers on it. So, doing one every 2 or 3 days would seem ideal if one isn't flaring too badly.

    6. Part two:
      As time has gone on I'm finding myself more and more open to "limited" moisturizing. There are many ways to do that of course from using half as much as usual to moisturizing during the day and bathing at night to allow the skin to be"natural" overnight before reapplying again. Even I used a very light coat of Vaseline one day in my first MW period when I couldn't open or close a finger. I gave the finger a very light coat, rubbed off any excess, and it helped. I never used it again but for that one time it was very useful. So, I guess I lean towards not moisturizing at all but with caveats. If used just once in a while on parts of the body, and not on the whole body it has a definite place in getting through tsw. But this is where I get concerned about this combination method. It leaves the entire skin covered with a moisturizer. Unless, if one gives enough time between baths.

      Stacey, it does sound silly to put on a moisturizer before showing. If the purpose of the shower is to clean the pores of daily dirt, sweat, etc the moisturizer only seals that in and the shower would be akin to sticking a rubber glove under the water faucet. The water isn't going to penetrate so why shower? Same thing if one bathes I would imagine. I haven't used soaps or shampoos in 8 months now and it's the 20 minute bath soaks that keep my skin free of dirt and grime. So, for me they are multi purpose.

      If I were you, I would buy myself about 60 lbs of real Dead Sea salt that is from the South end of the Dead Sea and switch to bathing. I would first try this new idea out for a few days and see how it goes. If it doesn't go well I could then just do straight dss baths to get my skin under control and go back to lightly moisturizing areas that I feel a need to. But not the entire skin surface or too much moisturizing on the same areas for to long of a time.

      You are right in that we do need to do what is most comfortable for us individually. My only concerns about this line of logic are two. One is I know continuous moisturizing will keep the skin from healing and strengthening. And two, if one doesn't go a month without moisturizing they can easily assume that moisturizing is more comfortable for them when it may actually not be. Therefore, they could suffer so much more and much longer than necessary and not even realize it.

      Many thanks for your input and contributions. It's these type of things that will lead us all into finding better ways to get through tsw. And more importantly, for all the people who come after us since TS are still being prescribed daily to millions of unsuspecting people.

    7. Hi Dan, just wanted to give you a quick update. I've done those baths for the past 3 evenings and OH MY GOD I have felt so much more comfortable than I have since the start of TSW! I followed the baths exactly (except I used coconut oil instead of sesame oil). I stayed in the bath for exactly 20 minutes each time and followed them by dusting myself with the corn starch (without rinsing). I haven't applied any other moisturizers except for a few touches of jojoba oil around my eyes & above my lips.

      Directly after applying the corn starch, I've felt some skin tightness and minor itching. I've been doing the baths in the evenings and then go directly to bed and I've been able to sleep fairly well. I've been taking Atarax for comfort, as well. Upon waking the following morning, my skin is very flaky and is a little itchy until I dust all of the extra flakes off with a quick brush of my hands. As the day wears on my skin oddly looks/feels less flaky and is much less red in general. It almost seems like I should do the baths every-other day, perhaps.

      I really didn't expect these baths to bring me so much comfort this quickly. I will definitely be continuing with them!!! And will NOT be doing the moisturizing that I was previously doing!!!!

    8. Stacey, that is such good news! Have you tried the dss baths without the oils? You are reporting the same results I get from dss baths by themselves. I get itching from the baths for the first 12-15 hours and then the itching dies down. My only concern is that you give your skin breaks from the moisturizers. You may be able to do that by dong the baths just once every 3 or 4 days. The dss is very drying and I only do them daily or every other day when I have broken skin I want to heal. Otherwise, I go as long as possible out of water. Either way, your experiment is proving a success if it allows you to cut back the majority of moisturizing. Well done for thinking outside the box!

    9. Hi Stacey,

      I very recently posted my current opinions on what you are doing and just wanted you to know that I'm not trying to discount your efforts at all. After thinking about it more I just feel it is counter intuitive. But that is just my opinion and I have been known to be wrong before. Again, the method may be useful for the first week or two in transitioning from moisturizing to MW, but my biggest concern is people reading your positive short term results you have had and then doing this themselves. My biggest concern is this. I fear most people will fail in successfully eliminating the moisturizer from the protocol as soon as they start to feel any dryness and the discomfort that they will experience when they try to eliminate it. And, if it isn't eliminated in the first 2-3 weeks, it will begin to undo the positive effects it has in the beginning due to the reasons I mentioned. I know you will understand this and will eliminate it as soon as possible but others may not understand this very highly potential problem that can arise from this method. Many people misunderstand how the short term benefits of moisturizing turn into a long term liability. Moisturizing can fool us into thinking it's helping when we see the short term benefits just like we see with ts. But again, after a few weeks things get real ugly as compared to just allowing the skin to stay dry and heal on it's own. I hope you don't take offense at my post as it wasn't meant to discredit what your doing at all. Just a warning to be cautious, especially for your readers who will likely do what your doing as a way to avoid doing MW the way it should be done successfully imo. Again, it's the part where one tries to eliminate the moisturizer from the protocol, which has to be done at some point in the first 2-3 weeks at most. This is where people will start to feel dryer and want to go back to adding the moisturizer. It seems it would be like constantly starting MW all over each time and in effect spinning one's wheels. I may be wrong but don't think I am.

  2. Hi Dan. sorry for your rough patch. Winter has been tough on my hands too. Take care and hang in there

    1. Hi Ingrid, nice to hear from you. Thanks for your comments. It's all good. At least it's not like the first few months. I hope you are still doing better!

  3. Hi Dan, I hope you are doing better. You have helped people. I think if people find you pushy they are just overwhelmed by their TSW and over-reacting.
    I thought I should let you know that I've been helped a lot by putting at 50/50 Apple cider vinegar/distilled water solution on my itchy areas. It has cut down on my over night scratching and reduced my sandpaper and plastic-like skin.
    I do have a history of things working great for me for a short time, and then they stop working. I hope this improvement continues. Next to stopping steroids and then less than a month later stopping moisturizers, this has been the best thing I have done. I know you have done tons of research and probably know about this, but I thought I'd let you know about it in case don't.

  4. Hi Rosemary, thanks. Yes, I am getting better. I haven't had a bath in several days now. Lol, sounds so strange that I consider that as getting better :)

    I have tried acv several times but found the dss baths so much more effective, so I just use it once in a blue moon in a bath to balance the pH on my skin. That's good info though for those who can't or don't want to do dss baths. I want my skin to be free of everything until I take a bath. It seems to work well for me. I rarely itch other than in my sleep and that is only once per night so my current battle is to get through that without scratching.

    I commonly will add a tablespoon of acv to tea if I feel ill. It can also help a little for balancing the pH when drinking it that way. Drinking baking soda in water helps with the itching more, imo than does drinking the acv. But, I haven't had to do that in many months. I think I only needed to resort to that drastic of measures when I was moisturizing. The ice age. Back when I had to put both my hands in a bowl of ice on & off for days at a time. So glad those days are behind me. Currently I'm dong well except for my doctor isn't responding to my request for a refill on the meds I rely on to get through that one itchy period in my sleep. They have been a key tool in controlling my scratching and in getting sleep and it pisses me off I have to rely on people that don't know half what I know about my condition for drugs I somehow have been deemed unable to decide for myself whether I can take or not. Rant over.

    I'm a big fan of Bragg's acv. I use it for more things around the house than I can name here. I give a quarter teaspoon of it to my cat once a day. It helps control his urinary tract infections. Good stuff for those that aren't aware of it. Glad to hear you are doing well via not moisturizing :)

  5. Hello Dan,

    Hope you are well. I stumbled upon your blog about 3 - 4 days ago as I was quite curious about moisturizer withdrawal. It's only my 10th day of TSW and 3rd day of MW.

    I'm dying from MW! I think it will be more bearable if I'm just chilling at home, maybe watching a movie or something the whole day. However, I have a full-time job desk job and I'm not very sure how my bosses would react to me taking a leave of absence (not sure if they are that understanding).

    Anyhow! I saw the images you posted and I would like to know how do you deal with the stiffness of your fingers when you were going through MW? I literally cannot straighten my fingers without crying in pain. Its even worse because the most affected part is my right hand and I'm a right hander. Literally unable to brush my teeth, use chop sticks. Basically useless! I'm having more split skin than I'd like to count and they are HUGE splits.

    The rest of my body are not as affected by MW, its just dry, dull red patches concentrated on my upper torso that only hurts when I stretch it. My lower back and legs have smaller dark red spots that are occasionally itchy. It's only my right hand that is bugging me so bad.

    I'm also gonna take your advice and start soaking my hand in DSS. Bathtubs are not really common in Singapore unless you are rich. So the alternative I have is using a basin to soak my hand in DSS & water. Hope that would speed up the healing process, cos the pain is utterly unbearable. I bought this a few days ago:
    Am waiting for its arrival so that I can start soaking.

    Sorry for the lengthy comment, when all I wanted to know is how you dealt with extremely tight skin on your fingers. heh.

  6. Part one:
    Hi Penny, I have talked about this on my blog somewhere. When I did the transition from moisturizing to MW I went through this and I handled the symptoms by soaking in the dss and the salts bring relief and aid in healing. After the soak I find it best to pat dry and wait about 10-20 minutes and rinse your hands well in plain water to wash any left over salt residue off. At this point your skin will feel even drier than it does now. I would get my hands in direct sun exposure as much as possible after my baths to help heal. At first you may want to soak once a day at first and then reduce to every other day and then to every third day. From there just do them when the skin is sore only. A couple hours after each soak I begin to apply water diluted pure tea tree oil on any spots on my hands that are sore or split, several times a day. Within a couple weeks things should settle down but at first making this transition it seems hard. Trust me when I say it's mush harder to keep moisturizing and still have your hands screwed up just as bad as they are now many months from now. This way you will be in better condition much sooner but there is this initial phase which you must adjust to first before you find relief. It's really not the MW that is driving you nuts. IF you moisturize you will find those cracks will take forever and a day to heal and your itching will be just as bad if not worse. Either way you aren't going to be able to work for a while.

    You need those gloves I have mentioned that I buy.

    Also, these... and

    Those thin cotton gloves are a must have to protect your hands from dirt. You will want to wear them at all times when you have any skin breaks at all. They shrink so stick to the size I gave and you will be happy. It is imperative that you wash these in hot water with natural detergent and a few drops of tea tree oil so the gloves are very clean and free of any soaps or detergents. You don't want to keep your hands in gloves that have been washed improperly and not rinsed super well.

    Again, the goal; is to keep your hands dry and free of water other than when you soak them for 20 minutes in the dss water. The ratio breaks down as follows: Use 8 oz for 5 gallons water so if you use one gallon water it would be about 2 oz dss.

    Not moisturizing isn't going to take away the tsw symptoms but it will allow your skin to strengthen whereas moisturizing keeps it weak and it will continue to break constantly and fall apart anytime you scratch it. So, f you pull through the first couple weeks of not moisturizing you will be home free for the next year of your recovery and be able to function nearly normal. If you go back to moisturizing you will find yourself in the same or worse condition many months from now and not able to function the whole time. You just need to grin and bear it these first couple weeks. Short term pain for long term gain.

    1. Part two:
      Have you read where I talk about my finger healing while bent in half when I first did mw and how I took care of it? How long did you use ts on your hands and how much and what did you use? Is there much sun there this time of year where you can get sun exposure to your skin? I'm sure I can help guide you if you keep in daily contact with me here.Take a look at what I've said so far and ask questions. While you wait for the salts try soaking in finely ground oats for 20 minutes once or twice a day. Also, try bragg's acv diluted on your skin. But embrace the dryness you are experiencing right now as that is exactly what you are after. I would also soak in water with a few tea tree oil drips added for about 5 minutes in between these other soaks to help heal those sore sots and skin breaks and to help keep infection at bay. I don't hesitate to do a bleach soak too if I feel I'm really susceptible to infection. I use 1/2 cup for about a 50 gallon tub of water so you would have to break that down to how much for one gallon. Again, just for about 5-10 minutes to kill all bacteria on the skin. I hope this helps and don't hesitate to ask for clarification on anything I said or ask to the why's of what I use and when I use different things for different situations. Best of luck and keep in contact.

    2. Penny, the general idea is to keep the skin clear of all external things such as moisturizers so that the shin strengthens quicker and can withstand the scratching that come with then itching which will continue either way but can be controlled better and is less severe when not moisturizing. It will gradually disappear over time. The skin is in "hypersensitive" mode and reacts to everything while in tsw. Remember the initial rebound when we stop ts is the worst in the first couple months so don't expect an easy ride as it will be difficult at frst, depending on how much ts you used, what strength, and for how long. But if you stick through these initial phases by not moisturizing you will benefit the most. And likely spend 90% of your recovery in relative comfort an able to function normally and not be couch bound. And, very likely recover in half the time it would take if you moisturize the whole way .

    3. Hello Dan,

      Thanks for all the advice!

      I'm going to think about the work situation and how to deal with it. As it's quite tough to determine how much time is needed, am not sure how am I to negotiate with my manager. I'll think about it over the weekend. I'm basically OK to work mentally. Work is a distraction from all the TSW symptoms. it's just a chore not being able to utilise my right hand much. Not going to be doing any note taking till God-knows-when for sure!

      To be honest, my TS history is not as clear as everybody elses'. I do remember when I was younger I had quite bad eczema on the back of my knees, elbows and neck. But if I remembered correctly, I did not use TS then. I think my mom just let me tough it out as she's more of a traditional chinese medicine kinda lady (we're a Chinese Singaporean family). I think I started on TS during my early teens? When I had a particularly troublesome spot on my right hand 4th finger. For many years it was just located there. Come to think of it, I might have gone through a few TSW unintentionally until I couldn't handle the itchiness and discomfort and went back to TS. My last tube of TS is Elomet ointment (

      Oh well. Then as you will know yourself, the eczema rash spread to my whole body! So here I am, doing TSW and MW to get rid of it for good! I would have to say I've used TS for about 20 years? And places I've used them on includes my hands, back of knees, elbows, back of neck, near armpits, chest area. I have not taken oral steroids or inject steroids.

      I would have to say that doing MW has definitely helped. Its my 4th day of MW now and I'm glad to say I didn't scratched at it at all the entire night! And I can see some of the dry skin is starting to flake. Enduring the urge to pick at it. I think the extreme dryness has made it less itchy.

      I did read about how you had to re-soak your hand to straighten it, Do you think its better to keep it straightened or bend? I think I've not straightened my fingers for 4 days already! Hope it is not detrimental to my bones. I'm just constantly flexing it lightly.

      Singapore is sunny all year long and extremely humid. So I will definitely get sun exposure. Will try to sun my hands as much as possible.

      Here are a few images which I took this morning before my shower:

      Does it look like yours during your initial stages?

      Thanks for taking time out of your day to reply my comments. I have a great support system here with my family and boyfriend. However, its also nice to be able to discuss this with someone who has been through it!

    4. Hi Penny,

      After reading what ts you used (as potent as the one I used) and how long you used it, I was a little afraid to look at your pictures. After seeing them I was completely relieved! When I stopped using ts, 100% of both my palms were covered in both small and large skin splits, deep fissures, blisters, swollen, very hot and intense burning sensation, with unbelievable deep itching, etc. One area of my palm about the size of a half dollar was just totaled. Just raw completely broken skin. I slathered the stuff on my hands 2-3 times per day for at least the last year before I stopped and think that is why they were so destroyed. I would assume from these pics that you didn't use it as heavily? My hands then make yours now look like hands I wished I had at the time, believe me. Imagine both hands covered except the tops, that look 10 times worse than your hands look. Only the entire palms and fingers. That is how mine looked. I wished I had taken pics but that was the very last thing on my mind at the time.

      It appears to me that you have quit ts before your skin barrier was completely wiped out. Just my opinion of course. I think the dss soaks will do wonders for your skin as will sun exposure. But be very careful to not get sun burned. You can time yourself and get into the sun several times a day and gradually increase your time as you understand how far you can go before getting burned. One thing I did too was if I start to sweat, I get out of the sun and go back an hour later if possible.

      A couple days after I got my finger straight so I could put gloves back on the skin had begun to peel and my flexibility came back. That would be about 7-10 days after stopping moisturizing and doing dss baths daily and exposing my skin to the sun about 3 times a day every day. I started with about 3-4 minutes sun exposure since my hands were basically just raw flesh in many places with large and wide open fissures, and gradually found I could increase it to about 10 minutes at a time within a few days.

      What you are waiting for right now is for all open wounds to heal over and then the scabs to fall off on their own. Other less serious areas can be picked at but I always found it best to just lightly rub my dry scaly skin against itself when possible. Or, just rub with my hand. It helps keep me from scratching. If you can use dss soaks and sun you can bring all your open skin breaks to a healed state and cruise from there. I use water diluted tea tree oil on any persistent skin splits that the dss and sun doesn't heal. Sometimes one spot will just be persistent.

      After seeing these pics and knowing what stage of tsw you are in I would think you can probably work, depending on what kind of job you have and how quickly you can get things settled down on your hands. You will know. Can you wear thin white cotton gloves at work? Are you worse off on other areas of your body? Your hands look really good compared to what I started out with :)

    5. I forgot to can soak your hand in water for 20 minutes (add finely ground oats if you have them) and it will soften and you will be able to bend your fingers without breaking your skin. Allow to dry in the sun if possible. Keep straight while drying out so you can wear gloves until the scabs fall off on their own. A little after that you should be able to not wear gloves unless a split opens up, which will happen occasionally until your thinned skin gets stronger. That happens a lot faster when not moisturizing. Don't expect to be healed in a couple of weeks from not moisturizing. Some seem to expect that. But do expect your skin to strengthen quicker, and a far more comfortable recovery than if you do moisturize. And, quite possibly it will speed your recovery process too.

  7. hi dan - thanks for your interesting blog.  i have had eczema for 37 years and started TSW in the middle of january.  found ITSAN, connected with a few members, saw dr. rapaport - an expensive undertaking - found your post via another sufferer’s blog.  committed to never using TS again and will start documenting my experience on a blog soon.  have tons of pics.  i pretty much have two sleeves and around eyes is pretty bad.

    for today, i wanted to ask you, when you say moisturizer, what exactly do you mean?  anything at all, or just commercial or even special dermatological ones?  i have used pure, organic, non-deodorized etc coconut oil and find it burns immediately but then works well, not staying in the skin it seems for too long, because i guess it has its only ingredient and not some other emmollients etc.  sometimes i would follow up with egyptian magic.  

    i think i get the whole thing about the skin's protective barrier not healing if you keep putting stuff on, and i also wonder about what happens to the nicely soaked and soft skin after a DSS bath when it then dries out and basically tears open and breaks and gets injured so to speak.  which is the case right now the morning after my first DSS bath.  i wonder whether this really depends on the severity of one’s eczema vs just one’s disease-philosophical disposition.

    btw i bought 60 lbs of sea salt based on your blog and just took a bath last night.  been hearing about the dead sea ever since i was a child and had eczema, some of my friends got their insurance (in europe) pay for them to do a cure in israel and i think it helped.  i wasn’t so lucky.  

    thanks also for your interesting comments about ITSAN.

    let me know when you can - many thanks and good luck in your future healing!  


    1. Hi Michael, when I refer to moisturizers I'm including all emollients, lotions, etc. Anything and everything that is made to apply to the skin, including all natural lotions cremes salves, oils etc. May I ask, when did you start using moisturizers, before Itsan or after? The problem with moisturizing during tsw is the skin is in super hypersensitive mode and reacts strongly to any and all external stimuli. And, when we keep the skin covered with moisturizers, it contributes to keeping our already damaged skin barrier in remaining weak and prolongs the time it takes for it to it recover. Not to mention the added hellish itching it causes. Many studies have been done over the years show long term moisturizing damages a healthy skin barrier after as little as a few weeks. So imagine what it does for people in tsw.

      How one reacts to MW and how the skin drys and cracks depends on the severity of one's symptoms. Some people have less severe symptoms and only have extra dryness to deal with they are not used to, and others like myself go through a lot of added pain with severe cracking and breaking.

      Let me now how bad your symptoms are and I'll try my best to walk you through the first week or two. After that you'll be done with it and will be able to spend your 1-2 year recovery in relative comfort. MW isn't a panacea for tsw but it makes a huge difference in how comfortable you are and how quickly your symptoms stay.

    2. Michael, I was kind enough to answer your questions to the best of my ability. Do you think you could return the favor? I had asked you..."May I ask, when did you start using moisturizers, before Itsan or after?" I'm just curious as to whether you were influenced to use them during tsw by Itsan like I was.

    3. Hi Michael,

      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.:)

  8. dan, i've been very busy and also had the worst outbreak ever, of my life, four days ago. forgive my tardiness.

    thanks for replying in such detail. i have used what you refer to as moisturizers (anything that goes on the skin) since i was 15. amply.

    i get your argument about the skin just reacting violently to any stimuli and it being confused because of the withdrawal. i see others writing about that as well.

    right now, after that horrendous night where i was up til 730am - during which i really noticed a shift in my personality, that's how severe this was (and hence things like responding to people’s communications completely falling off the wayside) - i started, thanks to your advice, to use dead sea salt baths, twice a day, tepid water. then i sit in the hot california noon sun for 30 minutes, spraying ph balanced kangen "beauty" water (2.5?) on my skin. as i was so cracking dry and of course, 30 to 50 bloody skin ruptures, i decided to put on egyptian magic. within 3 days of this regimen, my eczema almost disappeared.

    today, my skin is smooth but i can feel an intense itch returning, some hot flashes mostly in face. perhaps giving evidence to your argument that if i put things on my skin, the skin will eventually start itching. not sure what the lesser of two evils is here - i am thinking that after 30 years of moisturizing, my skin literally has lost its ability to function on its own and therefore, i might damage it more by not putting anything on at all. feel free to disagree with me on this, and back it up.

    jury is out. i started a blog last night, will update with photos when i get around to it. when you see my photos, you will understand my condition, which, yes, sounds more like yours (ie the more severe results although frankly, from the photos i've seen of you, i am magnitudes worse off than you.)

    btw, ITSAN doesnt influence me, other than that i went to rapaport once but this was because i found a young woman's story online, who i subsequently befriended on fb and learned a lot from.

    thanks again for your eager input - i am open to it and your sharing how your MW went. i am sure i can learn a lot from you. keep in mind that depending on the severity of my condition, i may or may not have a lag in responding to you, or even getting a post (i.e. opening my email). but you're undoubtedly familiar with how one feels during outbreaks and how one's social life or psychic moods go then, so i am preaching to the choir.

    thanks much, dan.

  9. Sorry Michael, I didn't know you had a such bad case. You didn't mention how long you used ts and the way you described your symptoms didn't seem that bad. You didn't see what my skin looked like right before and after stopping ts. I never thought of taking pictures until after I had completed MW and started a blog. Never crossed my mind. Within a month of MW my skin was approximately 85% healed. Before MW my palms were open raw flesh, swollen, inflamed, intense burning and nerve pain, extremely painful, and had multiple skin splits (20-30) with many of them being as deep as 1/8" with some as long as 3". Hamburger hands is what I called them at the time. My skin barrier was completely destroyed on both hands. Not just thin skin but completely destroyed and raw meat. No barrier left. I started my blog in October and backdated some posts to quickly bring it up to the date I started it, but I do describe in my first few posts what my symptoms were like, and then again what they were like after MW. To be clear, my first pictures are of hands that were 85% improved over what I started with prior to MW. I'd like to see your skin if you have pics up somewhere or can send to me. I really think I can hep you. I do understand what you're going through mentally, emotionally, and physically. I've buried many of those memories but can bring them up pretty quickly as it was pure hell until I finished MW.

    Before MW I used Egyptian Magic and probably 20 other things in my first couple months of tsw. I found Itsan and the consensus among the vets was to moisturize the skin so that's what I did. Worst thing I ever did next to using the ts. The fact that you've been moisturizing for 30 years doesn't mean the skin has lost it's ability to function at all. It only inhibited it's ability while moisturizing. So, I wouldn't worry about whether your skin will be able to function normally on it's own. If you give it a chance to it most certainly will. The last thing you want to do is do is to go back & forth between MW and moisturizing. I think this excellent post done today by Leslie will help make up your mind on which way you want to go. One purpose of doing MW is to dry the skin out so the cracks, skin splits, fissures, etc. can dry out and scab over. After they scab over they will fall off revealing new skin, usually within 7-10 days. It helps a great deal to have someone that's been through this successfully to help guide you in your first week or so though, especially if your symptoms are severe. Most I've seen aren't very severe.

  10. dan - thanks again for your input. i think you are on to something. btw i did write you that i've had eczema for 37 years. the whole point of writing that was the i have used TS for that amount of time. sorry i wasn't clear about that, i kind of thought that was obvious.

    i created a blog but not very familiar with the interface yet so it's taking me. need to also backdate entries - so, will do that when i have (or choose to make) time.

    i hear you on the severity of your condition. thanks for your encouragement as far as 30 years of moisturizing and my skin being able to still function - i mean i suppose yes, i can see that it still works, has barrier. just comes and goes. yes indeed, it's always been a back and forth, whether or not i've used cortisone, which, upon realizing how friggin depressed i would always get within a few hours of putting cream on, i often of course tried not to use, over the years. i truly have never tried out - i dont think at least - to not put anything on.

    the scabs i had last week did dry out and scabbed over. with egyptian magic. but starting to split open again. so you are saying i need to just not put anything on. what about going into the sun, which ive done for a week now to heal my skin, which it did very well? what about if i accidentally get dish soap on my fingers, then i also dont put anything on and just let the skin dry up?

    (i think these are more rhetorical questions - you can imagine with 30 years (wtf) of experience, i think i sort of know my skin a little bit.) but again - open to your idea.

    one last word, i think I can inderstand what you mean when you write that "Ive tried to reach out to several people over the months offering my help in attempting moisturizer withdrawal with very limited success" - i felt a bit cornered by your - clearly well meaning - reminder for me to reply to you once you had replied to me - i guess nobody wants to be told what to do - even though so many here are looking for answers. anyway, not on a logical, arguable level but on an intuitive one, i can see how some people would be resistant. just honest feedback - perhaps the magic is in the choice of words and the rhetorical approach?

    appreciate you pointing all this out to me, dan. many thanks. we'll be in touch soon - i will let you know when my blog is functioning.


    1. Hi Michael, there is no way I would assume that you used ts for 37 years just because you said you had eczema for 37 years. Not all people use ts for their eczema. I had eczema since age one and never used ts until I was 37 years old and that was for a very small patch of psoriasis.

      You'll find that no matter what moisturizer you use while going through tsw that they will keep your skin breaks open most of the time. That's what drove me to do MW. My skin wouldn't heal while it was kept moist. I had a ton of deep cracks all over my palms and fingers and different moisturizers would heal them somewhat but new ones took their place as soon as the old ones healed. Continuous moisturizing keeps the skin barrier weak and the skin thin. MW didn't eliminate the rash, it closed my cracks so I could finally function again. The dss baths healed most of my rash.

      The answers to your rhetorical questions and more are scattered throughout my blog so I won't try to explain in detail here. If you want me to clarify anything that's fine but questions like what if I drip dish soap on my fingers are pretty easy to figure out. You rinse your fingers off in water and pat dry :D. I wear gloves to protect my hands when doing anything that will expose them to external irritants. I think it would be very beneficial for you to read my blog thoroughly to get a better understanding of how the skin functions, the effects of moisturizers on the skin, and many other things related to tsa/tsw. Your skin gets very little benefit from the sun when it's slathered in moisturizers or sunscreens.

      It is like you said, everybody wants answers but they don't want to be "told" what to do. But, if the sky is blue I'm going to tell you it's blue, not kindly suggest it might be blue.

      I have tried helping people before who do not communicate regularly and it's an impossible task. I don't know why you felt cornered by me simply asking for a reply after waiting for four days and not receiving one. I asked in a kind way.

      So, I now know you are in the throes of some serious shite right now and and know not to expect a speedy reply from you. And you now know I don't beat around the bush and am very straight forward, frank, and don't always use the best choice of words. I can also sometimes be offensive, crass, a jerk, and overly opinionated. I'm not here to make friends. I'm here to show suffering people the most effective way to mange tsw and help people who want my help in doing so. And, to educate people about the propaganda about moisturizing during tsw. I know you are very appreciative, I just want you to understand me better so you don't take me the wrong way.

      I truly wish you the best as I know you have a difficult road ahead. Just know that you will get through it and it will be worth it to live the rest of your life free of steroid induced eczema which is what you have. Real eczema burns itself out by the time you are an adult for the most part and doesn't require ts or moisturizers.

  11. dan, thanks for your excellent reply.

    without much further ado, how would you go about MW? yes i have actually studied your blog, but probably not every single page. would you be open to giving me a simple bullet point list?

    like, just not use anything on the skin and let it crack open? obvious ones like using gloves, yes. i'm talking mainly about my hands. soak them? there are gloves i once had that had something that felt like silicone in them, felt nice but i think they have oils in them that sort of seep through the material and keep your hands moist. yes or no.

    pending a reply from you, i'll just look through your blog when i have time. thanks again, appreciate your time and effort.


    1. Hi Michael, I wish it were as easy as a simple bullet list but it isn't that simple. Please read for most info on MW. For info on gloves see in the Q&A part near the bottom. Those two posts should answer the majority of your questions and give you a pretty good understanding of how to do MW. After reading them let me know if you need further clarification on anything. There are also lot of posts with many comments at the bottom of them that contain a lot of important info both from my answers to peoples questions and other peoples comments.

      The basics to my method of MW are don't apply anything to your skin, do a 20 minute dss bath as often as needed, get as much sun exposure as possible without getting a sunburn. But again there are so many variables to deal with to gain the most optimum and effective MW success which makes a huge difference in how long it takes to complete MW, like water temp, using the correct amount of dss, using things like tea tree oil at the right times and not the wrong times, etc. Controlling scratching during MW is the utmost most important thing involved. Many people don't know that. There are ways to control scratching. Ways to make the process as quick and efficient as possible so to not suffer too much for too long. Each case is different in degree of severity and their are many other factors to consider. Like having a script of antibiotics on hand in case you get an infection. Meds to help you endure pain when needed and for sleep. All kinds of things.

      I prefer to consult with people daily during their initial MW process so it can be done correctly and efficiently. I usually do this via private emails but it can be done here as well. When people with severe symptoms such as yourself do it on their own it only takes doing one thing the wrong way to really screw things up and make things worse, or make the process take much longer than necessary. If you are going to do MW on your own be sure to read a ton first to have a complete understanding of everything before beginning and you'll be much better off. I hope this helps.

    2. Hey Michael, it's been a month since I last heard from you and I was wondering how you are getting along? And also wanted to encourage you to come join our new forum where you'll have the advantage of engaging with like minded people. Come be a part of the community at We just launched our website portal today too called We would love to have you there on the forums and I think you would benefit from the various members.
      Best, Dan