Friday, March 21, 2014

Moisturizer Withdrawal Guide - Topical Steroid Withdrawal

How to do moisturizer withdrawal successfully: The following is the most effective way to withdraw from moisturizers during topical steroid withdrawal that I am aware of. I pioneered this method myself through trial and error, and through much experimentation and research. I hope you find this information useful in withdrawing from moisturizers yourself.

This guide works best for those of you who are already in tsw and are using moisturizers but wish to make your recovery more comfortable via no moisturizing. To get the desired results, please keep in mind that the key to success in this method is the stopping all moisturizers, lotions etc.

List of things you will need before you begin:
1) Dead Sea salt from Israel - best source in the US is at
2) The ability to not leave you house for two weeks if possible

To begin:
1) Stop using all moisturizers, lotions, etc. on your skin
2) Bathe 20 minutes a day using 1-1/2 to 2 pounds of natural Dead Sea salt per bath at tepid water temperature (very important)

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

Using Dead Sea salt baths is your most effective tool next to sun exposure. Dead Sea salt baths work best for when the skin is broken, and should be reduced in frequency when the skin isn't broken. Doing dss daily should be reserved for those times when one is initially starting MW and has a lot of broken skin. The baths should be reduced to every other day asap, and then 1-2 per week for maintenance. I try to go as long as possible without baths or showers at this point to allow the skin's natural oils to come back. I am 9-1/2 months into tsw, and about 90% healed, and I still am not using any soaps or shampoos of any kind, just water.

The reasons for daily Dead Sea salt baths are many, but the most important ones are 1) to dry out the skin and heal open wounds 2) the daily bath re-hydrates your skin, and 3) the minerals absorbed from the salts are very beneficial for inflammation and many other things. One can avoid using all soaps using bath soaks to stay clean as well. MW is the real key and Dead Sea salt baths, tea tree oil and other things are used for healing open wounds. It's the combination of the Dead Sea salt baths, sun exposure, and other little things that make this method the most effective. Not any one thing alone.

Healing Properties of Dead Sea Salts
The following list details some healing properties of the minerals found in Dead Sea Salt:

Magnesium: Aids sleep and relaxation, promotes quick healing of skin tissue and provides the skin’s surface with anti-allergic elements, essential for cell metabolism.

Bromide: Soothes skin, relaxes body muscles, and calms nerves.

Iodine: Important for the correct functioning of the thyroid gland and aids in the body's metabolic exchanges.

Sulfur: A natural disinfectant (constituent of certain vitamins). Known as a powerful detoxifying agent, as it works closely with the liver to rid the body of toxins.

Potassium: Helps balance moisture in the skin and body, aiding in the reduction of water retention and in the nourishment of cells. Potassium also regulates the nervous system.

Calcium: An essential mineral, known to strengthen bones and teeth. Also strengthens cell membranes and cleanses pores.

Sodium: Relieves stiffness and muscle cramps. Sodium is also a powerful detoxifying agent, helping cells retain nourishment and expel waste.

Zinc: When applied topically zinc is known to boost the immune system. Internally, it is a key factor in enzymatic regulation of cell proliferation.

Get as much SUN exposure on your skin every opportunity you get. Alcohol and fragrance free Witch Hazel works well on persistent oozing spots when no sun is available. So does not rinsing after a dds bath. Be very careful with sun exposure early on in tsw to not get sun burnt. Buy a home UVB unit if you can afford one for those winter months.

What to expect when doing Moisturizer Withdrawal:
It depends on the degree of your symptoms. Below is a short summary of my own personal experience which should be helpful. I had severe topical steroid withdrawal/steroid induced eczema  symptoms on my hands, and much less severe symptoms on my arms, legs, feet, and other areas. Below that is a Q&A.

In week 8 of my topical steroid withdrawal I quit moisturizing, exposed my skin to the sun as much as possible without risking sunburn, did daily Dead Sea salt baths, and my skin splits, cracks, and fissures healed over quickly for the first time since I began tsw. In the beginning, the skin on my hands dried out so much I couldn't bend some of the fingers without breaking my skin open. But I was determined to make those skin breaks dry and scab over so I stuck it out. For about 3 days the pain was extremely intense. By the 4th day my situation became more bearable, and by about day 7 or 8 my skin breaks had all scabbed over and the old skin started to peel off on it's own, day after day, revealing new skin underneath. It took a couple weeks from start to finish and it was brutally painful because the skin on my hands dried up like the Sahara desert. My fingers and palms were red and swollen, and my skin felt hot like I had an infection.

In the first couple days the intense burning, itching and nerve pain along with tightness of the skin was nearly unbearable. I had one finger dry halfway closed and couldn't fit a glove over my right hand in the second or third day, so I soaked in a bath to soften the skin and was able to straighten my finger out without breaking the skin open. It dried in the sun extended and I then I couldn't close it all the way ugh! That was better than being stuck closed though, at least I could get a glove back on. But, after a couple more days of self induced torture my skin dried over, scabs formed and fell off, and new skin was in it's place. The relief was unbelievable. For once I didn't have to wear gloves to guard against infection! Yay!!

 The skin barrier on my palms was completely destroyed from my prior prolonged and increased topical steroid use, so moisturizer withdrawal will not be as painful for everybody as it was for me. For many it should be a much easier experience than what I had. Again, depending on the severity of your symptoms and how badly the skin barrier is damaged, and other factors. For me, it was well worth the extra pain for a few days to be much more comfortable for the rest of my multi-month tsw journey. I am currently at month 6 and nearly healed. Have been nearly healed for the last couple of months, but my skin seems to have hit a "stagnant" period and I haven't quite recovered fully as of yet. So, I can't say I'm finished with my tsw quite yet, but I can say ever since I quit using moisturizers my symptoms have improved by about 90%. The improvement went quick at first, then steady improvement over a period of several weeks, and now like I said, stagnant. However, stagnant or not, my tsw barely bothers me now and I expect it will be 100% finished sometime in the next few months at most. Apparently, it takes a long time for the body to recover from the damage long term steroid use causes. The main purpose of moisturizer withdrawal is for comfort. If it speeds up tsw, then that's just a plus. The difference between going through tsw moisturizing and going through tsw not moisturizing is like the difference between night and day.

After my first two days of nearly 90% healed skin I applied a moisturizer again (don't ask me why I don't know) and immediately went back into a flare within hours, good Lord!  It took another 2-3 weeks to heal my skin again by stopping moisturizing and repeating the method I used the first time, mainly dead sea salt baths and sun exposure. The second time around was almost as painful as the first, but not quite as bad since my hands were in better shape this time around. I recently experienced a third flare which was brought on by stress, and although it's been my worst flare to date, my skin is healing back faster then before. If I went back to moisturizing I would be in a continuous flare, I know from attempting it before.

Below are some common questions and answers on MW. It would take too long to cover every possible question in my Q&A here, so if you have any questions please post them in the comment box below and I will respond as soon as I can. As for the reasoning behind what I use for MW, and as to the whys, detailed information can be found throughout my blog, including links to studies which support my views that moisturizing is detrimental to the skin barrier. Even with healthy skin.

Some common Q&A:

Question: So now at 4 days w/o moisturizer I'm dealing with flaking on my ring fingers and tops of both hands. Its unsightly but not quite as red as before when I was using lotions and oils. Hard to bend the fingers and the yellow/honey colored crust is in parts. Just curious what the next stage brings in healing based on your experience?

Answer: Things will continue to slowly improve.

Q: About the salt baths: how often, and did you rinse with clean water after the salt bath? Any exfoliation during the soak when skin was wet? Even after one soak I can tell the redness is less and some of the trouble spots on my legs are beginning to dry out.

A: I do dead sea salt baths once per day and as my skin heals and starts to feel better I cut it back to every other day or so, depending on how my skin is doing. Also, soaking in chemicals like chlorine can not be good, so if you can afford it, buy a chlorine filter either for the bathtub, or one for the water line entering your home. I have read one can add 1,000 mg of powdered Vitamin C to the bath water to neutralize some of the deadly chemicals found in common tap water, so that could be an option. However, I don't know enough about this subject so you may want to research it yourself.

I have read everything from rinse immediately afterwards, to getting out of the tub and waiting 30 minutes before rinsing to allow the minerals from the salts to absorb more, to don't rinse at all. I have tried all three ways and sometimes I rinse immediately, and other times I get out of the tub, pat dry and wait 20 minutes before rinsing in the shower. You are basically trying to mimic being at the dead sea. From what I understand, people who go there go into the water for awhile and then lay on the beach in the sun and dry out, and go back & forth without showering probably until later in the day or evening. I find not rinsing can have more of a drying effect on the skin. I have noticed that when I rinse immediately afterwards, any skin breaks will sting slightly. I figured maybe that was because the bath coated my skin with a thin film from the salt minerals and the rinse washed it off, so I have experimented a little with the other methods and haven't settled on any particular way as of yet. I do rinse immediately for the most part but still experiment with waiting about 20 minutes and then rinsing off any salt crystals remaining on my skin.

Getting sun exposure is very important if you can during the MW process. No need to worry about the skin getting too dry from the sun. You want it to dry, scab, and heal.

I wouldn't suggest exfoliating because when treating our damaged skin we need to allow it to grow and shed naturally and we don't want to inhibit that process by revealing new skin before it's ready. Just soak and allow the dead skin to fall off on it's own when it's ready. You don't want to rush that process. Don't pick it off with your hands during the MW process!

Because I don't want any soap at all on my skin due to it's strong ability to strip the oils from the skin so easily, I never use soap and I don't shampoo my hair. When my 20 minutes are up I usually just rinse in the shower briefly and rinse my hair as much as possible with water only. My hair is actually cleaner and healthier looking doing this than when I used to shampoo it. I have tsw symptoms on different spots on my face and one ear so I often will lay on one side in the tub with one ear and half my head in the water for the first 10 minutes and then turn to the other side for the remaining 10. Sometimes I will also hold my breath and put my face directly face down into the water several times also. I have a spot on one eyelid, side of my nose, and a couple on my chin. All of these spots have cleared now so I don't do that now as much as I used to.

Q: What is the bleach and apple cider vinegar for?

A: I did a bath about once a week (during MW only) with 1/2 cup of bleach added to the water as a precaution for infections. Do not combine with Dead Sea salts. Just water and 1/2 cup straight bleach added to warm water for a 15 minute soak. Rinse well. Never bath or shower in hot water, it strips the skin's oils as much as soaps do. I would add 1-2 cups of Bragg's Apple cider vinegar to a bath about once every week or so to balance the ph of my skin. Again, 10-15 minute soak, and then rinse.

Q: How do I manage the dry spots re-splitting?

A: I found this to be my most difficult thing as the skin is so thin from the topical steroid damage. Especially on the areas that received the most ts. I use witch hazel and/or tea tree oil between baths to control these splits, and keep them out of water other then when bathing. If I feel they have been exposed too much and they are turning red and sore I use water diluted Tea Tree oil on them a few times per day. The dead sea salt baths should help those skin splits heal within a few days, but they do tend to pop open again depending on how weak and thin the skin is in certain areas.

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

Q: What kind of gloves have you used?

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

Q: So how long after you stopped moisturizing did you get relief?

A: It took me about a week to get relief, but about two weeks for the process to complete. Once the old dried skin sheds off (I was careful to allow it to shed on it's own and not help it along) new skin appears. That whole process took me about 10 days to two weeks. The skin still remains very hypersensitive at this stage, since one is not over tsw at this point, but from there on I was much better able to handle my symptoms.

The basics are staying moisturizer free, do daily, or every other day baths with 1 1/2 - 2 pounds of natural dead sea salt, and get as much sun as possible on the areas that bother you, without getting sun burnt of course. Alcohol free "Homestead" witch hazel helps a lot in between baths for oozing areas. TTO worked great at times for healing tiny skin splits. Other times, it would exasperate things, so one has to experiment a little to find if tto works for them.

Q: What did you do to manage the evening itching?

A: The evening itching is maddening no matter what because your body's histamine levels rise throughout the day. I have tried cutting back on eating fermented cheeses, sugar, canned fish, chocolate, coffee, pickles, ketchup and many other foods, but have found that my diet consists mainly of the very things I need to avoid so I have chosen to suffer more itching to eat what I want. However, I still try to keep things in moderation though. The mind plays a key part in healing, so you don't want to make yourself miserable. Strict diets are too difficult for me unless I am facing a life threatening disease. Not so for everyone though. It's a personal decision that only you can make. In early TSW, even drastic changes in diet have little to no effect, due to the intensity and severity of the disease. However, a good diet can only be helpful regardless.

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


  1. "Break on Thru to the Other Side" was a big hit with an old (!) group called "The Doors" back in the late 1960s. If you follow Dan's suggestions, exactly as they are listed, you too will break on thru and as a result, reclaim your healthy skin! I started MW withdrawal and DSS baths in mid-December of 2013. I was at my wits' end after years (not months) of not sleeping--including the times I used anti-histamine tablets, and at this point my skin was becoming infected and re-infected. It was very uncomfortable and itchy at first, to say the least. When I started MW, my face was cracked and continually peeling and itchy. After a mere month of doing DSS baths 1-2 times a week and stopping moisturizer, my skin had cleared up. My hands and face remain clear and clean of cracks, peeling and even itching and no more "red skin" coloring on either my face or my arms. I do have some residual eczema but it is the kind were scratching does not lead to an hour long trance. I sleep very well at night now, and if I do get up to scratch, I am able to go right back to sleep. I'm rarely tired in the daytime anymore and am back at the gym after a 7 month hiatus. With the coming summer, this is an optimal time to try MW as you can go outside and let the sun nourish your skin after a DSS bath. Doing this during a particularly dry and cold winter was not the greatest idea, but it still worked magically! Follow Dan's suggestions if you want to end your steroid use permanently.

    1. Thanks for the vote of confidence and for posting your progress! I think every single person who goes through tsw should be taking advantage of these wonderful healing salts. They've been the biggest tool in my toolbox next to the Sun.

  2. Very comprehensive and useful post, Dan. I've been moisturizer withdrawing for 3 months now, and found that adding moisturizer to certain spots softens the skin but doesn't necessarily speed healing. Due to that finding, I'm just not moisturizing at all now and have more piece of mind not stressing about my skin.

    I was using tea tree oil for quite a while for antimicrobial but I'm pretty sure I was allergic to it, as my skin did much better w/o it, so I'd caution that people find antimicrobials that don't irritate their skin. Bactine has been good for me.

    The medical tape method I used has really sped up the healing of my cracks and my feet are no longer oozing now! I have just received my dead sea salt and am looking forward to trying a soak. Though my skin has been getting better since my last flare, hopefully it will speed things up and I'll be healed in no time!

    Anyway, thanks for pushing me (not without resistance) to moisturizer withdrawal. My skin is dry and strong today rather than a red oozy mess.

    1. Hi Megan, really nice to hear from you and thank you for the kind words. I have read that some people can be allergic to tto. I've used it for decades for different things. On the Bactine...a word of caution. I used it daily for my last two years of using ts on my hands for the multiple skin splits. It made things much worse for me without me knowing it. The reason why is it has Propylene glycol in it. I've posted about this particular ingredient many times because it's in so many things we consume and it's a very damaging chemical to the skin barrier. See To learn more about it type the name and the words skin danger after it in web search.

      The dss soaks will really help you a lot. They are great at healing small spots, and just a must have as far as I'm concerned. Just be sure to do them correctly for your current condition at any given time. If I were you I would start with doing them every two days and then reduce to every 3 days. See how it goes.

      Please be sure to let me know if you have any questions on them. I've done so many now there isn't much I don;t know about what not to do with them. They can work against a person if not done correctly, or done too frequently when not needed. Bath water must never be hotter than body temp. Never hotter than 99 degrees. I use a kitchen meat thermometer to get it right at 98-99. At least I think that's what it is. I don't know but it has a long stem and that helps. Don't be afraid to start out with a full 2 pounds of dss. It won't hurt you :)

    2. Hi Dan, I discovered your blog today and am amazed at what you have achieved and how much knowledge you have gained and thoughtfully imparted to fellow sufferers. I began using dead sea salts on Friday and have missed one day out of four. It has been a revelation. I had no previous idea about the concept of MW, but I did finally figure out on my own that steroid withdrawal was essential and have been steroid free since February 2014. I have been using unrefined shea butter (for 1 month) but began mixing it with doublebase gel a couple of days ago. If I'm too chicken as yet to do MW I know I should at least kick out the doublebase - though it does nothing for my skin on its own other than dilute the shea butter. My question is why would you not consider DSS if you were not MW? I think I read that in one of your replies here. I have noticed an incredible improvement to my skin since using the DSS. I have found that it removes the build up of creams without my having to touch my skin at all and leaves the skin as a soft clean and visibly healing base with which to reapply the shea butter. If I don't shower and only moisturise my skin feels awful and gets drier and drier no matter what I put on it. Probably because I am starving it of oxygen. Hindsight! The shea butter in itself has made a huge difference to my eczema but I was using it constantly throughout the day and night. Since using DSS I have cut back to moisturising to once every 24 hours. Like the old days!!! So part b to my first question, is if I feel myself getting addicted to the benefits of DSS, is it actually going to be worse in the long-term to have them almost every day and if so what is the maximum in a week and how long can I keep it up? For as long as I have eczema or indefinitely? I now use rhassoul clay to wash with as I am allergic to parabens, formaldehyde releasers, perfumes, essential oils, lanolin and plain soap. Not sure what else I can use that will clean and neither strip nor leave build up. Do you have any recommendations? Sorry for hurling so many questions at you and apologies if I I've rambled and not made myself clear! Look forward to hearing from you ;)

    3. Hi Matilde, When I began tsw last late June 2013 I started using Shea butter and absolutely loved it. However, I discovered that smothering my skin in moisturizers of any kind only kept my skin from being able to function properly, and was prolonging how long it took for my skin splits, cracks, fissures, etc to heal. Thus the reason for me doing MW at the beginning of month 3. I was doing the dss baths at the time too. It's just that long term moisturizing damages the skin barrier. I wanted my skin barrier to heal.

      Don't confuse MW with not moisturizing, they are two separate and different things.The former means ceasing the use of moisturizing during tsw and the transition that takes place when doing it, while the later is simply not moisturizing.

      You will see short term benefits to your skin with things like Shea butter, but after a few weeks you will see your skin barrier deteriorate further from continuous moisturizing. At least I could see it with my symptoms anyway. I imagine it depends on how severe your symptoms are as to whether you notice the damage they cause or not. Even if you don't notice it the damage is still happening.

      There is no such thing as getting addicted to dss baths. I did them once a day for my first 3 months, and then every other day for a couple months, and then every 3 days for several months. I currently do one about every 3-7 days depending on how I feel. I'll likely quit them altogether when I run out and go back to what I did pre-tsw, which was a shower every 2-3 days with soap and shampoo (natural and safe soap & shampoo of course). But as far as I know you can do dss baths your whole life if you want. If I did, I wouldn't do more than one every 3 days.

      I'm not sure why you would use anything to wash or clean with since a 20 minute soak cleans very pore in your skin and there is no need for anything else. I went a year without using soaps or shampoos, other than a few times lately, and I was very clean from the dss baths. I hope this helps. Feel free to ask me anything at anytime. Hope you heal fast!

      Be sure to join our forum if you haven't already at

    4. Hi Dan, thanks for taking the time to reply. The addiction to DSS was tongue in cheek ;) It's been so transformative that I can't imagine not using them and just wondered if daily use (even after skin has healed) would do damage in the long-term? You say in your original post 'Doing dss daily should be reserved for those times when one is initially starting MW and has a lot of broken skin. The baths should be reduced to every other day asap, and then 1-2 per week for maintenance.' It was the asap that made me think.

      I have eczema on my face, scalp, underarms, arms, hands, neck, chest, torso and recently patches on my inner thighs. The shea butter dramatically helped with softening the skin , a few ACV soaks dampened the redness (though not on my torso, which now remains the worst area) and DSS did both. It's funny because when I first started applying the shea, the clear areas next to the inflamed skin, would start to develop eczema, it was as if my eczema was saying, you can't catch me, I'll go somewhere else! I refrained from moisturising my torso to see how it compared and after a month it looked no better, so I began applying some shea butter. No change until the DSS that has upped the improvement all over.

      I have rather big (thick) long hair and use shea butter on the ends, which are the driest. It's been fantastic for my hair. I don't use conditioner, hair has felt better for it, but I do need something to wash the dirt out especially if I have shea in my hair. I found that brushing (which for curly hair is a frizz inducing no no) doesn't do enough of a job and if I've been in a smokey environment, the stench clings to my hair and water alone does not get rid of the smell. I only wash my hair once a week anyway, unless I've been near smoke.

      Re MW - I have, for years and to no avail, been pleading with GPs, hospital consultants to recommend a safe, soothing moisturiser. All I was ever offered were emollients and aqueous creams. When I explained to the consultant dermotoligist that they made my skin worse, because they were too thick, caused build-up and trapped heat (hot showers, baths make my skin itch like hell), he told me I was ridiculous. Three years later and medical thinking on that has changed and I've been proved right, so yes I understand the concept of MW (certainly with barrier creams), but I did confuse it with complete long-term withdrawal.

      I'll definitely join your forum! ;)

    5. Hi Matilde, the effects dss baths have can certainly be addictive they are so soothing and relaxing. Not to mention all the other benefits they give. I often doze off in my baths for a brief period they relax me so much. Only when I'm super tired though. If I liked taking baths, which I don't, I would do dss baths once or twice a week for life. I doubt I'll ever quit doing them for good though. When I feel a need to relax, or my skin breaks out, they will be the first thing I do. They can't harm you. Chlorinated tap water can though so be sure to get a good filter for your incoming water line to your house, or at least a filter for the bathtub (much less expensive). Something I haven't done due to finances but things are better now that I'm working full time again so maybe soon! I had read it's not so much soaking in the chlorine and other chemicals in the tap water that's so dangerous, it's the steam we breathe in while in the bathroom. But I'm sure soaking in it can't be good either. I don't even like to think about how many baths I've taken and what long term effects the chemicals in the water might have. How ironic I'll be getting a filter after I heal. A day late and a dollar short lol. Or, a year late and several dollars short.

      Some of the stuff I wrote in my earlier days was off the mark so that needs to be taken into consideration when reading early posts on my blog. I have learned a lot since. I wasn't too far off the mark on most of what I've written though.

      Did you have childhood eczema? What is your approx. age? How long did you use ts and what strength, how much? Just curious. I remember in my first couple of months I used Shea butter on the back of one leg and nothing on the other. The leg I used it on did the same thing where the steroid induced eczema spread outwards.

      See you at the forum!

    6. Well I had my first bath in 6 years on Friday and have missed just one day since then ;) I never had eczema as a child. First time I had it (although I had no idea what it and the doctor did not give it a name) was the day before a university interview. My entire face went red. I was 18 yrs old. The doctor prescribed steroid cream (1%) and the next day it had vanished. Miraculous. Then every now and again (but very infrequently) if the nerves hit I had a little patch on my neck. It wasn't until I was 30yrs old that the eczema came back. First oozing, itchy, crusty sore patches under the eyes, then the top lip, then the neck, then the hand then the arms etc etc. Allergy tests came back saying avoid perfume, but I noticed that cats would aggravate it, as would feathers, then dust then wool. I never experienced the spreading phenomenon with the steroid cream. At least not that I can remember. If it happened it wasn't as obvious as with the shea. Strongest cream was Eumovate and a dose of Prednisone at the beginning of the year caused the backlash that has plagued me since then. I'm doing everything I can to fix my diet. No sugar (incl fruit - until seborrheic eczema gone), alcohol, wheat, gluten, histamine foods. Am drinking raw mil, taking probiotics, Vit D3 as vit level is 23, omega 3 (flax, linseed), ester-c. Never felt healthier but know it's a long road to taming the beast ;)

      I've just read that chlorine in tap water is linked to food allergies. I'll research that tip you gave about adding powdered vit c to bath water!

  3. Hey Dan!
    I'm doing well with my MW, thanks to your guide. I had a huge face flare about 2.5 weeks ago, and just dunked face first into a bowl of warm dss water to start the process. It was SO awful and painful for the first few days, but now I'm better. It's still overall dry and flaky, but much much better. And I see improvement on my face every morning.

    The rest of me is still pretty dry - dusty, chalky, flaky - but not nearly as flaky and irritated as it was pre-MW. I'm just impatient to start making my own skin oils! How long did you take to start making your own oils?

    1. Hi Beth, I'm glad to hear you're doing well with the MW. I don't really know the answer to your question but will tell you what I think. It begins to produce oils the moment we unclog the pores. We just don't notice it with our senses until we've gone long enough without washing it off by showering or bathing. I notice that once I get to about 4-5 days without a bath I can begin to sense the oils on my skin with my fingers. I don't think our ability to produce oils is impaired by tsw symptoms. I just think the oils aren't noticeable until one goes long enough out of water and our senses can sense them. It doesn't mean they aren't being produced just because our skin doesn't feel like an oil slick :) Anyway, that's my take on it. It would be interesting to do some research on the subject.

    2. That makes sense. I have some parts of my body that are perfect normal and feel like soft, smooth skin. It's just so frustrating that the other parts are drier than a desert, chalky and dusty.

      Oh well, TSW, right?

      In your opinion, when is it safe to use lotion again?

    3. My opinion is the same as DR. Fukaya's on this. When you reach your 70's and your body isn't producing enough oils on it's own. This happens when we reach old age. I asked him yesterday about his opinion on when we start producing oils after stopping moisturizing but he hasn't answered as of yet.

  4. I want to start off this post by saying that without Dan's suggestion of MW I would be in a living nightmare and for that deserves ultimate respect. This man has been a more helpful to me than all the doctors I've wasted money on pre and during TSW.

    I began TSW at the end of December last year and was still moisturising, as I thought it would be unnatural not to do so. My skin was always hot, itchy and oozing. No matter what I did it just wouldn't end. The insomnia was the worst of it all. Although I'm still in the early stages of TSW (3 months and going), I'm so much more comfortable ever since I've stopped moisturising, My skin doesn't split and ooze nowhere near as much as before.

    The skin has become a lot tougher and less prone to tearing as a direct result of MW. The DSS baths have been helping heal the splits on my skin and they really really help me control my itching. I'm currently bathing in the salts once every 3 days and so far they have been nothing but a blessing for me during this hellish TSW journey.

    I've been using the DSS for about month now and every week i notice improvements on the texture of my skin, that in itself if evidence that what my friend Dan is saying is true. A great blog by a great person, ITSAN needs to adopt this method of dealing with TSW. This will make TSW a whole lot easier to deal with.

    Many thanks Dan

    1. Hi Moh, good to hear from you! I'm glad I could help. Thanks for the acknowledgment and update on how you're doing! Please keep us posted when possible.


  5. Hey Dan,
    Was wondering if you could help me. I'm currently almost 2months in to tsw (in 2days) have a usage history of 20years of potent hydrocortisone butyrate mainly on my face :( the thing is I started weaning steroids initially, about 6 months ago I stopped all use on my body but started using less on my face. I had tsw on my back, arms, neck hands pretty much straight away. However it started to heal even with me using on my face. Basically, 2 months ago I stopped using on my face and started proper tsw. My body rebounded a bit but has again recovered and at this point is free of tsw symptom except dryness on my arms and very slight rashes on my hands and neck. I moisturise generally only after a shower and wouldn't consider my body to be in tsw. My face however is very much in extreme tsw. It's a raw and oozy mess, which dries into a golden crust. My eyes are swollen even after 2 months and so that skin literally never heals. I currently wash my face daily and then try and use mustard seed oil. Have tried so many oils! But it continues to ooze. It may get close to almost stopping oozing every now and again but then an itch attack reduces it to extremely red oozy mess :( I'm curious to try MW on my face alone. It's just so difficult because when I let it dry it gets tingly itches all over so I don't know how I would cope? Could you please tell me how I could do mw on my face alone, I don't bathe, I shower, so how to apply the Dead Sea salts? And would using miniscule amounts of moisturiser on my body affect mw on my face? Just so desperate to dry the ooze and get away from this horrible cycle of oozing raw skin, to golden crust to dry rashy skin and back again!
    Thankyou so much and I wish you well in your healing!

    1. Hi Abeebah, all I can do is tell you how I would manage my symptoms if I were you since I am not a doctor and can't give medical advice. I would cease using any and all moisturizers on my entire body, do dss baths, or if I didn't have access to a bathtub, do them via the other method I've describe at the end of these comments. If I didn't have a bathtub I would use a very large pan or bowl and place it on a counter and dip my face in it repeatedly for 20 minutes and then a quick rinse of fresh water. I would be sure to do my entire head the same way I've described how I do my head in a bathtub. I would never touch soaps or shampoos of any kind until 100% healed, and keep my showers limited to 1-2 per week. Never in hot water, warm only. Again, no soaps or shampoos of any kind.

      I would think using miniscule amounts of moisturiser on my body wouldn't affect mw on my face but I wouldn't do it anyway as I know it's bad for the skin. As for coping with MW on the face? Once I got done with MW on my face and my skin adjusts, which takes about 2 weeks max if done properly, I wouldn't have to worry about coping after that as the symptoms would be easily manageable at that point.

      As for coping with the initial 1-2 weeks of MW on my face I would have my doctor prescribe a few strong painkillers for the 1-2 days they may be needed while the face cracks and then drys during the process, and meds for sleep that are strong enough to keep me asleep when I want to sleep. I used atarax and Valium (not together but alternate). There are other types of meds that can be used depending on what you want to use. After a couple weeks of MW on the face the oozing will be gone. Most importantly, do NOT scratch your face while doing MW. After it has dried and peeled off on it's own it's not as crucial after that. This is very crucial during the MW process to not scratch the area you are doing MW for. In my case it was mainly my hands but I had lessor symptoms on my face and other areas.

      This will take you 7-14 days and be very painful at times but it's well worth spending the next year afterwards in relative comfort and far less symptoms to deal with. Be sure to read my other MW post and comments at bottom, and as much of my blog you can. Stay in contact during this process and I'll help the best I can.

      Foot Bath/arm/face bath – Use for symptoms on the extremities
      Phase 1: Use a foot spa, bowl or anything clean and watertight. Fill the bath with warm water. Use approximately 8oz (1.5 cups) of salt per 5 gallons of water. Ensure the salt has dissolved then submerge the affected area in the water for approx. 20mins. Take 3 baths per week for 2 – 4 weeks. Rinse or shower with fresh water after bathing.
      Phase 2: After symptoms subside, reduce to a maintenance level. This is different for everyone - try 1 bath per week using the same process as phase 1.


  6. Dan,
    Thank you so much for your response! I am truly thankful for your help and support, may God bless you. I am just about to go and get some Dead Sea salts, as I live in the UK and I'm also short on funds at the moment being unable to work, I wondered if these Dead Sea salts would be appropriate?

    Thank you again for your help

    1. You're very welcome. This site is too expensive. Try this site and be sure to buy as large quantity as you can at a time. They are in the UK. I believe their brand is also available on Amazon but I would buy direct from them. And yes, the natural salt only.

  7. Hi dan,
    I will order from Westlab, just wondering - do I order the coarse or fine salts? Also I have been moisturiser free for a few days, my skin is less raw but has a thick yellow crust that is very itchy and still raw underneath - it oozes if pressed on. So confused as to what is the best thing to do? I wondered if you could perhaps take a look at a picture? Thank you again for your kindness

    1. Post your email address and I won't publish it here and can email you privately.

  8. Hi Dan,
    My name is Yaa, I am 17, and I was wondering if you could help me. I believe I have TSW, but not entirely sure.... I used some very potent steroids (Clobetasol propionate and Fluocinonide) on my face to treat acne and acne scars for 2-4 years (for the life of me I cannot remember when I started!). I would apply the cream to only the spots I wanted to treat, but then I began mixing it in with my moisturizer and apply it liberally all over my face. Occasionally I would apply the cream to my chest or arms if I had some sort of rash (they were always about quarter sized never bigger). I stopped using the creams in early to mid February of this year because the store I bought them from stopped selling them. At the time I didn't know that they contained steroids, my mother had used them and said they were good for stopping rashes. She stopped using them long before I did and has never experienced any TSW symptoms. I on the other hand had what I believe to be a flare in mid April, about a month after I stopped using the creams. My face became very irritated (itchy, red, rashy, burning). It wasn't until after doing some research that I realize I may be going through TSW.

    I used to moisturize my face with Vaseline, but after reading about MW I stopped last week for 2-3 days. I then applied on a small amount of cocoa butter to my face because I had school and didn't want to show up a flaky mess. I don't put lotion on my face but I do use small amounts of jojoba oil as it makes me look normal. I know you recommend MW but I was wondering how long it would take for the flakiness to subside because I don't think I can go to school with my face like that.

    I should also mention that as of now my TSW symptoms are contained to only my face, presumably because I used the creams for the most part on my face. My face is still itchy, so I use witch hazel to soothe it after I shower. I also exfoliate my face everyday with either a pair of exfoliating gloves or a sponge-like exfoliator designed for the face. Is this a good idea to rub off my flaking skin cells everyday?

    I was also wondering if I can do dss baths/washes on my face. I am not sure if my skin is broken as I do not know what that means.... It looks like I have acne on my face, as well as dark spots on both sides of my cheeks that look like my skin has been burned under the top layer. My skin also feels rashy/flaky; the only smooth area is my nose.

    I have been reading the blogs of those going through TSW, as well as the forum, and you guys all seem to have started using steroid creams because of eczema. Well, I don't have eczema, and when I stopped using the creams they were still working (but I do think my skin was addicted because I used them for so long and when I stopped it caused this reaction).

    I know this post was quite long but it's my first time commenting on any type of blog regarding TSW. It's just kind of hard when everyone is basically also trying to get over their TSW and eczema, but I don't have eczema so I don't know what things to try. If you or anyone else could help me I would very much appreciate it. Thank you :]


    1. Hi Yaa,

      So sorry to hear this. I can't diagnose or give medical advice since I'm not a licensed physician but I can give my opinions. I hope my country is still free enough for me to do that anyway. If not, then let the chips fall where they may. It sounds to me like tsa/tsw and if I were you I would never use another steroid in any form unless it was a life and death situation. But that's me. Some people suggest they are safe in very short term use, say 1-2 weeks out of 1-2 years. That I can agree with but wouldn't do it myself.

      I've read many posts from people who got tsa and are in tsw from things like chemical exposure to the hands and others. It's not exclusive to only people with eczema. For the most part real eczema exists only in childhood, and adults who have so called "eczema" and "atopic dermatitis" really have what's called "steroid induced eczema", which is not real eczema but looks just like it.

      Did your mom use it heavily like you did and for as long as you did? If more, a lot more? if less, a lot less?

      I personally wouldn't exfoliate my skin during tsw because the skin needs to heal and all dead skin on it should be left to fall off on it's own for optimum effectiveness in the new skin underneath to be ready before being exposed to the world. The Japanese tsa/tsw doctors recommend to not pick your skin off for this reason. Naturally that isn't always possible because the itching can be extremely intense at times and we scratch. I spent most of my time in my first several months of tsw rubbing my dry flaky skin with my hands just to keep from scratching it. It even seemed to help smooth out the scaly skin. That was rubbing dry scaly and rashy skin against the same like sandpaper. Very lightly. It seemed to help relieve the itching. I still do it occasionally on my hands but try not to.

    2. Those early months were pure hell for me and it sounds like you aren't doing too bad at all. I rebounded with steroid induced eczema in large patches within a week of stopping ts. I think most people do. My hands where I used most of the ts worsened considerably immediately upon cessation of the ts.

      Yes, you can do facial dss soaks if you want. Broken skin is when it's split open where the skin is so thin from the ts, cracks, fissures, tiny splits, raw skin that oozes and/or bleeds etc. Rash that seeps or bleeds after scratching it. That's what I mean by broken skin. When your skin is open to outside bacteria.

      I wouldn't do dss soaks unless I didn't use moisturizers. You are in a difficult situation I can see. If you go dry you will look quite different I can assure you. It all depends on how long you want the itching to last. And how vain you are. Studies show any and all moisturizers, no matter how organic and safe they seem to be, damage the skin barrier over time. Mainly because the skin can't function normally when smothered in stuff. I believe this is one of many reasons some people end up using ts. Skin eruptions from a weakened skin barrier exposed to irritants like chemicals that are in Vaseline for instance. Or, the sun. One can break out with what has been called photo sensitivity, a reaction from sunlight and the toxic chemicals in one's skin from sunscreen lotions, make up, moisturizers, ts, etc.etc.

      I believe doctors have coined the term "Persistant photo-allergic dermatitis (also known as a persistent light reaction or chronic actinic dermatitis)". They have to make up big fancy names for common things for some odd reason. Like calling acid indigestion "acid reflux syndrome" , or "acid reflux disease" lol. It's just that people sometimes combine their foods improperly. Why don't doctors tell you that instead of prescribing drugs so you can continue to not eat properly and not even realize what's really going on. Rather than take a daily pill for "acid reflux disease" one only needs to stop doing things like combining fruits with proteins. A quick relief if a person does get acid indigestion is to simply drink a tablespoon of acv in a cup of water, or baking soda in water. But I digress.

    3. Yaa,

      Feel free to come join our new forum that I and 3 other co-founders just got up and running here

    4. Yaa, you can email me here, on our new forum, or privately if you prefer.

  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  10. Hi Dan,

    I too have been doing dead sea salt baths for about 1 1/2 years but the real difference came when I STOPPED moisturizing and upped the baths to everyday. The baths did help before but the difference in this new approach is a blessing. My arms responded to as little as 1/4 cup of dead sea salt and no moisturizing but my face is starting to do its thing now that I am up to 2 cups ( 1 pound) dead sea salt. It hasn't been too too bad I think because I have been doing the baths this long already and already gone through the worst part.I figured at this point nothing could be worse than anything I had already gone through. Thanks for your guide :o) .

    Other things that have gotten me through this besides the support of family, friends and faith are:
    -getting some sun
    -Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (tsw brought on anxiety)
    -8 week program of Mindfulness and continued practice of the Mindful meditations
    -20mg of Reactine (either 2*10mg 24hr relief pill or 1*20mg Reactine 24hr relief pill which can only get with a prescription) An allergist told me that 10mg would not be enough to get me through. I too at one point used Atarax in the generic form.
    -spent last summer in Greece swimming and staying in the sun everyday.. At the beginning was only able to stay 5min in the sea by the end of my stay in Greece I was up to 45mins. Hat on head while swimming and no more than 20mins in the sun with NO sunscreen or sunblock.
    -humidifier when home was below 40% and a dehumidifier when home was too humid and an air conditioner when home was too hot. I never needed these appliances before but with TSW I needed to be comfortable
    -change my cotton-poly sheets to 100% cotton and this made sleeping a little cooler

    Thnx for giving me the courage to give MW a try. For those of you who have been going through TSW for a while now and are kinda loosing hope, I would say give this a go. My TSW started on face and then spread to neck, chest, tummy, arms hands, back and front of thighs. The dead sea salts have been a big help but I think the NO moisturizing was the key to solving the puzzle for me. Mindfulness was also a big help.

    Keep the faith alive one day at a time my friends.

    My prayers were literally answered when I found this site. The day before I was praying for direction and the next day although I had read about MW before I found Dan's site.

    I live in Montreal and was able to get dead sea salts from this site . It takes a couple of days for the salts to get shipped so I make sure to order well before I run out.

    Be well :o)

    1. Hi Spanakopita,

      Thank you for the kind comments and for posting and sharing your experience. MW is the real key as you have discovered. That is because moisturizing destroys the skin barrier, and if we stop moisturizing after moisturizing for some time, the skin begins to toughen up. Which means the skin barrier begins to heal. Dss helps aid the skin as does the sun and fresh air.

      Come join us on our new forum if you haven't yet at

  11. Can I do MW on just my arms or am I supposed to do it whole body? I'm going to try it to see if my arms will produce its own oils and then move onto another body part. I joined the new forum and I'm absolutely loving it! So much more open than ITSAN ever was!

    1. HI Geanna, some people have done it that way, Seems like a difficult way to go but if it works then why not? I wouldn't expect to see your skin produce oils though, because although it does, it's not something that is very noticeable.What you will notice though is your skin will get stronger on the areas you stop applying moisturizer. Your skin will feel better overall and heal faster when you stop moisturizing it. For me it's all or nothing when it comes to things like this but again, one can do it one limb at a time as well. I say save yourself the time and do it all at once or try to do as much at once as possible. Doing it one limb at a time to me is like getting Sun on one limb at a time. Why prolong healing? I'm glad you enjoy the new forum, we sorely needed another forum for sure!

  12. Hi Dan. First and foremost, I thank you so much for your blog. I have been an eczema sufferer all my life. Nonetheless, in the last 2 1/2 years or so, my conditioned worsened leading me to go to my dermatologist and him prescribing a combination of a mild oil with a stronger cream. I had been dealing with my flares for the past 2 years with that. I wasn't always consistent though and my flares would get worse and never really go away like before. But back in sept / oct I had been going thru the worst flare up of my life! Symptoms like the constant burning, the flaking, the chills (I couldn't stand being in an air conditioned room which made work hell), led me to become hopeless and depressed. I was in torture very hour of every day. I caved in and went to my dermatologist for more steroids before learning about TSA which was a week ago. Knowing of this conditions, its effect on the body, and realizing that what I had been suffering all along was the withdrawal symptoms was a life altering eye opening experience!! Finally!! An explanation that made sense! Right then and there I threw all my steroid tubes out and began my TSW journey.

    It's been a week and I am already getting red, and starting to burn again. My eye area and chin have began to flake a bit and my arms are really dry. After reading your blog entries I have decided to do MW at the same time as far it hasn't been so so bad. I am going to follow your advice on the baths as well. I have read so many entries and tried to prepare myself so much mentally for this journey. I am nervous because I still have a vivid memory of the hell I was living a short month ago and to know that it will get worse is something I am preparing for. Reading your entries and your advice comfort me a bit and hopefully, I will be prepared for whatever my body throws my way.

    One question: Did the salt bath sting or hurt you when you had opened wounds? With this last flare taking a shower was traumatic because of the stinging and the burn no matter how short I kept them. I shouldn't have taken showers in the first place anyway I guess. Anyway...thank you for being so thorough with you experience and advice. It has helped me understand what was happening to me in the past and is helping me cope with what I will experience in the future. Thanks!

    1. Hi Laura, thank you for your kind works. I'm so sorry you have to go through this but at least you have the benefit of my and others experiences. I would highly recommend reading Dr. Fukaya's blog thoroughly to get a better understanding of how the skin reacts to ts, and other valuable info you can glean from his blog and the comment sections.

      I found that dss baths are best for when my skin was the worst in my first 2-3 months, badly cracked skin, skin splits, raw skin, oozing, etc. Not so good when the skin is better, I guess due to the fact they can cause extra itching (salt residue on skin). Using moisturizers in the beginning of my tsw exacerbated my rebound effect immensely, but I didn't realize it until the end of month two at which point I figured it out. Conventional wisdom at the time was to moisturize for comfort so for the first time in my life I started applying moisturizers. Bad bad mistake. I was in so much hell I have a difficult time describing it.

      I think the burning is from chlorine and other chemicals added to the water. Get yourself a really good filter if you can afford it. I never did get around to it. It's on my list of a thousand things to do.

      I looked forward to every dss bath with great anticipation because it relieved the pain greatly (100% by about minutes 15-20), just the opposite of what people would think. But, once the open wounds are healed and one is only dealing with rash and itching they don't seem to work as well. Same for some types of flares.

      Staying off moisturizers, soaps, lotions, shampoos, etc will help you a lot. It's a necessity in my opinion. That's what's so good about doing various types of baths. Dss, acv, bleach only when called for on rare occasions, plain water. You become pretty clean after soaking in water for 20 minutes. I've finally gone back to showering (thank God) but do not use any soap or shampoo when I shower. So, I take a good bath about once every couple of weeks. I actually kind of stopped showering lately too. I like the greasy feel on my skin after what I had been through. But I do use a wash cloth and have my dw wash my hair using shampoo when it gets too itchy and dirty. I never had an issue on my scalp so not worried about using a natural shampoo there.

      The dss only slightly stings for the first 10 minutes and then you start feeling like your in heaven when the pain goes away at around the 10-15 minute mark. And I emphasize "slightly". Open wounds will sting when you rinse (chemicals in water) so I always rinsed as quickly as possible. The more open wounds I had the quicker the rinse, and if no open wounds I would rinse longer and get most all salt residue off. Feel free to ask me questions anytime. I wish you the best.

  13. Hi Dan,

    Thanks for your wonderful blog, so helpful!

    I started TSW 11 days ago and I started MW 9 days ago. My TSW red rash covered most of my body and ever since I started MW, my skin has been so much better. Now, the majority of my rash is either light pink or white and those ares are covered with white new skin flakes.

    I have been avoiding showering or bathing during MW because I want to give my skin a chance to heal on its own. Especially now that my skin is flaking, I do not want to mess with the flakes or interrupt this process of healing. So, my question to you is, should I take a DSS bath during this time or just let my skin do its thing?

    Thanks again!


  14. Hi Caileigh, you are very welcome! I'm glad you find it helpful. I reserve dss baths for only when my skin is broken badly, say after a major scratch fest. Otherwise, I find the baths too drying with a tendency to lead to more itching, and then to more scratching. The merry-go-round of tsw. It also depends on what stage the skin is in.... early tsw, flaring, late stage tsw, etc. Good luck!

  15. Hi Dan, you've heard this a million times, but your blog has been so helpful (a lifesaver if I may say)! Like some previous comments, I am not sure if I have been going through TSW, even with hours upon hours of reading and researching (ITSAN was not 100% helpful for me). Well, some history of my skin: had eczema as a kid, multiple steroid creams prescribed, taken no longer than 2 weeks at a time, clear skin for most of my teens and 20's....well I move to Los Angeles (right next to LAX airport-literally it is my neighbor) and my skin instantly breaks out all over. Went to urgent care June 29th and was diagnosed with hives from some sort of allergic reaction (unknown to this day)-shot of steroid and Rx of prednisone: clear skin! 2 weeks later (July 13th) I am in urgent care again for the same thing-hives with no known cause (the quack doctor said "it was the sun!")-another round of prednisone and told to use lidex (fluocinose ?) as needed: clear skin! 2 weeks later (July 29th)-hives started appearing on my face again and the skin on my neck and inner elbows and hands were getting bad red patches-went back to urgent care and was given ANOTHER Rx for prednisone-this time I was told it was the heat and just use the steroid cream. Took 2 pills from the Rx and decided "no I can't do this for a 3rd time!"). Stopped cold turkey from ALL steroids on August 4th. My skin only got worse, but not the bone deep burning or red sleeves or extreme oozing or flaking. Do you think oral steroids with the minimal use of topical steroids could have caused TSW? I tried using lotions and oils and nothing helped-only made it worse! You must be shocked! Ha! Decided to do MW and started August 8th. My skin still seems to fluctuate as far as color (really red to kinda brown) and inflammation, but for the most part all the areas of trouble have dried up and now I have one massive scab (what feels like a scab at least) that goes all around my neck and chest. It's pretty uncomfortable at times. I am coming up on the 1 week mark and still haven't seen any shedding of my old dry skin. Do you think it's because it is over such a large area? Also, when you finished your process of MW and said your new skin appeared, did it look clear and healthy? I appreciate you taking the time to read this long post and look forward to a response! I plan on checking out your forum! Thanks!

    1. Hi Victoria, our cells have memory and I think you experienced something very similar to what I did when I used ts a couple times at about my 14 month point where I was mostly healed but had a couple open spots on my hands. Just using a tiny amount for a couple of days healed my skin but a couple weeks later it opened back up and basically reverted back to the same. But, a couple months later I used again the same amount and that time things changed for the worse a week after stopping. I ended up having to do tsw over again in fast forward sort of speak. The deep itch returned, but disappeared within a couple of weeks. Anyway, I wrote a post about it on my blog. It was like starting tsw all over again but most symptoms only lasted a couple of months instead of years like the first time. My guess is using oral steroids would do the same and that is what you are experiencing. You then aggravated the problem using lotions etc.

      I don't think how large the area is really makes much difference. It has been my experience that my skin takes at least 2 weeks to start shedding, and 4 weeks for it to complete. One must not rush it by picking at it. Have to allow the scabs to fall off on their own. They protect the new skin that is growing underneath, and that skin isn't ready for prime time until the old falls off.

      The MW process only sets in motion the ability of the skin to heal faster than if using moisturizers. It doesn't heal the skin. It allows the skin to dry and scab over, and do it's natural thing. It can't do it's natural thing very easy when clogged. You will see new skin as the dried scabs fall off. Important to baby that new skin until it has time to strengthen. I hope this helps!

    2. Hi dan, following up after a few days. My scabs and dry flakes have started to fall off. The new skin underneath is definitely new still and I don't want to call it "raw" but it does seem like it needs to be babied and strengthened. How do you recommend I strengthen it?? I read you said sun exposure was a good thing-I am worried about sun burns, especially since my skin is still so new. Do you think it is still beneficial in the healing process? Also, this last question may seem broad and difficult to answer, but ANY info you have is appreciated! What do you recommend to help maintain my new skin and prevent it from becoming inflamed?? Thanks!

    3. Hi Victoria, I exposed my skin to the sun several times a day early on in my tsw when my skin was at it's worst. I found it nothing but beneficial. And I'm talking open deep fissures, cracks, oozing raw areas, etc etc. You just have to use common sense and not expose it more than 10-15 minutes at a time. I did it daily in my first 3 months (July-Sept) and never once got a sunburn or damaged my skin. Right in the hottest parts of the days in early afternoon too. I ALWAYS went straight from my dss baths into the sun for a good 10-20 minutes. Actually, I did sun before and after each bath. I did my best to get sun on my affected areas at least 3-4 times a day. It is a myth that one should avoid the sun in early tsw.

      Maintaining the new theory is same as the old skin, nothing on it other than air and sunshine, and keep it clean by avoiding getting anything on it other than air and sunshine. Never expose it to soaps, lotions, moisturizers, etc. I take omega3 fish oil, drink lots of chemical free water daily, and take VitD3 when I don't get much sun. All helpful to maintaining good skin. It takes lots of time for the skin barrier to heal from the damage ts and chemicals in lotions & moisturizers cause.

    4. Oh boy, I seem to find new questions and unknowns everyday...I so appreciate your responses, Dan! I hope these are my last few questions for you:

      1) what did your skin look like when you said it was about 90% healed at the 6 month period and went into this stagnant period?
      2) have you had a flare since being healed from TSW and if so, what do you do to manage the flare?
      3) Do you recommend putting Bragg's acv directly onto the skin?

      Thanks, Dan!

    5. 1) what did your skin look like when you said it was about 90% healed at the 6 month period and went into this stagnant period? It looked 90% healed.

      2) have you had a flare since being healed from TSW and if so, what do you do to manage the flare? I'm not fully healed yet. I have had plenty of mini flares and one huge flare. I manage them the same way I manage all of my tsw symptoms.

      3) Do you recommend putting Bragg's acv directly onto the skin? No, I do not. Occasionally when I feel the pH balance on my skin "may" be out of whack, I like to use about 1-1/2 cups acv to a warm bath and soak for 10 minutes, then rinse. I never really know how beneficial it is though.

  16. Hi there!

    So I'm into month 2 at this time and I've been researching and considering doing MW. Everyone talks about bathing in DSS a lot. Unfortunately, I live in a small crumby apartment in nyc and do not have a bath tub to soak in :(. What would you recommend?

    1. Hi Jacqueline, maybe you have a friend or relative you can use their tub every 2 or 3 days? If no access to a bath tub you can still do MW. You won't have the aid of dss baths but that shouldn't keep you from suffocating your skin. Also, dss baths are mainly good for cases where the skin is badly broken while doing tsw. I don't know if you have badly broken skin or not, but if not, you wouldn't really need to do dss baths. Best, Dan

    2. Whew! Sure glad there is a delete button on here! Not sure where my mind was on that one. Anyhow, how bad is your skin, what areas are affected, how much and how long did you use topical steroids? I know many people in other countries who don't have tubs use large bowls for dss soaks. That works fine for most extremities. For symptoms on non extremities, a wash rag can be used. One can mix their dss water and stand in a shower stall and rinse dss water over their affected areas for 20 minutes and then do a wash rag rinse with pure water. That's about all I can think of.

  17. I went through TSW & healed in 4 months. I tried the dead sea salt baths & didn't care for it. It made my skin super dry & itchy. I use Exederm fragrance free shampoo on my hair & their fragrance free conditioner. It doesn't bother me one bit. I was using fragrance free Minerin creme in the jar for my skin & it really hydrated my skin that I still sometimes put it on just the itchy parts after a shower with just plain water that's all. Today I didn't have to use it but my skin shedding is all gone, most of all my itching is gone & no more pain that I even helped my sister paint today & I have atopic dermatitis but you couldn't tell today because it's practically all gone. I think what works for one person may not always work for another. Whatever makes you comfortable is the key

    1. Hi, you must have not used much ts if you healed in four months. I'd love to hear from you two months from now to see if you are still healed. The Minerin cream has ingredients in it that are known to damage the skin barrier, so that should be avoided imo. Dss baths do dry the skin and that is the purpose of using them when one has open skin breaks. They help close them, and also provide the skin with essential minerals which helps it heal.

      Whatever makes you comfortable is NOT the key. Many things make one comfortable in the short term that cause long term damage, or impede healing. What works for one person should work for most people, since we are all basically the same biologically. Again, just my opinions here :)

  18. Dan I'm 57 & was born with Atopic Dermatitis. I've used topical steroids all my life practically. I decided to quit in February due to my skin thinning, bruising & boils. I even ended up in the hospital last month I was so bad. My face was shedding & looked horrible. My eyes were swollen, my skin had sores & cut marks all over from hands, arms & legs due to the intense itching. I was a mess. I was in severe pain & my skin was burning. I lost weight due to a decrease appetite that I was so weak I could barely walk. Yes I did have TSW but I was just lucky I came out of it soon. I also prayed a lot & my family & friends kept praying for me even my neighbors did. I was also suicidal when I had this. I think God gave me another chance but it took a lot of determination, strength & prayers. Lots & lots of prayers!!!!!

    1. Hi Lisa, just goes to show, praying really works! I know the hell you went through and am very happy to hear how much better you are and how quickly. Stay well!

  19. Interesting information here. 60 yr old male who is very serious about physical fitness (runner, long bike rides, gym, get the routine). Lived by beach in California for many years but now in drier Arizona. Over the years I would use a mild steroid cream or ointment on my fingers if there was an issue.

    Nearly two years ago I had a break out of a rash on hands and arms which cause was unknown. Dermatologist gave me an antibiotic, antihistamine, and Prednisone (with the usual tapering down). Cleared up followed by smaller outbreak, for which I was prescribed a medium strength steroid ointment. Everything cleared up fine.

    A few weeks ago I had considerable four days of sun exposure for more than 6 hours per day in desert for four days. Used a sunscreen, and only hands were mostly exposed. A few days passed and the back of my hands flared red and were swollen. However, a few days later a rash outbreak occurred on my fingers, arms, and upper legs. I no longer wish to take steroids. My dermatologist appt. is in three weeks. What is on back of hands (red and swollen) appears different than the rash on other body areas.Not sure how my dermatologist will react when I tell her "No more steroids." I plan to commence with your program on my own. Was using moisturizer and some of jar of left over steroid ointment. No more.

    1. Hi, thanks for commenting. Did you see my new post I made this morning on my blog titled "Topical Steroids and The Moisturizer Connection"? Please comment over on that new thread. At a minimum, please read it. It should help in giving a better idea on what has happened to you.

      Your case reminds me of a study I had read about a year or so ago where doctors had figured out that a woman who had a 20 year long problem on the tops of her hands was coming from an interaction with the sun and chemicals in her skin while driving long drives with her hands exposed to the sun on her steering wheel. It took them 20 years!

      Anyway, it appears you have both problems of topical steroid addiction and the symptoms associated with using ts, and a different but somewhat related condition of what is likely red skin syndrome (RSS), from the sun exposure and reactions from it.

      When we use various lotions, moisturizers, etc., we subject our skin to skin barrier damaging chemicals, depending on what we use. I am pretty sure you had a chemical reaction in your skin due to chemical residues left in it from prior applications of sunscreen.

      Good luck with Derms. If it weren't for drugs like ts, I really don't know how they would stay in business, since what would take their place would be naturopaths, or other holistic medical practitioners.

      Again, please read my new post I made on 8/03/16 titled "Topical Steroids and The Moisturizer Connection". Lots of valuable info on that post imho. Again, thanks for writing and don't hesitate to write again. Did I say "again" enough :)

    2. Monkey, I meant to say thank you for sharing your experience. It helps me, and anyone else who reads it. It is invaluable. Thanks again, Dan

  20. Hi, I am nearing the end of my moisturizer withdrawal. I don't really have open sores or anything, but I still have intense itching and occasional burning. Should I adjust my dss bath method at all since I am not in really bad shape? Should I bother with moisturizer withdrawal?

    1. Hi, MW is just a term for transitioning from moisturizing to not moisturizing during tsw. Many people find not moisturizing during tsw helps. Others prefer it, but they seem to experience a very miserable recovery. I think due to the effects that moisturizing has on the skin, which is hypersensitive during tsw.

      I prefer to not do dss baths when my skin is not broken. They seem to make it itchier for me. I mainly do dss baths when I have badly broken skin to help heal the broken skin and get it to scab over.

  21. Huge thanks to everyone who shared on here. A few years ago I fixed my diet and eliminated my eczema. It felt awesome. Recently I had a flare (where I unknowingly re introduced gluten)... and foolishly agreed to use TS after which I started to suffer RSS and systemic symptoms. Moisturiser made it worse and itched like crazy.

    Last week I went cold turkey. No TS No M. It feels bad chills, flakes, pain but I can see it working. The itch is less than before but seems to be due to flakey skin which brushes off. I am convinced the key to good skin is nothing. Blogs like this have helped me move forward. Thanks again.

    1. Hi Craig, thank you for expressing your appreciation. Let me know if you have any questions during this process. It can be overwhelming at times. Here is a link to give you a bit more sure to scroll down and click on "more comments" and be sure to read those too.

      This is an interesting and informative short read I just found yesterday.

  22. Hi dan I have a 13 minute month old. She was on a short course of ts and going given 2 oral steroids different times and initial otc cortisone. 4 month period. I stopped as. It dawned on me that the ts was causin her a delay. I want to do moisturizer withdrawal bc I notice the moisturizer makes her worse at times. I'm doing all organic and natural moisturizer. Any tips for her would b great. I know it's different for a baby. I am going to try your protocol. She does acv in baths already. If I can't get dss what should I use in interim?

    1. Hi Dana, I'm so sorry to hear this. It sickens me to know how many doctors start babies off on steroids. I suspect that would lead to a lifetime use of them, and very serious problems down the road. TS are not to be used more than two weeks per year, according to the pharmaceutical manufacturers information and instructions for use of them. Many doctors are unaware of this for some reason, and tell people to use more than what is recommended. Plus, otc ts are easily obtained, which gives people a false sense of safety/security using them.

      Please read the two links I posted to Craig above. The link below is the most important....mainly the first page...once people understand how the skin functions, the test is easy to figure out. Just the first page tells anyone all they need to know on how to protect their it carefully and you will see why nothing should be put on the skin, especially harsh chemicals in soaps, lotions, moisturizers, everything...even clothes with the sizing they spray on them.

      ACV are fine once in a while to help balance the pH on the skin. I did one about every 2-3 months. DSS baths and sun exposure are the only things I know of that actually aid the skin in healing. There is no alternative. If I had a young child I would probably also restrict dairy and sugar from their diet until they are recovered. Personally, I think it's the baby powders, baby oils, etc that cause much of what people call "diaper rash" and other skin eruptions on babies. Then they use ts to treat said rash. Latest studies on these products show just how harmful to the skin they really are.

      Don't hesitate to email me, or ask questions at anytime. Dan

  23. Just some random thoughts....

    I started using moisturizers on my doctors advice, and on the advice of the vets on Itsan. Everyone used moisturizers for comfort. Ha! I figured out the moisturizers were actually making me far more uncomfortable by further damaging my skin barrier at a time I was trying to heal it. It's like throwing gasoline on a fire!

    I don't believe there are diseases of the skin that need moisturizers. If you read up on how the skin functions you would see this is a practically impossible method of healing the skin. It only further exacerbates the problems.

    We are all victims of a powerful propaganda network called the medical establishment and big business with slick modern day snake oil sales pitches. They have literally brainwashed generations into thinking they need to put moisturizers on their skin. Not hard to do with the tv as a medium and money as a motive.

    Your skin stops producing oils when oils are put on it. When they are no longer put there, the skin will readjust (remember) and begin to produce oils on it's own again. At age 65 on up the body loses some of it's oil producing ability and that is when you will want to use natural moisturizers daily and wash them off at night so the skin and can recover from the day use.

    Be sure you are not using any soaps or shampoos on affected areas. Preferably not on your body at all while in tsw, and for one full year after recovery. Soaking in dss bath for 20 minutes and rinsing your hair in the shower afterwards will keep your entire body clean. You will find your hair will love not being shampooed, and will even look better. This only applies while you are doing baths. Once you heal and prefer showers you can go back to a natural shampoo like SHIKAI "natural everyday Shampoo". For laundry I use Biokleen Laundry Powder, Free & Clear, 10 Pounds (amazon title). I also add a few drops of pure tto to the laundry water and always wash on the longest double rinse cycle. 100% cotton sheets and clothes are a must as well.

    "i have been really wondering why soooo many people who use the same amounts of lotion as i, do not have my type of skin eruptions.?"

    ANSWER: we all have different genetic make-ups and many people have gene mutations that make their skin more susceptible to damage than people without the same gene mutations.

    People like "us" simply need to avoid things that are harmful to skin. It's really that simple. Harsh laundry detergents, soap, lotions, moisturizers, etc. Good diet helps as well. As does exercise. If you deal with it from this viewpoint you will see you really need to do very little other than to protect your skin from harsh chemicals.

  24. Hi Dan, thank you for sharing your experience and advice on MW! may i know how much sun exposure (minutes) should we get?

    1. Hi Kristyling, no advice given or intended, only sharing my experience. And you are welcome! I'm happy to provide information that I wish I had access to when I began my tsw journey. I found no problem exposing my raw skin to hot summer sun, but I kept the exposure time limited to 5-10 minutes at a time, and did it as many times per day I could. Usually 4-5 times a day for me. This is a personal decision, and one must take into consideration their own skin pigment color, and know their limits. I have a somewhat darker complexion. I look very white in the winter and spring but by mid summer I look much darker. Probably the small amount of Native American Indian in my bloodline.

      In retrospect, after experimenting with this and having to go through two tsw's in 4 years, I have found that dds baths are as effective, and possibly more so, than sun exposure. I know it must sound crazy but this is what I've experienced firsthand. Still, I believe sun exposure is "as" important, so I do both :)

    2. I need to clarify that last statement. I'm speaking of healing/scabbing broken skin. Once my skin has no breaks in it, I do not do dss baths at all, just lots of sun exposure.

  25. Dear Dan ,
    I'm writing for my son . He is into two monthsof tsw and mw . Suffering a lot . His entire body had cracked open. And oozed .Most of his body has no cracks and skin is better now . But his face is not . As it dries it itched and he scratches and it's back to sqaure one .
    We had stopped atarax also , as we were having to keep increasing dosage and it wasn't as effective .
    How can we stop the itching .

  26. Hi Lisa, that's good news your son already has no broken skin after just 2 months. I suspect that is due to not moisturizing from the start. MW is a term to describe the process of transitioning from using them, and ceasing their use altogether. The process typically takes 10-15 days. It causes the body to "recognize" the skin needs to start producing oils again. Therefore, I would just say he is in 2 months ts and doesn't moisturize. People often confuse what MW is, so I wanted to clarify that for everyone.

    After 4 years of ups & downs, rebounding, healing, and many flares, I can now say with full confidence that Dead Sea Salt baths have been, and continue to be at times, my best tool for managing my symptoms. Not only for bringing relief from itching, but also quick healing of lighter symptom areas, and helping badly broken skin. As for dss baths, people have to try them and go by how their skin is doing. Sometimes the baths only aggravate the skin and makes for more suffering than needed. It all depends on what stage the skin is at any given time. Sorry to sound so vague but is truly the way it is. More often than not though, I find dss baths work wonders.

    I don't know your son's age or how much, and what strength, or for how long he used topical steroids, but I would highly recommend you find a caring doctor who is open minded and willing to learn about tsa/tsw/RSS for support in getting your son through this with as little suffering as possible. Hope that helps!

    1. Dear Dan
      Thank you for your prompt reply.My son has been on antihistamines, oral and topical steroids , antibiotics ,etc for 9 years now . Various doctors trying various treatments . His college performance suffered a lot due to his condition . Which made him sad as he could never perform to his abilities .
      We had also tried , homeopath , which did not help him .
      Now we are trying an ayurvedic medicine . Stopped all antihistamines , moisturizer, steroids in the beginning of June . The withdrawal in June and July was bad . His skin has cleared up on the back , arms and most of the legs . Still has itching and minute cuts on the torso , neck and parts of the leg .
      The face is the worst . It still itches badly and scratching breaks the skin . A vicious cycle . Probably because the face is where he had applied topical steroids .
      We don't know what we can apply to soothe .
      He is highly allergic to chemicals and certain foods.
      We are off dairy , animal products , wheat and nuts. Living on fruits , vegetables , dals, millets etc .
      We tried all the doctors around , but all advocate use of steroids .
      My son uses Cetaphil moisturizer once a day when he goes out on his face . I told him that could be why his face is itchy and he commented that he needs it to go out and that parts of his leg where he doesn't apply it also itch .
      Whenever he eats something that doesn't agree with him , his face breaks out and itches badly .
      Will this stop one day ?
      My son is now 24 . Unable to work or study , due to itchy face and eyes ...
      Thank you for your concern .

    2. I'm curious, did he have childhood eczema and does it run in the family? Please read my latest post dated 8/6/17 and respond there if you would.

  27. Hi Dan, good read. Quick question: what do you feel about vitamins? Like E, A, Biotin, etc??

    Do you think it's a good idea to take them?

    1. Hi Ryan, I don't think they help with tsw symptoms but I do take various vitamins for my general health. I believe it really depends on one's diet as to whether they need to supplement with vitamins or not. Example: I take 5,000 IU Vitamin D3 daily for most the year. I don't take it during the summer when I get a lot of sun exposure. I always take Vitamin B's as I don't eat much beef. I take a probiotic with acidophilus because I eat a lot of sugar...etc, etc. I would avoid high potency vitamins. I had read that they can actually cause cancer. Don't know if it's true, but makes sense. Best, Dan