Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Undisputable Evidence Moisturizing Prolongs TSW Recovery

I recently had an interesting exchange on someone else's blog with a woman who owns ands sells natural skin products and want to share it so people can gain a better understanding of the negative effects of any and all moisturizer products on the skin no matter if you are in tsw or not. At the end you will see I posed my theory to Dr. Fukaya and got his opinion. This should be very helpful for anyone who has questions as to whether they should moisturize or not. The blog this occurred on and the person's name I had this exchange with will remain unnamed for privacy purposes. Since I prefer not to mention names I'll just refer to the person as "moisturizer advocate". After reading this and the information in the links provided, you will see that moisturizing your skin slows healing from tsw considerably.

Moisturizer advocate:
I was only looking at your blog to see if you might want to review our Calendula Cream. It is a water free emollient with anti-inflammatory calendula, water free means no preservatives or emulsifiers, so it is really good for very sensitive types. We have had many amazing customer reviews and just won Gold in the free from skin care awards problem skin category. I would just like to send you some, maybe it will help. Read about it on our web site under calendula cream section. If you would like some just email me, I will send it for free whether you want to review or not.

But what about this study?

Many people going through tsw have discovered that NOT moisturizing makes a significant difference in healing times, severity of the condition itself, and in general, comfort and manageability of their steroid induced eczema.

Also, your website's claim "Our waterless Healing Calendula cream contains soothing lavender essential oil to soothe the itch." is not true for all people. Lavender is a common skin irritant for many people.

I applaud your effort to provide natural skin care products, and know firsthand Calendula is a very effective healer, the link above shows why people shouldn't moisturize long term. But even if used short term while in tsw, all moisturizers will irritate the skin and prolong healing, even though it may appear they are beneficial in the short term.

Moisturizer advocate:
Dan, do you have access to the full text of the study you flagged up? I am very interested to find out what sort of moisturiser was used. I am pretty sure it would be an emulsion of water and emollients held together with emulsifiers as this is a 'conventional' moisturiser. If this is the case I would expect it to have a detrimental effect on skin barrier function and therefore make skin more susceptible to irritants. This is because you outer layer of skin, the stratum corneum, is a delicate balance of lipids and water. I have argued for some time that applying emulifiers to any skin is a really bad idea. This is why I have been promoting moisturising, and cleansing, with 100% natural oils. Natural oils contain the same fatty acids used by your skin in the stratum corneum they neatly repair breeches without disruption. I would be amazed to find any study finding this sort of moisturising detrimental.

I don't understand why moisturising is a bad idea when in TSW, can you explain please and do you believe moisturising with natural oils has the same outcome as using coventional moisturisers? I am very interested to learn more about TSW.

I hope those wrestling with the terrible dilimma, about whether to moisturise or not have the benefit of understanding how different moistuising products and indeed simple carrier oils work on the skin, how they affect skin barrier function and how skin barrier fuction works (googling stratum corneum is a good idea). I really feel this is important when making an informed decision, and an informed decision is really necessary at a time like this.

Also, to answer you point about lavender, I agree there are people allergic to all sorts of natural compounds, but fortunately there is a huge range of options including simple pure oils like virgin coconut, olive etc. I always advise patch testing any substance to check for reactions and I strive to alert customers to the potential allergens in my products, I take on board I have maybe not emphasised the essential oils issue enough, I will look at this. I am thinking about these issues as I consider extending my range of products too.

 I don't have any other info on that study other than the link to what you saw. No doubt a moisturizer that has an emulsion is more damaging to the skin than one without it, but that doesn't necessarily mean moisturizers without emulsions are good to put on the skin. Nor does it change the fact that people are led to believe they need to moisturize their skin when they really don't. I believe that using a moisturizer that doesn't have an emulsion ingredient in it is better than using one with it, but using no moisturizer is even better yet. As to seeing studies on whether this sort of moisturizing is detrimental, see this study on olive oil, which is the base in many "natural" moisturizer products: Also see: And, check this one out:

Why promote moisturizing anyway? It's harmful, not helpful. The only thing one needs to understand is that applying any moisturizer to the skin weakens the skin barrier if done for more then a couple weeks or so. See

During tsw the skin is extremely hypersensitive and anything put on it makes the itching that accompanies tsw far more intense. That is just one reason why people shouldn't put anything on their skin during tsw. Another is, moisturizing the skin basically tricks the body into thinking it doesn't need to moisturize itself. And there is more as well that I don't have time to go into here.

Patch testing is useless during tsw due to false positives that occur due to the effects of tsw.

Let's distinguish the hype from the truth. Hype: you need to moisturize your skin for various reasons. Truth: you don't need to moisturize your skin because your body has the ability to do it on it's own, and trying to do it for the body only interferes with this natural process and weakens the skin barrier in the long run, even in people with healthy skin that aren't in tsw.

I do lump all products together when I say moisturizers. But it really doesn't matter. Putting stuff on your skin other than pure water is not good for your skin no matter what it is with few exceptions. There is no need to establish what works for anyone because what works is allowing the body to do it's thing, not treat symptoms and make the situation worse. People who believe they need to moisturize have simply allowed themselves to be brainwashed. No disrespect meant, that's just the truth as I see it. It just makes logical sense to me.

Why do you think very few men moisturize their skin and don't have a need to? And most all women moisturize their skin and feel they have a need to? Women think they need to moisturize because of conventional wisdom from the medical community (same people that promote ts), and because they believe the hype they see on the television and read on various publications. And, because they have compromised their skin barrier by applying various moisturizers to their skin most their lives. Problem is, it's like ts. The skin just gets worse over time. Allow your skin to function on it's own and the "illusion" of needing to moisturize will eventually be gone. Continue to moisturize and the skin will continue to have problems and you will think you need to moisturize. Just like ts. Again, you have to ask yourself why men have soft skin all their lives without moisturizing to see my point.

I believe there are natural oils one can safely use on their skin only if they use them short term, as in a day or a few days, but that's about it. These are just my opinions but I try to back them up with studies when possible. Itsan made a claim a couple of months ago that they have never seen anyone heal from tsw in under a year. I know one person who healed in 9 months, and I healed in just a year and a couple of weeks. The difference between us and the many hundreds of others in tsw is we didn't use moisturizers. The rest are all still struggling with tsw due to moisturizing and keeping their skin barrier in a weakened state. It's all very obvious. I've been telling people this since I did MW at the beginning of month 3 of my tsw when I could see moisturizers like Calendula and Shea butter were very effective short term but then the skin worsened after a few weeks.

As for Lavender, it's a well known skin irritant, much more so than most other plants. But, I'm open to changing my opinions if anyone can disprove what I am saying. Anecdotal evidence shows I'm correct, as do studies done by people who aren't selling products, or doing studies with a predetermined outcome in mind for the purpose of selling products.

After writing this I decided to ask Dr. Fukaya if he agreed with me as to my idea that moisturizing has negative effects on the skin not only with people in tsw but also people with healthy skin and his answer is interesting. See my question to him and his response at the bottom of this article here:


  1. …I understand your reasoning that those in TSW may well benefit from refraining from all topical treatments, but I would presume they would have to be careful to maintain skin barrier function by avoiding detrimental activities, not just to avoid excessive moisture loss and resulting dry skin, but to avoid invasion by pathogens. I suspect each person is different and everyone has to find the best solution for their own skin type and situation. I don’t pretend to understand why you found moisturisers worked for a while and then worsened the situation, but I wonder if you became sensitised to ingredients like Calendula and/or shea butter (maybe just temporarily) I admire the work you are doing to inform sufferers and I hope this discussion is helpful, I hope it gets picked up and proper research done. As we all know, as long as the big pharma are selling steroids, this is unlikely, so I hope people like us keep talking about it.

    I don’t think false positives make patch testing useless, as the subject would be seeking a negative. Again it’s surely a matter of being aware that things can change with out warning when in TSW and being cautious. From what you have said, I would be more concerned about getting a negative and then becoming sensitised. Maybe someone in this situation who did feel they need to moisturise would benefit from changing their emollient regularly -? Just an idea. I will be writing about this on my site as I think it is really important to alert people to this possibility, even though it may put some people off buying my products.

    Regarding men and moisturising. I think men look more weathered that women and this is the look that society accepts. I don’t think your average woman wants the the skin of a man the same age. I think this says more about our society’s attitudes than it does about skin health.

    I respect your belief that all natural oils are only safe short term (for people without TSW). I currently disagree, but I will be keeping an eye out for new information, especially about oleic acid. I had a baby about the time the study you flagged up was published and I have been a bit out of touch. You have certainly fired me up and it is great to be hearing about such groundbreaking ideas and research.

    I agree with you about lavender (and other essential oils) containing allergens - they are listed on my labels and website. Whilst this is important to consider I don’t think it is a reason to never use them, That’s like saying we should ban nuts in food because some of people are allergic to them. I do think the natural beauty world has to start thinking about sensitisation (people developing allergies) to natural products - in particular essential oils. I think this is on the rise because of wider use. I am currently addressing this issue as I expand my own range.

    I am sure we will have to agree to disagree on many of these points. I have learned a lot from this discussion and it will change the way I work and think to some extent. I hope you have found it positive too. I am in business and I do have an interest in selling products. I did, however, choose this business because I feel it can do some good while making me an income. There are others like me and we do care, and we are striving to make genuinely helpful products and spread helpful information because we feel commercial skincare has gone very awry. I will be writing about the potential of healing without moisturisers and about hypersensitivity to products in TSW on my own site, happily, at the risk of putting off potential customers.

    1. Hi Vicky, I admire your strong desire to provide safe alternatives to toxic moisturizers that so many people use. There may be certain natural oils which are likely safe to use short term, but I still don't think anything is good long term on the skin from my understanding of how the skin functions. I'm a strong believer in the healing powers of Calendula. And definitely don't see any ill effects from exposing the skin to Dead Sea salts. But then again, I don't subject my skin to dss 24/7, and regardless of what base Calendula is in, I still think it is only good to use short term. But if people like yourself can come up with the right ingredients for products that can be useful to most people, it may be worthwhile. But again, for limited use and not for long term use. I believe a person not in tsw can use a safe moisturizer in the daytime on part of their skin, and wash it off at night so the skin can function normally while sleeping, effectively retaining it's natural ability to function on it's own. I think that makes sense. But not cover the skin most of the time.

      Yes, people in tsw have to be careful to maintain skin barrier function by avoiding detrimental activities for sure. The reason I found Calenduda worked for a while and then my condition worsened was due to it being in a base of olive oil. As for the Shea butter and about 20 other natural oils I tried, I can only attribute the reason to the studies I've pointed out, and what I've seen in my own body and others who have stopped using all moisturizers.

      Patch testing during tsw is useless because the markers are all over the place while in tsw and the tests do no good during the tsw period. This has already been well established. As for men looking more weathered, I think if you actually just looked at and felt their skin you would discover it is just as soft as any normal persons skin should be. Not silicon feeling like one's skin might feel from using different types of moisturizers, but just normal soft and supple skin.

  2. Oh, Believe it or not that was only half of my response, - Sorry - You did give me a lots of points to answer Dan - Here's the first half that somehow didn't publish - sorry…

    …Wow! Dan, this is very interesting information thank you for taking the time to answer in such depth. I will answer your points one by one

    Regading these studies:
    Also see:
    And, check this one out:

    The first two links are regarding the same study, which makes fascinating reading, The third link is the one we discussed on the 13th, so I won’t go into that again.

    The study about sunflower and olive oil found that olive oil disrupted skin barrier function and oleic acid is the suspected culprit. Oleic Acid is very prolific in natural oils and, although this is a very small study I think this could be the start of a big shake up. I have had doubts about Oleic Acid for some time because it is extracted and used as a penetration enhancer (a substance which weakens the skin barrier to aid topical application of active ingredients or drugs) I looked some years ago for studies about it but could not find any negative findings, I have however reduced it in my recent formulations and listed a complete fatty acid profile on my product pages to help those with an interest make an informed choice. While this study goes some way to confirming my suspicions, and explains why many people don’t get on with olive oil for the oil cleansing method, it does not prove that all moisturising with all natural oils is detrimental, in fact it found that the sunflower oil improved skin barrier function.

    The other article you mention: /Is%20moisturizing%20really%20a%20help%20to%20cure%3F

    Is again interesting and proves that excess moisture in the skin in detrimental. The article concludes that excessive moisturising could be detrimental. Again this is food for thought and could be part of a well over due renaissance. However it does not mean that a person suffering from dry skin and the associated reduced barrier function will not benefit from moisturisation, or that dry skin, left unchecked will not cause problems. It also proves that skin barrier function is affected by environmental humidity.

    I totally understand your point that skin left to it’s own devices will self balance. I think this makes perfect sense and I am very impressed by your own success and passion. However, I do think that in this modern world skin is rarely left to it’s own devices and unless we avoid situations that reduce skin barrier functions like using soaps, detergents, hot baths, swimming, central heating, windy weather, reduced humidity, etc, we may need a moisturiser. I believe most people would find it difficult to avoid these factors, so there is a place for moisturisers in our society and I still believe natural, water-free (and therefore emulsifier and preservative free) are best. I do appreciate the situation is different for those in TSW.

    1. I agree that in this modern world where we have been bombarded with chemicals that many people can have skin problems. But they need to stop using things toxic soaps etc, not treat the symptoms those toxic substances cause. I don't agree that things like windy weather, cold weather, humidity, etc. calls for external application of oils to the skin either. Maybe extra clothing or avoidance of these conditions would be helpful. But again, the body can take care of itself if we take care of our body. By taking care, I don't mean applying oils on the skin, but as in diet, avoiding chemicals whenever possible, and using common sense to stay out of cold windy weather when naked, wear hats and long sleeves when one has had enough sun exposure and anymore would be detrimental, etc.

      I think many people end up using topical steroids due to skin eruptions from the use of various moisturizers and make up which contain toxic ingredients. So, providing a safer alternative for these people is a good thing, even though I believe the better alternative is to use nothing on the skin and allow the skin to function naturally. I think it's a common misperception that people need to treat their skin at the first sign of any perceived dryness, low humidity, cold weather, etc.

  3. Well, that was easy. Anyone else want to come here and tell me moisturizing is a good thing for the skin? I thought not.