Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Picture Update - Month 25 - Topical Steroid Withdrawal Worked For Me!

Yes, topical steroid withdrawal really did work for me! Oh boy where do I start? It's been so long since I have made a post on my blog. I was checking out the web for any new sites and blogs a couple days ago when I came across a site that mysteriously rhymes with Itsan. But it's not Itsan. It's called Etsin! The site holds itself out as a eczema and topical steroids network, and offers help, or should I say an alternative to tsw. But, it appears to me it is there to discredit tsw and bloggers who advocate tsw. The site says "TSW has received increased attention by bloggers in the last few years – spreading by means of sensationalism and unfounded fear. Advocates of TSW defend it as the safest alternative to treating steroid addiction but factually, it poses far greater risks than tapering topical steroids – in regards to the treatment of eczema." I found this statement to be hilarious to say the least. Note, it says in regards to the treatment of eczema. How misleading is that statement? First of all, people who are doing tsw are NOT doing it to treat eczema. Let's just get that straight from the get go. They are doing it to recover from the damage that topical steroids have caused to their bodies. What a convenient way to create confusion amongst those who don't know the difference.

It is very ironic how that website also says rather than risk tsw, the better way is to use topical steroids and taper down! That is simply not possible as thousands of people worldwide have shown. At least for not those people anyway. Duh! You think we haven't tried tapering down?! Then they have several testimonials from past customers (read victims) testifying how great people are doing while on their steroids! I can't help but laugh. But sadly, this is not a laughing matter. I read no testimonials of people saying they used ts the way the site suggests and who have stopped using them for an extended period of time with no reaction. Check the site out and see for yourself how their alternative to tsw is to use more steroids with the idea one can taper off them! How ridiculous is that for those of us who know the truth?

I have much to say but really am sick and tired of tsw and all that comes with it, so will just post pictures of my hands as they are today and let you decide whether tsw is the way to go, or using ts as that site suggests. The site seems to confuse damage from ts with eczema. They don't seem to get that people doing tsw are not doing it because they have eczema, they are doing it because the ts they have used for whatever reason has finally caught up with them, and they are experiencing steroid induced rash, period. But, maybe that is their intention eh? To create confusion so the masses don't learn the TRUTH.

On moisturizers. I used to believe not using moisturizers would help speed the recovery process of tsw. I no longer believe that now. However, I do believe using moisturizers slows the recovery process for obvious reasons. If one constantly irritates an already destroyed skin barrier with moisturizers, obviously the skin will take longer to heal. That is just plain ole common sense. This is not to mention the greatly increased discomfort moisturizing causes while doing tsw.

So anyway, you fucking moronic so called doctors out there, here are my hands after two years of NOT using topical steroids. Well, to be fair, I did use them a couple times about a year ago which was a BIG mistake. If I hadn't, I know I would have healed much sooner. Not the best pictures but best I can do today. There is a pic showing my left arm, my right arm looks the same. It came out dark and I didn't feel like retaking it, since I'm right handed it's kind of difficult for me. What little leftover scabbing you see on my right palm is greatly exaggerated with these close-up pics. It is just the remnants of a former destroyed skin barrier, which is now nearly fully healed. When viewing these pictures keep in mind that two years ago my hands literally looked like raw hamburger meat.

Anyway, you fucking money grubbing Derms, take a good look here what stopping the use of topical steroids does as compared to your patients you so delightfully prescribe them to on a daily basis. You fucking bastards. So, I'll have to be on steroids for the rest of my life huh Mr Derm? Say again? Fuck you, you sick motherfuckers. My testimonial shows without a doubt that the ONLY way to recover from topical steroid addiction is to stop using the steroids. It IS the steroids that causes the condition, therefore, it IS the steroids that must be stopped. Fucking morons. I'm a living testament to this.

Show me one person who has "tapered" off topical steroids and has skin that looks like this after one or two years of that last application. You can't you fucking derelicts. I know. Most of my family has been using ts for most their lives on & off. They can't stop because when they do the steroid induced rash is created and comes out demanding more steroids. I did stop. It was hell, but well worth it. I'll never need to use them again to heal the damage my previous use caused for the rest of my life. Just the opposite of what the top Derm on the west coast told me when I pleaded for his help and support in stopping. I had to go it alone. Bastard! All I really want to know is this....how in the hell can you sleep at night knowing what you are doing to your fellow man?
















94 comments:

  1. Well done Dan, your hands look amazing! Very inspirational. There is hope for us all away from these nasty steroids. Also good effort actively spreading the word. There is hope for us all!

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  2. Everyone.....please post your progress here with your own tsw. Especially those of you who are now recovered, or nearly fully recovered like I am. I want people who stumble across this post in the future to know that tsw is the ONLY way to go, and that doing tsw using steroids is NOT the answer to topical steroid addiction. People deserve the truth and need to know. Don't do it for me, do it for them.

    On a personal note, I would love to hear from everyone I have talked to in the past two years just to know how you are doing. Please no questions though, I am not in a position to give advice, only my experience and opinions.

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  3. My 19 year old son is about 6 months in o TSW & in that time has not used moisturizing cream, steroids,or anything prescribed by a Doctor. he is in a pretty bad way with all over skin shedding, serum oozing, insane itching night & day & has an appointment next week with another Dermatologist referred by his new doctor who has been researching Red skin syndrome/TSW - My son is adamant he wants no more steroids or creams & wants to go cold turkey with his skin. He does not even use soap or shampoo any more & has dilute bleach baths to help with the itching, will see if he will allow a few pics later. Your skin is looking great by the way. :)

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    1. This is sad to hear. I know exactly how he must feel as I've been there. He seems to have figured out what he needs to do. I thought I was healed at my one year mark and started taking showers with soap and shampoo for a couple of weeks and it came back on me due to using soap again. I hadn't touched soap in that first year. Dr. Fukaya told me to not use soap for a good two years after I completed tsw. So, needless to say, I haven't used soap since. I bathe when I want to get clean. A 20 minute soak in water seems to do the job quite well.

      It is my understanding, based on my own life experience with childhood eczema, and what Dr. Rapaport has said, that eczema goes away for the most part when one reaches their late teens. From the age of one year to my mid teens my arms and legs were covered with eczema. It never bothered me as I didn't know anything else. By the time I reached my mid teens it started disappearing on it's own. I never used anything. I was free of eczema from that point on until my 30's when I had a tiny persistent spot of psoriasis that just wouldn't go away on it's own. That is when I was prescribed a powerful ts to use and told to use it every day regardless if the small rash was gone or not. After 20 years of very minimal use on that one tiny spot, I began to break out in steroid induced rash on my right palm. So, I started applying the magic elixir on my palm. Two years later both palms were covered with the rash and I was wearing up to 20 band aids at a time, slathering my hands with my ts 2-3 times a day. I totaled my skin barrier on my hands unwittingly.

      So, I searched the web for answers and found what your son likely found. And here I am two years later free of the poison, and nearly 100% healed. I'll be very honest, it wasn't easy by any means. But, even that small spot of psoriasis has finally disappeared a couple months ago for the first time in 22 years. I am much older than your son, in not the best health, and heal much slower than a 19 year old does. So, give him my best and tell him to hang in there. He is very likely nearly over the very worst part of tsw, those first 6 months are truly horrible. But, it does get better with each passing day, and soon that deep bone itch will be gone and then it gets much easier from there. He needs as much support as he can get to recover. But, good luck with finding a doctor who will learn about this stuff. They are all extremely busy and really don't have the time to do the proper research. I found a doc who supported me and prescribed the drugs I needed to get through this. Most Derms are useless in my opinion, as they make their living nearly exclusively by prescribing steroids. They don't know anything else.

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    2. Just wondering your thoughts on phototherapy? It's has immune modulating effect on the skin. It's been helping me by reducing itch!

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    3. Hi Sophie, I tried it with no success. I haven't really heard of anyone who has had much success with it while in tsw. The Sun is best. Nothing can really duplicate it.

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  4. Keep keeping off steroid creams, it's a bitch of a long struggle I know but steroid creams affect the immune system and you're in allergen overdrive. I chose not to go down the immunosuppressant route and changed my diet, which doctors had told me had NOTHING to do with my eczema but when your body is in a hyper state your allergies and intolerances will increase. I highly recommend The Low Histamine Chef for invaluable information about histamine intolerance. Cut out high histamine foods and introduce antihistamine foods like cucumber, watermelon, squash, nettles (fresh leaves for making tea if you fancy a forage).. My hands looked like yours for more than 2 years and changing my diet has brought them back to normal. It's not a quick fix, but it does work. Good luck trooper xxx

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    1. Thanks for posting this info! Yes, you are so very right on with this. I didn't change my diet very much so I feel I likely took a little longer than it should have. But, from all that I have read, you are indeed correct. I have avoided high histamine foods like aged cheese, pickles, smoked fish, etc. Not completely, but I'd say I cut 75% of them out of my diet. Alcohol is the biggest one. Any of you who are going through tsw would notice that if you drink say once a week. If you drink alcohol more often than that you likely wouldn't notice the difference due to not being able to tell the difference from not giving it a break so you could tell. But, it is the worst imo when it comes to increasing histamine levels. A healthy diet is SO beneficial to a person's health regardless, and it can only help. Avoiding foods high in histamines greatly reduces the itching. And like you eluded to, a healthy diet keeps the immune system stronger, which is very important for obvious reasons. Thanks again for posting!

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  5. So happy for you Dan! Your hands look amazing compared to 2 years ago! I'm doing terrific. I'm 99% sure my TSW is over....I think it has been for about 4 to 5 months now. I have a few dry patches on forearm but thats it. I stopped chocolate and the hives and itching on my neck was gone in 3 days and hasn't returned. ...that was just over a month ago. I haven't oozed in over a year. Life is great! Even my hands are 100% clear! I am only on a few of my gene mutation vitamins and that's it... no more supplements or anything else. Again glad to see you doing so well!

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    1. Hi Tracy! So nice to hear from you! I'm so glad you are healed after watching what you went through. I've loosely followed your blog and knew you were. So nice to have our hands back eh? The hands have got to be the worst place to have tsw symptoms imo. I know the face is a bad place (eyelids, lips), but we don't have a need to use our face hundreds of times a day do we? Or, other parts of the body. I had it on most parts when I stopped topical steroids COLD TURKEY.

      As you know, we both have the same gene mutations. I also have geared down all the vitamins and supplements. I still have a half full bottle of Tri-Fortify Orange Liposomal Glutathione that I haven't touched in months! Expensive stuff, but I just got tired of taking so much stuff, and I guess I got to the point where I felt I no longer needed it. I'll probably finish it though as I really liked the energy it gave me. I just forget I have it I'm so busy catching up on that first year of being down that entire year. Anyhow, I'm taking the Seeking health HomocysteX Plus once a day, a probiotic every day or so, omega3 fish oil once or so a week when I remember to (used to be every day), and that's about it. I quit taking MSM a few months ago but I went back to taking some in the evenings. I'll probably quit again when the bottle runs out. Like you said life is great! It was a rough road I would never want to take again and I'm so grateful I pulled through. And, so happy to see others who have made it! Thanks for everything Tracy!

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  6. Hi Dan
    I'm currently 11 months tsw and just started moisturizer withdrawal yesterday. I'd been following your blog and I know you were a big believer of moisturizer withdrawal, you actually got me to try it and I was following your guide haha. But you say now you don't think it helps speed the process? In your opinion do you still think it's worth going through mw now? Or does it not matter? I'm soo incredibly uncomfortable right now.. I'm wondering if I should still continue? Thanks for the update!

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    1. Hi Jocelyn, I feel moisturizing slows the recovery process and at the same time makes one extremely miserable the entire duration of their tsw. I'm sure everyone who has stopped putting stuff on their skin for any two month stretch would agree. There were two times I tried to use moisturizers again after stopping them, and both times I went into a frenzied itch attack like nobody's business. I've heard others say the same thing. Within a couple hours at most I did dss bath soaks in an attempt to get the moisturizer back out of my skin pores. Worked pretty well but using moisturizers after stopping did set off flares both times.

      If you are at 11 months and experiencing that kind of discomfort I would bet my bottom dollar that it's the continuous use of moisturizers that is causing your extreme discomfort. It takes a good 7-14 days after one stops using moisturizers (MW) for the skin to settle down and mellow out. From there on the comfort level just gets better and better with each passing day. That is, as compared to how it is while using moisturizers.

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    2. Thanks for the reply Dan!
      Im in a full body flare unfortunately.. Started flaring in June and now red skins covering about 85% of my body again. I assume it's the famous anniversary flare.. Since flaring I've been needing more and more moisturizer compared to month 5-7 when my skin cleared and only used once a day.. so I definitely think that's why I'm in extreme discomfort too. I think I'll stick to it though, thank you! Also, does it have to be dss baths? What about Epsom salt baths? I only have Epsom salt at the moment but wondering if that's what's made me extremely dry right now? Or does it not matter? Haha thanks again!

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    3. I'd say the moisturizer very likely is partially responsible for causing the flare but that is just my opinion. I found dss baths are only good for when the skin is broken, not for RSS. Your skin may break in many places if you stop moisturizing and allow it to begin it's healing process uninhibited. Epsom salt baths are not helpful, as it's the minerals in the dss that is so beneficial to the skin. Epsom salts don't have those minerals. When I stopped moisturizing at month 2 or 3 it was my goal to have dry skin. But dry skin on it's own, not helped to be dry by using something like Epsom salt baths. If your flare started in June it seems like it should be done by now or darn close to it.

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  7. Way to go Dan!!! I'm still dry in places but a combo of coconut and almond oil does the trick as well as taking 3 tablespoons of coconut oil and 3 tablespoons of sesame oil a day. I see a very good naturopath that listens and I can call and get my question answered within just a few minutes and that I can also email and they'll reply back. What conventional doctor does that without charging an arm and leg? Very few!! So glad you're doing so much better!

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    1. Hi Geanna, thanks! I hesitated for a few days on publishing your post only because of your advocacy of using moisturizers. But, after some thought I decided to try and explain to you once again why using moisturizers are not good for the skin. It sounds like you are using moisturizers because your skin is dry. If you do some reading on how the skin functions you will discover that putting moisturizers on the skin inhibits the skin's own natural ability to produce it's own oils. Moisturizing in effect tricks your body into thinking it doesn't need to produce oil, so your skin stops producing oil as a result. It's really very simple and easy to understand.

      Also, as has been noted many times, during tsw the skin is extremely hypersensitive. ANYTHING put on the skin during the recovery period only irritates the skin, therefore creates more pain and slows the recovery process. Many are confused by this and I frankly don't understand why because it is such simple logic. There are numerous various studies out there that show what I've said here to be factual and not just something I believe or am guessing at. Do a simple web search on how the skin functions and you will get a far better understanding than you currently have. You are doing yourself no favor by using moisturizers, and also doing others no good by saying they are helping you when in fact they are not. Again, do your research girl!

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  8. Hi Dan,

    Do you still soak your hands in DSS when the skin isn't broken but very dry/flaky? My palms healed at month 5 but now on my 6th month it started splitting open again. Some of the wounds healed over but the skin underneath is still pinkish in color. If I scratch it, it will easily rip. Should I keep soaking?

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    1. Hi Julia, I don't do dss baths unless my skin is broken in several areas and very sore. I learned doing them in later stages of tsw, when the skin is dry and flaky, that they tend to dry my skin too much and cause it to itch. Which then leads to me breaking my skin open again by scratching it. To me it's not necessarily what stage of tsw, but what condition the skin is currently in. In cases where I'm doing relatively well with just dry and flaky skin I depend on tea tree oil to close up any small skin breaks, splits, tiny blisters, etc. I dab with tto several times a day and it clears them up for me by the next day. Best thing we can do is not scratch imo. But when I do, I use the methods mentioned above to get things back in order again, I hope that all makes sense!

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    2. Hi Dan,

      I have a deep deep wound right in the crease of my palm that won't heal over. I've been soaking in DSS every night but it keeps cracking since its right at the palm line. Should I do anything to dry up the ooze & blood? Or just let it be and continue to soak? I'm afraid it might get infected like this. Need your help!

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    3. Hi Julia, if I have deep wounds I do dss baths, not just soak the hand. The skin is one organ and needs to be treated as one. This is why we break out in places we never used ts. If no bath tub then soaking in a bowl is better than nothing. I really can't legally give medical advice but tsw isn't really recognized as a medical condition is it? lol

      How many nights in a row have you been at it for this one problem spot? If I can't get deep wounds closed after a few dss baths I would probably take antibiotics, but that would also depend on what symptoms I have. The body's immune system usually takes care of infections on it's own, but sometimes I guess if one's immune system is run down enough the body can be overwhelmed. I always kept a script of antibiotics on hand in case I ever needed them. I have one here that's been sitting since before I went to Hawaii last year and went into the ocean.

      I found that by month 3 or 4 I could use tto quite effectively to close up most all small skin splits, cracks, small pus filled blisters. As a matter of fact, the center of my palm opened up on me a few weeks ago. It has healed and scabbed over several times in the last few weeks. Yesterday it was raw, about the size of a nickel, but not deep. I used tto on it several times throughout the day and this morning when I awoke it was scabbed over nicely again and what felt like an infection (slight pain) is gone. This does not work for deep cracks though. At least not as well. I have done the same with deep cracks with some success but one needs to be careful to not use too much. I'm not sure if your definition of deep is the same as mine.

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  9. Hi Dan, great to see you're fully (or almost fully) healed. I started TSW in June 2013 and my skin began to show healing 6 months later. My skin has been good for about 18 months but I recently started a flare (red flaky face, hands, neck and shoulders/upper chest) about 4-6 weeks ago which was a bit of a shock as I didn't expect to see it again this far on. I am considering the moisture withdrawal as a way to help heal (again!) as you are totally right about the moisturisers actually irritating the skin. It seems to be a toss up between soothing the discomfort vs irritating the skin more. What did you find was the best way to soothe the discomfort without moisturising?

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    1. Hi Adam, thanks for writing and sharing your experience. Your post made me think and contemplate what you said for a moment. You said ....." It seems to be a toss up between soothing the discomfort vs irritating the skin more."

      I truly believe many of us (ok most) have been brainwashed into believing that moisturizers somehow reduce (soothe) the discomfort of tsw symptoms. Your very next sentence reads...."What did you find was the best way to soothe the discomfort without moisturising?". Note how paradoxical those two sentences are.

      When I first began tsw everyone who had been there and done that, or was still doing tsw, said to use moisturizers for comfort. I had never experienced such discomfort in my entire life as I did in those first two, two and a half months. It wasn't until I stopped using moisturizers in month 2-3 that I eliminated a lot of that discomfort. I am of the strong opinion that using moisturizers during tsw creates far more discomfort than not using them. So, the answer to your question is to simply stop moisturizing and you will find that IS the best way to soothe the discomfort.

      Many people will try MW and fail because it does cause increased pain and discomfort at first while the skin readjusts. But that increased discomfort goes away within a couple of weeks and then one finds himself far more comfortable than they were when they were moisturizing. Other than that, the only things I know of are antihistamine drugs, a small fan on low blowing on your skin, things like that.

      One of the problems with using moisturizers is over time they damage the skin barrier, which is very likely why you have flared as bad as you have at such a late stage. I truly believe if you don't put anything on your skin for the next 4-6 weeks you will never put anything on your skin again because at that point you will see the difference in how you feel compared to how you felt before this flare. You obviously were experiencing plenty of discomfort before the flare, which is why you were moisturizing (with the misguided idea it was reducing the discomfort that it was actually causing). You have been misled by well meaning people, and some not so well meaning people. Once you stop moisturizing for a few weeks you will see what I mean. You could have avoided most of that discomfort by not moisturizing from the get go.

      I know of no one who stopped moisturizing for an extended period of time (4-6 weeks) and went back to it. Other than the ones, myself included, who tried to go back to it and found out within minutes it was a mistake and stopped again. I hope this helps!

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  10. Hey, Dan! The MW is pretty brutal. The only thing that's gotten me through the weekend is reading and rereading the posts about your courageous journey. Thank you so much for continuing to answer questions and posts. I'm sure I'll be rereading your posts about MW in the next week or so. This is sooooo painful! Glad you're doing so well!

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    1. Sorry you have to suffer so much! Just imagine what it will be like in a couple of weeks without moisturizers irritating your skin 24/7! My tsw was horrible the entire way, but nothing compared to the suffering I experienced when I was using various moisturizers in my initial 2-3 months. Good luck!

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    2. As always, thanks for taking time to reply. My fingertips are so split open, I'm having a hard time typing. Using tea tree oil, but everything has turned white around the open cracks. My hands have never been this bad -- even in first few months of tsw. The tea tree oil has irritated my hands so badly, I don't think I should use it, I used colloidal silver spray -- nothing. Trying to keep a good attitude. You are a brave soul!

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    3. I found that for me, using tto is not good in early stage of tsw, or while doing MW. It seems to work well in late stage tsw for healing small skin splits, blisters, etc. The only thing I found that helped my skin while doing MW was dss baths every other day, sometimes daily if I felt I really needed it. I found very tiny amounts of tto applied to tiny areas of my skin helped AFTER I completed MW, which took me about 2-3 weeks. MW is the process of transitioning from using moisturizers to not using them. Once that process was complete my skin had scabbed over, fell off revealing new skin, and was in far better shape than when I began. That's not to say I didn't continue to experience symptoms, I did. But, the severity of all my symptoms was greatly reduced from that point on.

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    4. Again, thank you for your response. I have deep, open cracks on the tips of my fingers, palms and a few knuckles. I have never experienced this kind of extended pain. I will discontinue tto until further recovery. I've even stopped using moisturizer on my face (I am female - not that that matters) and am seeing light peeling on my face, too! I was using neosporin on my fingertip cracks and covering with bandages until I read more on your blog and stopped that, too. This is probably another reason I'm having such a rough time. Thank you again, for your time in answering. I think I'm turning a corner. I'm starting to see some flaking and little spots of new skin! Thanks!

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    5. How long has it been since you stopped using moisturizers? The MW process is definitely brutal, but it was what saved me, and it only lasted about 10-14 days. I started feeling much better I'd say by day 10 or 11.

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    6. John Doe, how long has it been since you stopped using moisturizers (MW)?

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  11. About 10 days. Prior to that, 9 months of TSW. About a 3 weeks ago, I had a really bad flare (but didn't realize that's what it was) and I was insane with itching. I was still moisturizing and had never had that response. I got on line to see what might relieve itching and found zinc oxide. I slathered it on abour three times before I realized that I had just done possilbly the worst thing possible. My hands dried out so badly that there were small pus filled blisters under the skin. I went through about 10 days of agony with that and then found your blog. I am still recovering from the zinc oxide and then on top of that am still going through MW. The last 2 weeks have been a special kind of hell, as I have continued to work and don't have the option of not bathing or styling my hair, etc. All I'm doing now is covering particularly painful fingertips with bandaids and wearing cotton gloves because I have so many deep, oozing cracks. Also, wearing gloves keeps my own hands from picking and excoriating the dead skin. There are small patches of healthy skin starting to show. I stopped TS Jan. 8,2015. I was making some good progress over the summer, as I was in a pool outdoors about 3 x a week for 3-4 hours, but I was still moisturizing. Thanks, as always, for your response,

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    1. Oh OK I see. You are a braver soul than I. There was no way I could work when I did moisturizer withdrawal. Actually, I was unable to do most anything for the first 4-5 months of my tsw, if my memory serves me right. But the 10-15 day MW period was far too painful for me to do anything at all other than lay around and wait. If you are covering your skin with band aids, bandages, etc. (anything other than the gloves), you are in a way, doing something that is working against the MW process. I did that before stopping ts and while I was moisturizing the first two months, but once I stopped using moisturizers I never placed another band aid again on my skin again. I guess the reason I didn't was I knew I had to get my skin to stay dry so it could scab over and heal. I can imagine using band aids will slow that process due to keeping the skin moist wherever they are used. Something to consider. There are trade offs and if not working isn't an option you are making a trade off. That may be worth it to you. I chose to eat a crappy diet the entire way through and that was a trade off in my mind where I most likely would have healed sooner with a better diet. I did the same with exercise. I should have stayed active but stayed sedentary for two years. Now I'm paying for that in different ways with my health.

      The dss baths are were my very best tool for healing larger open skin splits, cracks, inflammation, etc. During my MW I did dss baths once a day and after a couple weeks I cut it back to every other day. Then I think a couple weeks later every 3 days. After a few months I was at one a week for a while. As time went on I have done less and less to the pint where I was literally going weeks without any baths or showers. I knew water was my enemy and only exposed my hands to water when I needed to bathe. My goal was to decrease the dss baths as much as possible as I went along (all dependent on the condition of my skin at any given time), because I found when my skin was half way healed the dss baths actually worked against me and caused more itching which led me to scratch more. After those skin breaks healed down to very small ones I was able to use tto to help heal those. But that's an ongoing battle in itself because as soon as I got those healed others would open up. A process I've been going through for the last year now. My hands would heal completely and then a few days later a small spots opens and within a week it spreads. As each month went by they grew less frequent, and when my hands heal fully, they stayed healed longer now. Stay dry my friend.

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    2. I meant to add, if you're using band aids so you can work then you are likely using your hands throughout the day which means they are constantly being bumped, further irritating your skin, and possibly inhibiting or slowing the healing process. Kind like if one has a broken arm. You wouldn't want to keep using that arm until the bone heals or it will take longer to heal? Banging or hitting those sore skin splits and cracks can't be a good way to heal. The hands need to rest during the MW process in order to heal up to a manageable level where you can then work. I know not working may not be an option, but you may end up not being able to work as a result too. But, you know your condition far better than I do and make that judgment for yourself. I do wish you the best and a very speedy recovery. I think that since you are at month 9 you probably had a bad flare like most of us do around that time frame. Once you complete the MW process you should be fine for the rest of your recovery.

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  12. Again, thank you for your kind response. I thinj you are absolutely correct about that bandaids. I will stop using them. The only thing I will put on my hands are white cotton gloves. You're also correct about working, but it's something I have to do. Also, I appreciate you confirming that I had a bad flare -- which was worse than anything I'd experiences during TSW. I share your fury and frustration about those who prescribed this devastating poison. I also greatly appreciate you telling me about healing and then getting the skin splits. I am constantly amazed that my body is capable of producing this kind of neuropathic pain. My hands look like they've got 1st degree burns -- and I'm sure that's what it is - a chemical burn. I've also read about 9 month flares. I wonder why the body has such a delayed response?

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    1. You are very welcome! I had to look back in my blog to find where I had that monstrous flare and I think it was around month 9 as well. I remember it was very bad and took several weeks before it stopped. The top of my hands became 100% covered in rash and inflammation. The odd thing was I had never used ts on the tops of my hands, nor have I ever had eczema there as a child. And, I didn't have any symptoms there when I started tsw until that flare. At the same time my inner and outer thighs also broke out, and my arms. I had never used ts or had eczema on my inner or outer thighs! It was a brutal flare. After that it was pretty much smooth sailing up to today, comparatively speaking. Why the delayed response? Nobody knows. Personally, I think it's the poison making one last attempt attempt before it gives up. Kind of like a last gasp. But who knows? All I know is it is a testament to just how harmful topical steroids are.

      I'm privately communicating with a guy that has his hands screwed up so bad he can't work and is having a very difficult time too. He is only a few weeks in tsw but has only used one small tube of ts over a year period. He is in the middle of MW and his hands look very bad and painful. Splits on the tips of the fingers, huge cracks, inflammation, etc. Same as most of us, when we first go our doctor looking for an answer as to why these ts aren't working. Unfortunately, he got the exact same treatment we all do. More and stronger ts, and moisturizers full of chemicals known to damage the skin barrier. He was smart enough to look elsewhere for answers as all of us are I guess. Those that aren't are suffering wildly and have much more suffering ahead of them. Can you imagine how much ts are sold daily in the world? Do you think it's just a small percentage of unlucky ones who have this kind of reaction to ts? I don't think so. I have too many relatives still using ts and I watch them worsen year after year. I know better. The shit is pure poison and should not have even been invented in the first place. Much less sold (pushed on) to the public. But hey, that is just my opinion.

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  13. It seems a lot of people come to you for guidance through this process -- and I don't blame them. You are straightforward and have done all the same things the rest of us have done trying to seek solutions and a way forward. Today is a better day and I'm not having the constant pain like I was. I can't remember if I told you that I stopped using Neosporin 6 days ago and I would imagine that's why my skin is still so compromised -- I didn't realize that the petroleum jelly in Neosporin was inhibiting (and not helping, as I'd hoped) healing. My hands are still a mess, I'm wearing white cotton gloves to work, putting NOTHING on my hands and I'm very grateful for your presence. Thank you again.

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  14. I don't think Neosporin is too bad compared to most things, but it does have a couple ingredients known to damage the skin barrier. In any case it was keeping your skin moist and that's not good.

    Many people aren't aware that I did this blog for a couple of reasons. 1), to get the word out about the dangers of ts, and 2), to put info out that is actually useful in an effort to counter all the unuseful info that is out there, especially about moisturizing for COMFORT! Moisturizing during tsw does not make one more comfortable and if they think it does they are fooling themselves. Also, moisturizing normal skin is damaging as well. Most people just don't realize it. But they keep doing it because the act of moisturizing causes the skin to stop producing it's own oils. Moisturizing makes skin dry, so we moisturize more to treat the dry skin. Years later the skin gets damaged enough to where it begins to have skin eruptions. We go to a doctor and they prescribe ts. A freaking merry-go-round. It's pretty easy to figure out with a few web searches on how the skin works.

    I encourage everyone to do a blog and document their experience. The more blogs out there the sooner the masses will know, and the sooner the madness will stop.

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  15. I can't believe there isn't some kind of class action suit. I want to go to the docs that prescribed this shit so irresponsibly and show them what their doctoring has done. "Do no harm" is a doctor's first concern.

    Also, do you have people insisting this is atopical dermatitis, regular eczema, etc.? I politely ignore them. Sometimes I have panic attacks (I'm actually a therapist!) and become fearful that this will never go away. It's scary, painful stuff. When you're in the midst of it, it feels like life will always be like this.

    Again, and as always, thanks for your response!

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    1. I contacted over 30 local attorneys a few months ago and every one said they weren't interested in my case. I got the impression that most want just the easy cases where the doc chops off the right leg when it was supposed to be the left. Part of my problem too, was I only had a couple months left due to a two year statue of limitations. I also found out that I can't even sue the original doctor who told me to use ts daily regardless if the rash is gone or not 22 years ago. The statue of limitations protects these people. I'm sure they got all these convenient laws in place over the years to protect themselves from lawsuits.

      Why hasn't a organization like Itsan gotten a class action suit going by now? This always made me wonder about them. They have a huge captive audience and plenty of resources.

      I highly encourage everyone to not wait too long to talk to a medical malpractice lawyer. You have two years from the time you discover the problem, but most any attorney needs some time, so don't wait like I did until time is almost out.

      Yes, I see plenty of people who buy into all the BS names doctors place on various skin issues. Every doctor and Derm I saw insisted I either had atopic dermatitis, or chronic eczema as one Derm put it. Skin eruptions are just that, skin eruptions. To me, the way doctors name skin eruptions, is the same as calling acid indigestion "acid reflux disease:. Such bullshit. Heartburn, or acid indigestion as it is sometimes called (now acid reflux disease), is simply caused by improper food combining in most cases.

      There is a beginning and an end to tsa/tsw, so keep that in mind.

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  16. I ache for you and what you went through. I can't believe you were on ts for so long! I googled topical steroid withdrawal for images to show a friend and it brought tears to my eyes to see what some people looked like -- especially the babies! I am furious! Just a thought: I wonder if something like 20/20 or 60 Minutes would be intrerested. I got on the American Association of Dermatology's website and there is nothing (that I could find) on this irresponsibly and overprescribed this poison is. It seems there is almost a conspiracy about derms hiding this info -- possibly due to Big Pharma. It's one of the reasons I didn't like the ITSAN forums. I felt restricted in what I was allowed to ask or in my opinions. It was like "this is a forum for people who have been completely and repeatedly damaged and screwed by medical specialists, but that's the part we won't talk about. You can talk about everyrthing BUT that." I mentioned I'm a therapist? Doesn't this sound a bit dysfunctional and even dangerous? I can't believe this hasn't been exposed!

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    1. Tell me about it. I was one of only about 4 people who has ever been banned from Itsan. My blog is packed full of posts, comments, and arguments of what happened when I was there. I was called a conspiracy theorist for my "crazy" claims of not using moisturizers because they actually make you more uncomfortable and also at teh same time inhibit the healing process. My views were later confirmed by the top Japanese doctors in Japan and still the people at Itsan maintained their misguided beliefs. I figured out what to do on my own, put the plan into action, and posted the entire thing in real time. They did nothing but belittle and insult me. At that time nobody in the US was advocating not using moisturizers. And when I did people just couldn't understand, I think due to how people have become so brainwashed from birth on.

      Don't get me started. I have heard dozens if not hundreds of people say the same thing about Itsan as you just said. The few of us who got ourselves banned from that forum for our outspoken views wear our badges with honor!

      I exposed their site in my blog on numerous occasions and all those posts are still there for anyone (everyone) to read. Others have written about them on their blog but they have managed to maintain what they do in spite of this. Really extremely sad and borderline dangerous as you say.

      I was a member of Itsan for 2-3 months at the beginning of my tsw, donated $200 to them, and showed them a much better way to get through tsw. And all I got was banned from the site, my posts deleted, and cut off from everyone else. It didn't feel good I can tell you that. Another reason for my extensive writing in my blog, and for the nomoresteroids forum we started. So, after they banned me I started posting on other peoples blogs and eventually enough people quit moisturizing and the truth could not be denied. LOL, many people there were looking for me when I magically disappeared, but many of them did end up finding me. Long story short, but at that time two years ago everyone was using moisturizers because that was what the Itsan vets said was the best thing to do for comfort. It sends shivers down my spine just thinking about the extra pain and itching moisturizing caused! Now, hundreds if not thousands have discovered what i and the Japanese did. Yet, last I checked Itsan was still very pro moisturizer! It's not that difficult to search the web and learn how the skin functions and look up the various studies on what moisturizing the skin does for crying OUT LOUD! Not to mention the many chemicals in most all moisturizers, lotions, make-up, etc., and see what studies show they do to the skin barrier.

      Yes, why hasn't more been done by now by programs like 60 minutes and numerous others? Possibly Itsan who has the captive audience are afraid to rattle any cages with doctors and big pharma? At the expense of whom?

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    2. And no, please don't ache for me and what I went through. I'm about finished with tsw. It is I who aches for you and all others like you who are still in the middle or just starting tsw. And all those people who don't even know yet. Not to mention the babies. The babies. It kills me to think about what they are doing to them. I'm not a doctor hater as one might think reading my material. However, I have no room in my life for ignorant doctors who toe the line, don't do their research, and belive in their own lies. And make a ton of money off people who are being very seriously harmed. I wish someone with the resources would expose this whole thing nationwide but I'm afraid it would take far too much money to fight the propaganda machine.

      So, the answer is at the grassroots level. Social media, blogs, etc.. People who speak out are part of the solution and people who don't speak out...

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  17. It is puzzling why ITSAN supports moisturizing. I suppose that it is so contrary to logic, it's hard to truly understand that it is harmful in tsw. The MW is by far worse than the tsw ever was -- plus, I have done a lot of the wrong things to my poor, sweet hands. I found an article about tsw on the NIH website and IT supports moisturizing! WTF? I have stubborn friends who are medical professionals who insist I have contact dermatitis, allergies, etc. We have ALL been brainwashed by big pharma. I use meds when I need them, but for the most part, I do my own homework, research and listen carefully to my body. I also think that it's hard to believe something as horrible as TSW and MW is treated with -- nothing! Not coconut oil or emu oil or Egyptian Cream. BTW, I haven't been using the DSS b/c I'm a big, fat, yellow-bellied chicken. Psychologically, I'm not certain I can deal with additional pain. The hideous neuropathic pain is abating, but I still have dry, crusty skin on my fingers and palms and deep fissures that rip apart if pressure is applied to my fingers/palms (which have red skin syndrome). The NIH article (surprisingly) addressed psychological pain associated with this pain-fest. You're a life-saver!

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    1. It is very contrary to what we have been taught (brainwashed). Schools are nothing more than institutions used to dumb down our citizens for the benefit of the ultra rich. Our entire population are slaves to just a few, and most don't even realize it.

      Did you read up on the benefits of dss baths? I have met many people like yourself who are afraid of them. I was afraid when I did my first couple of dss baths, but that fear evaporated immediately when I discovered they soothed and helped heal my very badly broken skin. I was so afraid the first time. Remember, when I first did these nobody with tsw was doing them so no info to go on other than what I learned on the web about the dead sea. The first time I used 3 tablespoons to a full bath lol. I couldn't find any info on how much to use and what I found was all over the place. I finally learned through the San Fransisco salt company that I should be using two cups (two pounds) per bath, so I slowly worked up to that over about 4 or 5 days. I found out that two pounds was actually perfect! You never saw my hands at their worse, because I didn't think to take pics of them until after I did MW and cleared 70 some odd percent of the damage in two weeks time at about month three. They were literally a life saver for me. Seriously.

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  18. OK. You've convinced me. Since it's only on my hands, can I just soak my hands? I agree with you about us being dumbed down, but I come from the liberal side and feel as fiercely about it as you do, hahahaha!

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    1. You can soak your hands only but the skin is one organ connected together and in my humble opinion, one gets far better results doing full baths. If you choose to do just hand soaks be sure to call Michelle at www.sfsalt.com. I highly recommend this company as I feel they have the best quality dss available (lowest prices too). Their best deal is 40lb bags. I use the plain course grain. At two pounds per bath every 2-3 days the salt goes fast. Well worth the investment. Be sure to mention my name and ask for free priority mail. I get nothing in return for referrals from this company just so you know.

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  19. I bought 5 lbs at Whole Foods. Just got back. I think you're right about soaking the whole body. The TSW has shown up in some out of the way places on my body! Hahaha! Thanks so much for your speedy, helpful suggestions! Couldn't do this without you!

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    1. A word of caution: these won't do any good if you don't do them correctly. Here is how I do thees baths. I rinse the tub, then fill with hot water about 70% of the way, then turn water to cold and measure temp with a kitchen thermometer that will measure degrees. I swish the water around while the cold water is running and wait for the temp to show about 96-97. Never warmer than 97. Cooler than 96 is fine. The body detoxes in dss baths with water above body temp, and absorbs the minerals from the salts at body temp and under. So, it's very important the water is at your body temp or lower. If you don't have a thermometer right now, use your hands and guesstimate. Error on the cooler side. Once I have the right temp I pour 2 cups dss in water, wait about a minute and stand in the tub (carefully), and swish the water around with my feet until the salts are dissolved. Then I sit down and start my timer which is set at 20 minutes. Very important. Anything under 20 minutes is as useless as using too little dss. You will notice slight stinging which is not very painful at all. At about the 12-15 minute mark that stinging will be gone and your skin will feel good. After the timer goes off I drain the tub and while it's draining I rinse in the shower to get any salt residue off my skin. Pat dry and done.

      A couple of things.....I keep a bottle of water next to the tub and drink most of it midway through. That helps with staying well hydrated is recommend by somebody I long forgot (sorry). While in the tub I often will wash my face (face down) with my hands. I do this because I use no soap and bathing is the only way I get clean. I do use a wash cloth daily though. But, I had several spots on my face where I used very tiny amounts of ts and they all erupted a tiny amount when I began tsw. These baths cleared those spots within a couple weeks and I never had another symptom in those areas since. After rubbing my face for a few times I lay down on one side ear down and wait about 5 minutes. While I'm doing this I run the water through as much of my head as I can with my hands. When I come up I dry that ear and lay on the other side and do the same thing. Then I spend the last 5 or so minutes just relaxing until the timer goes off. Doing this keeps my hair and head halfway clean, and also heals any spots that one might have on their head. I never use soap now and don't want to touch it with my hands so I have my dw shampoo my hair once in a while when I can't stand it no longer. I work out of my home so don't need to worry as much about my appearance, and I'm usually cleaner than one might think. Soaking in water for 20 minutes cleans just about all dirt and whatever out of the pores. If I worked outside the home I would do plain water baths in between my dss baths. Once in a while I'll do a plain water bath with several drops of tto added, for about 10-15 minutes. And on occasion I do an acv bath for the same length of time. Since we don't want to do dss daily unless really needed, these other baths can be fit in. I do these others maybe once every month or two. That's about all I can think of. Your hands will be quite dry and a little extra itchy for the first 24 hours but you want them to dry and scab over after each bath. The extra itching just comes with the territory. I do my dss baths in the mornings so by the next day that itching is gone and my hands feel a ton better. Key is to not scratch during the baths or at night on the day of the bath. Enjoy your baths you will love how they make you feel!

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  20. I really should read your posts before I do anything. My fingertips are so sensitive and have large, gaping wounds, that I doubt I could do anything above body temp. I didn't think to rinse off right after the bath (20 min about 1 cup of DSS) and started drying up so badly I couldn't bend my fingers. I rinsed off and, yes, still very dry and painful as it dries. How long does this last??? YEEEOOOOOWWWW!!!!

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    1. Yes, you want to rinse or you will suffer more itching than usual. It is not too late to shower and rinse that residue off. I have purposely not rinsed several times but I don't recommend it and don't do it anymore. Just added itching. When people go into the dead sea they come out of the water and lay on the beach, not rinse. So, don't panic. And, you did less than a pound so not to much residue as normal. You want the dryness, and you said you were in pain before, so now you are dry and on your way to scabbing and still in pain. It gets better soon depending on what stage you are in. Since it's been almost two weeks since you stopped moisturizers I wouldn't expect this process to take as long as usual. If you do a proper bath tomorrow you will get major relief from the dryness for about 20 minutes and then back to dry and tight skin until it heals underneath and the old skin falls off on it's own.

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  21. So, you think it's OK for me to do another bath today, too? This pain is getting old. So odd to me that the MW is so much worse than the TSW ever was. BTW, your skin looks so pretty and healthy! Man, did you earn it! Thanks once again!

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  22. BTW, since I am an adorable 60+ gal, can I use moisturizer on my face. It really helps my facial skin look and feel more supple. However, if you say "no", then I won't do it.

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  23. john doe my hands look much like urs. the dss baths sure do help heal up the cracks. dan has been a big help along the way. im in my 60's and never experienced anything like this. its hard to get the mind off of the hands cuz they're right there in front of u. its socially very traumatizing as well. i wish there was a quick fix but unfortunately it just takes time. im probably the guy in dans post that cant work and im a pool player and cant even hold a cue. wah wah lol

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  24. honestly without dans guidance i would have ended up back at the dermatologists office and probably slabbing more ts cream on my hands. The dss baths (not soaks) are an important part of the regimen. also as dan has stressed its criticallyt important to protect your parts affected and in my case wearing the 100%cotton gloves..i personally was never a big moisturizer but dans logic on not moisturizing saved me from using it when my hands started to peel and flake. I know ur skin has its own wisdom and we must allow it to do its job.. the blog has helped relieve the anxiety and to trust nature to do its job.

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  25. Hello Dan!

    I am so glad that you are on your way to recovery!! I am 2 weeks in my journey on TSW, and I have also taken the braver step by doing MW as well! I have come across your post on dss baths? I am thinking about doing them daily, and then reducing them as time goes on. Well done for sticking to it, I truly hope that I can stick it out for as long as you did.

    Thank you,

    Pooja!!

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    1. Hi Pooja, this is a great time to do MW. I didn't do it until the end of my second month of tsw and only came up with the idea out of desperation I was in so much pain and itching. All of which was greatly exasperated by using moisturizers. Keep in mind, they are basically best for when the skin is badly broken open. They are a tool for aiding the body in closing the wounds so your skin can dry, scab, and heal. They aren't a panacea for tsw. But, the multi year process of recovering is far easier when the skin is dry compared to when it is being moisturized. Just be sure to pay very close attention to details if you want them to be effective for you and not counter productive. Best of luck!

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    2. Hello Dan!,

      Apologies for the late reply. After reading your post again yes I can see that doing the dss baths for when the skin is broken is better. I am nearly over a month in and I have to say I feel so much comfortable moving around then I did four weeks ago! I can still go to work and not feel the immense discomfort that I did during my first flare. I know that I will flare in the future, but knowing this make me feel better as I know what to expect, I will be staying away from the moisturisers until my body is fully recovered. I just wanted some advice on getting better sleep. If would like me to drop you an email I will be more than happy to. Once again I thank you for the information you have posted, I know it is better to view things in a critical manner, but I can see progress in doing MW on my skin! I think psychology helps to, I have always believed in the life it could always get worse, plus I am very fortunate to be surrounded by people who are trying their best to support me.

      All the best

      Pooja

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    3. Hi Pooja, I used atarax for sleep. Works very well for me. It's also an antihistamine which helps with itching. Glad to hear you are doing better!

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  26. Hi Dan,

    I am currently ending my month 2 of TSW and month 1 of MW. I am doing daily DSS baths but I shampoo my hair everyday. I know doing MW will make the itching more bearable, it probably does, but the moment my hands touch my skin, it just go into an insatiable scratching fest. I am afraid I might get an infection or slip back into using TS as it is really unbearable. I try to always stop myself from scratching but it just won't stop.

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    1. At one month post MW you should feel much better. I don't know why you aren't,but would question whether you are using other things on your skin, using the correct kind of dss, the correct water temp, etc. OIF scented dss there's your problem. If water is warmer than 97 degrees that would be the problem. If you don't have lots of open skin breaks dss can make the skin very dry and irritate the skin if done too much when not needed. I really don't have enough info to make a judgment here. What parts of your body has symptoms? How severe, worse now than your first month of tsw? How much ts did you use for how long and what potency?

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    2. Hey, Dan! Just wanted to check in and THANK YOU for the time you took out of your life to help me during some of the most difficult days of this experience. Your expertise, kindness and caring made a huge, huge difference in this experience. I am SO grateful that you are adamant about MW. I wish I'd known that sooner, but at least I ran across your blog. I know you have helped thousands of people -- with no expectations. You're not selling anything and your guidance has been essential to my recovery. Thanks to you, I am healing and now I know what was causing flares and why healing seemed to be inihibited -- it was all the moisturizers and oils -- natural and not so natural -- that were KEEPING ME FROM HEALING! You do a huge service to so many people. Most of us don't know that at this moment you are helping dozens of people all over the world and asking for no acknowledgment or recognition. I want to say THANK YOU , Dan! I wouldn't be healing if it weren't for you! Thank you, sir!

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    3. I have been using betamethasone valerate 0.1% and Mometasone Furoate 0.1% for 15years.It might be due to me bathing in DSS everyday which makes me itch but I have some patches of oozing skin which is why I bath in DSS everyday. What can you recommend that can dry the ooze, especially my nipples, chest and ears?

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    4. Oozing is a sign you are flaring and it takes time to clear. The best thing I found was a combination of doing dss baths, and using super thin pieces white 100% cotton fabric to press against the skin a few hours after a bath. I leave them on until they dry and I am able to pull them off without taking skin off. The tiny cottons fibers that stay help dry the skin and also help form scabbing. I used to cut up my gloves for this. See Magid TouchMaster 651J Cotton Lisle Inspection Glove, Men's Jumbo (Pack of 60 Pairs) on amazon for $23.99. These are perfect for the job, and also work well if you have tsw symptoms on your hands. If planning on using them for hands be sure to buy this exact one even if it does say jumbo mens. They shrink considerably and fit perfectly on small to medium size hands.TTO will not help oozing.

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  27. Id just like to say that Dans knowledge of the process of tsw & MW has sure saved me a lot of grief. I was really confused and literally at my wits end and Dans guidance got me thru the nightmare. im so grateful to have stumbled on his blog and he has been right there thru emails to keep me on the right track. Namaste

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  28. Hi Dan
    I have just found your blog and I so wish I had found it 2 years ago when I began to wonder of I was addicted to topical cortisone. I started the cold turkey process for 2 weeks and then the derm put me back on OTC cortisone and heavy antibiotics to "help" me. Bastard. And so it prolonged the painful process by another 6 months until I finally stopped. I am at 14 months withdrawal now and have had a recent bad flare that covered places on my face that havent flared in almost 6 months (all my affected skin is on my face). It is starting to get better now but I have yet to be totally clear. (I actually cannot remember when I had totally clear skin.) I have been off moisturizers for 6 months and agree with you that it makes things worse. When I got my recent flare, I was heartbroken. I really thought things would just slowly improve and by the 1 year mark, I would be healed. I am very interested in the dss baths, but need your advice on whether it would be beneficial for me at this late/lighter stage (I get raised red bumps mixed with orange-peel textured red skin, no blisters or cracking or oozing, but lots of burning and itching). If it might help, how do I do this on my face? If it won't help me, would you have any other suggestions that could help? Just for added info that might be important, I wear makeup only once or twice a week for 4-6 hours. I use Dr. Bronners baby soap to wash the makeup off, but only rinse with tepid water daily. I have noticed my skin gets worse when I have been in the sun or if I take a hot shower, even if the hot water doesn't touch my face. I assume this is because heat and sweat = irritation, so I try to limit my sun exposure. I also noticed that the less I touch my face, the better. Not easy to do when its itching like crazy. Finally, I cannot thank you enough for this blog and your dedication to all of us who are struggling and in pain. Its a terrible thing to put your trust in your doctors only to find out that they do not have your best interest at heart. The betrayal, the attitude, and the total denial they have exhibited has only increased my suffering. You give people real-life information and support. Thank you!

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    1. Hi, thank you for your kind words. First and foremost I would not be applying make-up to my face, or would I wash my face with anything other than cool water. As a matter of fact, I had few serious symptoms on my face, but still do not wash it after two years. I soak in a bath to get clean. I found that my face can go weeks on end without water touching it and I'm no worse for the wear. May sound gross but you couldn't tell looking at me. If we leave our face alone oils will come out naturally. Dr. Bonner's baby soap has olive oil in it which has been shown in studies to damage the skin barrier. Check out the links to studies on the right hand side of my blog. Anything, no matter how natural, should not be put on the skin if one wants the skin to be able to function normally.

      Hot showers, hot baths, any hot water, strips the oils out of the skin and should be avoided at all times during tsw. Sun exposure is good and very beneficial in any stage of tsw as long as one is careful to limit exposure and not get sunburned. I take about 5000iu of vit D3 in the winter when I'm not getting sun exposure. When I get sun, I immediately get out of it if I sense I'm about to start sweating. Less touching is good. I found that an antihistamine named atarax works well in reducing the itching, and especially in keeping me asleep at night when the itch is the strongest.

      The dss baths seem to work best for open skin and not so good when it is closed. They can cause a lot of extra itching. It certainly wouldn't hurt to try one or two and see how it goes. They are not harmful, and have many benefits to the skin when done correctly. I take baths only to get clean,. Soaking in water for 20 minutes cleans every pore very well so no soap needed. When I want to clean my face which is about once per month, I hold my breath and put my face in the bath water, on and off several times and rub it with my hands. It gets a lot of the excess oil and grime off. Hope this helps! Feel free to write anytime.

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  29. Hey Dan. Been on cortisteroids for 3 months. Mostly to control psoriasis which covered most of my body. Was prescribed medium to very high potent topical steroids (Topicort 0.25% & Clobetasol). It worked great and cleared most of my psoriasis. Used a bit of topicort on face occasionally and had no reaction. Applied to face few days ago. Woke up and it cleared redness but then reappered at night. Face is now red and looks like spreading down to neck. Skin and body feel hot like a burning sensation. I am not using anymore cream to see if it heals. Could it just be a bad reaction to the cream? I'm an idiot for putting it on my face, I know. I need to know if I have to prepare for the TSW journey. Thanks a lot.

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    1. Hi Palm, you know as well as I it's a reaction from the ts. Tim, who has commented (above) didn't use ts for very long either and experienced a very short tsw for a month or two and then healed. His hands were in very bad condition, but after doing dss baths, and stopping exposure of his hands to external irritants, etc., he is healed. I don't think three months of use should cause a very long tsw period at all. I'm not basing this on Tim only, but on many people I have seen or read about. Dr. Fukaya says one can guess by estimating 1/3 of the time you used should be the amount of time it takes to recover. Something like that, I don't remember exactly. Actually, I don't think it was quite that much because that would mean it would take me 7 years since I used for 20. Even if it were, that would mean a one month recovery if one used for three months.

      Have you read about the benefits of Dead Sea salt baths for psoriasis? From everything I have read they are the cat's meow for that particular skin problem. I'm not an expert by any means, but think a combination of regular dss baths and a diet mostly free of dairy and sugar, would be very beneficial for most any skin problem. DSS baths especially for psoriasis, since it's such a stubborn problem.

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  30. Hi Dan!
    I found your MW post so inspiring! It has helped me significantly. However, as I take nothing as gospel, I have been experimenting with using oils for moisturiser. I'm 11 months Tsw. Doing well, and healing, but so slowly. I find relief abs irritation in equal measure from using my preferred oils, which are rose hip, argon face oil and coconut oil. I would like to get your insight into using moisturiser in the latter half of Tsw. Thanks.

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    1. Hi Elliecan. Your comments are most perplexing to me. Why would one want to use moisturizers knowing the body produces it's own oils naturally? If we couldn't, mankind would have died out long ago. Now, one might think the skin is extra dry during tsw, therefore there is a desire to help the skin. The problem with that line of logic is all studies and circumstantial evidence says otherwise. I watch my dw who has normal skin with no skin problems use moisturizers all the time because her skin gets too dry. I try to tell her the skin is dry because she keeps using moisturizers on it! When we moisturize, our bodies "think" they don't need to produce oils because the skin is already moisturized. Shutting down this natural process is not good, and even damaging to the skin of people with no skin problems. People in tsw have a very seriously compromised skin barrier and the skin is in hypersensitive mode. Moisturizing during tsw only exasperates the problem and inhibits the healing process. So, as far as using moisturizers in late tsw, it is very obvious to me that would be detrimental, considering the facts. Please review the links to studies on moisturizing on the right hand side of my blog to get a better understanding of all this. I know this isn't what you want to hear but it is the truth of the matter. And I'm sure you want to hear the truth. Best wishes!

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  31. I'm with you, Dan! I gave up moisturizers about 2 months ago and am still 11 in to TSW. My skin is slowly starting to produce its own moisture again, but it's a slow process, as I was practically bathing in it for several years. I've also stopped using moisturizer on my 64 year old face and notice that as my hands cycle through TSW (I never used ts on my face -- only my hands) my lips also get scaly and dry. I finally figured out that I use a lipstick with moisturizer! They're nothing like what my hands continue to go through. Anyway, thanks for keeping up with your blog and helping so many of us!!!

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    1. Thanks John Doe! This study pretty much sums it up:

      Acta Derm Venereol. 1999 Jan;79(1):49-51.

      Effect of long-term use of moisturizer on skin hydration, barrier function and susceptibility to irritants.

      Held E1, Sveinsdóttir S, Agner T.
      Author information: 1Department of Dermatology, Gentofte Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

      Abstract

      Moisturizers are often used in the prevention and treatment of irritant contact dermatitis. The present study was to determine whether long-term daily use of a moisturizer on normal skin would affect skin barrier function, hydration state, or susceptibility to sodium lauryl sulphate. Healthy volunteers used a moisturizer on one forearm 3 times daily for 4 weeks. The other forearm served as a control. Afterwards both forearms were challenged with a patch-test of sodium lauryl sulphate. Skin barrier function was evaluated by measuring trans-epidermal water loss and skin hydration by measuring electrical capacitance. Electrical capacitance was significantly increased on the treated arm during the treatment period. After challenge with sodium lauryl sulphate, transepidermal water loss was significantly higher on the arm treated with moisturizer than on the control arm. The results suggest that long-term treatment with moisturizers on normal skin may increase skin susceptibility to irritants.

      PMID:
      10086859
      [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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  32. Hey Dan,

    Thanks for dropping by my blog. I'm pretty much healed save a few spots on my fingers and still not lotioning most of my body and most people wouldn't believe I don't wear moisturizer. Still taking dead sea salt baths b/c it does make a difference in the ashiness of my skin and until my fingers heal I'll probably continue. I'll hopefully post an update soon :) Glad we're both done with this sh**!! And I hope you're doing well!

    Megan

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    1. Hi Megan,

      So nice of you to drop by, and very happy to hear you are doing so well! I recently had a second major flare of which I'm over, as of a few days ago, and nearly healed again. It was like my first one at about month 9 I think. Main difference was it was like the "big" one but in miniature. Not as much rash spread, and a little bit faster healing. It was still intense though, and lasted for about 5-6 weeks. I can't believe I am at 2-1/2 years tsw and still dealing with this shit! Especially after completely healing at my one year mark, and then again a couple times since that. However, every time my skin heals completely, it stays that way longer each time. I can see the same old steady improvement. Like a turtle walking across a 100 mile dessert.

      This last year and a half has been pretty much normal with the exception of multiple mini flares, and that recent mini monster flare. I haven't touched a single moisturizer since month 2-3, and haven't touched soap but a couple times in 2-1/2 years. I also bathe only once every couple of weeks. Gross? Yes. But not as bad as it sounds. I like my oily skin! lol Once this shit is over for good I'll go back to bathing more frequently. But, like Dr. Fukaya said, can't use soap for at least two years AFTER being completely healed. I do miss soap but wtf, the skin barrier in my hands was completely destroyed by the topical steroids. I saw at my one year mark what happened when I went back to a normal shower routine using soap. My skin dried out and then broke open. The tsw process kicked right back in. Anyhow in retrospect, I'm simply sunned at just how damaging the ts were to my body, and how long it's taken to recover. Not to mention the emotional toll the healing process takes.

      That was my skin update in lieu of dong a regular post. In case anyone was thinking I'm healed, I'm still not. But, damn close now! Thanks again for writing Megan :)

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    2. Hi Megan, I can't find your blog. Where is it?

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    3. Hi Dan,

      Here's my blog: http://steroidfreeskin.blogspot.com/ I just posted an update. I feel that you will be healed soon! I'm glad you're making slow progress and documenting it because it's really amazing looking back at mine as well. Thanks for all the advice, I really don't know how my skin would be were it not for your suggestions.

      Stay dry,
      Megan

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  33. Hello Dan, thank you, thank you for sharing your experience. I just discovered your blog yesterday and it literally saved me. I thought something was wrong with me and no one could help me. I have been going through tsw for the past 4 years on and off unbeknown to me and each time I was prescribed steroids. If only I had known and discover your blog sooner my suffering wouldn't last this long! I am going cold turkey and throwing all the nasty steroid tubes away. It is such a relief to finally make sense of this madness and know that we can recover from it.

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    1. Hi, I'm so glad my blog has helped you! I hope you don't use moisturizers while doing your tsw. Please feel free to pick my brain, or ask for clarification on anything I've written, anytime. Some of my older posts are just that, older. Things are much clearer in retrospect. Good luck!

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  34. Hi again,

    So now that things are falling into place and I can finally work toward getting better, I have a few things to ask. First, from your experience do you know at what stage of the healing process is the oozing but no itching? I am slightly weeping in some spots but not as itchy if not at all. Since I just found out about your post and had stopped using the ts and doing the mw too, I'm wondering if I am at the beginning stage of recovery or in the middle. My reasoning is that since I use the ts on and off and letting my skin do it's thing(tsw) through out my 4+ years of use(this includes both topical and oral), that my skin is not in a bad tsw as others? It covers in different places from my fingers to my feet but since i started using the tto, the weeping stopped almost immediately. I also wanted to point out for others that is in extreme cases that before I know about tsw, I cut out the allergen food ( sugar, dairy, wheat, alcohol, and histamine induced veg.) it has really speed up my recovery. I am also cutting out meat too for now just for recovery process. It's been two days, since I found out about your blog and have already been soaking in dss, and now using tea tree oil for weeping(thank you, Dan for that tip!) my skin is drying up and not as bad as before. In the past I also found that going to the ocean helps tremendously. Soaking in the salt water and baking in the morning sun(don't get burn) really dries everything up and usually by day 2-3 I'm almost completely healed. My loving husband is taking me to Jamaica this week to help with the recovery process. We have two little ones so speedy recovery is a plus. On a side note, the ts I had been using were actually prescribed for my son's diaper rash! I only use very little of it on him(thank God!) but unfortunately had used it on myself through the 4+years. I could not use the one prescribed for me bc it was too strong and burned my skin. I am also doing a detox through my holistic dr, taking supplements that support your skin and drinking red clover tea (supposedly helps with steroid side effects) don't really know but it doesn't taste bad and won't hurt. I just feel so bad for the little ones out there, knowing that the doctors are still prescribing ts like nothing. Good thing for my son's case, I have always been wary as to put anything on him that is "prescribed" if it's not for a life and death situation. As a little tip, when you take antibiotics, you should also take probiotics too to replenish your gut flora. On a lighter note, while I was in my worse case of tsw, I had my 6yo daughter sing "No body is going to break my stride, no body is going to slow me down, Oh no! I got to keep on moving…" there is an end to this (tsw). Hugs for everyone out there suffering from this and Merry Christmas Dan! Thank you, you have helped me more than all the doctors and dermatologist with all their degrees. Without your blog, I would have kept on using the ts and keep on suffering, going to endless dermatologist and having them tell me to keep on taking the ts and the cycle would never end.

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    1. Usually the oozing and itching starts from the get go with greatest intensity from the beginning of tsw in the first few weeks. From my observations, it all depends on how much, and how strong of ts one has used, as to how bad their tsw is. The first 4 weeks of tsw gives you a good idea of how the rest of your tsw will go. I don't know when the last time you used ts so can't really comment as to what stage you may or may not be in. Knowing the name of the ts would be very helpful too. As for me, I had reached a point where my hands were getting so bad that I was already in dire straights before I stopped using ts. It sounds to me like you didn't use near as much, or as long, therefore your tsw should be relatively mild compared to others imo. I would be careful using tto in early stage4s of tsw. I found it useful in later stages in healing over small wounds that constantly come and go. Diet typically doesn't help severe cases of tsw in early stage, but mild cases might be a different matter. In any case, a good diet is always beneficial to one's health and healing. The ocean and sun is probably the very best thing one can do for tsw. I used to drink a lot of red clover tea and know it's good for the immune system. I haven't drank it during my own tsw because I know it would have done nothing for me in any discernible way, due to the heavy damage the ts did to my body. Mild things like good diet, teas, etc just don't do much in severe cases. From what I know so far, it sounds like you will breeze through this, since you stopped using before too much damage was done.

      Thank you very much for your kind words. I'm extremely happy to have saved anyone from using ts too long before they reach the point I did. It makes blogging about this all worth it many times over! My original intention with my blog was to just document my own journey and warn others about the potential harm overuse of ts. And, to share my discoveries and knowledge about the harm various moisturizers can do to people while doing tsw. Seems I accomplished my goals :)

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    2. Christmas Eve, and despite trying to keep my optimism up, my skin is now weeping and itchy again. I thought it was getting better but why the turn around? Dan, does this happened to you in the early stage? I last use the ts 4days ago but I never use that much throughout the last 4-5 years. My skin is conctantly weeping. I tried the tto which helps at the beginning but now it is not doing much for the oozing. I think it helps with the itch though. Dan any tips on trying to dry it up? I am taking the dss bath in the morning but don't rinse.

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    3. If you last used ts just 4 days ago then you are in the very early stage of tsw, and this stage is where your body reacts with what should be your worst flare and skin condition. This lasts about a month and then slowly improves from there on with lots of setbacks. Two steps forward, one step back. TTO is not to be used in this stage at all. TTO actually increases itching, and only aggravates the symptoms in the very early tsw stage. I did use it early on, but in retrospect after 2-1/2 years and plenty of flares, I can tell you it is best to be used only in mid to late stage tsw. I found the best thing to do in the first few months of tsw is to NOT put anything on the skin, get lots of sun exposure, and wait it out. That means no water on the skin other than a dss bath every 2-3 days. And, the baths need to be done correctly, or they can work against you, as opposed to benefiting you. Never any soap. A 20 minute soak in water cleans your body so soap not needed.
      I'm confused as to why you thought you were getting better in just a four day period of time. Your body should be just starting the initial tsw flare, so you have nothing to compare to yet. The fact that you didn't use that much over tho0se 4 years will likely mean your tsw will be easy compared to most. That also depends on what you used, which you still haven't said, and how much, as in heavy amounts or tiny amounts. So again, what is the name of the ts you used? What oral steroids did you use and how much, how long?
      I learned the hard way to always rinse after my dss baths. If I don't, the excess salt residue left on the skin makes me much more itchier.
      Not much can be done about the weeping. It's a process the body goes through in early stage tsw. It will stop when it's wants to. Likely in a couple of weeks.

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    4. Hello, the reason that it all got started bc here in NC we have poison ivy vines that produces a nasty rash which I am highly sensitive to. Now looking back, I was prescribed and given steroid shots that goes back as long as seven years. The topical steroid were also prescribed along with this but I usually don't use the topical until the last 4 years for rashes which wasn't relate to poison ivy. Last summer was the first year that I was not prescribed prednisone bc I was not in contact with poison ivy. However, I have been battling this unknown rash for 4 years now. The year before that I was prescribed prednisone at least twice. So throughout the whole time I may also on occasions be using ts up until 4 days ago. I try to apply as little as possible but still would cover the problem areas. These areas are usually my fingers, legs, and a few on my back side, once or twice with very little on my face. Now the oozing and rash has been going on for 4 years and through out I try to stop using the ts. Of course after not knowing what is going on, I went back to using ts bc I could not bear the itch and weeping. This goes on and off the last 4 years.
      That's why after reading your posts and I try the tto the other day, the oozing stopped and I felt relief for the first time wo use of ts. But last night it reverts back to weeping again. I had some sweets yesterday, so I'm wondering if that was to blame? I also have been on a strict diet for the past couple of months, that's why I had wondered if I was more then just getting started with my tsw. That the healthy diet helps heal the body quicker and with less severity? Don't know if it's related but I was on Zyrtec for hives for 12 years. Finally got off it then the poison ivy thing came along and was prescribed all these steroids. I don't have all the ts but the few I have are fluocinonide .05%, triamcinolone .5%, and the last one I had used is momentasone .1%. There's another one which I had used a whole container full of but I don't remember the name. So I guess looking back I was prescribed quite a lot. I just never thought of it bc I just wanted the rash to go away and had trusted that the dermatologists/doctors to know what is best. Now I see that was my biggest mistake to trust them. I have always been protective with my kids when it comes to medications but I never thought I should also be on the caution side too when it comes to my health bc in the end I just want someone to make me well again so I can go back and take care of my family.

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    5. That's quite a bit of use. Dr. Fukaya always said plan on 1/3 of the years one used ts as the number it could take to finish tsw. That's just a very rough estimate, as there are so many variables. Sounds like your mysterious rash was caused by the ts from the get go. And, as far as the poison ivy goes, I think most people are allergic to it. I know I certainly am (poison oak too), so I avoid it, therefore no rash from it. There must be a better way to treat poison ivy induced rashes than with ts, and/or oral steroids. I haven't researched it, but I'd bet my bottom dollar there is.
      I eat sweets daily and am sure they inhibit the healing process. Sugar is simply bad, period. I do think it has contributed to my eczema worsening when I had it as a kid. Can't really tell with tsw, but am sure it doesn't help, and very likely hinders healing to some degree.
      I'm really sorry this has happened to you. If you want to do tsw, be sure to prepare yourself for a lot of grief, misery, itching, sleepless nights, etc., for up to a year or two. So, be strong and you may want to read other people's blogs, links to studies on the right hand side of my blog, and all you can to understand how the skin functions. Dr. Fukaya's blog is especially a great site full of information. I wish you the best in whatever you do. I'm always here if you need any support. Be careful to not fall for "moisturizing for comfort", or using ts again and trying to slowly ween yourself off over time. Trust your instincts and treat yourself as you would your child.

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  35. Dan, thank you for blogging about your experience! I came upon your site by accident when I looked up "moisturizer withdrawal" as a beauty topic, and quickly realized the "eczema" I'd had for years on my lips and hands was not eczema at all. After a few hours of further research I threw away my tubs of steroid creams. I used on-and-off on my lips for about 6 years, and very frequently on my hands for the last 1.5 years since I started working in food service, which was really rough on my hands. In the last year I had been to the derm on several occasions, really in a state because my hands weren't getting better (cracking, blistering, swelling) and each time just got a talking-to about not applying my steroids consistently enough (!!!) and a prescription for a different steroid. I had an inkling that something wasn't right about that…so I was really ecstatic, in that backwards way that only a TSA sufferer can be, to learn about TSW.

    I'm now on day 48. I have done MW since day 1. The initial two weeks seemed like nothing at first, just really dry, tight skin, but then rapidly worsened and peaked at one month with terrible cracking, oozing, itching, burning, swelling all over my right hand and parts of my left. I finally received the DSS I ordered 2 weeks ago, and having been doing the baths daily, and quit my job in food service. My hands are already much improved and I finally feel that I'm on the path to healing and believe the worst is behind me. I can't imagine that any future flare could be worse than the first, when I could barely bend my fingers or open my mouth. I have (almost) full mobility in my hands and the worst on my face is the occasional small crack at the corner of my mouth, and some redness and peeling. But it's manageable! If it weren't for your blog, I don't want to think about where I would have been a year from now.

    Thank you!!!

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    1. Hi Emily! That is so very nice of you! I know you're going through hell right now so please don't hesitate to pick my brain anytime. Best, Dan

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    2. Hi Dan, I just wanted to share a few tips that have been helpful to me for other readers currently going through TSW. These are the ways I've "hacked" my beauty routine to avoid irritants, surfactants and flares. Of course, I would encourage anybody who tries these tips to start slow and test things out, since everyone is different and at various stages of healing:

      -Homemade toothpaste: 4 Tbsp bentonite clay + 1 Tbsp xylitol + 10 drops peppermint oil. Mix and store in a jar, just dip a wet toothbrush into it and it will turn into a (non-foaming) paste in your mouth. If you used TS on your face and have cracking around your lips, this homemade toothpaste is extremely gentle, doesn't have any surfactants to strip the skin barrier, and you can leave out the peppermint until you're in a later stage of healing.

      Shikakai: This is an Ayurvedic herb that contains natural saponins and is an awesome alternative to shampoo (I was using it even before TSW). Mix the powdered herb with water and a dash of ACV, massage into scalp, let sit a few minutes, and rinse. I would still use (non-latex) gloves or have a loved one help you out if your hands are in a very bad state, as even natural saponins can be irritating. Using a squeeze bottle can streamline application. However, it's definitely more gentle, non-toxic, and less irritating in general than shampoo.

      -Honey: Great for washing your face! Morning and night, smear some plain honey on your face, let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse. Don't moisturize after!!! (but you knew that already)

      -Microfiber cloths: To be used very, very, very gently at the end of a bath when the skin is softened to slough off dead skin. My lips flake so. much. but these cloths do the job (I use the mini travel towels from REI) and make me feel presentable. They are so much more effective and gentle than cotton washcloths.

      -Homemade deodorant: Mix sesame oil (90%) and tea tree oil (10%) and a few drops of other antibacterial essential oils (e.g. oregano, thyme) or whatever smells nice to you. Store in a reusable roller-top bottle so you can roll it right on and don't have to touch the oils with your hands.

      -Nitrile (non-latex) dishwashing gloves: I bought a pack of these from a restaurant supply store and have them all over my apartment…two in the kitchen (one for dishes, one for other cleaning tasks), two in the bathroom (one for cleaning, one for washing my hair) and extras for any other task that would involve water, chemicals, or would necessitate hand washing that I can avoid.

      -Keep two to three water bottles in the freezer at all times. When my hands are in a flare I take one to bed with me to hold onto and I can actually get to sleep without scratching at all!


      I hope somebody can find these tips helpful (hello to other twenty-something women out there!)

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    3. Hi Emily, those are great ideas! I would like to add, "oil pulling" can be very beneficial for one's health. And, I think vinyl gloves may be a better choice than the nitrile ones because they fit a little looser. I prefer them myself anyway.

      Thank you so much for sharing this information!

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  36. Hi Dan,

    I saw you advise going MW but now u seems have a different view. I am now 2 mths in TSW having severe inflammation from my face to neck, please kindly share your view on MW, thank you so much :)

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    1. Hi Coral, my views on MW haven't changed at all. Can you be more specific? If I were 2 months into tsw I certainly would not be using anything on my skin other than dss baths when necessary.

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    2. Thank you for your message Dan.
      I was reading a lot these days, maybe I mixed up Coz I remember someone saying he used to think MW helps but not anymore.

      I am now on the stage I feel like I have no skin on my face, ears, neck and chest, my skin is weep for the last whole week and now the entire area is covered by the ooze crust, the lightest touch will break/ remove the crust n it weep
      Again. I woke up with a wet pillow n crust all over my bed... It's agony and I dint know what to do... I was doing dss bath few days ago, it just melt the crust n I weep like crazy after that... Do u still suggest me to do dss bath in this stage? Much appreciate for sharing your view!

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    3. Hi Coral, I'm not a doctor, therefore can't legally give advice. I can say what I do and would do (I hope). I use dss baths for when my skin is broken. Depending on how bad, either every day, or every other day. They have to be done properly. That would include skin that is weeping, cracked, broken, open, etc. I have gone into detail numerous times in various posts on my blog on how I use dss baths, how to do them properly, and what to expect from them.

      Sounds like you are in a bad way. I'm so sorry to hear this. Hopefully you understand the concept of doing MW and dss baths. If not, it is on my blog in many places. If you still have questions drop me an email. Best, Dan

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  37. It's so good to see some good healing! Thanks so much for all you do, Dan. You have been the best source of information for TSW and MSW. Thank you!

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  38. Ho I have tried a few times to respond and my posts don't seem to be showing up. Please contact me if this one goes thru. Thanks Jeannelle. ( 2 months in tsw. 4 days in mw)

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