Face, why you so red?

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This was my face back in September. I had just finished a week of Clobestol on my body. (Sept 2012)

So before I officially began my TSW journey, I went through a strange time in the latter portion of last year. I say “officially” because I was unaware of steroid addiction, and I would go back on steroids one more time, thinking it would help me. My face was extremely dry, red, hot, oozing and scaly. I thought that this was my eczema progressing even further. Looking back, I reckon it was RSS (Red Skin Syndrome).

I dropped lots of money on a Naturopath (who ended up being fraudulent, but that’s a whole other story) thinking my eczema was the result of Candida, food allergies, high testosterone and all sorts of things the supposed Naturopath claimed. I went on an Anti-Candida diet and used the prescribed supplements for a month without success in regards to my skin, although I shed a few unwanted pounds. After realizing my naivety, I spent hours, days, weeks researching for the answer.

I don’t see a point in going to my new (and certified this time) naturopath for my skin issues.  There is no way to differentiate between the withdrawal symptoms and any improvements her treatments would offer. If I haven’t recovered after, say, 18 months of withdrawal, then I will go to her for help. Spending the money in hopes of improving my RSS is a dim idea. The best I can do for myself is eat healthily and keep as sane as possible.

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I woke up with new flakes every morning. – Leizel Lizard

Anywho, back to my story of how I found out about TSW. Although the Clobestol would smooth out my skin from rash oblivion, the “eczema” always came back worse than it was before. December 2012, I was bruised from aggressive scratching and itchy to the bone. I gave the Clobestol one more go for 10 days. Again, smoothed things out but was so itchy I couldn’t help myself. Then came my first month of complete withdrawal. See my previous post for details. Somehow I learned about Steroid Addiction and TSW (Topical Steroid Withdrawal online while doing my daily research. It was an “a-ha!” moment. My skin experiences with scaling, oozing, redness, hotness, hair loss could be explained by TSW. Occam’s Razor tells us that the simplest explanation is the correct one. Thank you, Mr. Occam, for that one!

Now on Week 8, the itch has reduced from to-the-bone itching to more superficial, pins and needles itching. My arms are the worst area that itches. I’ve read that this is the same with many. My trunk and back, as well as my inner thighs seems to sweat at night leading to itching. I try sleeping without a blanket, but I get too cold. So I end up choosing being too warm and sweaty so I can fall asleep.

My face is getting better. Thank the gods! I initially had scaling on the sides of my face and cheeks back in Sept/Oct 2012, which has recovered. My problem area has shifted to the jawline where the skin had hardened and oozed. I stopped scrubbing my skin too much and let the crust kind of stay on, but gently removing what I can.

The photos above where taken in Sept/Oct 2012. My face was very hot and red on my cheek and temple area. It would scale like crazy throughout the day and was most noticeable in the morning upon waking. I scrubbed those scales off and underneath was the hot and red skin. The raw skin looked strange, like a matrix of cracked skin. The cracks were lighter, almost white, which contrasted from the red skin. Those areas have recovered since then. No more scaling or extreme redness and hotness in that area. Symptoms on my face have developed along the jawline where it is hardened and oozing with crusts. It has improved in the last few days since I decided to stop scrubbing it and start rubbing it off gently in the bath. I message cleanser and a bit of castor oil into my skin to soften it, rinse. After this, I can run my hands over the skin and small rolls of dry skin come off. This method is more effective for me than using an exfoliating scrub because it is less irritating (less redness and hot) and takes more dry skin from the surface more evenly. When I use scrubs, my face only gets hot and red, and my face is left with unsmoothed flakes clinging to my face. My jawline is less bruised and less oozy in a matter of days from just allowing my skin to crust over and not scrubbing it aggressively. Try it! I reckon that the crust sort of functions as your skin’s natural band-aid. And it’s made a great difference. Fingers crossed!

Photo on 2011-11-09 at 13.29 #2

Once TSW is over, regaining my self-confidence and well… LIFE back is something I look forward to. I pray that I can come out of this with a lesson rather than despising that it ever existed. My tendency to want to erase every mistake, minor or otherwise, and start anew is something I’ve always done. So you hated how my entire first year of art projects went ? Leizel Lizard copes by throwing all those paintings and sculptures out. This is something I regret now because I actually did a good job on some of those projects despite my prof’s grading!

To disqualify TSW as a write-off would be unfortunate. It might not happen right away, but I think experiencing my body in this state will give me some well-rounded perspective. Eczema and/or steroid-induced eczema has taught me to become extremely self-absorbed. ensuring that I monitor any minor changes in my appearance, especially my face. I miss having soft, supple, dewy skin as seen in the photo the the right. At that time (2 years ago), I was concerned with cystic acne, which is in hindsight a joke. It makes me appreciate the zits I now get on my face from over-moisturizing with heavy oils and Vaseline, as if somehow zits are an indicator of normal skin. What a world I live in where zits are desired. Wait ’til I go back in time and tell my 16 year old self about that!

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3 responses »

  1. Thanks for posting pics. I am loving your blog so far and I know it is going to help other TSW sufferers. You’re a beautiful person and I know you’ll get back to that picture of how you looked before – your skin looks amazing there!! Gosh I agree with you about the zits thing. I wouldn’t mind getting acne again. That at least people understand and it can be more easily dealt with (and is more predictable than TSW where one never knows how they’ll wake up looking in the morning).

  2. Hi lady, Glad you’re liking my blog. It means a lot to me that somebody enjoys it. This is my first blog ever. Would prefer it to have been about book reviews or some other musing that would replace my preoccupation with my health/skin woes… but alas, here we are 🙂 I hope that I can help fellow TSW sufferers in some kind of small way. There’s a handful of TSW blogs, including yours, that I like to read regularly. The photos are especially serviceable when we feel awful about our own appearances. It’s helpful to know that we’re not alone in this. Is there a first name I can call you by?

  3. Hi Leizel
    Thank you for creating this blog. I am on day 6 of TSW, 😦 …I don’t have to tell you how miserable I feel. Finding the ITSAN page and your blog is helping me get though this. I had no idea how bad this could be and I want to share this information with everyone.
    You look gorgeous! Congratulations!!! Please keep blogging!

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