If you’re going through Topical Steroid Withdrawal (TSW) or living with active eczema you’ll know how difficult it can be to work out what’s right for your skin. If it’s oozy do you let it dry out? If it’s dry do you moisturise and what should you use?
There is so much advice out there and everyone seems to be diving into moisture withdrawal, but I’ve really struggled with it. My skin gets so dry, sore and painful and when I try not to use any moisturiser everything just deteriorates and I’m in agony. I scratch more and do more damage. I itch more and just cannot ignore the itch scratch call!
So I’ve decided to be kind to myself. It’s OK to moisturise. It doesn’t mean you’ve failed. And I’ve noticed that I’m using less and less as my skin heals.
I’ve also recorded a little video for you here explaining a bit about NMT, my TSW journey and how I’ve been coping with my skin during TSW.
So what moisturisers do I use?
- 99% Aloe Vera with tea tree – I put this on if I think it’s in danger of getting infected, is oozing or weeping. This can sting a bit at first but it eases off and has really helped me cope with my wrists, which were really broken, oozy and hard to heal.
- Epaderm – The only thing I used from the start, all over, after my bath and at night, covering with tubular bandages or bandages to stop me scratching. I find Epsom salt, bicarb and oat baths really helped.
- Balmonds – I find their products soothe and are gentle enough for my very sensitive skin. I love the Rosehip oil because it’s so simple and the tea tree balm on really sore areas. Also their Skin Salvation and Lavender baby balm. Visit the Balmonds website and use code WHATALLERGY for 20% off.
- Lyonsleaf – Another lovely independent brand who grow their own herbs and make lovely ointments and balms. I love their calendular and zinc cream to soften very dry scaly skin and help it to flake off and their new marshmallow balm which is so moisturising.
- I tend to apply Epaderm over the top sometimes when I’ve used Balmonds and Lyonsleaf, just to really slather on the moisture, then I bandage really troubled areas of skin.
It’s such a confusing quandry and I’m always reluctant to offer advice or tell people what to do. I’m not a doctor. But I can share what I do myself.
Just to really confuse things, some days my skin feels so calm and comfortable that I don’t use anything on it at all. Over time I hope that my skin will be able to self lubricate but for now, I’m helping it along as much as I can.
Moisturising is also one of my scratch avoidance tactics as often I find I’m itching because my skin is dry.
I have not been paid to write this blog post. I’ve written about the brands mentioned above because I love their products. They are both independent English companies who have been very kind to me during this awful skin journey. I have worked with both, and you can read my guest blogs here:
- Lyonsleaf – Topical Steroid Withdrawal and skincare
- Balmonds – How to get through TSW: Ruth Holroyd’s Sleep Tips for Eczema prone skin.
I will also be joining Rebecca Bonneteau for our weekly Monday afternoon chats to discuss ‘Natural skincare’ at 3pm on the 18th May. Find out more here. Use the link to book and join us on Zoom every Monday at 3pm.
Still interested in moisture withdrawal?
You can find out more in this blog, written by Harriet Hammond, a fellow TSW survivor who has been through the process herself. Read How to get through TSW: No Moisure Treatement (NMT)
You can also watch this brilliant video sharing Ahmed’s experience with TSW and NMT.
Possible downsides to NMT
- Hydrate your skin – I feel that keeping hydrated with plenty of water and fruit is beneficial to the skin.
- Keep skin clean – I have tried to reduce the bathing, as the bath was the only comfortable place at one point. I can now just wash the important bits and let my skin do its thing sometimes, but the Epsom salt baths just seem to calm inflammation, reduce redness and keep my skin healing. It’s also important to keep skin clean to avoid getting infections during TSW.
- Fruit and vegetables – I’ve been eating lots of fruit and vegetables to help my digestive system. These foods are moisture rich and will help hydrate the body and are also easier to digest.
- Complicated – I know this is a stupid reason to not do something, but I’m so busy with work and my blog, and writing a book that I’m not sure I can manage counting the water content of everything I consume. I need my life to be as simple and stress free as possible and just feel this would put added pressure on me.
- It’s painful – Perhaps I’m wrong and there is no gain without pain, but living alone and struggling with the pain of the flares, I feel that making this journey more painful is not going to help me. I’m going for self care, learning to love my skin and restful pastimes.
I can see that my skin is healing. I am moving in the right direction. Who knows whether I would heal quicker doing NMT. No one knows the answer to this. So I’ve tried to choose the best path for me.
Have you tried and given up like me? I just feel my skin feels calmer and less painful, especially when it’s sore after a flare and the skin splits open. Sometimes it hurts to open my mouth, so I use balms and emollients to soothe and smooth my journey.
What do you think? I’d love to hear from you guys. Do you do NMT or do you moisturise and what do you use on your skin? I’d love to hear your views on this.