Thursday, December 19, 2013

Moisturizing Withdrawal Log: Day 1


I feel like we are all on the defense when we begin the TSW journey. People are always telling us, why don't you just apply the creams? Why don't you just go to the doctor? and on and on. To which I fall back onto my preprogrammed responses "I'm doing what's making me comfortable, it just takes time." After a contentious couple of exchanges on my last post with Dan D, I took a moment to look at my condition (the worst it has been in months) and really question: Why not try Moisturizer Withdrawal (MW as it's known to "veterans")? 

I had tried stopping moisturizing for maybe a day or two max but always told myself it wasn't for me because the skin flakes up and tightens so bad initially. However, I already shared the philosophy that overmoisturizing just makes the skin's integrity weaker and it seems that since I started my TSW journey, a good number of sufferers have tried MW and had positive results. 

So, thank you to Dan D for reintroducing me to this idea. Since the Christmas to New Years holiday is coming up, I'll take this chance to really give MW a chance beginning today and document the progress under "mw logs" in addition to my typical monthly updates. Rather than just sticking with it a day or 2, my goal is to go at least a month since it takes at least 2 weeks for the benefits to appear. 

MW Day 1 - 12/19/2013: Stopped moisturizing since yesterday afternoon. I actually felt less itchy the whole time until bed time. After I went to sleep, I could feel the skin really starting to dry out and flake up. Around 5AM I woke up having to rub a ton of skin flakes off from my neck, arms and chest. Chest also started oozing up very badly (soaking into shirt). Due to discomfort I was up for about an hour.

Next morning, I showered as usual (only shampoo, rubbing off dead skin). Out of the shower, I patted some hyaluronic acid (Dr. F's) onto my face b/c I'm still going to work today. Skin took about 5 min to dry out completely. Face completely lost mobility and face and neck have that "plastic" glaze. Rest of skin is flaked up but I just waited until the skin dried and got dressed. Face continued to dry and lose mobility so I just patted a very light layer of grapeseed oil on my face stopping at the chin.

Took a nap until 11AM and so far am not feeling too itchy despite the ridiculously flakey appearance of my skin. Only real discomfort is the lack of mobility due to taut dry skin.

Had one itch attack after I got home from work, probably due to boredom more than anything. Difficult to keep from scratching but eventually just covered up with clothes and continued my day. The back of my neck did start to ooze a bit due to scratching so I am using toilet paper as a collar to absorb extra moisture.

The rest of the evening has been ok as long as I stay kinda busy. Mobility has definitely improved throughout the day and I no longer feel like the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz.

Please leave a comment if you've tried moisturizer withdrawal and how it has worked for you!


  1. Hi Megan,
    I have been moisture free on my entire body for the last 4 months and the skin has never looked better! I say this during winter here where normally I flare up really badly. I didn't try it on my face as I was scared and now this is the only place I have visible eczema. For the last week I have been going MW on my face, and its a hard and painful process but I have every confidence that it will heal faster than it I continued with moisturiser. The skin seems to be thicker each day and not tear as easily. And its far less itchy than before. Good luck! xx

    1. Yes mine is a lot thicker and tougher too!

  2. Hi Megan :) I have been going without moisturiser (well actually I was only using hemp balm as an emollient) for over a month now. I doubt I'll go back, but am also aware never to say never on this journey! I am just so happy with the reduction in itching and redness and although my face still looks an awful big flaky sight, the rest of me is steadily improving. I have done a quick writeup on my first week here if you are interested :)

  3. hi Megan,

    keep us updated with the MW process! Fellow MW here and it has helped me tremendously.


  4. So happy you are doing this! The first few weeks are so hard, I cried a lot and felt like I was back to the beginning. But now my skin is unreal, I love waking up in the morning and running my hands over my neck and shoulders, they are so smooth and cool to touch. I'll be at 9 months just after Christmas and am basically done. I'm going out, drinking, having nightlong games nights, and back to work fulltime.

    One thing that helped me a lot, short baths, do not rub in the bath it's extra drying and damaging, put on pjs and jump straight into bed for a half a hour or an hour, giving the skin time to settle. Don't touch, don't pick.

    This will be what takes you out of this rut I'm sure.

  5. Hi Megan, thank you for giving me credit in your post. I really appreciate it, and am so happy to see you and others doing MW! You are courageous to do this during the Holidays. Once you get by the first week or so, and your skin settles down and starts feeling really good, be careful of the temptation to try and put moisturizers on to see how it will effect you. It will make you itch like crazy and set you back a little. I know I did it twice. You can go back to moisturizing (if you so desire) once you're skin heals without that happening. The skin is just too sensitive during tsw to put anything on it.

    I used Dr. Fukaya's skin lotion early on in my tsw while I was also moisturizing and didn't notice that it was irritating my skin due to how bad off I was at the time. I couldn't differentiate between the moisturizers, the skin lotion, and the actual effects of tsw. After I quite moisturizing I continued to apply Dr,. Fukaya's lotion after my baths for a short while and then one day I waited for a few hours after the bath to apply it when my skin was completely dry and I went into a bad flare. That happened twice so I knew even that was irritating my skin. I have put it on hold until I'm brave enough to try it again which should be soon now.

    If you have any problems with your initial stages of MW there are a few here that can help answer most any question that might come up. Between us, we have lots of tips on various aspects of doing this successfully, so no need to reinvent the wheel, or suffer needlessly. Congrats on your wise decision. You're gonna love it!