All joking aside, this adjustment to moisturizer withdrawal has not been that bad.
The current condition of my skin is decent. Face, pretty healed except for periphery and upper lip having flakes. Neck down is all fuzzy with flakes. Extra itchy and larger flaking areas are wrists, knees, chest, back of neck, chin, ankles. Actual eczematic looking skin (by this I mean red, oozing, scaling) is contained to left ring finger, and tops of feet close to the toes and 2nd toe of left foot. I deal with these areas by applying tea tree oil or silver gel and then trying to leave them alone. Feet are covered w/ bandages/tissues then wrapped up in socks with leggings tucked in at all times.
This month, my seventh month in TSW, is the month of moisturizer withdrawal. It seems to be the latest rage in the TSW community and I think there are valid points to giving it a try. My skin has become stronger. Specifically when I have scratch fits, my skin doesn't ooze out or break unless I really have at it.
My highlights of my first few weeks of moisturizer withdrawal including how I dealt with each:
- Pain similar to first month of TSW first couple weeks, I coped with it by using pain killers sparingly.
- Tightness in skin of first couple weeks has dissipated. Driving (and moving around in general) was difficult in the beginning so I'd recommend staying in bed if possible.
- Flakes started out thick and large, have become fine but still persistent. Change clothes often! I changed clothes 2x a day when my flakes would build up in my clothes. I'm currently changing clothes 1-2x a day still. If I feel itch building up, I change clothes.
- Itch fits continue to stick around, though less and less frequent. I try to avoid scratching b/c it's counter productive (case in point, my foot) to healing but I have had a good number of scratching fits and it's ok. Cover as much skin with TIGHT clothing as possible. Prevents direct scratching of skin and movement of flakes. I wear shirts with thumb holes, leggings tucked into socks.
- No moisturizer also means NO LIP BALM! My lips became intensely chapped and cracked in first two weeks. Later, skin thickened, then peeled off to reveal softer skin which has persisted.
This week, I'm trying out even less showers, perhaps every other or every 3rd day. My reasoning for this is simple. We shower to remove oils which also retain scent resulting in us feeling (and smelling) dirty. Right now, I have no oils and I'm adding no oils to my skin. Not much scent builds up when I don't shower or wash my hair. The only down side thus far is looking a bit flaky on non showering days. My face is a bit flaky on my forehead and upper lip and I try to deal with it by using sticky tape to remove extraneous flakes.
At this point, I've completely let go of feeling insecure about my appearance. I mean, frankly, idgaf if I'm covered in flakes and I can't afford to stress over it. If this is what it looks like for me to heal, then so be it. Yes, I've gone to work with flakes scattered throughout my hair b/c I know that showering would do it more harm than good. And I have jet black hair, woot woot. I have a sickness that I've come to terms with it and I'm okay with others seeing it; in fact, it's good that others can see what I'm struggling with it.
Though I am not super close to healing yet, I've started feeling more positive in general and it definitely helps the day to day go by more quickly. Keeping busy with other things and not stressing over the little things (triggers, food, etc) is key! One month closer to healthy skin!