Tuesday, January 14, 2014

8 Month Update: Adjustments to routine, Moisturizer withdrawal continues...

Guys, I think I need a taller collar

2nd day since showering, skin's a bit flaky

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.

One major change that I've introduced into my routine is reduced washing. Previously, I routinely took a comfortably warm shower a day, approximately 15 minutes, including shampooing my hair once a day. The past few weeks, I have washed once per day Monday through Friday, then taken the weekend off of showers. My scalp was shedding like crazy so I adjusted to only washing hair Monday and Thursday with baking soda for my scalp followed by a 1:5 apple cider vinegar rinse. After not showering for the weekend, I've noticed my skin has felt stronger. In addition, by cutting down hair washing, my scalp is less flaky, albeit still contains flakes.

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!


  1. Hi Megan, congrats on your improvement! Just a suggestion. You might want to look into the benefits of dss baths a little deeper as I know they can be beneficial to anyone that has skin. Quite frankly, I'm very surprised that most tsw's aren't using them as their standard protocol. Plenty of research and controlled studies are available on the positive effects of these baths. If you don't want to bathe you can always soak your feet in dss water. It's great for drying out those oozing areas if you don't rinse immediately afterwards. Not to mention numerous other benefits to the skin. But, just one bath per week could help your skin a lot. I've posted a lot of info lately on my blog about the studies and benefits. Have also updated my MW guide on the subject. You can also see most of the same info on the web. I base the frequency of their use on how my skin is doing at any given time. They have been my best weapon next to the sun. Best!

    1. Thanks for the comment Dan. I don't have a bath tub otherwise I'd consider it. I've thought about perhaps using a solution in a spray bottle and letting it sit on my skin for a while before rinsing off lol. I've done that with apple cider vinegar to a certain degree in the shower.

    2. I do acv baths once in a blue moon. It's supposed to balance the ph on the skin. Good to drink it too (Bragg's organic avc with the mother). One tablespoon of Bragg's acv in warm water per day whenever you don't feel well. An old lady told me about that many years ago. Works well for balancing the ph in your system and also great for heartburn and helps a little with itching. Add a teaspoon of honey too as that combo is very good for you. But as for the skin, I wouldn't use it much as it really doesn't do much other than balance the ph and that isn't needed most of the time. Be sure to dilute it well if you spray it on your skin.

      Since your feet are giving you a hard time you might try soaking them in dss water in a pan. I used to do that with my hands but after losing the fear I had of doing dss baths, I switched to baths only so all of my skin can benefit. The ratio breakdown is 8 ounces of dss per 5 gallons of water. You can break it down from there for a gallon which would be about 2 ounces.