Tuesday, April 15, 2014

MOTIVATION: Living vicariously through my future self!

For this monthly update, I decided to do something different. Things have been SO MUCH better thanks to moisturizer withdrawal and dead sea salt baths. If you'd like to know my current routine, you can check out my previous post about dead sea salt baths. My skin is slowly making progress which I'm quite pleased about.

Yes, my face is still flaky and I am still stuck in tight cotton clothing only. However, because of the improvements in swelling, oozing and itching, instead of wallowing in depression about my current condition, I'm able to embrace the future with open arms (corny, I know) and plan my comeback. Please excuse me while I self indulge just a little.

The awesomeness that is my life, aka things I can do now that TSW is winding down:

  • Not washing my sheets for a week -- But what about the flakes??? To which I respond, what flakes
    Mind blown.
  • Dieting
    Prior to TSW, I was a bit of a diet and exercise junkie. I have ultimately been working toward my target weight of 125lb and TSW just threw a huge wrench in it. As a result, I was forced to stop exercising. 
    I must have been bedridden for a good 2-3 months. As some of you may have experienced, being hungry just set off the itch centers like crazy. I responded by always being full. Needless to say, I packed on the pounds. After my TSW seemed to be winding down in November of 2013, I took the chance to crash diet, but promptly was hit in the face by another flare and the story repeated.
    I'm back on the diet again, since I'm barely itching even when I'm very hungry. Definitely looking forward to hitting some big goals this year!

My weight history since 2010. Doing well through 2012, then bam, uncontrollable "eczema" (signs that my skin was addicted to steroids) into TSW, starting in May 2013. 
  • Exercising
    DYEL, bro? Well, I did until this whole skin thing. This was one of the biggest withdrawals I had. Rather than hitting the weights, I was forced to endure my body wasting away into a fat blob. Well, NO MORE. I'm back in the gym about 3 times a week, and quickly regaining my strength! Of course, I'm listening to my body. No exercising at the expense of my skin (for example, cracks on fingers deter me from lifting heavy). I've also picked up yoga: it's a great way to workout at home and let my mind wander away from skin troubles.
  • Wearing nail polish
    Gel nails are the bestest! I still am scratching up a storm at times but my skin is strong enough where I can afford to grow them out a little. So I apply an at home gel manicure thanks to the NaiLuv kit. It sticks to my nails for at least a week and I don't have to look at my naked nail nubs anymore.

    Don't mind the thumbshirt.
  • Straightening my hair -- Yep, I can actually go back to looking presentable again. 
  • Buying dresses, gym clothes, makeup -- I am a bit of a shopping junky and being able to even shop for non TSW related items helps me look forward and not back. Though I can't necessarily wear/use these items today, it's nice to know I will be able to soon. 
  • Posting on Instagram -- random as it may seem, it's my way of reconnecting with the world. Posting about the small things in life makes me appreciate them that much more. 
  • Drinking -- no more itch attacks after consuming (copious amounts of) alcohol! I'm not really overdoing it but it's awesome to be able to enjoy a draft on Friday with some buddies!

    Moving forward with caution. 

      I expect that I will still run into bumps in the road but I am working on appreciating the moments I have now and planning for the future. 
        I am making sure to not do anything at the expense of my skin. For example: I am a self proclaimed makeup addict but I am still keeping my skin free of such items till I am sure it can handle it. I did try mineral makeup and it doesn't seem to irritate that badly, but will still err on the side of caution until my skin feels TSW free. Instead, I am finding alternatives to outlet my predisposition toward vanity such as hair styling (without skin irritating products!!) 

        What are the little things that remind you of your progress? I'd love to hear!

        Happy healing!

        Monday, April 7, 2014

        UPDATE: Dead Sea Salt Baths for Dry Skin Relief, with pictures

        I finally tried Dead Sea Salt Baths, thanks to Dan's gentle urging and his post with instructions.

        Survey says, they are awesome.

        What I did every 2-3 days:
        • 2 lbs dead sea salt in a tepid water bath
        • Soak ~20 min
        • Shampoo with Nizoral in bath water QUICKLY (I added this because my scalp was still too itchy after a dead sea salt bath)
        • Rinse QUICKLY with warm water(less than 5 minutes)
        • Pat dry, try to resist the temptation to rub skin flakes off. 
        In between bath days:
        • Don't moisturize. Yep, that's it.

        • Miraculously, oozing areas seem to seal over after baths (problem spots such as feet and fingers)
        • For dry ashy areas, skin color is now restored. (close to healed areas such as neck, arms, legs)
        • For rest of skin, my skin feels so freaking soft. My friend even commented it was "nice feeling"!
        • Cracks got the chance to heal, not immediately but after two weeks, all have sealed over.
        • About 50% of my nights are full nights of sleep!
        • Compared to my previous update, I took same photos again and all parts are improved!

        After a bath, the skin is pretty soft and ready to be sluffed off. I tried it once and it revealed skin that wasn't quite completely formed, resulting in some oozing. However, I believe because I took the dead sea salt bath, it sealed over pretty quickly, which raises the question: Can I continue sluffing off after each bath to speed skin recovery? I will proceed with caution.

        My upper lip is also still quite dry and flaky. Is it because I can't submerge it? I'm currently using a face towel to constantly drench my face with the sea salt bath water. 

        All photos below are with NO MOISTURIZER! And yes, I am wearing nail polish. I bought a Nailuv kit from Costco for at home gel manicures! 

        Upper lip still flaky but rest of skin is skin colored. Neck skin is so smooth.

        Flakes are persisting on ring and pinky finger but cracks have closed, finally!

        Redness at base of fingers is subsiding

        Had nasty cracks previously. All are healed.

        No oozing on tops of feet! Flakes are finer and skin is all closed.


        My skin has completely turned around as a result of dead sea salt baths. Nothing else I've tried has offered such a drastic change to my skin so consistently. I feel like this is the final stretch thanks to them and am glad to be thinking about regular life again, like what nail polish color to wear next! I strongly urge everyone to try them! I'm sorry if I sound like a salesperson but they are truly amazing and I feel bad for lagging any longer on this post because everyone should know. Happy healing and bathing everyone!!