Wednesday, September 17, 2014

HEALING: Using Medical Tape to help skin repair, and progress pictures.

It's been a while since my last post because I don't feel like much has been happening. Though, there is a progression and I figure I should document it. Since the last post, my finger skin and face has started to "flare" more. I see it as a positive sign because before my feet got better, they got worse and I think it's just the skin turning over until good skin finally appears. Patience has really been key to survive mentally because if I got too anxious to heal, I'd get quite dejected and frustrated. 

My procedure continues to be dead sea salt baths and moisturizer withdrawal. I tried showering early September and my skin was not happy. It just became slightly more dry and flaky until my next dead sea salt bath and then returned to normal. 

A new technique I continue using is Taping.

Taping continues to be a way for me to cope with cracks. 3M Millipore tape or Nexcare Paper tape (I purchase these from Amazon or are the only brands that 1. BREATHE and 2. are flexible. Breathing is VERY IMPORTANT because if the tape does not breathe, the skin sweats underneath and loses its integrity and slips off. I tried to save money and buy CVS brand and it wasn't breathable at all which caused my skin to peel off. Flexibility comes into play if you use your hands a lot for work or chores. These tapes are flexible enough to withstand cleaning, moving, etc which I have been doing during my move. 

This month, I also had to move which involved lifting heavy boxes with my cracked fingers and taping is what kept my skin together. If I did not, cracks would form and the next day my hands would be in bad shape.

Here's the general guideline I use for taping:

1. Skin must be dry, for the most part intact. This technique is NOT RECOMMENDED for oozing skin. Good for late stage TSW sufferers.
2. Hold crack as closed as possible and apply the tape.
3. Leave on for at least 8 hours (the longer the better)
4. Crack should be somewhat sealed, if not, repeat taping until it is.

Note: Tape will leave some residue. If so, gently rub glue off in the direction of any cracks (example horizontal crack, rub horizontally) so it does not disturb the crack. I have found benefits of taping far outweigh this issue. Also, if a bath will be taken soon, residue readily comes off in the bath water.

Tape can also be used to protect delicate skin, especially when you are doing arduous tasks that might cause the skin to crack. Also note that even though a crack is sealed, it might not be fully healed so additional taping helps hold the skin together until it is healed. As a precautionary measure, I use it preventatively on fingers as I'll show below. 

I cover the problem areas with tape to protect them from daily wear. I work in a scientific lab so cover this with gloves but change them often to prevent sweat build up. I use Micropore tape in "Tan" by 3M which is not too obvious unless you are up close. Here, my pinky first knuckle, ring second knuckle, and middle finger whole finger on the right hand and index finger second knuckle on left hand are taped:

The actual condition of my skin: Very scaly on my pinky and middle fingers of left hand:

Right hand is pretty much healed, Just pesky index finger spots and a slight patch on ring finger remain:

Left hand close ups, I often tape these at night:

Foot skin continues to be closed and the "affected" skin is ever so very slowly shrinking, e.g. before, affected area stretched to right pinky toe whereas now it's at the ring toe. 

Face skin is also "flaring". Delicate patches along jaw line are very pink and feel scaly. Upper lip often forms a crack, though today it looks okay but very scaly. A crack often forms on the seam of the upper lip in the valley of my cupids bow so I often tape that over night and by the morning it heals okay for me to not look like I'm dying. Under my chin, flakes seem to form a lot which I have to scrub off during baths:

So here we are, 1 year and 4 months in, still dealing with symptoms, but nothing is devastating my life. I can sleep full nights and don't have to change sheets manicly now. But it's still a struggle trying to stay positive through this time, as I still don't feel and look great. Keep calm and heal on!


  1. Looking good! Happy to hear about your progress! I have the exact same spot.on my pinkie fingers! So weird! I hope you heal 100% very soon!!!!

    1. Thanks Tracy. The pinkies just seem to be so active on the hand and exposed to the elements vs other fingers, which probably as something to do with these spots not healing fast... Who knows? Haha.

  2. love this! I've thought about paper taping my wounds but have not actually done it. Now I must try!

    1. Thanks for the comment, Molly. Hope this works for you. Helps me so much with pesky deep cracks. Just take care while removing your tape! Good luck.