Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Flaring at Nearly 34 Months Off Steroids (photos)

No words....TSW is cruel.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Skin Update 33 Months

Hi Everyone!

I've been meaning to do a skin update for a while, but I just haven't had the time to take any photos whilst the kids have been off school. Plus my teenage son hogs the PC to play Minecraft and Football Manager, so I have to grab it when I can. goes...

As you will know, throughout the summer, my skin was in a healed state. No flares, no cycles, no shedding, no redness. Just nice, smooth, supple, NORMAL skin. This has been the case for the last few months.

However, you may also know, if you are a long-term reader of this blog, that I have had a flare in October every year since quitting steroids. I am obviously concerned that this may happen again this year, especially now the darker nights are drawing in and there is less sunlight. Also, at this time of year, there are a lot of allergens in the air and my asthma always gets really bad in September.

So for the first time in months, I noticed my skin going through a mild flare cycle at the beginning of last week. The signs of a flare for me at this stage are:

Problems getting to sleep
Slight wetness behind my ear
Pink blotches on my cheeks and chin.
Generally feeling more itchy and reactive.
I also have an annoying crack on my left eyelid that appears when I'm in a flare!

I repeat, this flare was very mild and certainly not the full-body oozing and redness I have experienced previously. Symptoms were also limited to my facial area, with none of the rest of my body affected. I think this may mean that my body is fully healed, but my face still has to go through some mild flares before it is completely healed.

Anyway, pictures say it better than I can, so here are my photos:

So you can see my face is a little bit pinker than it was on my "summer healed" photos and I've also got some dry skin round my mouth area. Nothing too bad though, and certainly nowhere near as bad it has been in the past. My biggest concern is that this pink tone is going to be a prelude for a bigger flare in October, but maybe I'm being paranoid.

My arm is normal and even managing to hold onto a bit of a tan. No flaking, no redness. Just normal skin here.
Legs are normal and have been for about 2 years now. I don't think they will flare again. They are healed for good, I hope.

You can see that the neck area is mainly clear but there is a little bit of blotching near the top. It's only very mild, but again, I worry it may get worse as I get less sunshine.
So you can see that my skin is still generally good and it certainly isn't stopping me from doing my daily activities. I'm just a bit upset because my skin was perfect up until a week ago and this mild flare could be a sign that I'm about to go downhill again.
I don't mean to discourage people by posting this, but I want to be 100% honest about the recovery process and how long it takes. it would have been easy for me to stop writing the blog after the last set of pictures and nobody would have been any the wiser, but there is no value deceiving people that way. The fact is, that people DO flare late into TSW and we really have no idea how long the healing process takes.
Stay positive. My skin has been perfect these last few months and will be again. I have had a glimpse of life beyond TSW and it is good. Even 3 months of good skin is better than the years and years of steroid application. I won't go back to that.
You readers can trust me to be honest and transparent about TSW. I will always tell the truth, even if it seems inconvenient to do so.
I have "prescribed" myself plenty of sunshine in order to stem the flow of the oncoming storm.
...and believe me..I think my storm IS coming. I think the big October flare is inevitable. Let's hope I am wrong.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Shocking Documents About Steroid Cream Abuse

Back in the early days of TSW, I used to do a lot of research. I have slacked off a bit recently.

However, I recently uncovered a lot of information on the internet from India, where steroid creams, particularly unregulated ones, are causing a huge problem because people use them as fairness creams to lighten their skin.

I found a document with shocking pictures of the damage that unregulated, potent steroids have done to the faces of innocent people. It is so sad to see, but it is a very useful document to print off and show doctors who don't believe that this is a real condition.

In India, they call the condition TSDF, or Topical Steroid Damaged Face.

If you are interested in the subject, Googling the term will bring to to several more interesting articles, as well as a Facebook page dedicated to stopping the use of these creams.

I also found a sad article about a little baby only 6 months old who had been prescribed a potent steroid by a quack doctor. I hope the baby is ok now.

The group publicising this information have their own petition, asking that the sale of OTC steroids in India be stopped. You can sign the petition here. They have 850 signatures, so if all of the itsan people can get behind them too, we could make a real difference.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Happy Anniversary Itsan Forum!

Did you realise that the Itsan forum is nearly a year old?

The forum, as we know it, went live at the beginning of September 2013.

It maybe feels longer for me because I was a member of the Google group that preceded it. The google group was relatively small, with only a handful of people and the forum didn't really work too well in that many of the threads got buried and mixed up. When we had a new forum last September, it was a breath of fresh air, as it allowed us to handle the large volume of people coming to Itsan, as well as organising different threads better.

The admin asked me to be a Global Moderator from day 1. I was unsure at first as it felt like a huge responsibility and I was worried I would spend hours every day tied to the computer. Luckily, it hasn't been like that. It was easy to pick things up and these days the forum tends to run itself. I can go on holiday and leave the forum for a week and know that things will be OK. Members tend to moderate each other anyway and if someone says something that the others don't agree with, they will soon put them right! Likewise, when new folk join the forum looking for help and encouragement, by the time I have logged on to welcome them, many people will have already taken the newbie under their wing and given them a warm welcome. I really appreciate this. It makes life much easier for the mods.

We have had to learn "on the job" and some decisions have been harder than others. The decision to delete a post or warn a member is always incredibly difficult, but luckily is a very rare occurrence. One of the biggest changes we made in the early days was to add an "experimental treatments" board. Whilst Itsan official line is that nothing heals but time, the admin appreciate that many people like to try different therapies and methods as they go through TSW and this has led to some really interesting discussions. My personal view is that nothing speeds up TSW, but I totally respect those who disagree and secretly hope that they are right, because it would be brilliant to find something that does speed this thing up!

The forum is always incredibly busy and I've been working hard lately trying to file away some of the posts that get dumped in the "general section" to make them more visible to users. Certain topics are very popular, so I hope at some point to merge similar threads together.

We are getting about 5 new members a day, which is just fantastic. Some of them lurk, some post occasionally and some are regular posters, but all are most welcome, however they choose to use the forum.

As of today, the current stats are:

Members: 1768
Posts: 25363
Topics: 2562
Categories: 8
Boards: 89
Most Online at Same Time: 201

It would be really cool to hit the 2000 members mark before September 1, but it is still a drop in the ocean compared to the millions worldwide who still use steroid cream.

So a BIG thank you to everyone who makes the forum such a great place to be. We have laughed together, cried together and comforted each other. I feel privileged to know such a great bunch of people.

Here's hoping that the forum will be even bigger and better in the coming year and that more people find healing upon cessation of topical steroids.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Salcura Bio Skin Range, Face Hydrator and Facial Wash Product Review

A few months ago, I reviewed some products in the Salcura range, which is a wonderful, all natural range of products that provide an excellent alternative to steroids as well as giving comfort and relief to those going through TSW. I found the products really good, particularly the dermaspray and I am still using these products now.

Imagine my delight then, when a representative from the company contacted me last month to ask whether I would like to try some more of their products. Like a kid in a sweet shop, I was given the pick of the range and I chose the face hydrator, facial wash and two products in the newly-launched Bio-Skin range which is for children. I have spent the last four weeks testing the products and I would like to share my experiences.

Bio Skin

The Bio Skin range is brand new and aimed at children with eczema. Many people on the Itsan forum wonder about what products to use on children with regular eczema, as well as those going through TSW, as all the doctors seem to offer are prescriptions for increasingly strong steroids and petroleum-based emollients.

Bio Skin is based on a very simple two step system: prevention and treatment. The spray, which contains healing natural oils, is used daily on the skin to help maintain the skin barrier and prevent outbreaks. Patches of eczema are treated with the flare-up cream, which is an all-natural anti-inflammatory which works quickly to reduce the redness of the rash.

I requested these products from Salcura because my daughter suffers from regular eczema and I don't want to use steroids on her. She gets patches on her arms and neck, usually as a result of cuddling our cat. She is getting to an age where she is self conscious about the eczema and so I wanted something that I could use to treat the patches without the dangers associated with prescription creams.

The spray comes in a bigger bottle than the dermaspray and is much milder. Those who find that the Dermaspray stings on application may prefer the milder Bioskin Spray. Application is super easy and kids will like the fact that the spray is not messy like traditional creams.

As well as working as a daily skin protector, I started to find all sorts of uses for the spray! It contains lavender, so I found that if I sprayed it on my skin and pillow before bed, it helped me to get off to sleep (a big issue with TSW). After a trip to the beach and WAY too much sunshine, I found the spray worked really well as a cooling aftersun treatment and I didn't burn. The spray cools the skin and relieves itching. Using the spray every day is an easy habit to get into and it sinks into the skin straight away leaving no greasy residue.

Despite the fact that I have been using this stuff on my skin daily for about a month, as well as on my daughter's skin, the bottle still has loads left inside, as a little goes a long way. I would probably continue using this daily as it is just a pleasure to use, especially in these hot summer months.
The flare up cream is a bit like the Zeoderm and contains the same active ingredient; Zeolite. I noticed it was a LOT milder than the Zeoderm though, and didn't sting on application, making it a good alternative for people like myself, who find the Zeoderm a bit too strong. The cream was ideal for treating my daughter's patches of eczema and actually cleared them up as effectively as hydrocortisone. Again, a little goes a long way and you won't need to apply much of this to get excellent results and it is an ideal alternative to over the counter cortisones.

Face Wash

I requested the face wash because it is part of the same range as the Omega 3 shower gel I tested before (and loved!). The product came in a really practical bottle, with a pump dispenser allowing the user to control the amount of product used.

The product had a very similar consistency and smell to the shower gel, a lovely lemony scent that reminded me of lemon curd! It lathered well and was easy to apply and rinse off. It didn't leave the skin feeling dry or tight.

Despite the fact that this product has had great reviews on the Salcura site, I started to have a bit of an allergic skin reaction when using it on my face and had to stop. My face felt itchy after use, which could have been a reaction to one of the ingredients or the fact that we have hard water at home. I have always had trouble using cleansing products on my face and unfortunately have had to add this to the list of ones that didn't suit me at this particular time.

Not one to let things go to waste, I have continued to use the face wash as a general handwash and shower gel and my husband has also taken to using it as a facewash, with no problems. The scent is lovely and it has left my hands and skin feeling nice and soft after use. It is a shame that TSW has left my face sensitive, even though the skin now looks normal and healed. It works fine on my body and a little, applied on a sponge, goes a long way.

Face Hydrator

I requested this product because I fell in love with the Salcura Body Hydrator that I tried last time, especially as it helped to clear the final stubborn TSW rashes from my inner arms.

The face hydrator was a lovely product to use and I was surprised at how long lasting the effects were.

Now my skin is healed, I don't have to moisturise very often, but like everyone, I will get the occasional patch of superficial dry skin. A tiny dot of this cream erases all the dryness and the effects last and last! I found in the past with other moisturisers that you apply them and then a few hours later the dry skin comes back, but not with this one. It gets rid of the dryness for good.

It has a nice light consistency and a slightly herbal scent. I found it useful during a recent cold, where the sides of my nose were dry from sneezing too much. A smear of this magic cream soon had my skin feeling comfortable again.


Many thanks to Salcura for sending these products for me and my daughter to test. We loved testing them and I know that I will be buying and using them long after my TSW is a distant memory. The Salcura products have also helped me to keep my tan this year, which usually fades very quickly as the skin cell turnover is so high. The use of the sprays has kept my arms looking golden and very smooth. My daughter now has completely clear skin after using the Bioskin range, even though she has been cuddling the cat lots.

Many folk on the Itsan forum have been having success with the Salcura range. Remember that they also offer free testers of some of the creams, so you can try them out to see if they suit you. They also offer a no quibble money back guarantee if you buy a product and it doesn't suit you.

Some comments from the Itsan forum:

"I'm at 3 weeks today, and other than having a flare around my nose about a week ago (very red and burning skin, which has gone down in intensity a couple of days after), everything is decent. I still have reddish skin and a bit burning but that's about it. I'm using the Salcura Derma Spray which relieves the burning, you should give it a try!"

"The other thing you can do is ask for samples. Any cream you like the look of, see if you can get a free sample to try before forking out shed loads. Moogoo, and Salcura are usually very obliging if you want to try more natural products."

"The derm and nurse would give me anti microbals, which I always found so harsh they seemed to make the skin worse, and the nailbed infections were horrible and so hard to avoid.

I guess I found that when I started using the Salcura derma spray daily we got a better hold on infection, which is a spray that contains amongst other things tea tree oil, so maybe you could try a similar thing where you are? "

It's good stuff, all natural, easy to use, effective and costs nothing to try.

Visit the Salcura site to find out more about the Bio Skin range, skin hydrators and skin washes.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Comment Spam: Comedy Gold!

'Comment Spam': Gotta hate it. It is the bane of bloggers the world over.

For those unfamiliar with the term 'comment spam', I'd better offer a brief explanation: Most blogs, mine included, have an area at the end of each post where visitors can leave a comment. Most of the time, this allows for interesting discussion and interaction between the blogger and their audience.

However, the comments box is also abused unscrupulously by people attempting to advertise their own websites or services. Usually the comment is left anonymously and involves several lines of broken English, followed by a link to a website.

I have a filtering system in place to prevent this kind of trash appearing on my lovely blog, but for one day only, I just thought I'd share some of the funny and downright weird examples of comment spam that I have had to wade through during my time as a blogger.

If, like me, you have a bit of a surreal sense of humour, these should raise a giggle. Each of the comments below was followed by a link to a website, which I have deleted. I don't want to give these morons free advertising space:

This holiday season is the father of applied psychology 1863 for a reminder not all of them are equally good.


Now I am going away to do my breakfast, once having my breakfast coming again to read additional news.

By all means come back after breakfast, but don't bother posting any more links to your dodgy website.

Hi there dear are you actually visiting this site daily if so you will obtain fastidious knowledge.

Whilst the concept of "Fastidious knowledge" sounds appealing, your website doesn't.

Why not promote a local business by using a nearby man and van to move heavy packing cases?

Because this is a blog about skin problems, not moving house.

Who might have wondered if Big Band in Bolton would be on our minds a lot considering that I'm fairly certain a lot of folks usually perhaps do not contemplate

Nope. Big Bands in Bolton were actually the last thing on my mind at this point in time.

Yesterday, whilst I was a work, my cousin stole my iPhone and tested to see if it can survive 30 ft drop just so she can be a youtube sensation. My ipad is now destroyed and she has 83 views.

Yeah, thanks for sharing. I will be checking out that video. Not.

Eliminate substance cleansing solutions when vacuuming your computer gaming disks. You may be tempted to use some sort of glass cleaner. this can easily affect the disk deeper.

Potentially useful I suppose, if my disks get covered in skin flakes from my TSW...

Thank you for the good writeup. It was in fact a amusement account it. Look advanced to more added agreeable from you!

Um...I'm guessing English is not your first language. Thanks for the compliments but stop using my blog as advertising space. Thank you.

I hope this post has helped you guys appreciate how much trash we bloggers have to wade through and why we moderate comments and ask people to tap in those funny little codes when leaving a comment.

I will be keeping this blog a spam free zone, but I hope that I raised a smile sharing some of these weird posts with you all!

Monday, 14 July 2014

Skin Update: 32 Months and Still Healed!

I thought I'd better get round to doing an update because fellow-blogger Wynter was asking how my skin was doing and I promised I'd post photos!

Summer is still being kind to my skin and I've even developed a slight tan on my arms! The natural oils have returned and I don't need to moisturise much at all. are the photos:

I post photos of my face, arm and neck because these were real problem areas for me in the past and took a long time to heal. No complaints now though. I'm back to my pale and pasty self!

My thoughts and best wishes go to all those going through steroid withdrawals and I hope my photos have encouraged you.

I will continue to post updates to let you know how my skin is doing.