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.

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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.

Eh?

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.

So..here 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.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

What Causes Flares?

Now that I'm in "healed mode" it is easier to look back with some clarity over my time with TSW.

One of the things I used to beat myself up over was that certain things may "cause" a flare, or that it I flared, it was because I was doing something wrong.

I realise a lot of people feel this way and therefore try and eliminate the things that they feel are causing the flare. The popular ones on the forum right now are sugar and stress. People think if they eliminate sugar/stress from their lives, they won't flare.

The fact is, that in retrospect, although I believed this when I was going through TSW, I now see that it is a lot lore simple than that.

Flares happen.

If you are in TSW, flares would happen, even if you ate a super healthy diet and spent every day relaxing on a lounger, served by an army of good-looking servants who appealed to your every whim.

Flares would still happen because they are a part of TSW.

I use the analogy of a wave. If a wave is coming. You can't stop the wave. Nothing you did caused the wave. The only thing you can do is prepare yourself to ride the wave. The wave will stop, another will come. You have no control over it.

Here is one of my favourite quotes from the forum, which sums up exactly how I feel about this subject:

Coffee causes flares, wine causes flares, chocolate causes flares. And on and on.

Here is what I've learned in 18 months:

If you're going to flare, everything causes a flare. If you're not in a flare, nothing causes a flare.

Right now, for example, I am in a calm period. I drink a beer or two. (I don't get drunk as that limits consciousness, but that's neither here nor there.)

I drink beet juice (which vasodilates blood vessels). I drink coffee. No flares.

When in a flare, simply drinking water "caused" me to flare.

If everything causes you to flare, then nothing caused your flare.

Some people claim X cause them to flare. Here's something to ask yourself (or them).

"If you claim that coffee causes a flare, why?"

"Because I flared badly after drinking coffee."

"Does this mean when you eliminated coffee [or whatever the offending item was] that you never flared badly?"

"No."

"If you flared when not drinking coffee, how can you know that coffee causes a flare?"


"I just do!"

No, that is nonsensical thinking. It's a very common mistake in human thinking called a fundamental attribution error:

If you still flare when you've eliminated the causes of your flare, then what you think is causing a flare is not in fact causing it.

Makes sense logically, doesn't it?

But the mind plays tricks on people.

Over the past 18 months I've seen people claim that all sorts of things caused their flares.

Those same people then talk about how they are flaring.

But if you discovered the causes of your flares, how are you still flaring?

Again, logically we all know the answer.

Emotionally, it's harder to accept that we are not in control of this process.


I understand the need to try and create order out of the chaos, or apply rules and logic to the situation, but it seems that TSW breaks all of the rules. It is heartbreaking sometimes for me to see people trying different methods to eliminate the "cause" of their flares and then wonder why they are still flaring.

Acceptance is hard, but the moment we let go and accept that flares are part and parcel of the healing process, the easier it is to deal with.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Monday, 2 June 2014

Look at my Amazing HEALED SKIN photos!

OK people...this is the moment you have been waiting for...the big reveal!

After 30 months off topical steroids I can finally reveal my new, lovely skin.

I hope these pictures give hope to everyone out there going through TSW.

The photos are in pairs: The one at the top shows what my skin was like before and the one underneath shows what it is like today.


TSW BEFORE AND AFTER PHOTOS
 



 
Leg before and after.
 
Hand Before and After
Arm before and after
 

Neck Before and After
 
 Face Before and After
 
I'm Now White-Not Red!
 
Not long ago, I predicted that my skin would heal in the summer and it has. The sunshine has done me good. It seems appropriate to be posting these photos just as summer starts.
 
 
I know that people worry that certain things may delay their healing, or stop them healing altogether and I'd like to take this opportunity to bust some myths:

Myth 1: Moisturisers Stop You Healing

I have found this to be a myth. I have used moisturisers throughout my TSW and found them incredibly useful. People have issues when they have reactions to ingredients in certain moisturisers and may wish to stop for that reason, but those who DO moisturise shouldn't feel guilty about it or worry that they won't heal.

I have seen people write on blogs that you will not heal if you use moisturiser. Well I am healed and I know lots of others that have too. The choice to moisturise or not is a personal one and one group should not slate another for their personal choice.

Myth 2: You Won't Heal if you Eat Junk

Again, this is another guilt thing. We all KNOW that healthy food=healthy bodies but I have seen people put themselves through some weird elimination diets during TSW, most of which are probably unnecessary unless genuine allergies are suspected.

I haven't denied myself anything during TSW. I have had alcohol in moderation, tea, coffee, chocolate, sugary food, tomatoes and spicy food. And I still healed.

Eating junk IS bad for you, but it is unlikely to affect your TSW unless you have an actual allergy to a certain food.

Myth 3: You Won't Heal if you Use a Steroid Inhaler

I consider this a PARTIAL myth. I used a steroid inhaler throughout my TSW as I couldn't breathe without it and I still healed.

HOWEVER: Some individuals, particularly children may have addiction symptoms from steroid inhalers. One parent on the Itsan forum pointed out that her child has TSW because she used, not topical steroids, but inhaled steroids and is going through the same symptoms as TSW.

So I offer a word of caution with this myth. Yes, I healed despite using a steroid inhaler, but there are some susceptible individuals who may react badly to steroid inhalers. It would be a good idea to discuss alternatives with a doctor, but if steroids are the only option, try the lowest dose you can manage and always rinse with water after inhaling.

I hope my pictures have given some encouragement. And when we say on ITSAN that "You Will Heal", it is true!