The hot topic of discussion throughout the TSW community for the last few months seems to be moisturizer withdrawal. Will it make topical steroid withdrawal more bearable? Does it speed up healing? And most importantly, is it essential for healing?
Unfortunately, I don't have any of the answers to these questions. I'm not a scientist, doctor, or have any qualifications of the sorts, nor am I going to pretend I know what's the best course of action for anyone going through TSW. I'm simply here to chime in on the matter and my semi-experience with it.
First and foremost, I have not done 100% moisturizer withdrawal. I still moisturize occasionally. My previous post I wrote about my skin routine where I mentioned I was moisturizing with organic palm oil once a week, post-shower. I have had great results just minimizing moisture intake. I also said I would be doing MW once I finished what I had left of it. Well, I lied (unintentionally, of course). I finished my palm oil last week, and then started using grape seed oil. It's much lighter than palm oil and non-irritating (for me). I used it for a few months during my first withdrawal as a makeup remover and really liked it. So yes, I'm still moisturizing and plan on doing so until I feel it is appropriate for my skin to do otherwise. Thinking, maybe summer?
The reasoning behind my decision, was simply because I felt my skin needed extra moisture and for anti-aging purposes. I actually have increased using oils on my hands, legs, and outer elbows to a couple times a week. It's not news that dry skin leads to pre-mature aging. As a 25 year old woman, I'm all about prevention. My hands already look like that of a woman twice my age due to the abuse and thinning of steroids. Also, I wash my hands a lot. Furthermore, I shave my legs which strips oils away, causing my legs to feel much drier than the rest of my body. I think it only makes sense to replenish some of the moisture lost. As for the rest of me, I keep moisturizing to a minimum, still only about once a week.
My advice (again, just as a disclaimer: I am not a professional!) for anyone going through TSW and is on the fence about MW is to give it a go, or like me, greatly reduce usage. More importantly though, really look at what you are using on your body. A good question to consider is.. Would this be toxic to ingest? If yes, switch to something all natural. Preferably something edible, like oils. I used to apply Aveeno regularly for years, once I stopped I noticed a huge improvement in my skin. It also gives me great peace of mind to know my body is not absorbing all those weird chemicals. I've used olive, palm, grape seed and coconut oil. I don't like olive oil. It really seemed to irritate my skin further after a while. As for coconut oil, I suggest using this when skin is doing well and not flaring. It seems to be one of the more irritating oils when skin is extra sensitive. I think palm oil and grape seed oil are better for those who have hyper sensitivity still. However, please bear in mind, EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT. What works for one, may greatly irritate another, and vice versa. Also, I would like to add, if you are flaring, especially oozing, consider complete MW as it is harder to tell what is irritating and what is working. It might be better to leave the skin alone, if you can bear it. Furthermore, if the skin is oozing it is best to let the skin dry to minimize infections and promote healing. There are studies showing that moisturizers hinder healing. I suggest looking at Dan D's blog for more info pertaining to pertaining to MW specifically, if you haven't already. He's done much more research into it than I have and has well, actually gone through it, unlike me haha. I just really wanted to give my two cents on the matter.
As for me, my skin is still doing well and continues to heal. I'm generally happy with the way things are moving. It's a slow process, but it is happening. Some days I even think I'm reaching the end of the line, but then I remind myself not to get too carried away with these thoughts since I know very well from experience this monster can sneak up on you right when you think things are in tip-top shape. I still have plenty of room for improvement (i.e. Energy levels, sleep patterns, itching, skin texture). My skin is barely a minor inconvenience these days. So yea, I'm currently cautiously optimistic.
If anyone has any questions or wants me to write about something pertaining to my experience thus far, let me know. Just leave a comment, or if you feel more comfortable emailing me, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org. I know I don't write here often, but I do keep up with others' blogs occasionally. I really would like to make more of an effort with updating. I'm just so lazy sometimes! Let's see if I can change that... It is a new year, after all.