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Monday, 9 March 2015

Products I've found helpful throughout TSW


Bit of an update on things I am using.  It's taken ages but here it is!

I know it can be incredibly difficult to find things that help or feel comfortable on the skin throughout TSW.  Here are a few things that have provided some relief for me after trial and error with countless products throughout this process, now month 14 for me!!  Keep in mind that nothing helped much at all for me in the early stages of TSW. All I could use then was a Vaseline type product called Dermeze.   I don't like petroleum based stuff but absolutely everything else burned like acid. Dermeze didn't sting/burn, was neutral and provided a barrier for my skin which was pretty raw and super sensitive, even to air!! Eventually, it no longer provided any use to me at all, just held heat in and made me itchier. So said goodbye, none too soon, to Dermeze, to greasy clothes, bedding, hair.... 
I've found the products below to be helpful so I'd like to share them with you.  However, if you decide to give any of these a go, please make sure you only ever trial one thing at a time and make sure you always do a patch test first or use cautiously to determine if it suits your skin and body first.
Things I use directly on my skin 
Face and Neck: Robertson's Ointment has been a godsend for my face and neck when it was a mess. Provides a good barrier when skin is broken and has been exceptionally helpful to me in healing/maintaining strength in facial skin.  Also very good for dry scaly or cracked bits, if  I apply as soon as they emerge it seems to settle/improve it quickly.  I still itch my neck pretty much everyday and the ointment helps with maintaining flexibility of the skin in this area.  Otherwise it gets taut and dry, I can't move it and it becomes more itchy and breaks when I don't use it.  So I am sticking with it, as is beneficial to me for sure. It's a codliver oil base, with beeswax, colloidal oatmeat, iodine and a minute amount of lavender oil to mask fishy smell.

For anywhere: Sudocrem works as a barrier cream, helps dry out oozy areas, helps seal cracks, helps heal, helps alleviate itching.

I use Jojaba Oil for my face now that it has settled, it is very light and non greasy and apparently is an oil that most closely resembles the natural sebum of our skin.  I use it on my arms and hands and other areas sometimes too. 
Some people use coconut, olive, castor or other oils on their skin, for me these have unfortunately just caused further irritation but may be fine for you.


Things I use in the bath

Epsom Salts - magnesium sulphate : I've spent many hours in the bath over the last year.  It is often the only place I feel any relief from itching.  In the early months I practically lived in the bath as my skin burned, itched, oozed and was so incredibly painful.  Now I still bath with Epsom salt every night and in the early hours of the morning which is when the itching for me becomes unbearable and sleep is impossible.  Sometimes the bath is the only place I get a nap!  It helps soothe and settle the skin (and body), also helps the process of healing raw areas. I use about 2-3 cups small.
Magnesium Sulphate: this is the same as above except in bulk. I ordered and purchased it through a local health food store.  I finally got my act together and bought 25kg.  So much more economical this way when you are using it regularly and frequently!!

Apple Cider Vinegar: I put this in the bath along with Epsom Salts to quell the itch.  It also has antibacterial properties.  Sometimes (when hivey, super itchy) I soak a facewasher with water in the bath and pour the vinegar onto it and wrap around my neck while in the bath.  It helps with the itch and it can help with oozing as well.  It can sting but  that doesn't last and it can be better than  the blooming itch anyway.
It's important to get  an apple cider vinegar that is organic and with the 'mother' in it.
Some people put it in a spray bottle with water and spray it onto the skin and some use it medicinally but the tablespoon full.
When my scalp was bad I used it a rinse for my scalp and conditioner for my hair.  Can sting a bit if you have broken bits though it does help heal.  May need to dilute.
Google it.  So many great uses for vinegar!!

Bi-Carb Soda: I put a small cup's worth in the bath, along with Epsom and vinegar when I am super, super itchy.
Sometimes when I have hives, I mix up a paste with water/bi-carb and apply directly to the area and rinse off after it settles.
I also used it as a paste to wash my scalp with when it was very bad. Then rinsed with vinegar.  Can sting a bit if scalp is raw.

Tea Tree Oil :  If I'm concerned about any infection I put a couple of drops in my bath.  Or dilute with carrier oil and use directly on trouble spot.
Essential Oils : these are the various essential oils I use on occasion, very sparingly!!
Essential oils are very strong, so be careful if you use any at all.
Generally need to be used in a carrier oil.
If I use in bath, a couple of drops only.

Things I eat/consume
Oils and Spice:  Some people use coconut or olive oil on their skin.  They still irritate my skin used topically but seem to be okay to consume for me along with avocado oil and fish oil.  Pretty important to get good Omega 3 oils into our bodies to help heal it, essential for promoting skin health.
I have also started making Golden Paste with turmeric which is very beneficial for reducing inflammation amongst other things.  Very good health properties. You can put it in meals, smoothies, juices, make Golden Milk with it, or just eat it straight.
Other foods I eat are organic: (fruit 1 daily only, veg but no nightshade family, some meat/fish). Some seeds/nuts, good oils.   No processed foods, no sugar, no gluten, minimal to no grains, no dairy except in one decaf a day,

Supplements:  Here's some of the stuff I've been taking to help my gut and skin. 
I've been seeing a great naturopath and gp who've helped me determine what my body was deficient in via blood and stool tests.  So these supplements are specific to my needs right now, yours may be similar or different based on your own bodies needs. 
The magnesium was suggested by a friend to help encourage sleep. 
Helps a little, sometimes.  Is very useful for some though.
I've recently purchased Betonite Clay which I have added to things i am taking internally and also trialling for bath use.


There might be something helpful here for you with a bit of luck.

My next job is to hurry up an update how things have been going since November but I promised I would do this product update first, so here it is.

If you have any questions am very happy to answer them, just send me a message and I'll get back to you asap.

I hope that you're not faring or flaring too badly right now and that you keep in mind (as I have to) that everyday is a step closer to happier healthy skin and body.  


  1. Hi I am enjoying reading your blog. I gave up using steroid creams on Friday so am starting to get some annoying withdrawal symptoms. I am starting a blog to try and keep myself positive and it gives me somewhere to reflect and hopefully give me strength as I go along. I know its going to be a long journey but blogs like yours will hopefully help me keep going.

  2. Hi I am enjoying reading your blog. I gave up using steroid creams on Friday so am starting to get some annoying withdrawal symptoms. I am starting a blog to try and keep myself positive and it gives me somewhere to reflect and hopefully give me strength as I go along. I know its going to be a long journey but blogs like yours will hopefully help me keep going.

  3. Thanks for visiting my blog Itchy Lady, good on you for getting your own started. It was one of the things that kept me sane in the early months and has been a great way to document and reflect for sure. Congratulations for getting off the creams!! I hope things aren't too rough for you at the moment. The early months were very hard for me but it does slowly, yet steadily improve. It can be a bit of a rollercoaster though.
    There are a lot of brave people out there sharing there stories now, so you are definitely not alone. There are also some great support groups which have been tremendously helpful. Have you visited the site International Topical Steroid Awareness Network: yet? It is a good starting point with lots of good info. Please feel free to contact me anytime. I wish you all the very best in what can be a extremely tough and challenging time - but has been totally worth it for me to finally be able to say goodbye to steroids as they were definitely not helping.
    Caroline x