Although I still don’t want to post a full-on picture of my face and reveal my identity on this blog, I wanted to give a pictorial synopsis of the past 6 months or so. So many eczema and TSW bloggers have been very courageous in posting ALL KINDS of photos, and I want to join that ranks as these types of blogs can be so helpful to others going through the same thing.
I’m not one to whine and complain (okay, I guess technically I am, as that’s the whole nature of having a blog about a chronic disease, LOL). Maybe some of you reading this blog who have had it REALLY bad are looking at some of the pictures and saying “So what, lady? I had a face that completely peeled off and oozed noxious substances with my TSW. You’re not all that badly off.” So I’m not here to say “Oh, poor me, feel sorry for me” – not at all. These are just MY pictures from MY experience – me, as a 26 year old white female who didn’t use the strongest steroids nor used them for a long, long period of time, and also one who got plenty of exercise and followed a mostly clean, near-vegan diet (I’m hoping that will work in my favor to help with healing faster). Maybe one could term this “moderate TSW”.
Me, around June of this past year before the whole mess started. My eczema ALWAYS gets better in the summer to the point where it only has a minimally intrusive effect on my life. Here, I had a little bit of face rash going on, but nothing huge. Note the short shorts and tank top – almost no limb eczema! (at least nothing you can see here). This would be amazing now… can I rewind a half-year and go back to this?
September 2012. How things started. Very mild. I don’t know if this was from TSW or using a product with aloe or what, but I had a few patchy rashes in specific places: around my eyes, on the side of my face, and on my neck (you can see the slight redness in this picture). No huge deal, and this was on a good day, (plus you can’t see my eye, which had red all around it) but it wouldn’t go away. I had made all kinds of dietary changes, environmental changes, facial product changes, etc. Around this time I sought out a naturopath. I actually took a big turn for the WORSE after taking her remedy, so it was no help.
Meanwhile later that fall, I would get weird sporadic rashes. This photo has been posted before somewhere in another post I made, but I had this crazy armpit rash during the fall. I was using the same deodorant I always used, so I didn’t feel like it was a contact dermatitis thing.
My facial rashes kept slowly getting worse, but I would have a few blessed days of respite. I remember having one in mid-October where I was doing a big event for school and I was SO THANKFUL that I didn’t look weird. In this picture it was early November and I had a job interview. A few days prior I was all rashy and getting depressed about showing my red self at this job interview. I was so happy to have almost completely clear skin on this day and barely need any concealer. I even got to wear some lip gloss which I don’t normally wear since I would often have perioral dermatitis going on.
November 2012. When I discovered I was allergic to aloe. I had used pure aloe vera gel the night before on some spots on my limbs. Those spots became extremely rashy, plus I woke up with my eyes almost puffed shut and my face scary inflamed and red almost all over my face and neck. I don’t even want to think what would have happened if I had put the stuff directly on my face. This picture does not do it justice, especially since I refused to reveal my sad little puffy eyes.
November 2012. Two days after the aloe rash incident, and the dermatologist had given me mometasone furoate, a medium potency steroid to clear up my rash. Just two days of using the stuff and it was like magic. Too bad steroids can be the devil incarnate.
The neck rash that developed very soon after starting the candida diet, and stopping topical steroids. It looks like two very large red angry hands wrapped themselves around my neck. It made me want to develop a winter wardrobe consisting mainly of turtlenecks and scarves.
My face earlier this month, in the throes of what seems to be TSW. A red, dry, sometimes flaky rash covers everywhere I’ve ever used topical steroids. You can see that there is a very clear demarcation between the large areas of red skin, and the areas of normal skin where I never used steroids (like my nose and part of my cheeks). My face looks like a globe showing a map of the world – the rash is the continents, and the normal skin is the sea!!! My eyes were also extremely puffy and nearly swollen shut. Because the eyelids are so thin, they absorb more steroid than other parts of skin. This is my theory as to why my eyes were so bad. It is shiny under my nose because I had Vaseline on that area.
Same day as above, just a view of the other side of my face. There’s a very clearly outlined rashy patch on my cheek and you can still see my red, rashy neck in this picture. I find it interesting how there will be portions of unaffected skin right next to red skin. Again, the shine under my nose is from Vaseline, it was very dry and flaky there.
So right now after one month off steroids, I still look mostly like the above two pictures. Those were taken about 2 weeks ago, and since then thankfully the redness has gone down a bit and is more blotchy than solid colored. My neck has been looking noticeably better and is not so crazy red. I will plan to post more pictures as I make more progress!