TSW and Eczema in Pictures

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).

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.  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, but it wouldn't go away.

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 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.

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 completely clear skin on this day.  I even got to wear some lip gloss which I don't normally wear since I would often have perioral dermatitis going on.

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.  I woke up with my eyes almost puffed shut and my face scary inflamed and red almost all over my face and neck.  This picture does not do it justice.

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.

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.

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 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.

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!

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29 thoughts on “TSW and Eczema in Pictures

  1. Linda S. says:

    Do u ever feel like when you’re stressed the redness gets worse???
    I’ve had eczema my entire life. I’m 37 yrs old. The past 2 yrs I’ve been diagnosed with anxiety disorder & depression. On a bad day or wk, my redness gets unbearable!!! I’ve been on desonide only since last fall.

    Otherwise, I moisturize with Cerave cream all the time (the past yr). And I am on meds for anxiety.

    • Hi Linda, thanks for stopping by. Eczema is the worst, isn’t it?? Sorry to hear that now you have the additional burden of anxiety and depression as well. I like to joke that us sufferers certainly build a lot of character… we all probably have enough ‘character’ for 2-3 people 🙂 For me personally, I don’t feel like I get more red when I get stressed out. However, I know that I certainly do ITCH more if I get stressed, as just sort of a stress-habit. Either way stress is bad news for eczema!!

      • Linda S. says:

        Have you tried oatmeal ?!?!?
        I’d like to say I’m traumatized from my childhood oatmeal baths. The thought of eating it grosses me out. Lol! However, recently, I took my mom’s advice & started washing my face and hands with a bowl of oatmeal in water. It has helped.

        Ps
        I went to Ulta today & bought Tarte waterproof mascara and the eye primer. I hope I like it 🙂

  2. eczema man says:

    Admire your courage. Keep your faith. Thanks for taking us on your incredible journey.

  3. Louise says:

    Have you ever seen rochelles blog? Your skin looks exactly like hers! The good news is that after 16 months off steroids, she is now completely healed.

    Hope you are Doing OK. X

  4. I HAVE seen Rochelle’s blog, but since you mentioned it, I am going to take a closer look. I just Googled her and saw her “after” pictures – she is beautiful with healed skin again and that gives me a lot of hope 🙂 I HOPE my healing doesn’t take 16 months, but I guess one never knows. One blogger I read said not to put a timeframe on things, just take it one day at a time and don’t expect that your given journey will be easier. 16 months is a small amount of time in the grand scheme of life, I’ll gladly invest that to then have healed skin forever!!

  5. Courtney says:

    Thanks for sharing the pics, I know it’s not the easiest thing to do! I get that weird armpit rash, too. In fact, I’ve been dealing with it for a few weeks now! Such a frustrating rash, I feel like a big chimpanzee when I’m just standing there scratching my pits hahaha. I’ve been using an insane amount of moisturizer and I’m pretty happy with how it’s taken care of it, no meds! When I’m still wet after the shower I use vanicream and cerave. My body is literally white from head to toe b/c I have so much on!

    Hang in there girl, I know all this will be worth it for you!! You WILL get back to that top picture, I know it! In the meantime, you’re still gorgeous. I know with rashes it doesn’t feel like it (I never believe it when I’m rash covered), but you’re beautiful- even with your eyes being censored out! 🙂

    • HAHAHA the comment about the big chimpanzee is too funny. That’s exactly it! Awww, thank you so much…. you are so sweet. When I’m finally healed and completely feel pretty again, maybe I will reveal my entire face, eyes and all 🙂

      • Ditto on the chimpanzee comment. Haha. Have you ever noticed how shaved skin (i.e. on the legs) is always a little bit drier and itchier? My armpits don’t get eczema at all and I want to attribute it to not shaving there so often. Maybe once every couple weeks so it doesn’t get out of hand. Might feel weird to let that hair grow, but it is winter and I really don’t mind. Same with my legs – although I do have some rashies there.

  6. Joey says:

    Sorry you have to go through this due to the toxic topical steroids that too many docs prescribe carelessly. I was a 40+ year user and went through 2 1/2 years of withdrawals after finding Kelly Palace’s site and Dr. Rapaport’s red skin syndrome info. My website has my story plus pics of before and after. Topical steroids are truly the cause of too many children and adults suffering horrendously. Welcome to our great support group!

    • Thanks Joey! It is crazy how damaging these things are, and I didn’t even know it until mere months ago. It would have made me think twice if I could rewind years in the past before I ever used steroids. The ITSAN site and sites like yours are such a great resource. Thanks for welcoming me!

  7. Yay for progress being made recently! I’m sorry to see your skin has been acting up lately, though. Stress never helps! Hang in there girl. Thanks for sharing the photos 🙂

  8. @ Linda – Yes, I have tried oatmeal. It’s one of the mainstays for me at bathtime (I alternate between using that, or baking soda, or dead sea salts) and i also do rinse my face with oatmeal ground into a fine powder. I hope you like the Tarte products too! The mascara I use is not the waterproof one, but overall I’ve been very pleased with their line.

    @TheAllergista – Thanks girl! They say this thing is two steps forward and one step back, but I really do think I’m slooooooowly improving!

  9. @ Leizel – You are right, leg skin (after being shaved) is indeed drier and itchier. For me, my legs don’t itch if they are freshly shaved, but the next day when the hair starts growing back, then they itch again. I know the shaving isn’t really the best thing for them when they are irritated. Maybe I SHOULD just let them grow for a while since it’s winter. Since no one sees my armpits right now, I’ve kind of let those go for a while and you’re right, those don’t really itch for me or have eczema either. So yeah I guess this turned into a personal hygiene commentary where not only are we itchy, we are not silky smooth either haha. Oh the lovely things we TSW and eczema sufferers have to deal with!!!

    • Haha, while I do have someone who has to look at me, I still don’t shave. I figure that there’s so much crap going on with my skin that he won’t notice. Kind of like busily-patterned carpet in hotel rooms. I just saw my leg hair and whoa! It’s been a while. I was just taking a second look at this post and the patterns of redness on the sides of your face is not dissimilar to mine. A few months ago, it looked just like this where it went over the temples, around the eyes, cheeks and jawline. Now it’s just down to the jawline. If this is a pattern of healing, you will get there! Hope you are keeping up your spirits. I know that you must be going through a difficult time. Much love xo

      • LOL, I like the analogy of busy-patterned carpet. I feel like that with my skin too, like there’s so much going on that there isn’t any ONE thing to focus on. Interesting that we had the same patterns of redness, and it’s encouraging that yours dissipated and is now just at the jawline…. THAT I feel like I could deal with, I’m tired of looking like a raccoon haha. So you said a few months ago it was worse – how long have you been healing for / how long off topical steroids? I’m sure it says that on your blog but i don’t remember. I appreciate your encouragement, I’m an optimist at heart so I am usually staying cheerful 🙂

  10. jen says:

    where is rochelles blog? my son has the same blotchy neck eczema thing 😦 We have switched everything to ava anderson non toxic and it has helped however we still get flare ups from who knows what!!! I did decide to sell ava so if you want to check it out feel free too. I would give all eczema friends free shipping 😉 http://www.avaandersonnontoxic.com/je THANKS!

    • Hi there! Thanks for visiting, Rochelle’s blog is: curingredskinsyndrome.blogspot.com. I checked out the products and they look like a very nice, natural option that would be good for many people! However I cannot use shea butter or aloe so a lot of the products would be out for me. However if i do find something I like on the site, I appreciate the free shipping offer for eczema friends 🙂

  11. Mie Ululani says:

    Wow your pictures take me back…there’s so many lymph nodes in the neck and arm pit area so those areas just go through hell with the cleansing out of the steroids! You are so brave for even taking pics of yourself at these points. I could not even bear to look in the mirror, let alone want to be near a camera. My healing crisis took six months…I’m not fully healed yet but the worst is over thank goodness. There are so many months of agony only another person with eczema would really “get.” I’m thinking positive thoughts for you to get through moment-to-moment! It takes a brave soul to go through this, it’s not for the faint of heart. You are doing your body the biggest favor by purging it of those steroids. Never again right?!? To comfort myself, I’d always think, “Well at least I’m detoxing NOW while I’m young.” When you’re older you have more of a build-up of toxins in your system. I created a blog about eczema too, if you ever want to check it out and compare notes more thoroughly. ululanihealing.wordpress.com Thank you for writing and sharing your story. I wish I sought out this kind of community back when I was going through the worst of it, but I think it’s still so important even after-the-fact for me to read this.

    • Hi Mie! (beautiful name by the way!) Hearing your perspective as one who has “been there” is invaluable. I so appreciate the positive thoughts and I think the greatest thing I’ve heard today is that you took *only* six months to heal. No one can know for sure what everyone’s healing time will be, but I thought I would be on the shorter side since I’m somewhat young (26 years old), I eat a mostly plant-based whole foods diet so there isn’t much junk in my system, and I didn’t use steroids that were very strong nor for a long period of time. When I saw on the forums that some people took over a year, or a year and a half, I started feeling really discouraged thinking “What if that’s me”. Six months still seems like FOREVER when of course I want to be healed immediately, but if I look at it like being over 1/6 done, then in the grand scheme of things 6 months is just a blip on life’s radar. I checked out your blog and am really enjoying it so far – wish I had found blogs like yours months ago when I had no idea why my eczema kept getting worse!

      • Mie Ululani says:

        Excited for you! And really impressed that you stayed the course when your eczema was worsening. Smart body/intuition. I would venture to say that you are well on your way to being fully healed. I had way more drugs in my system (so much internal oral prednisone…that’s as potent as it gets) so yours should not take nearly as long. I am 23 so we’re around the same age too =). Yay youth for repairing itself quickly. Thank you for having a look at my blog! I’m glad to finally start it, even though it’s after the fact aka the healing CRISIS. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask, I especially like sharing what I know with people with eczema because it was such a personal journey for me. And implicit respect and admiration for people who go through it too. Keep on going my dear!

  12. jen says:

    My sons neck is so blotchy…I am using everything fragrance free, eating gluten and dairy free plus giving him a dairy free probiotic. I love this site…hopefully it will get better for him.
    In the meantime I really want to stress how wonderful Ava Anderson non toxic products are. The mascara is AMAZING!!! please check it out on this 3rd party site http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/product/100457/CeraVe_Moisturizing_Cream/

    I put cerave in the site and its not rated the best 😦 Please look at Ava Anderson on this site and compare to your current products. There have the least toxic scores out there!! here is the site to order. http://www.avaandersonnontoxic.com/je

    All my best!
    Jen

  13. friendly soul says:

    hi beauty;) i love your bike picture

    try googling for lufenuron and it’s results. it has helped me. kisses!

    • Hi friendly soul (love that user name). Glad you like my bike pic 🙂 I read a bit about lufenuron, would like to know more about your personal history with eczema, etc. I’m glad you found something that helped you!

  14. Jay says:

    Hello, when my neck and face got like this, I did some research and discovered a dermititis of the face….name starts with an S. it’s actually a fungal infection and anti fungal medicine such as salicylic acid or tea tree oil helps ease the infection. Salicylic acid is natural, I believe. You can find it some simple acne products. I’ve been wiping my neck with a (salicylic acid) acne wipe I got from Whole Foods and it helps.

    • Hi Jay! Was it maybe seborrheic dermatitis? That’s the only thing I can think of offhand that starts with S and is kinda similar with the flaking and redness and everything. I actually thought I had that before I knew my skin was addicted to topical steroids, and I tried coal tar cream, vinegar, the whole bit. I did not try tea tree oil or salicylic acid but probably tried just about everything else. Thankfully now, as of this writing, my face and neck are almost perfectly clear, with just a few little spots that get red or flaky. I am amazed at how my skin has healed thus far. The only thing I did different was to stop all topical steroids so I KNOW this is what I had. It can be so frustrating though while trying to figure it out. I’m glad you found something that worked for you and thanks for stopping by!

  15. su says:

    Ur story almost mirrors my story I have pictures of my face looking exactly like urs but now my full face is covered. Mines all started off with using head and shoulders shampoo which contains an ingredient i didn’t even know i was allergic to

    • Hey Su, thanks for stopping by my blog. That’s interesting that our stories are so similar. And that is interesting that it started with Head and SHoulders shampoo as I know that is often something that is said to HELP skin issues like seborrheic dermatitis. I’m sorry to hear that you are/were going through the same rashes. Fortunately for me, my rashes have 99.9% completely cleared up now that I went through my topical steroid withdrawal and I am back to normal and my face looks healthy and smooth. I hope the same thing will happen for you with quick healing!

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