An update on my skin condition, Red Skin Syndrome which occurred as a result of long term use of topical steroid creams used to treat eczema.
If you have followed my skin journey so far you will know that over the years I’ve suffered with eczema. This manifested into red skin syndrome, a condition brought on by the long term use of topical steroid creams. (To find out more about this ‘preventable’ condition read my blog What is Topical Steroid Withdrawal? here)
As I approach the 1 year anniversary since I last used steroid cream on my skin (Go me!!), I thought I’d do a little update. (If you want to read my story, read my blogs here… My Skin Updates.)
1 year on from Steroid cream use
I’d love to be writing that my skin is totally healed and that I’m 100% back to ‘normal skin’ however, unfortunately, that’s not the case.
Over the past year I’ve had periods of really really good skin. Skin that I’d say was 95% healed. I have had a totally clear face, no dryness or red skin and hardly any itching! I’ve been able to go on holiday, have nights out and enjoy life, not giving my skin a second thought! During these months I’ve had a couple of persistent Eczema patches on my arm and those patches are what I’d say are ‘standard Eczema’. They are stable. Every day they were the same. Dry and slightly itchy. These patches I’ve been able to deal with fine.
Today my skin is not stable. This winter has been hard on my skin. After a bout of Flu and being run down, my skin flared. With the harsh cold weather and dry air indoors caused by central heating, it never had a chance to recover. With that, the red skin syndrome reared its ugly head and came back substantially on my face, neck, chest, and shoulders.
Those who have suffered will know that it’s different from ‘Eczema’ as its different daily. It burns and feels hot to touch. It comes and goes, flares and calms.
Helping my skin inside out!
As you will all know I live dairy-free and gluten-free which hugely helps my skin. I avoid preservatives and sulphites ( which always make me flare) and drink water regularly but I’ve started thinking more about helping my skin from the inside out as so far I’m doing all I can externally by moisturising and avoiding irritants. (See my blog – Top 5 ways to remedy dry skin in winter ) I’ve now started taking multivitamins containing Vitamin D which is great for the skin. I’m also currently looking into probiotics as healthy skin has been documented to be hugely affected by the bacteria in your gut. We all need the friendly gut bacteria. Having recently had antibiotics, my gut bacteria is likely to be at a low level (as those awesome antibiotics kill both good and bad bacteria) so I am currently researching the best probiotics to take.
When skin is dry and cracked, it becomes very much open to infection. Those with Eczema will know the battle. Despite taking all the precautions that I can, infection was inevitable at some point. Recently I’ve been diagnosed with Folliculitis, an infection in the hair follicles. Having been prescribed antibiotics to treat the infection, the spots started to subside and cleared up quite quickly but sadly a week later it returned! I’ve just finished my second lot of antibiotics and fingers crossed, that’s the last of it!!! I’ve also been diagnosed with Blepharitis, a condition that affects the eyes caused by dermatitis… yep another thing related to the dry skin condition.
Coping with a skin condition
Generally, I manage. I cope reasonably well and try to stay positive knowing that every day without steroid creams is a day of healing. That said, every so often it takes its toll and it hits me like a ton of bricks. The daily struggles and limitations that I have due to my skin condition can really take their toll.
Since finding out about Topical steroid withdrawal (TSW), Topical steroid addiction (TSA) and Red skin syndrome (RSS) and realising that I was/am suffering from it, strangely I have felt a huge sense of relief. Prior, I thought this was a condition that I’d have to endure my whole life, however, now I have the hope that one day this will be a distant memory (once I get all of the steroids out of my system.) The longer I go without using the steroid creams topically, the closer I get to ‘normal’ stable skin. Every day I know that my body is healing and learning to function without the use of the creams. I have to remember that despite this current flare, this is the first winter I’ve had where I’ve not reached for the steroid cream at the first sign of ‘Eczema’! High five to me!!!!
Let’s hope this time next year it will all be a distant memory and I can get on with enjoying life!
If you are currently suffering with Eczema, RSS, TSW or TSA, know that you are not alone. Join the community over on Instagram. Follow me @nonscentsatno10 and follow the hashtags #redskinsyndrome, #topicalsteroidaddiction, #topicalsteroidwithdrawal and #thisisnoteczema.
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