Hey! I’m Brendan, I’ve been dealing with eczema my entire life, and TSW since May 2019.
My onset of TSW was quite sudden for me, and happened at the age of 34, after using steroids for a few bad eczema flare ups.
Life has been a rollercoaster since then, but I’m proud to say I’ve been through the biggest battle of my life with TSW, and I’m a better person for it. I’ve since run three marathons, countless half marathons, and I was a finisher at Ironman New Zealand 2020!
My TSW healing has not been linear.
After my initial flare in May 2019, I had 90% recovered by November 2019, following strict NMT as formulated by the incredible Dr Sato.
I still had a few blemishes here and there, and still some peeling, but mostly life was back to normal. However, my skin still wasn’t “normal” in that I still was still dealing with occasional redness and itching. You can also see I still needed to have the “TSW haircut” keeping the sides of my head shaved to help keep it dry as much as possible, as my scalp was where I had a lot of my flaring.
I then had a bad re-flare around the end of 2020.
This flare kind of crept up on me gradually, until I felt like I was back in full-fledged TSW.
This flare was different to the original flare, however – there was no oozing and not much redness – instead lots of elephant skin and shedding (and itching!).
I still can’t really pinpoint what my skin was doing here – it just go so wrinkly and bumpy and flaked a lot!
One weird thing that happened – I started dipping in the pool a few times a week, since my dermatologist suggested bleach baths. I thought, what the hell. But surprisingly it did make a huge difference! This makes me think maybe I had some kind of fungus or bacteria on my skin that was irritating it, but I still can’t be sure.
This flare lasted around six months, but I found recovery in around June 2021. My skin started improving quickly after moving to the Cook Islands, and eventually it was back to normal.
From here, my skin just improved more and more until I had completely perfect and normal skin!
I believed I had made a full recovery here – it was the best skin I’d ever had, and I wasn’t using a single drop of soap, moisturizer or anything else. Just a quick 2-minute shower once a day.
This lasted for around a year, and life was completely back to normal. I was so grateful to taste normal life again!
Dr Sato had always said that eventually your skin would start producing oils by itself again and you wouldn’t need moisturizer, and this is exactly how it felt. My skin needed nothing! Just exercise and sunshine, and it just got better every day.
Then unfortunately my skin regressed and I went through another flare which started in November 2022.
This flare was an interesting one. I had a lot of shedding all over my body, and went through small periods of inflammation/redness:
Mostly though, I was just dealing with peeling and frog/elephant skin.
This resolved itself around April 2023, after I left New Zealand once again.
I moved to Kenya (somewhere I have lived in the past), and now I have completely normal skin again!
Over this rollercoaster, I’ve learned a few things.
First, I’ve mostly figured out what triggers my flares.
Every time I re-flared was when I returned to New Zealand or Australia (which is where I’m from). These environments have always caused flares without fail.
Then these flares take a long time for my body to recover from.
However, as soon as I leave Australia and New Zealand, my flares go away. The times that I’ve had normal skin was only living away from home.
Certain places, my skin practically got better overnight, with massive improvement within 24-48 hours! The places that my skin reacted to most quickly and drastically was Kenya, Tanzania and the Cook Islands.
I wrote about this in detail in this post and this post.
I also always revert back to NMT (but often without the water restriction) and this seems to get me the best results. I have an in-depth guide on NMT here.
Finally, exercise has been undoubtedly one of the biggest factors. Getting sweat on the skin and getting your endorphins and hormones pumping always has shown massive improvement to my skin. Exercise is one of the requirements of NMT, and for me it’s been one of the main drivers to recovery.
Of course, I’m still learning every day, and this website is where I share everything I’ve learned.
What I want you to know from my story is this condition is manageable and your skin can become normal again!
I know how much of nightmare going through this condition is, and I just want to help you in any way I can.
If you’re going through TSW, please read through the blog and learn as much from my journey as possible. Of course, I’m here to answer any and all questions you have. Don’t be afraid to reach out! The easiest place to reach me is Instagram.
Sending you love and healing.