In my last update I wrote to you that my flare was over.
Well, it turned out to not be as “over” as I’d thought, as I did go through a little rollercoaster for another few months.
The shedding and redness was certainly over, but my skin still wasn’t back to “normal”.
I still had patches, the one that was really bad in particular was the back of my head.
This part of my body has been a problem area for most of my adult life. It itches every time I sweat or exercise, and pre-TSW, I used to use a lot of steroids on it.
Interestingly nowadays, the area where I put steroids on it is very noticeable – all of my scalp is perfectly healthy skin, and then there’s a patch at the back of my head that flares, and the change is so pronounced it’s almost like the border of a country! You can see a very clear line separating the area where I used steroids and where I didn’t.
Take a look at from when it initially flared up to when it started to normalise (somewhat).
The interesting thing about this is how up and down it is. Different patches flare up at different times, and it’s hard to tell if you’re really improving or not.
This is why it’s important to take photos.
Day to day it might not show much change, but if you just look at the difference from start to finish during these 3 weeks:
With this view, you can see very clear improvement.
In fact, after April 18 since I could feel the hotness/redness had mostly subsided, I stopped shaving my head because I felt like the worst of it had passed (that’s why I don’t have any more photos past that date).
The other thing that’s made a big difference, I moved back to Africa in May.
I am now in Kenya, where I have lived previously, although not with TSW.
I’m not exaggerating when I say my skin improved practically overnight.
Within 48 hours I felt the inflammation in my body come down drastically, almost disappearing. From there, my skin normalised within a week, and I have totally normal skin again now!
I’ve written about this environmental theory before multiple times on the blog (here and here), and it’s playing out again right now.
I’m at the point where I believe the absolute best thing you can do for your skin/tsw is to find an environment that is not triggering inflammation in your skin.
I can just feel my skin breathing a huge sigh of relief (like, ahhhhhhhhhhhh), as it’s finally getting a chance to stop fighting and just be.
Think of it like being out on a really hot day for hours and your body is just screaming at you that it’s too hot, and then you step into an airconditioned house and have a cold drink and your body just goes ahhhhhhhhhhh.
That’s the feeling your skin gets when it finds a place where it’s not constantly fighting against whatever is in the air.
Again, this isn’t based on any “study”, just on my own anecdotal experience (multiple times, in multiple countries) and also the experience of many others, including testimonies from some of my doctors – all this was referenced in the posts I linked to above.
So as for me – life is completely back to normal right now.
I’ve been doing this too long to get tricked into thinking this will be permanent – maybe it will be, maybe it won’t, but I won’t be complacent.
I’m still doing NMT (the light version) which means daily exercise and sweating, 30 second showers, no creams, soaps or moisturizers, and getting lots of protein and sleep. The only thing I don’t do is the water restriction.
Last time my skin was like this, it lasted for about 18 months, before I moved back to New Zealand and then guess what – after about four weeks – flare! And once your body goes into flare mode, it tends to take a while to recover.
So, I will be doing my best to stay out of New Zealand for as long as possible.
Fingers crossed and praying for all of you!