Hey again. Time for an update!
Well, it’s been a tough few months actually. I had another flare start around January, and it’s only just coming right now. That’s about 5 months.
After around six months of perfectly clear skin, that was pretty hard to deal with. TSW is particularly difficult that way – you never know if you’re “healed” or if you’re just waiting for the next flare to happen.
Some good news – the flare was way less severe than the previous ones. If the first two flares were 8/10 or 9/10, this one was more like a 5/10. However, it did seem to last longer than I expected it to.
I also treated this flare slightly differently. I went (not super strict) NMT for the first few months, and then I visited my dermatologist and he suggested I had a surface infection on the skin. His recommendation was to use bleach baths mixed with a moisturizing oil (QV oil, for example).
Something else promising was he admitted that steroid creams were damaging and they are prescribing them a lot less now. However, he prescribed me Ellidel for my face as he said it was non-steroidal.
Ellidel is just a cheaper form of Protopic, so I definitely was not going to use that! If you’re in the Facebook TSW groups, you know people have had mega withdrawal symptoms from Protopic as well.
I did however try the bleach. It worked out quite conveniently, because as part of NMT you’re supposed to exercise every day, and I still do that religiously. The gym I go to has a pool, so after my workout each day I would get in the pool and do 20 mins of laps or so, and that was my bleach bath for the day.
The results were quite surprising. I improved markedly overnight. Significant healing in just one day. I continued to improve majorly over the next couple of weeks. In fact, I am still doing it, and it’s been about 4 weeks now.
This tells me, the bacteria on my skin was either causing flare up symptoms or exacerbating them. Either way, I needed to take care of it before my skin could heal properly. I do believe my body would have taken care of it on its own in time, but it would have taken quite long.
Another interesting observation is that when my skin was doing really well, I was in the middle of Ironman training – this meant I was swimming in the pool 2-3 times per week. After Ironman I stopped this, as I wanted to get back on a mild NMT and I suspected chlorine probably wasn’t good for my skin. But it seems maybe the chlorine was actually the reason my skin was doing so well? Who knows…
If you’re thinking about adding this into your TSW routine, I would like to remind you that this is definitely not NMT and I probably wouldn’t recommend it if you’re early in NMT. Even though I was in a flare, I didn’t have any oozing or too much of the “raw” skin, I had mostly eczema symptoms. My skin was definitely a lot stronger than it was during previous flares, and was more “red” than “broken”. So I think bleach baths are an options, but probably for when you’re further along in the journey.
Sending you all strength and healing.