Healed from topical steroid addiction?

What does being healed mean anyway? I was talking to the husband yesterday about how nobody really seems to know what healed means. There are people who claim that they are healed but they still flare here and there. Then there are those who feel better, and look better, but have been withdrawing for less than a year so they don’t get to claim they are healed. Those people are only on a break. Then how about those who have been withdrawing for years and are flaring? Are they not healed either? Or should they say that they are just on a break as well? If you are at 4 month and you feel better you have to watch our for month 6 flare. Then month 9 flare. Then month 11 flare. etc etc. When does that end?

That’s the thing I wondered about the most. There are blogs that claim to be done, but you never quite see what happens afterwards. There are very few who continue to update their blogs, with pictures, after their self proclaimed healing. The how do we know they aren’t just on a prolonged break? Did they ever flare again? How badly? Are your skin still sensitive? Dry? Do you have eczema patches that comes and goes? How do you treat it? Do you treat it?

If you define healing as “back to normal” then are you referring to back to “normal” when the steroids were still working? Because that’s not fair, as eczema was being suppressed by the corticosteroids. “Normal” when compared to other people in the world who never had skin problems? That’s not really fair either. Besides, for those who are going through moisturizer withdrawal, you then would be comparing yourself to “normal” people who are wearing moisturizers. That’s a unfair comparison.

Granted, with a lot of disease there isn’t a definition of being “cured.” You’re cured if the medicine worked (therefore the diagnosis was correct) and you feel better.

The following pictures show the worst parts of my skin right now. Face and left inner upper arm. Ridiculously enough, now my skin produces too much oil and I have pimple problems. There’s no winning is there aha. Nonetheless, I’ve never been so happy to see pimples! I think now it’s time that I start washing my face or something. I haven’t chanced taking a long hot shower yet, but I did take a short lukewarm shower and I was doing fine! I feel my energy is starting to come back and my main concern is discoloration.

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I will update with more pictures later tonight, hard to take pictures of your back by yourself. I tried, I really did, but my contorting can only take me so far aha. Will I claim I am healed? No, because I would still want my skin to become a bit better. And I have the time to do so. However, I know that I don’t really think I will be flaring again. I feel my energy increasing. I itch very little (less than 20 times a day, less than 3 seconds at a time). When I do scratch, it’s usually because there is a tag or a hair or something. I don’t really see any new patches cropping up. My skin continues to produce oil, although it can produce a bit more. Furthermore, if I stop improving now, IT WILL BE OK. I CAN LIVE LIKE THIS, HAPPILY. The discoloration will go away in time, and the dryness is nothing a light coat of oil can’t fix.

Well, whatever may happen, I’ll be sure to keep you all posted!

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12 thoughts on “Healed from topical steroid addiction?

    • Yeah it’s all very confusing. But I think maybe our goal of “perfect clear” skin that a lot of people say that have now is maybe too high. It’s good to remember that “normal” “healthy” people rely a lot of make up and products to make their skin look great. I think the main issue is itch. Once you aren’t itchy at all, I think you’re doing great!

  1. Esther your skin looks so good… I stress about this every day for us. There was a time before TSW when months would fly by so fast…now the months cannot come and go quick enough… Get us to the end and hopefully it will be the end LOL

    • Thank you! I feel pretty good too! One day she will be happy again! I think that’s an important indicator- when going about your day and being happy isn’t a monumental task

  2. i’ve been wondering about this question a lot too. there’re no clear marks that differentiates the rashes’s causes – are they due to the allergens that an atopic is allergic to, or is it the steroid damaged skin just acting up spontaneously?

    physically, it’s hard to tell. but emotionally, i feel that the “healing” is real after one is able to get back to a normal course of life without being bothered by the state of the skin. sure, there’ll be a few rashes here and there, but as long as they don’t get in my way, i could care less!

    but yea, i don’t consider myself truly healed too. HAHAHA!!! just like you.. “my skin can be better”. just like how girls will always want to lose a few inches here and there. :P

    • Yeah for sure! I’m so glad to have your take on this as you’re one of the longest documenting person I know! I was on fb support group and saw Mark n Kelly’s account comment that she’s still flaring here and there and its been about five years. Ugh I knew I should’ve screenshot it I can’t find it now. That comment was what really made me start questioning. If adrenal function take about a year to reboot, than how come our skin is still bad years after? At what point is it just bad skin or allergy or whatever?

      I think feeling of wellness is a huge marker of healing – but it’s such arbitrary measurement, not quantifiable or rigorous. I know that skin is no longer evil overlord of my life, and that means so much.

      Funny you mention weight hehe the one good physical thing about tsw is the amount of weight I lost. Now I’m just skinny fat though, time to start exercising more!!

      • i think the best way to know whether the skin is healed is to do a biopsy on the thickness of the epidermis layer. that is very telling, since steroids thins it out. if it’s back to normal thickness, one can be sure that it has recovered from said damage, i suppose?

        i lost so much weight during TSW but gained them all back. hahaha! i kind of miss my pre-tsw body, i was slim and slender last time. can’t pack on much fats or muscles. these days i gain muscles pretty easily. i guess the steroids really messed my body up last time!

      • Hmmm when I go back to school I totally have access to histogram materials. Maybe I’ll be biopsing my own skin haha
        I quite like my legs currently. I miss my butt though. Time to squat it out!!

      • let me know of your results after you biopsy your skin!!! i’m really interested. if i have my own lab i would have done it too.

        hahaha i also miss the time when my legs were so skinny (i wonder what’s the reason for the visible weight loss, is it the shrinkage of the fatty tissue later, or flattening of our dermal layer..? so mind boggling). but the perks of gaining all my weight back means.. yea my booty may interest you. hahahahaha :X

      • If I end up doing it I’ll let you know! I think the weight loss is mainly fat loss- I lost too much to be only a skin thing. I would totally be interested in yo booty!

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