I am now in my 7th week of moisture withdrawal. A few weeks ago I attempted to moisturize using sesame seed oil after I bathed. That lasted for two days until I realized that my skin just felt dryer than before. About a week and a half ago I flared really badly. It was either the aftermath of trying to moisturize or the New York City pollution, but since then my skin has been struggling.
Something that has never happened before: I woke up with sore armpits about a week ago. I did my morning yoga and felt irritation under my arms as I worked up a baby sweat. I touched my armpits to see what was going on, and they were super tender. Each armpit had a big red blotch right in the center. I freaked out for a second, and then put on my all natural deodorant and headed to rehearsal. The irritation continued for a few more hours and was slightly painful. I found myself getting really frustrated during rehearsal, especially since we were dancing that day and I was sweating a bit. The more we danced the more it began to hurt. I started getting anxious about the run of the show and began wondering how I could manage if every time I worked up a sweat my armpits got irritated. Then I thought, "what if I can't workout at all?!?" I realized I needed to take a chill pill, so I took a deep breath, said a quick prayer to myself in the middle of rehearsal rebuking whatever was going on in my pits, and about an hour later the pain went away. However, the next day I woke up with white flaky patches where the redness had been. I was so done. Luckily, the next day my pits were back to normal, and I haven't had an issue since. I have stopped using my deodorant though, so yay for trying not to stink.
My face is still going through the cycles of scabbing, flaking and shedding. My forehead is pretty rough and the right side of my face is out of control! It itches like crazy at night and the skin breaks very easily when I scratch. It also oozes sometimes after I scratch. The left side of my face almost feels like normal skin, but that right side feels like sand paper.
My hands are doing a lot better. They still itch but the skin breaks less easily. The same with my wrists, but they itch a lot more. I sleep with socks on to try and stop myself from scratching them raw. I also cut holes in a pair of socks to wear around the house so I can use my hands, but stop myself from scratching. It's that serious.
The light patches on my knees have grown, and I'm starting to get more patches of what looks like normal eczema behind my knees, on my thighs, and on my back. I'm wondering if this is like an anniversary flare since this all started a year ago. My arms, legs and back had cleared up completely for a few months earlier this year. It was around summertime that my arms began to flare again, and I lost pigmentation. Then the flare moved to my legs. I'm also wondering if my use of a mild steroid ointment in May/June has caused any setbacks. At the time I didn't know about topical steroid withdrawal, and the dermatologist prescribed it for my hands, because I had staph infection. The ointment literally did nothing to heal my hands. Either way, I'm just hoping this starts to calm down soon.
Even though I'm not using anything to moisturizer my skin, I have been taking Dead Sea salt baths. A lot of blogs I've found talk about the benefits of doing such during moisture withdrawal. Below is a quote from the Salt Works website explaining the benefits of the components of Dead Sea salt.
Magnesium is important for both combating stress and fluid retention, slowing skin aging and calming the nervous system. Calcium is effective at preventing water retention, increasing circulation and_ strengthening bones and nails. Potassium energizes the body, helps to balance skin moisture and is a crucial mineral to replenish following intense exercise. Bromides act to ease muscle stiffness and relax muscles. Sodium is important for the lymphatic fluid balance (this in turn is important for immune system function). So we can see that bathing in high quality sea salt could replenish the minerals which are critical to our skin metabolism.
The baths are very soothing, relaxing and healing for breaks in the skin. Initially I think I ran the baths too hot, which is not good for eczema, but it feels amazing. Kind of how scratching eczema is like crack, but it's so bad for the skin. I've also read that tepid water is better to absorb the healing properties of the salt. To cleanse cuts, and sometimes to make my face appear less dry before I leave the house I use witch hazel. I do still use Shea butter in my hair, but I haven't had eczema on my scalp since I was in elementary school so this hasn't been an issue.
Lastly, A Christmas Carole opens tonight, so I have started wearing makeup again. I purchased a lot of new all natural makeup, and I'm using powder instead of liquid foundation so I can continue moisture withdrawal. So far my skin is fine. I'll be posting an update about the all natural products I found soon. My skin is slowly getting better, so I'm just going to continue giving it what it needs to heal. Much love and until next time!
I'm Lauren, aka Just Du Pree, and I want to thank you for reading. This is a space where I share my very personal journey healing from eczema and topical steroid withdrawal (among other things), life lessons I've learned along the way, and occasionally the thoughts of an awkward Black girl (no Issa Rae). I'm a performer and filmmaker, so if you feel so inclined, pop over here to see what goes on in my mind on the regular. If you like what you see, you can stay up to date with my work here. Much love, friends!