Among the TSW crowd, there are quite a few strong opinions on whether moisturizers help or hinder the course of TSW. I stopped all moisturizers the same week I started my new regimen of supplements for the gene mutation I now know I have. It was hard for me to determine whether or not the stopping of moisturizers was a small, medium, or large part of my recent healing. I still firmly believe the supplements directed towards correcting my gene mutation was largely responsible for the big clearing of skin I have experienced in the last few months. BUT MW (withdrawing from moisturizers) has played a big part in dealing with recent flares.
You see I knew I would still flare given that correcting the rNA of my skin cells would take some time. In fact I realize now that since the supplements are aimed at repairing ALL cells, that my skin cells would be some of the last to heal....meaning my body is going to repair itself from the inside out. But I can say my recent flares have been very easy to handle compared to my first 7-8 months of TSW. And that is where MW comes into play and how I have determined it is VERY beneficial.
You see while I stopped all moisturizers on my body, I started using my Neosporin with pain relief on my neck and hands when I returned to work. While my neck cleared dramatically, it was still extremely sensitive, and even the smallest spots still bothered me. Working was rough on my hands. So I used my handy little tubes of numbing antibacterial cream. Only a dab here and a dab there. Well, my neck started flaring on/off....sometimes red, sometimes pink. But over the last few weeks it has worsened down to my chest and shoulders....and I just kept putting on the Neosporin on those places. And then I tried different things on my hands....colloidal silver, tea tree oil, and a few other things. And guess where I continue to flare? Only my hands and neck/chest. It has been driving me crazy! I was getting the macerated skin again in those areas and I started getting angry. I decided 4 days ago to stop everything completely. Let's see if the Neosporin was becoming an addictive moisturizer.
Since I already went through MW on the majority of my body before I knew what to expect. Except I wasn't expecting the pain to triple on my neck! But it did! Only on days 2 and 3 were things really bad! Last night I slept without waking!! And I could actually move my neck without feeling like it was going to split wide open. So the final verdict is MW is the way to go for me and probably for most of those in TSW. I think everyone has to decide for themselves but people should at least give it a go for a few weeks to see if it helps them. I am still having pain in my hands and neck today but I can tolerate it so much better than the increasingly macerated skin I was getting from putting a cream on those areas. I also want to stress that picking at the scabs or dead skin will cause the ooze to come out. LEAVE THE SKIN ALONE! I find it barely itches compared to when I used creams on my skin. I can generally stop myself from itching. It's the absent minded picking that I need to stop! If I pick even a little skin off, that area will burn and maybe ooze. I think the scabs we form are like a blister....we "pop" the scab and fluid comes out similar to a blister. So in order to do MW the correct way, we have to leave the skin alone. Not easy, but I find it much easier to do on my neck, because one small picked area will cause serious burning for a few hours. This morning I vowed to leave it alone and so far I have! And already it is feeling a lot better!
A few other big tips: Bathe as little as possible....quick in and out. Baths should not be longer than 20 minutes tops. I do a Dea Sea salt bath 2-3 times a week for 15 minutes - yes I feel dry afterwards but nothing compared to when I used moisturizers. I also will wash only the necessary areas with Dove soap. I don't think we need soap all over. If I have to bathe a few days in a row, I spot clean with a washcloth. That's it.
As for my flaring....I am red on my neck and hands and skin is split all over those areas. I am pink and broken out on my left arm and chin. My feet, ankles, and legs are doing so much better....no flaring! Just some left over scabs that are healing. My low back flared a bit last week but is almost all healed now. I plan to return to the tanning this week. It's hard because it is painful to dress and undress around my neck. Sounds silly....one small area will cause me not to do so much. But I really think the tanning at this stage will help. I'm really hoping it will help my hands! They will be the last place to heal given my job as a nurse.
So my stance on MW is based on my own personal experience and those of others. It stands to reason that one should at least give it a try to see if it works. It is not easy and can be very painful for the first week. But if it works better for you then it will be worth it.