[special post] evolution of my face

topical steroid withdrawal, red skin syndrome, face before and after

please click on the image to enlarge it (don’t waste my effort of painstakenly putting the photo together..! hahaha you have to view it in the enlarged glory). the photo was originally even larger but my host sized it down for me..
i haven’t been uploading photos of myself mainly because i feel too demotivated to. for the first few months when my face got really bad, i was too depressed to do anything. let along to stare and edit photos of my face.

i’m much better now. thank you so much for staying with me and checking on my progress.
i know a pictures speaks a thousand words, but yet i just can’t find the right reason to go through all that trouble and hassle to post photos of myself. most of the time, my face was in a horrible mess and that doesn’t make any sense for me to keep track of how i looked. i didn’t take any photos for several months.. that’s why there is a big jump from apr 2012 to october 2012. those were the months my face showed significant healing.. i suppose it’s fine even if i don’t capture those moments, because to all of you spectators, what matters most is the before and after.

i also spent some time uploading and posting more photos in my “photos” page. i hope it encourages those who are still in bad shape right now. even though i’m not completely healed, but i’m getting there.

i wish i can make this place more organized.. but i just can’t get around to that. it’s way too troublesome.. when i have the urge, i’ll make more before and after post in the future when my skin gets increasingly better.

i’m so glad that i’m now able to show you guys some improvements i’ve experienced, for i hardly notice them during my worst period of time. things just seem to deteriorate all the time..

ok, that’s all for now. stay strong everybody. and god bless.


39 thoughts on “[special post] evolution of my face

  1. I am completely overwhelmed with joy for you! xxxxx So happy for you and how good you held out through this hell! Oh yeah, made my night to read this! Yay!

  2. I’m so glad things are looking up. I hope you’re completely rid of TSW by 24 months.

    Btw, love the collage. Just wanted to say that my face looked exactly like yours in your ‘Mar 2012’ pic except the ooze covered my ENTIRE face. *shudders*
    Oh yeah, your eyebrows back too. Yay!!

    Hope you’re even better today.


    • thanks! i waited really long before i can come up with the collage..!
      did you use alot of steroids all over your face? for me i used it mostly on my lip area and cheeks, that’s why it oozes there T.T but with great pain comes great healing.

      yay i’m not looking like an alien anymore! it’s not as thick as it used to be though..! i filled in my eyebrows with eyebrow powder : P can’t stop being a vainpot.

  3. Hi Juliana,
    I read your blog and am so happy for you. I never knew there was such a thing called topical steroid cream addiction. I have come to the realization over the weekend that this is what I have and have decided to embark this long journey of TSW. I’ve only been using the cream on my face especially around the lips sparingly on and off for the past 15 years. Had no idea I was addicted to it. This weekend has been hell for me with all this skin peeling, redness and itchiness. My condition is not as severe as yours but I can already empathize the agony you went through. You are truly an inspiration to me, knowing that you have got through to the light at the end of the tunnel, I know I can do it too. I am so glad your family and boyfriend were there to support your journey. Good luck with your new skin life. I’ll be joining you after 2 years or so. Can’t wait! Xoxo

  4. Hey there! Chanced upon your blog. It was really one heck of a journey. I cant imagine myself having to go through that for 2 years. My admiration for your resilience and courage is really off the charts. I have eczema since 7, and have since been on off steroids for close to 14 years. Decided to go cold turkey on my steroids since last month, beginning my hell. But before I decided to go through all this crap, I researched and decided to try TCM, hoping that it can alleviate the pain and suffering TSW brings about. So far so good. Pain, lousy and even scary skin is part of the TSW process, but it is much better than I initially feared, considering that I have been on steroid creams for at least 7 years cumulative throughout this period. You may want to take a look. It really helped me alot by controlling the painful symptoms. And hopefully it can help you too! 🙂

    Here is the blog of the TCM Physician:

    Better days lie ahead. Jia you & Take care!!

    • hey eugene, i’m not trying to discourage you, but my skin only started to get really bad after 5 months of stopping steroids. during the first few months, things weren’t as bad as they were in the later part.

      actually i’m on TCM medication right now, but i took it only to eliminate my original eczema. don’t think it can actually help with the withdrawal too much. to date, i don’t feel like it has sped up my healing or what. haha i’m just taking because it is supposed to make me healthy.

      • Hi Juliana, reading up on your old posts and comments! Omg I’m going into month 3 next week. It will get worse?? Arghhh kill me 😦 anyways I was reading some stuff about TSW in Chinese with my limited Chinese. I’m sure you must be pretty good at Chinese being Singaporean cos u guys r so multilingual! I’m actually talk g TCM during my TSW at the moment. I did the times I went thru TSW as well I think it help release the toxins faster not too sure I just remember being miserable back in tho days. I’m nearly finished with my TCM and dr says I don’t need to drink it anymore unless I think things ain’t improving. i found this site whuch actually gives out a TCM formula gor ppl to use! http://cht.a-hospital.com/w/激素依赖性皮炎#.Uiq1UGQayc0 a lot of the herbs are similar or same to what I’m having. Just thought I might share it. Hope all is fantastic for u at the mo xxx

      • please don’t freak yourself out! everyone is different. my skin got worse after many months, but there are alot of others who started out in their worse and then gradually got better. thank you for sharing the link with me! hahaha singaporeans are mostly bilingual! TCM usually take months to take notice.. i suggest you try for at least 3 months. but then again, who can say for sure that it isn’t time that has healed your skin? if you have the money to burn, it doesn’t hurt to try i suppose.. as long as the TCM is not laced with forbidden steroids. :X

        the thing about TSW is that there isn’t really a fixed pattern for each individual.. please try to assure yourself that you won’t be like me!

    • fash wash : cetaphil gentle skin cleanser.
      moisturizer for face : simple kind to skin hydrating light moisturiser.
      body : vaseline intensive rescue repairing moisture body lotion.

      i don’t wash my face with the face wash everyday, only if i applied sunscreen or make up. otherwise, i’ll do without it! my face isn’t oily anyway! hope this helps~

      • Thanks Juliana, kind of weird that my skin is dry on the inside and oiily on the outside.. Wonder if anyone experience the same thing on tsw on face?

      • I’m not sure. did you start out having oily skin? if you did, I guess it’s normal to feel dry on the inside, because having oily skin doesn’t mean your skin is moisturized..! the oils production is ramped up to compensate for the dryness.
        my skin was dry to begin with.
        but I’m not a skin expert, so I’m just suggesting possible reasons. it would be best to ask dr rapaport!

  5. Hi Juliana,
    Yes, my face start out oily, but it’s dry on the inside which im sure, feels tight and after I wash my face before apply moisturizer, I can see my face is peeling. But after a while, it becomes oily again. But skin feels tight inside, red also.. I also think like that, maybe the oil ramped up to compensate the dryness. Even it’s oily, but recently I try to wash with water only, feels ok, didn’t cause any acne. Where can I ask dr raparort?

    • hey! what I meant was, before you stopped using steroids, when you skin was still pretty normal, do you have oily skin? 😛 guess I didn’t phrase my question properly.

      hmm, you can drop him an e-mail. I thought you were from the itsan group, looks like you’re not..! hmm I can’t find his email right now, perhaps you can try looking for it on his website..? rapaport dermatology of Beverly Hills.

      • Before I stopped using steroid, my skin is not oily as now. By the way, mine is a very special case of tsw, I didn’t know i was using steroid all the while, cos I thought I was using normal repairing cream, name dermedex repairing cream. Until I was told it got steroid inside then I stopped it, then my nightmare begins, I also have no problem with eczema on my skin before, never.. Just the very unlucky girl to use the most wrong evil product. 😦 btw, I live in Malaysia..

      • oh i see!!! if you don’t have eczema to begin with, i believe you will recover very fast! hope you didn’t use it for too long. i just googled it, seems like it was recalled and banned in singapore! the company that produced dermadex is really really evil!!!

  6. Juliana, i used it for one and a half year, morning and night just like how we apply our moisturizer on our face everytime after washing my face 😦 the steroid totally made my facial skin..don’t even know how to describe, destroy my skin! I’ve been tsw for a year now, face is super sensitive, dry, itchy and red. But it was horrible at first, definately improve over a year, but the damage is still there.. I’m using the moogoo udder cream, which is ok and won’t irritated my skin.. Hope we’ll all be recover soon.. God bless

    • you poor thing..! well, i’m sure you’ll heal up in time to come. be patient! i know every minute sucks.. but remember, nothing is permanent. you still have many great years to come, and you will have perfect skin for many many years after your skin heals up! : ) the pain is only a small fraction of the amount of time that we will spend on this earth. don’t be disheartened~

      moogoo udder sounds cute..

      god bless you too!

    • TSW did not influence my face only. my entire body was affected. may i refer to you the “photos” section.. as well as the “before and after” section at the top of the page. i only showcase my face in this entry.

  7. I am moving in my second month of TSW and the redness is diminishing, I am still itchy, and very dry, so your worst months were after 5 months? From your pictures it is hard to tell.

  8. Hi Juliana,

    Thank you so much for your encouraging posts and unfailingly kind words to everyone. I’ve used hydrocortisone on my face for 3 months and stopped about 2-3 weeks ago after reading about TSW. After a week, I actually stopped being bright red and oozing pus from bumps on my face. But recently my rashes have started spreading again and it’s quite disheartening 😦 I know, I should be more patient, especially since most people who are going through/went through TSW took years to heal! Unfortunately, patience is not a virtue of mine and it doesn’t help that I’m a little vain 😛 I can only take comfort in your words to another commenter, that everyone’s journey is different and my worst may not be necessarily yet to come.

    Thanks again:)

    • heya karen! thank god you only used hydrocortisone! i’m sure you’ll heal up quickly. give yourself a month at the very very least because our skin takes a month to regenerate itself. the rashes will spread and then die down on its own if you leave it to its own destiny. everyone is vain, as far as i know, otherwise we wouldn’t have used topical steroids to “cover up” our rashes in the first place. i’m still vain, but i look at my rashes differently now. they tell a story, and if people do enquire about my skin, i now have the opportunity to share it with them in hope of preventing the same thing from happening again, this time on their skin.

      stay strong! everything will mend itself 😉

      • Thanks so much 🙂 I will try and get on with my life in the meantime! This might sound gross, but I have a hard time leaving the flaky skin alone, I can’t help but pick at it even though I know it’s better to just leave it. Did you (or anyone else out there) have this problem?

      • hahahahhaha i definitely have the same problem. picking my skin IS ONE OF THE BEST TIME IN MY TSW DAY. of course it’s best to just leave it.. but..

        I DON’T REALLY CARE (at that stage). hahahaha no one sees those ugly skin other than myself anyway. :X

        but yea, it’s best to not pick it, because they’re open wounds after all. increases the risk of an infection.


  9. Hey Juliana, sorry if this has been asked before but I couldn’t find an answer to it on your site. Was just wondering what you did when your face was flaking off/oozing at the same time? Put another way what do you reckon is the best way to manage your face given the benefit of hindsight?

    I’m at the stage where there are a couple of oozing spots on my face. The rest of it is just dry and flaking off however I’m not sure if I should just leave them to drop off. I have a tendency to pick them off..itchy fingers sigh haha.

    • heyyyyy, i didn’t do anything to my oozing face when it was oozing. i naturally thought that i should let the ooze dry out. so i let it do its own thing.

      no moisturizer at all at that stage. as for managing my face, i sleep with cotton pads or tissue paper stuck on my face to absorb the liquids. i’ll wash them off the next morning.

      hahaha i can’t resisit picking either, but only the dried liquids because picking the skin hurts.

  10. Hi Juliana.
    What a great blog.
    Thanks for sharing. I needed a lift and I have taken some positivity from your blog. I am at 32 months and have had a full body intense flare for the last 7 months. Ooze, red sleeve, red torso, red face. Flaking like crazy. This is as bad as the first few months.
    I used the same steroids as you and I guess steroids that powerful will take a long time for the blood vessels to heal.
    How are you and how has the last year been? Does it get better. I thought I was nearly healed this time last year.

    • hello alex! sucks when the skin flares again huh! mine flared again lately after 1 year of pretty clear skin. i was healed before, so i doubt my flare has much to do with withdrawals anymore, instead it’s a manifestation of my underlying eczema.

      my year didn’t start out great because my skin flared after being healed for so long, but that only means i haven’t dealt with the actual cause yet! i’m hopeful!

      good luck!

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