[special post] late stage TSW photos

couldn’t think of a more enticing title for the post!

as i continue mining (through my laptop), i found some photos i took between december 2012 (month 20) and february 2013 (month 22).
i would consider my skin to be at the late stage of TSW during those period of time.
i didn’t take much documentation photos after february because my skin looks increasingly normal, there isn’t much point in documenting those.

too bad, i really didn’t document how my skin looked like between between may 2012 (month 13) all the way till november 2012 (month 19).
those lost times i can’t recover!!!
even if there’s a time machine i wouldn’t go back in time just so that i can take photos of my skin though, sorry guys,
i’m not THAT selfless. hahaha!

just keep in mind that my skin during those times are just really red and dry. the bloody wounds have healed more or less. i  have papery skin all over me. i’m just recalling this off my head. if you want to see how i described them in detail (if i did) you can check out my monthly updates back then. it’s under the steroid withdrawal category.
you have to use a little bit of your imagination to translate those words into mental images though.

i’ve mentioned this before, the reason why i didn’t take photos during those times is hugely due to:
1) skin looking the same most of the time, i can’t see significant differences.
2) feeling too depressed.
3) what’s the point of take the self shots but not being able to review it? i wouldn’t know if they’re in focus.
4) just excuses for me not wanting to take any photos because of point number 2.
5) my camera can’t capture a lot of details in my skin unless i add on a macro lens.

some of the photos i’ve already posted under the “photos” page, but some are newly unearthed. photos are enlargeable so you can see more of the details (just click on the image! i’ve painfully linked each of them one by one manually! i insist you click on them. hahaha!)

late stage topical steroid withdrawal skin, face, not eczema
3 oct 2012, month 18.
– elephanty skin on shoulder and neck.
– face still rashy. flakes and so on.
– general redness and dryness all over. still has a lot of skin fall.

late stage topical steroid withdrawal skin, dark and dry neck, not eczema
12 december 2012, month 21.
– neck of an elephant. hahaha! it’s dark red and dry.

late stage topical steroid withdrawal skin, dark and dry, not eczema
21 december 2012, month 21.
– it’s 3 months apart from the previous photo of my face, it’s so much better already! it’s not as rashy as it used to be.
– neck still elephanty.

late stage topical steroid withdrawal skin, dark hand and legs, not eczema
21 december 2012, month 21.
– general redness, swollen and rashy skin.

late stage topical steroid withdrawal skin, elephant skin neck, not eczema
21 december 2012, month 21.
– elephanty neck stretched out.
– darker skin tone.

late stage topical steroid withdrawal skin, red rash on face, not eczema
30 december 2012, month 21.
– rashy face.

31 december 2012, month 21.
– rashy face.

late stage topical steroid withdrawal skin, dry shoulder with lines, not eczema
3 january 2013, month 21.
– deep set lines on shoulder.
– slightly dark red.
– most part of my joints have lines like that. well, at least they’re not cracking up!

late stage topical steroid withdrawal skin, dry and red arm with deep set lines, not eczema
3 january 2013, month 21.
– dark red skin.
– taut and dry.
– deep set lines.
– the skin flakes have a yellow tint to them.

late stage topical steroid withdrawal skin, dry and red wrist, not eczema
3 january 2013, month 21.
– darker skin tone.
– deep set lines.
– slight swelling.

5 january 2013, month 21.
– mild redness/rashes on cheeks.
– pigmentation spots that surfaced spontaneously. they fade away (slowly) with time.
– a little bump. i had a number of bumps on my face that’re just filled with liquid. i suggest you not to pick on them if you have it too because it left a dark pigmentation (different from the spontaneous ones mentioned above) on my skin that took so many months for it to fade away. you can pick anywhere but your face, you hear me?

14 january 2013, month 22.
– swollen, deep set lines, itchy, red, dry.

14 january 2013, month 22.
– same description as above.
– there’s a clear line between my palms and my wrist. the demarcation of the red skin! there used to be a little rash that tried to cross boundary into my palms but it didn’t make it too far into the land of the palms. thankfully!

late stage topical steroid withdrawal skin, deep set lines on skin, not eczema
17 january 2013, month 22.
– patches of redness! i hated seeing my own hand while in class because the classroom lighting makes the red even more obvious.

17 january 2013, month 22.
– darker skin tone on neck. makes me look like i applied a wrong shade of foundation on my face when i didn’t apply any at all!
– looks SO MUCH BETTER than in december, right??? those dry skin seems non existent anymore.

17 january 2013, month 22.
– dry skin on elbow.
– darker skin tone.
– mild rashes.

17 january 2013, month 22.
– mild swelling, general redness.

18 january 2013, month 22.
– patchy rashes getting smaller?

18 january 2013, month 22.
– mild rashes.

25 january 2013, month 22.
– patchy red rashes.

1 february 2013, month 22.
– relatively redder cheeks.

12 february 2013, month 23
– patchy neck. when i see that it’s patchy i know that my fair skin is returning to me. i know it makes the red parts more obvious but look at the bright side! it means the red patches are shrinking and no longer covering my entire body!

late stage topical steroid withdrawal skin, oozing rash near lips, not eczema
12 february 2013, month 23.
– rashy oozing spot near my lips. this took a week or 2 to disappear.


so that’s all the skin photos i can find during those periods.
after february, 99% of the photos i took are self shots of my face because i had to make up for lost time. hahaha!

i still consider my 20th to 22nd month part of TSW because it doesn’t look like the typical eczematic rashes that i used to grow up with.

i tried to churn out this post after knowing how some of you try to peg your healing journey to mine by reading through my monthly documentation. sadly, i haven’t been courageous enough to review my photos and publish them on a monthly basis along with my description of how i felt and how my skin felt back then. on hindsight, it would have been so much more helpful if i did that.

till this day, i still feel remotely shocked and disgusted by my own photos i took last time, i can’t bring myself to look at them while still having bad skin – it makes me more depressed than i already was if i did. with that said, there’re a bunch of unorganized photos in the photos page which i’m trying to re-organize into a more systematic page. give me some time to work on that!

on the bright side, if you’re in the beginning TSW stage, you now know what to look forward to in order to know you’re at the end of the journey. if you’ve identified yourself to be in the later TSW stage (because your skin resembled mine), i think it’s safe to say you’re not too far from the end of the journey!

as always,
good luck and stay strong my fellow skin friends!


32 thoughts on “[special post] late stage TSW photos

  1. You’re my hero, Juliana! Thank you so much for this reassuring post. The lines on my hands, wrists and shoulders are practically identical to yours in the photos. 🙂

  2. Thanks so much for the pictures, it was close to the end of TSW for you wasn’t it – you healed by 30 months? It is interesting looking at your photos – I could have been looking at pictures of myself – LOL. Now you look amazing – really lovely, healthy and you can see the optimism in all your pictures. In comparison my skin is a little further on from your pictures except for my hands – they still look elephanty! So the light at the end of the tunnel. 🙂

    I don’t know if you ever read Jake’s blog? When he was near the end of his healing he went through a period of depression. It’s a bit like you have to detox physically and mentally. I’m going through something similar, quite a few angry thoughts, resentment from the past rising up again, fatigue and sudden dips and rises in energy levels. I am continuing with probiotics and they seem to help along with healthy eating.

    Keep well and God bless.

    • you’re most welcome! i can only tell you i was close to the end of TSW, since i don’t know what’s the specific day (if any) that marks the specific turn to normal skin. the truth is i am still suffering from sensitive skin right now. i won’t say i healed by month 30 if i want to be totally precise! hahaha i’d say i’m still on my way to totally normal skin? but yea, by month 30 (in fact, by month 22) i was able to function normally like a normal person already, so in that sense i’m no longer crutched by TSW by month 22.

      hahaha i’m sure a lot of people feel the same way as you, looking at photos of my skin thinking how much it resembles theirs. i’m glad to know that your skin is doing much better than mine! i suppose you applies most steroids on your hands, that’s why they’re still elephanty? it will go away though! 😉

      jake as in.. jake from australia, the guy who took a lot of health supplements? well, i’m more of a scientific person, i usually relate sudden mood swings to a hormonal imbalance. are you having PMS? because i tend to feel a little off the scale whenever my period is nearing.

      probiotics are good for you 🙂 a happy disgestive tract = a healthy you!

      god bless you too sweetie 😀

  3. Thanks so much for these updates! You are amazing!

    Just wondered in relation to your comment above that you are stil
    On your way to totally normal skin – what symptoms do you still have? Hoping I will be where you are soon! ❤ xx

    • hey hannah (are you the hannah who’s emailing me? haha!), i still have a relatively more sensitive skin as before. i get hives much more easily but that’s about it. 😛 i still have some remnant rashes that are still recovering.

      i’m sure you’ll be normal soon!

    • hey esther! what do you mean by link up? to put up a link to direct people to my blog? of course i don’t mind, that’s the whole point of me sharing all these stuff anyway! the more people who see it the better! 😉 you’re most welcome hehehe!

  4. Hi Juliana,

    I found your blog when I started TSW and I have to thank you for posting pictures. I know how hard it is- I have done the same. Thank you for this most recent post. My skin looks identical to yours during that period – I am about 14 months steroid free and have been full body since the beginning. I feel as if I have been in the middle to late stage for some time. There is progress, but it is so hard to see because it isn’t as bad as it was in the first 6 months, but it is still everywhere and it is still bad. The depression of the mid to late stage is much different than the early days. This post is so encouraging to me, because I can see myself in you. Thank you again!


    • hellooooooo leslie!

      you’re welcome 🙂 love to know that my entry encouraged you! yea, it’s very frustrating and discouraging in the later stages because everyday seems the same – no improvements, no significant deterioration. i totally understand..

      i guess the depression in the later stages is more or less related to “why am i not seeing improvements after so long? will i really heal?”. I’M HERE TO BUST THAT UNCERTAINTY!

      i hope you didn’t use steroids for too long, that way your recovery will be shorter 😉 but if your skin is resembling mine in the photo, i think you’re not far from the end.

      stay strong and good luck!


  5. sighs, I wish I could just go into a coma and then wake up and have magically beautiful skin. It’s too depressing when you start to see no improvements and almost no progression 😦 post-inflammatory hyper-pigmentation is absolutely crazy too. It’s all just too debilitating but the only way is to power on and just find ways to move on right? I know I’m being selfish and doing this for myself but it’s so hard because it puts your relationships with everyone on the line… I should become a nun so nobody can see my skin lol

    • hi there charles, i think ALL the skin warriors wished we can just go into a coma and say “wake me up when TSW ends”.

      improvements are slow and takes a really long time before you notice any changes. but i’m happy to report that given a long enough time frame, your skin will improve, and the hyper pigmentation will go away too!

      we don’t have any other choice but to keep walking. it’s okay to be selfish, we’re born selfish. you have take care of yourself before you take care of other’s interest.

      stay strong my friend!

  6. Hey, i have a question, bit of a long story but here; I had TSW for about 6 months and everything cleared by the end of that time where my skin was almost completely normal. But then after about 2-3 months of almost normal skin my face flared up, most likely due to the weather and stress, and i started to think that my face will always get dry and red every now and then whether its TSW or not.
    Do you still think its possible that it is being caused by TSW? I decided to use nizoral shapoo just once which contains small ammount of steroid and now few weeks later im having swelling and extreme dryness on my face which cant really be explained by anything else.

    If you read this thanks so much for our time

    • hey alex!

      i need to know a little more about your steroid use history before i can arrive at a possible conclusion. how long did you use steroids for?

      in case you haven’t read through my long ass story at the top, my TSW actually took a short break after 4 months. but things came back worse after that. to me that was my second flare. perhaps you are going through your second flare right now too. i’m not too sure about the shampoo triggering a steroid withdrawal. but a few weeks is a little too long to blame the shampoo.

      from my pov, that 2-3 months was the end of one flare episode, but it’s not exactly over yet. and i don’t think your skin will always get dry and red if it’s not for TSW. normal skin isn’t like that, you weren’t born to have episodic red and dry skin, right? hahaha i know it sounds illogical because i can’t point out to you the exact reasons and causes, but by elimination, TSW sounds more likely.

      you’re welcome! hope this answers your questions 🙂

      • What your saying makes a lot of sense. Yeah i had never gotten dry skin as a child, although i did get some dandruff. I used:
        Hydrocortisone throughout the time of use which was approx 4 years, smothering loads at a time at a point.
        Driprosone or something like that, which is a lot stronger for approx 6 months . Its a liquid based ointment which was supposed to be used for the scalp but i used on my face.

        Yeah TSW seems likely because i still get swelling and redness when i eat chocolate, and i don’t have a chocolate allergy. Nothing else can explain the hormonal imbalance resulting in eating chocolate except TSW

        Yeah i have read most of your story, i too am at university/college whilst this is happening and I study Physics, i try to focus solely on my work so it may be beneficial.
        But cool thanks for your reply it has actually helped a lot 🙂

      • hey alex!

        hmm, looking at your steroid usage history, it’s most likely TSW. hahaha maybe you’d want to lay off that chocolate for the time being to reduce those uncomfortable symptoms.

        aha! physics! i’m sure all those laws, hypothesis and whatsnot will consume most of your attention as some are so hard to understand.

        good luck and try your best to stay positive! it helps!

  7. My body looks likes yours. Especially my hand and elbows. But I am only in month 3.5. Could I really be at the end? My skin got addicted to otc steroids. I know another flare could come. But you said this was your skin at toward the end?

    • hello ann!

      well, you never know! everyone’s body is different! OTC steroids are milder so maybe the eruptions won’t be as angry as mine. but yea, this was how my skin looked like towards the end.

      • Thank you for your response, I had another flare this weekend, not as painful as the first few. I am so appreciative if your blog and all your documentation this is a wealth of info for us going through TSW. I am peeling a lot, very fine flakes and parts of my stomach and back are starting to feel smoother even though you can still see the scales. For you and your thick wrinkled skin, did the wrinkles leave first? I have elephant skin on nearly my entire upper half of my body. This is all so insane. I am wondering what happens now. Also did you ever hear if the thick wrinkled skin is from scratching or just the steroids effect on the body?

      • hello ann!

        sorry to hear about your flare. 😦 but that’s just the way it is, it comes and goes and keeps getting better!

        i can’t recall if the wrinkles left first (as compared to what?). the skin will slowly return to a normal thickness once the inflammation subsides, that’s when you know your skin is about to heal. i have no idea whether the thicken skin is from the scratching or the inflammation. it could be both!

  8. Hi Juliana! I was wondering how you managed the itch. Was it still itchy towards the end of your tsw? Because i find the itch to cause me to go 2 steps backward everytime i start to see improvement.

    • hello gel! HMM, i didn’t quite manage the itch.. i just scratched like a monkey. :X towards the end it wasn’t as itchy, really. previously i could feel tingles in my skin 24/7, if i don’t stimulate my skin (either by caressing or scratching) constantly, i’d feel like i have a thousand ants crawling over my skin.

      i think the itch is just part of the healing process! after the ups there is bound to be a little dip. that’s nature! just keep in mind that eventually, it’s a upward trend!

      • Oh ok. Im not sure if mine is skin deep or what. At times i feel like i Wouldnt be hurting myself so much if only i didnt start scratching. I suspect my itchiness might be caused by dry skin. Did you have the same problem?

      • it’s definitely skin deep. the itch comes from within. don’t feel so guilty about scratching!!! skin is itchy, the natural tendency is to scratch! yea you wouldn’t deal as much physical damage to your skin if you didn’t scratch, but scratching also releases happy hormones! just do it moderately 🙂 itchiness may or may not be caused by dry skin. depends. i guess mine were a combination of everything. dry skin, inflamed skin, recovering skin. everything.

  9. Hey Julianna, I’m Terrance and I’m a 14 year old boy who also has severe eczema as well. And I have to say, I’m very happy I found this blog of yours so now I know that what I am going through is TSW. Ever since the beginning of this year, my skin has been looking the EXACT same as yours. The only difference is I have more of the lines all over my two knees and the bag of my legs. The eczema on them gets so worse I can’t even walk properly (or at all for that manner) and stretch my arms. I can’t even move my neck if the eczema on it is acting up. Like you, I’ve been getting very depressed and stressed about the whole ordeal. It’s gotten so worse I despise looking at myself in the mirror if I get an eczema breakout on it. I even wear long shorts and jackets around the house so I don’t have to see my horrendous damaged skin. But your blog gave me hope and the power to carry on.

  10. Hi Juliana, quick question. You know those annoying and embarrasing deep set lines you got all over your hands and stuff? How long did it take for it to go away, or at least become less noticable? Because I now have them all over my hands since this May and it really lowered my self esteem and stressed me out because when I would go to school or out in public people would always ask what happened to me. Also, is it normal for the irritated skin on my two hands to turn to the color red, then dark brown? Because that’s what happened right around the time the lines appeared.

    • hey jordan,

      i can’t say for sure how long it’ll take for it to go away. once the inflammation subsides, it should go away within a few months. i’m sorry it’s causing you to feel embarrassed about it. 😦 i know how you feel. take this chance to tell people this is the side effect of using steroids!

      and yes, it’s normal for the colour to turn from red then dark brown.

  11. For the past couple months I look exactly like these photos of you!! I’m in month 10 but only used TS for about 3 years. This gives me hope—even though I’m completely tired of itching & hating the way I look—that I’m nearing the end!! Thank you!!

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