not sure if anyone cares, but the 25th month update will be delayed and shall be merged with the 26th month update as I’m currently on a holiday.

I’m getting back on track, not entirely yet, but 95% there. I started drinking some alcohol and it seems to be fine.

if I can make it through, so can you. don’t stop believing, my fellow skin warriors..!

– juliana


[special post] what do i use on my skin?

i get asked several times what do i use on my face, i thought it would be good if i do a post on this and show you the products instead of me simply typing its name out!

my trusty vaseline, got it in the biggest size available. i’ve used up 3 or 4 tubs of this so far.

during my first 20 months, i used vaseline petroleum jelly ONLY. that was the only thing my skin could tolerate. i know it’s not the best moisturizer out there, heck, it’s not even tauted as a moisturizer. by definition, a moisturizer is supposed to add or restore moisture to the skin (dictionary.com) , petroleum jelly simply acts as a barrier to prevent loss of moisture.

for the really bad times when i was oozing, i couldn’t even apply vaseline over it, because the ooze can’t dry that way and it will get really messy. but i applied it religiously over all other parts of my skin which wasn’t oozing.

there is a optimum time which it works best, which is right after i shower. my skin still has some moisture from the shower and that is the best time to “seal” the moisture in. it does delay the drying out, gives me some time to have relatively flexible skin (otherwise it would be so dry that it’ll crack open). but this thing can’t be compared to our original skin barrier function, so it can only keep my skin supple for at most several hours (which i’m totally glad because without it, my skin will dry out in a matter of minutes!).

do i recommend this? hell yes! it’s bloody cheap and does the job well. i have tried my fair share of creams recommended by derms before i stopped using steroids, none of them ever worked for me. during my TSW, i’ve also tried QV, physiogel and bioderma, they just can’t moisturize my skin. let alone to keep the water in.. and their price? i can probably buy 5 tubs of vaseline with the same amount of money spent on 1 tube of physiogel cream.

i guess i didn’t have “normal” skin to begin with, that’s why all of those creams (even the ceramide-lipid stuff) doesn’t work for me. good for me though, because i don’t have to waste so much money on useless products anymore. tried and tested! and i’m sure once my skin heals completely, a normal (and affordable) moisturizer can do the job perfectly.

moving on..

simple light moisturizer. nifty and thrifty, JUST LIKE ME.

i started using a moisturizer for my face around month 20, since most of the parts which was oozing earlier on has healed up on the surface. my face was still dry back then, so i kept slapping this moisturizer on. it’s completely safe for my skin, water based so it absorbs very quickly (which also means i have to keep applying it), which brings me to the price of this thing.. it’s really affordable to be used constantly on my face. not sure how much this will cost in the states, but in singapore, i know of places that sells this stuff for SGD$6.50. that’s about 5 USD i suppose.

i’ve always used this moisturizer and loved it. back then before i stopped TSW, this was the stuff that i was using too. i find that it moisturizes my skin very well. i used to sleep in a air conditioned room (all year round), this stuff can prevent my face from drying out due to the cold and dry air. i wake up with soft skin that still feels moisturized!

well, that was then. let me bring you back to the present (by that i mean month 20 of  TSW). that time, my face was still healing up, even though the oozing patches are not visible anymore, there are still some more inflammation going on under my skin. even after i apply this cream on, my face will still feel rough, but at least it’s moisturized. it feels rough because of the dead skin that has dried up but not yet ready to shed.

now that i’m in my 23rd month, the skin on my face is really pretty much healed. only several dry spots around my lips and on my nose bridge. i just have to apply this cream thrice a day – after i wake up, after a shower, and before i go to bed. i don’t wash my face in the morning, my oils are too precious to be washed away!

and my new companion for now :

vaseline again! but this time, it’s the body lotion.

i started using this thing around 2 months ago. which isn’t that long ago. i’m only applying petroleum jelly to areas like the back of my elbow, my knees, and my ankle. areas which are really dry and thick and requires some extra oomph. i used to apply vaseline ALL OVER MY BODY in the past. icky, i know. it transfers to my clothes and my mom always complains about how dark the water is whenever she washes my clothes. and she has to wash them twice before it is clean.

since school has started, there is no way i can be that oily and sticky all over. remember i mentioned how good it works right after i showered? now that my skin is better, i find the petroleum jelly working TOO WELL for me. my skin will stay supple and sticky for hours (as opposed to the stickiness dying down within an hour in the past). there’s no way i can go to school like that! i actually feel like overheating because it is covering my entire body. it makes me feel very uncomfortable and i start to perspire (which makes me feel more uncomfortable). so i decided it’s time to make a decision between my comfort and how dry i can let my skin be.

this lotion is very light on the skin, it does moisturizes the skin well but isn’t long lasting. thank god that my skin is so much better now that it can actually hold moisture better than before. for the first few weeks of january, i actually have to shower in the morning before i go to school. the routine goes like this : shower (20 minutes), lather on vaseline petroleum jelly, stay really still infront of my fan and laptop to cool down and not heat myself up (this takes 1-2 hours), prepare to go to school. i end up having to wake up 3 hours earlier before my the time i have to leave house for school. fuck me, right? (i woke at 6am for my 10am class because i take 1 hour to travel from home to school. 6-9am for the shower and cooling down.)

very soon, laziness got to me and i decided not to shower before school anymore. i didn’t expect that my skin can actually accept this! these days, i just slather on this lotion before school and off i go. now i can wake up just 2 hours before class. sometimes i wake up 1.5 hours before class because i don’t want to leave bed. : P

yes, my skin does get dry towards the end of the day, but that’s fine because by that time, i’m on my way home already. and the dryness isn’t that bad anymore.

so these are the 3 things that i have used/am using religiously. they have helped me in some way or another, hope it helps you too!

some of you might wonder, why didn’t i use those organic creams (or try more moisturizing creams), i can only tell you that cost is one big factor when it comes to what skincare i choose to use. i’m using these stuff ALL OVER MY BODY, and i’m not a baby with that little skin surface..! i go through a tub of vaseline in a little less than 2 months time (during my driest period). can you imagine how much that would cost me if i were to use some fancy creams that cost me SGD$150 per 500ml? that is equivalent to 25 tubs of vaseline we’re talking about! (speaking of which, there really is such expensive creams around. a friendly sales consultant approached me one day and gave me a tester of their body lotion which claims to add moisture to my skin. never heard of the brand before, but it’s called beaute pacifique)

ok, that’s all for now. when i can think of things related to my skin, i’ll blog about it again. do you all like these special posts? let me know!

23 months

i feel like i’ve just updated this place not too long ago..!

i hope my previous post have shed some light and hope to all those warriors who are still fighting on!

my skin is still healing, still taking time to get back to factory condition but it’s definitely getting there. and now that it’s so much better than before (in terms of integrity, moisture level and color), each day gets increasingly easier to get by.

the worst is really over!

these days i’m really busy with school work, and thank goodness for manageable skin! school is pretty damn demanding, and my favourite part of school right now is skipping classes. : P

after leading a sedentary lifestyle for almost 2 years, i’m sad to say i’ve accumulated so much fats in me, it’s now showing on my chubby cheeks and flabby thighs. if i can cut myself open, i’m sure my organs are being wrapped by fats, PLENTY OF FATS.

i didn’t mind getting those fats, because during my TSW journey, there was a period of time when i kept losing weight despite eating like a hippo. i looked so skinny and unhealthy, it was so scary! but i’m a little health conscious right now, i tell myself i need to start exercising.

all i did was to think of exercising instead of really exercising. URGH, i should really get my fats moving. you won’t believe me if i tell you i pant just by walking up a short flight of stairs, that is how much fats i have in me.

going to give myself 3 months to lose some fats. wouldn’t want to do it so drastically by starving myself and end up with saggy skin and messed up metabolism. in actual fact, i just cannot starve myself! i’ll end up being distracted and thinking about food all the time.

things are just going to get better!

current skin woes are dry and red areas on my fingers, my skin all over my body is still healing from steroid damage – it’s still patchy, red and dry, but a layer of vaseline cream (i’m curently using vaseline intensive rescure repairing moisture body lotion. phew, that’s a mouthful!) will make it feel so much better. discolouration is still a problem, but i’m wearing long sleeves and pants anyway, so it’s not a big deal. last month, my lips area started to get red and dry, it peels and whatsoever, and now it’s getting better again.

while some people get hormonal acne, i’m getting hormonal red and sensitive skin. i realize those bumps on my face are actually correlated to the time of the month. could have covered them up with some make up, provided i exfoliate them first. it irks me that the make up actually accentuates dry skin. so i ended up not applying make up at all! afterall, there wasn’t any good reason for me to wear make up to school (if you don’t already know, i’m in the school of engineering.)

my hair is definitely growing back, really quickly. not just on my head and my eyebrows.. the hair on my arms and legs is getting ridiculous. but something about them did change, they are so much finer these days. but also, much longer. i can’t stand it!!!

not only am i getting fat, i’m also getting hairy! that’s not aesthetically pleasing in my eyes! am i turning into a hamster..?

that would be me in another 2 years if i continue this sedentary lifestyle.
the hamster in the photo is my little angel. he’s in heaven right now, but he still puts a smile on my face every now and then.

have faith and don’t stop believing that you will heal one day.
god bless.

22 months

it’s not the 11th yet, but I’ll just update 2 days earlier this month.

one more month has passed, and the progress is slow but steady.
it still gets a little bad when my menses are about to arrive. but those redness will subside in a few days time.

I realize my skin is more sensitive now, prone to getting hive like rashes which is manageable unless it itches like crazy.

the good news is my neck looks so much better than a month ago. it was discolored and itchy before.. but now it feels kind of normal. it looks normal, although still a little darker than my face. it was doing good until my menses wreck hormonal havoc around my body. my neck had some rashes for a few days which disappeared after that.

I’m really happy to report that my skin no longer feel so dry upon waking up that requires me to take a shower. I can slather some cream and I will be good to go to school. first time in the past year when I can finally stop showering after waking.

I’m almost completely healed, right now i have widespread patches here and there all over my body. they look like eczema patches, red, dry and rough, but it’s ok, I can cover them up.

the fact that I can see that they are red patches means that the white areas are coming back..! but it’s not a good sight I must admit. I still feel heart broken every time I look at my skin.. but I will get there eventually.

I’m not complaining much, honestly speaking, I’m really grateful to have a normal looking face because that’s something I can’t cover up. I don’t even dare to put foundation on my skin.. I’m glad that I am functional enough to be able to attend school, to participate in class, to discuss things with my classmates without feeling bad, most importantly, I can feel my self confidence coming back to me slowly.

my face do get red rashes here and there, but it isn’t too obvious.. I do get alot of little bumps on my face now though. tried squeezing them because I thought they are comedones but turns out they are not. no idea what they are..!

each day, I wake up and feel grateful for everything that I can do once again..

I never knew life can be this good.. and it’s only gonna get better..

I know I will say this once I’m fully healed, even though I’m not right now but i see some light peeking through from the end of the long tunnel I am in. this journey is worth the hell of a ride I took. not only did it change my skin, it also changed me from within.

attaching a photo of myself. took this today before I left to visit my grand mother for reunion dinner. I am glad to be able to visit her 🙂


by the way in case you are wondering, I did fill in my eyebrows with some powder to make it look more luscious.. hehe! it’s not the full volume it used to be but it’s ok~~

21 months

summary of what has happened in the last month.
my skin continued to improve, it’s most obvious that my face is nearly completely healed.
my cheeks are definitely normal skin, but it does get a small red rash at times, but it subsides in a few days time so it’s ok.
face is only red after shower, but appears to be pale at other times.
forehead still has some rashes but it’s not obvious.

neck seemed to have gotten worse in a sense that the dry areas have spreaded,
but the red area have shrunk. it’s now confined to the dry areas.

redness all over my body is now more patchy instead of widespread redness.
still dry, still flaking.
vaseline is still my best friend.

i can feel myself getting better week by week..
hence i’ve decided not to go on cyclosporine : )

currently i have dry red patches on my hands, wrist, arm, shoulder, neck, thigh and feet.
the skin on my calf isn’t exactly normal.
my neck and face are two toned! hahaha it bothers me a little, so i’m finding way to cover up my neck. when the rashes subside and the skin returns to normal, i can always use a foundation to even out the skin tone..

i’m just really glad my face is looking normal, after all it’s the only place i can’t cover with clothes.

1 year 7 months

short update, things are looking good on most days.
by looking good, i mean lesser dry skin falling off.
skin is still red red red.
like a lobster.

still going through cycles.
in the middle of one right now.
was feeling cold for several days, skin temperature seems high.
it was extra red.
lots of dryness, the same old story.

nothing much to update since everything is about the same.
still red and dry.
arms still look pretty inflammed.

i have to keep reminding myself that things will turn out fine.

btw, the wounds on my fingers are finally all gone.
it’s been a long while..
rashes come and go, one week things feel really bad and next week things start to get better.
sometimes I feel better for a day after 2 days of particular bad days.
it’s random.
but I’m glad I’m moving along.
for the past 2 months or so, the oils on my scalps are coming back.
i’m happy to smell my oils!
hair fall isn’t as scary as it used to be, but my hair is still thin.
might need alot of time for it to grow back to the original volume.
eyebrows are also starting to grow back.
previously the hair follicle seemed to have changed their growth direction..
some of the hair would stand up at a 90 degree angle, some in the opposite direction..
but now they’re taming and going back to their original direction.
eyelids are able to fold better than before,
i need to moisturize it constantly.

keep praying.

1 year 6 months

one and a half year!
today my skin feels better than it did yesterday.
it just shed another round of skin.
a few days ago the skin on my arms, shoulders and thigh were thick, dry and cracking up.
didn’t reveal any open wounds though, thankfully.

today my skin is soft and smooth (for now) since i just showered a while ago.
vaseline is still my best friend for now.

i think it’s my arm’s turn to go through a cycle.
the skin feels warm to touch, and it constantly sheds.
really irritating : (

face is quite smooth, but it still lacks moisture.
feels dry after i wake.

still red everywhere! like a lobster! like i had a bad sun burn.

some part of my palm is still red, i don’t know what’s going to happen to those patches.
patches on my sole are still here.. i don’t know how long they’ll stay.

right now i’m just happy that my arms are smooth to touch,
i really hate the feeling of rough dry skin.
it felt as if i had scales.

skin on hands are not as mad as last month.
still changing skin, less elephanty as before.
still red/pink.

calf looks really dark,
looks like pigmentation. it’s lightening up though.
thigh looks a little elephanty because i kept scratching it.
lichenification, i think?
it’s red too.

i’m still quite swollen all over.
i think it’s general edema.

3 more months.. : (