In a world where we are constantly bombarded with information overload, it can be hard to understand your feelings. And with skin issues, everyone seems to bring out their dermatology expertises even when you never asked for it. 

I feel like SpongeBob reading the facts about my skin vs how I’m feeling.

I have eczema so here’s a prime example.

Eczema Is itchy, dry and scaly. We are always to be moisturized but sometimes my skin wants to be left the heck alone. Literally. It’s called NMT, No Moisture Treatment, a method I use when my skin is oozing or  just not responding to any product I’m using. I did this very often during my TSW journey. I have seen better results from this than any product specifically formulated for eczema. 

Now, I only do this for a few days, giving my skin time to heal itself before reintroducing the product into my routine. 

Can you imagine the normal skin community hearing this? It’s pretty common to do the No Moisture Treatment method in the eczema and Topical Steroid Withdrawal(TSW) community. 

Which leads me to the first step in taking back control of your skin: find your community. Whether you’re a part of the acne, eczema, psoriasis or TSW skin community, being around/networking with people who understand EXACTLY what you go through is essential, This doesn’t mean they are always right either. 

See how I never mentioned that you should try it? A clinician would most likely disagree with my method because of the research they have come across and not moisturizing dry skin is probably one of the worst things you can do. But you have to do your research. This is the second step in taking back control of your skin. The more educated you are about your skin condition, the less opinions you will find yourself bombarded with. 

Doing your own research may not only be reading only online, it could mean being your own test subject. 

When I went through TSW, I searched high and low everyday on the internet. But I also documented how my skin was doing daily, how it reacted to products, observing the skin heal itself. I saw so many different manifestations of eczema, I could’ve published a study lol. So it’s important for you to gain an understanding of what you’re dealing with so you are in the loop. I didn’t begin to understand my eczema until adulthood. This is where I was truly free, I wasn’t just relying on the doctor to come with years of medical education but coming with my own research. We all know how some doctors can be. 

Quick Flashback : I entered the dermatologist office hoping for some understanding, empathy, information, something! My skin was the worst I had ever experienced. I walked into that room and I kid you not my appointment was less than 5 minutes. I wasn’t able to advocate for myself, ask a question or even fully understand what was going on. He look at my skin, told me I had eczema which I already knew and he prescribed me something then sent me on my way. 

I was in high school then and it made me feel really defeated.  Because I found my community and did my research, I found out that I was going through TSW through another warrior whose skin was experiencing the same characteristics I was. Elephant skin, red sleeve, etc. This brought me more relief than creams ever did. Because I finally understood what was going on with me. I felt In control for the first time. 

The last and final step of taking back control of your skin, is doing what works for YOU. At the end of the day, it’s your body. They may tell me to not itch but I do what works for me! And you should too! 

May 17, 2023 — Jennifer Etienne

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