I wrote this in Grace’s Eczema and Allergies facebook page and I think I should pen my thoughts on how I make sense of TSW. I’ll attempt to piece the puzzle together as I get more informed of the mechanism or reaction pathways of TS on our skin, as well as our healing process, but this is a broad overview of what really happens.
When we apply TS on a specific spot of our skin, the spot atrophies, loses water barrier function (high TEWL compared to baseline), loses steroid function, vessels are constricted, reducing inflammation due to lack of natural inflammation markers reaching this spot. The effects of this spot may spread to surrounding skin where TS may not have been applied due to blood capillarity effects. The area and depth of this spot will depend on cumulative TS usage. Picture a drop of water (TS) into a still pool and the resulting waves occurring from it.
This affected area and depth of skin is damaged. The point of TS withdrawal is to heal and has 2 aspects:
1) Healing as a function of recovery of good normal skin.
It takes time for good normal healthy skin unaffected by TS to grow from our base epidermal layers, growing from inside out and reaching the very top layer that we can visually see. This time depends on alot of factors: extent of damage of our skin due to various potencies and duration of TS application, quality of our healing rate affected by our age, DIET, genes, environment (basically how optimal is our internal body and external environment to promote healing).
This is the sole reason why time taken varies for so much people, because there are just too many factors that may result in different results. I just hate to hear “Only time will heal” because this is just a lazy explanation by people who are totally clueless. It is how people in the early ages attributed natural disasters to various Gods because they are just not informed.
I remain convinced that given the optimal conditions that we can control, we can speed up the healing process definitely. The only limiting rate is our rate of new skin growth (which slightly defers from one person to another again due to genetic factors). I’ve read somewhere that new skin takes about 2 months to form and reach the top layer. Of course it is optimistic to expect full healing within 2 months but do note skin replication and growth may be compromised due to damaged DNA/RNA of surrounding top layer cells affected by TS. Thus this is a gradual process.
2) Healing as a function of removal of bad skin
Prior to recovery of good skin, the bad skin remains in our body and TS withdrawal is a process to weed out the bad skin through the various natural mechanism: oozing, flaking, itchiness, scratching, flaring, inflammation. It is a vascular reaction, a basic body chemistry/physics/biology at work during the absence of TS.
All vets who have healed go through the same process, lots of skin loss until the rate of skin loss reduction is visually observed (less flaking, less flaring etc).
Another point to note that gives me so much clarity is that: Good skin do not itch for no good reason. We do not scratch good skin for no good reason.
Thus the very reason for itching and scratching serves a useful purpose in removal of bad skin (unless you have a psychological problem of purpose scratching). When we fall and get a grace, the skin heals up and there comes a point when it WILL BE ITCHY, and we will scratch naturally. When there is an external stimulus such as a mosquito bite or contact with acid, we subconsciously and naturally scratch to remove the external stimulus to prevent further harm.
It is important to highlight this because there is alot of fear, frustration we have all encountered when we scratch. We think we are “damaged”, and sense of low self-esteem, irritation, frustration, depression results due to this nasty TS withdrawal. It is important to see this problem “as it is”, and understand that there is a logical, reasonable explanation of what is happening.
Once we can accept that this is part of the TS withdrawal package, I can assure you life will be way much easier because you will stop mindf’king yourself over things you have no control over.
Much of what I’ve written stems from my keen personal observation as well as asking alot of questions, at the same time correlating them to the studies I’ve researched as well as experiences from other sufferers. It will do you alot of good to try to figure out how things work, especially TS withdrawal, since it will be a significant part of our lives.