Could you suffer from Topical Steroid Withdrawal?

Steroid Cream being put on skin

I just spent 20 minutes looking through pictures of Topical Steroid Withdrawal today. I saw pictures of its effects on babies through grandmas. Whew. Heavy. My heart broke. But also, my heart swelled with an appreciation for the dr who discovered my allergic contact dermatitis. I could easily be one of the TSW patients suffering through a horrific withdrawal. I had been prescribed topical steroids so often over the last 20+ years throughout my allergic contact dermatitis journey.

My dermatitis struggles began with terrible eyelid dermatitis. Dermatologist, after dermatologist, told me to stop wearing eye makeup and use this prescription steroid cream. Easy fix.

Topical Steroid Use

I want to send you a word of encouragement for your Allergic Contact Dermatitis journey. If you’ve been given a topical steroid cream and a wink of how you’ll be just fine. Stop. Right. There.

Find a dermatologist specializing in allergic contact dermatitis at www.contactderm.org and request nothing less than a NAC80 Patch Test containing a minimum of 80 patches. You can read more about my journey with my diagnosis here and more info about Allergic Contact Dermatitis. I also wrote a detailed post about patch testing that I encourage you to read.

Topical Steroid Withdrawal

Topical Steroid Withdrawal, described by DermNet NZ is a severe reaction to a topical steroid after its use has been discontinued. This reaction can occur after moderate to frequent use of topical corticosteroids. Patients who have this will most generally have red-burning skin patches and even rashes. They’re extremely painful. The duration of withdrawal can be anywhere from days to months and sometimes even years before the skin will return to its original condition. My heart breaks for those dealing with topical steroid withdrawal. The intense itching. Sigh. BLESS.

My Allergic Contact Dermatitis Journey

Several years ago, I had decided my Fragrance and Balsam of Peru allergy were doing pretty good. I began using a new hair product line, and although my understanding of my allergens was nowhere close to where they are now, I still knew this line contained some of my fragrance allergens. After using them for about a year, this itching on my entire body was insane. I had red welts on my face and neck and an itch I could not go away. I began using topical steroids to help. Only they didn’t help because I continued to encounter my allergens daily. This process went on for months. I felt so desperate.

I went back to my patch test dermatologist to tell him I must have new allergens because this itch was intense and that steroid creams were not helping. He calmly explained to me that this was a deep itch that a steroid cream could not reach. When the T-cells within our body engage in a fight (which is what Allergic Contact Dermatitis is), it’s near impossible to quiet them. An oral steroid can, at times, and avoidance of the allergen works, but topicals really have little chance. But oh, the damage they can do.

Types of ACD Reactions

When I encounter my allergens, I experience several types of reactions. Adult acne is a big one. When I’m clear of my allergens, my face is clear and clean. If you struggle with adult acne, it could very well be the botanicals, fragrance and essential oils in your skincare, makeup and sunscreen. These chemical constituents can cause sensitization and shouldn’t be used, but also can be a huge cause of adult acne.

I see many popular makeup lines use botanicals, essential oils – even beeswax. All can be problematic. Mineral makeup is the cleanest for those with sensitive, reactive skin. But, a word of caution. The number one cause of sensitization to an ingredient leading to Allergic Contact Dermatitis is repetitive use. This means if you’re using sensitizing makeup/skincare, you could be the next one diagnosed with this lifelong condition. I see so many beauty bloggers who repetitively use products falling to the diagnosis of allergic contact dermatitis, wondering how they got there. Use caution. I have so many wonderful product suggestions on this blog that should not cause you trouble. I’ve linked many of them to my Amazon Storefront and my Shop Pages.

I’m here to encourage you.

I want to encourage you. Please keep moving along your journey. I know so many are struggling. The emails and direct messages I receive every day are plentiful asking for help and guidance. It’s hard to keep up! I so want you to heal and find skin health!

I’m in your corner always rooting for you!

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Protecting your children’s skin health!

Mini Boden Light Vintage Fun Overalls

Long-Lasting Children’s Skin Health

Protecting your children’s skin health is most likely a top priority for you! But do you really know how? Ask any of us with Allergic Contact Dermatitis allergies, and we’ll tell you how important it is. Setting your kids (and teens) up for long-lasting skin health is a priority. It begins with simple ingredients and staying clear of fragrance, botanicals, and essential oils. Keeping sensitive skin in babies and children clear of allergens is important. These three categories can irritate the skin and subsequently sensitize the immune system.

What is Allergic Contact Dermatitis

Allergic Contact Dermatitis is a type IV delayed immune response allergy. The T-cells mitigate this allergy in the body. A child can easily be sensitized with fragranced bath soap. With irritation, subsequently, the other ingredients in that soap (like Methylisothiazolinone – a preservative) can be presented as allergens to the T-cells along with the fragrance. This is a very simplified explanation for a somewhat complicated science lesson. Still, my hope is by simplifying the process; more can understand the dangers of using fragrance and botanicals in everyday products like shampoo and soap. Once a person is sensitized to an allergen, it is there for life. T-cells don’t forget, ever.

Use SkinSafe to find safe products

There are plenty of safe products to choose from for protecting your children’s skin health and keeping the sensitive skin in babies and children and their skin barrier intact. The SkinSafe Products website is a wonderful option. Choose the “Top Free Badge” on SkinSafe to find your favorite top allergen-free products. If you have been diagnosed with Allergic Contact Dermatitis allergens, email your list to mypac@skinsafeproducts.com for a Personal Allergy Code to make the search easier. A “Safe for Me Badge” will pop up when a product excludes your allergens. It is beneficial. I also have a great list included in a blog post, The Allergy Life Safe List. You’ll also see that I regularly use many top allergen-free products in My Daily Cleanse Routine. These posts can go a long way in protecting sensitive skin in babies and children.

Keratosis Pilaris
Keratosis Pilaris on arms and back

We’ve occasionally struggled with Keratosis Pilaris (chicken bumpy skin) on the upper backs of arms and tops of legs at our house. This is a sign that the skin barrier could be compromised. The best way to prevent this is a routine of everyday fragrance-free emollient moisturizers like CeraVe Baby Moisturizing Lotion. When the skin is dry or broken, the barrier becomes compromised, making a sneaky sensitizing allergen like fragrance or Methylisothiazolinone easier to get in. A good moisturizer and a gentle body wash are important for this. If you don’t have a Pre-Emptive Avoidance Strategy set up for your children’s skin health yet, you will want to read about it in my P.E.A.S. post. Being proactive with a P.E.A.S. approach is perfect for protecting sensitive skin in babies and children.

Safe Products like CeraVe for Children’s Skin Health

We use Cerave Moisturizing Cream or their Daily Light Moisturizing Cream at bath time, depending on the season. Don’t skip out on moisturizing just because of a warmer climate. Moisturizing is the best way to protect your children’s skin health. The proper way to keep moisture in after a bath is to lightly dab a towel on after bathing and then apply the cream to damp skin and lock in the moisture. You’ll find in my house we use all Low Allergen products, perfect for the sensitive skin in babies and children. Check out my Favorites in my low allergen post.

We also really enjoy Vanicream Gentle Body wash. It’s sudsy for fun bubbles and is extremely gentle. If you’re bathing in a tub, please don’t let your child play in the bubbles! Play first, wash last. Soaking excessively in sudsy water can set them up for skin health trouble. 

Protect infants

For baby hair, you can use Vanicream Gentle Wash for Baby or my elementary kiddos use Cleure shampoo and conditioner for their hair. Another surprisingly easy option (and quick to pick up at the local grocery store) is Suave Kids Natural 3 in 1 Shampoo, Conditioner, Body Wash for Sensitive Skin At less than $5 for 20 oz; it’s a great option for families.

Another essential thing to know about infant skin is less washing is better. Their immature immune system is searching for directions on what to fight off. Early research shows that broken skin in children less than six months of age can be more of a factor in developing allergies than we ever thought before. The most important thing to note is moisturizing with a fragrance, and botanical/essential oil-free moisturizer is key in protecting their immune system. Another article on my blog goes into this in more depth, entitled Leaky Skin

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Leaky Skin or Leaky Gut???


Leaky Skin or Leaky Gut??

One goal I have for The Allergy Life community is to learn about new, life-changing research. I came across some this week and it has my head spinning! I’m not a physician by any stretch, but have been leaning in as much as possible to research physicians in the skin health industry. I share below some of the largest takeaways from this concept I have been learning about. I’ll entitle it simple Leaky Gut or Leaky Skin? If you know someone who just had a baby – pay CLOSE attention.

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