When the weather got colder again this fall, my skin went back to being stupid. I have red rashy hands, inner arms, face, and neck. It sucks, I feel ugly, but it's not nearly as bad as before and I don't have any of those other symptoms other than some itchiness (which is not as bad as before). Given what I know about TSW, it's of course very likely that the summer was just a break and right now is just a flare and I'll eventually get longer and longer breaks until there are no more flares.
But I also wonder if maybe the damage from the topical steroids has mostly healed and I might still be left with that genetic predisposition to get a rash when something [cold weather, junk food, too much sugar, too much dust, whatever] triggers my immune system. Since I was going to change my diet anyway (what with a wedding dress to fit into and all) (oh, yeah, I'm getting married this summer!) and I know my skin gets much worse lately when I have lots of sugar, eat junk, and drink alcohol, it just made sense for me to focus on something that eliminates some of the more common potential irritants. I'll be doing a Whole 30 challenge. I'm on Day 3 and it's going pretty well but it does require a LOT of prep-work.
Lots of TSW-people say that nutrition makes no difference, and for the most part, I agree. But since this "flare" feels different than the others, I figured it's a worth a try to see if it's less of a TSW-flare and more of an eczema-related flare. And, like I said, I've been working my way up to changing my diet, eliminating gluten, dairy, sugar, etc., for a while now. I do not consider this a hardship. Lots of TSW-people say not to eliminate "comfort" food because you're already miserable from TSW and I totally 100% agreed in my early days of TSW. NO WAY could have I undertaken a major nutrition overhaul since I started TSW! Remember all that prep-work I mentioned? No way could I have managed all that when I was itchyitchitchy 24/7 and exhausted all the time.
However, now I am at a point where I am ready, I feel capable of doing this, and I believe this is the right thing for me to do right now. My TSW (or eczema?) rashes are ugly and slightly uncomfortable but not life-altering, so I can handle the extra challenge.
I have also stopped using moisturizers. The only 'improvement' that I have seen (it's been about a month) is that my red rashy areas are slightly less red, more ashy. But the other night I decided to try one of my homemade body butters (it's just shea butter and coconut oil whipped together) and while it was fine when I applied it, my skin felt very sunburnt the next day. So for right now, I'm not using moisturizer. It feels right.
So that's what's going on with me! Oh, and wedding planning. :)