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sempiternal95 sempiternal95

Burning red and flaky face from topical steroid creams not healing help?

Hey Everyone. I'm 19 years old and now 6 months into my withdrawal from using topical steroids on my skin and for the most part, i've certainly had a rebound much easier to deal with than other withdrawal's if we compare the severity and quantity of symptoms. However, this indifference worries me because I fear I'm not following the same path of healing that others are. 

Just to give some background,I initially had a touch of seborrheic dermatitis around my nose 4 years ago (no skin problems before) and I was given a mild hydrocortisone [Daktacort] which cleared the problem well but unfortunately through my own ignorance of topical steroids, I continued to use it almost as a moisuriser for the next year to prevent dermatitis returning. Over the next four years, I went from using the same hydrocortisone intermittenly to using it daily as I would get a facial eczema flare if i resisted and the red dryness was spreading to small patches of my body. I was also more worried in the last year of using steroids how red and flushed my face had become thinking i had suddenly developed rosacea, all before I found out about Red Skin Syndrome.

When I learnt about TSW i stopped the steroid cream i'd been using. Because I had only used a mild steroid, on my face and for only 4 years, I haven't experienced any of the flaking, redness or oozing much on my body and so i remain capable of living normally. Nevertheless, my face ever since Day 1 of tsw has been universally burning red and extremely dry. I don't recieve 'flares' others tend to get, instead my symptoms have being generally consistent, being slightly worse in the first few months. 

The main problem I have is that I have big yellow scales and hard flakes across my cheeks that stick to my face like scabs (underneath is red raw skin) and they never shed. I'd never used a moisturiser on my face before stopping steroids as i used the hydrocortisone as a moisuriser but I began to use Aveeno Cream to help with the itchiness in the first few months of TSW but then stopped when I heard you heal faster without moisturising. Regardless of this, I keep getting these yellow crusty scales that will not shed. 

Is this a normal symptom? As it looks more like a really bad case of seborrheic dermatitis on the face as oposed to the usual steroid-induced-eczema and I'm really worried it won't heal. sad

In addition, does the rosacea like flushed redness dissapear from Topical Steroid users after the eczema is healed? I ask this because I have never had facial redness before the last year of using topical steroids and it's very irritating to be red even when my skin is smooth and clear.

Apologies if i wrote too much or if it's rushed aha,


21 Replies

  • jennifer21273 jennifer21273 sempiternal95

    Hi  I have had seborrheic dermatitis for years and all creams nev helped. I then came across an article that said to try COAL TAR SOAP.  I have been using the soap since and my skin has never been so clear.  I apply the soap with cosmetic pads ad when I gently rubbed over the flaks they came off so easy I could not believe it. It might be worth a try and doesn't cost a fortune.. My skin when I tried  to remove the flakes my skin was red raw as if I had been branded. I hope you find that this wil help you also. Good Luck.

  • gastricity gastricity sempiternal95

    Hi there.

    I have been using Hydrocortisone 2.5% on my face for over 2 years now. I've only recently found out about TSW and I'm 2 days into the withdrawal. I'm uncomfortable but I know there is worse to come as I've tried to stop using it in the past and have become very unhappy with the symptoms of burning and itching.

    I'm curious to find out how long it took for your skin to return to normal? Was there any products that helped you with the burning?


    • jennifer21273 jennifer21273 gastricity

      Hi My skin returned to normal in a couple of days after using Coal Tar Soap, twice a day. I now have no itch no burning. In saying this I am now a pensioner and I am afraid to use any creams or make up on my face incase it returns. To walk around clear and not look like I was branded with a branding iron is great. I am sorry but I don't know what TSW is. Good luck

    • sempiternal95 sempiternal95 gastricity

      Hello gastricity, apologies for late reply

      Funnily enough, it's only been the last few weeks, 7 months in, since my skin has healed to what I'd call an adequate standard that has been consistent. In the past i've had some stages where my skin looked as if it would heal but then it would hit me again a few days later lasting another 2-3 months haha. 

      2 years isn't the longest time to be addicted to hydrocortisone so optimistically you'd be looking at a shorter time than myself. I've read several articles suggesting the healing time will consist of 10-30% of the time you used the steroid for although this is just an estimation.

      I had never [successfully] moisturised in the past as my skin was always too hypersensitive but in the early days of my withdrawal i used Aveeno moisturising cream and it certainly helped with the flakiness, dryness and burning. I have also began using Coal Tar Soap which is brilliant in removing the hard yellow crusty scales that spread across my face but I have never heard of any other steroid users having these more seborrhoeic dermatits based symptoms so you could be lucky not to get these.

      Was your facial skin tone rather red when using the hydrocortisone? I simply ask as I fear I may have also developed rosacea as although my skin is not as dry or red anymore, I still have an irritating flushed look to face when comparing the complexion to the rest of my body. Considering your someone else who only, I assume so, used topical steroids on his face, then your in a similar situation to me with all the focus on the face lol.


  • southtx southtx sempiternal95

    Hey sempiternal this is a late response but im going through same thing you are.. but me being me i do a ton of research really quickly and im doing same thing right now. 

    Im off steriod cream and have big flare ups which are expected, if you dig deep enough youll find medial studies where this is reported and this is usual. even applying gentle wash or even water will cause huge flare ups and that burning sensation.. I can send you the links if you want to all the dr reports and articles i found. 

    As far as redness.. you do probably have induced rosacea from the cream as well... what works really well and is something im on also is doxcycline 40 mg. lot of doctors do something stronger but 40 mg has shown to still kill the bacteria and help with inflamation to get rid of redness without killing your good bacteria in your body... you see the problem with other meds is there so strong they not only kill bad bacteria but also good bacteria thats why when people get off meds.. you might have temporary results but then bam in a couple months bad bacteria might come back with a vengance... i can send you link also to where it states this. 

    Other things for people coming off the steroid cream where they say dont use moisturisers because it actually makes it worse... well it doesnt make redness worse it makes the flaxiness worse... people think the flakes are dry skin but its not its a bacteria yeast/fungus.. the moisturiser relieves temporarily but it actually feeds the fungus and makes it multiply so its never really a fix. But with that being said... 

    theres studies that have been conducted that only certain creams feed the fungus mainly creams that have carbon chains with in the ranges of 11 to 24.. carbon chains is referring to whatever chemical the cream is made up of and what is chemical formual of that that chemical is...  example looks like something like this C3h5n6..etc etc etc.... well that C if the C is with in range of 11 to 24 that feeds the fungus... i can show you link and study on this if you want also. 

    So with that being said... since the skin is burning your goin through withdraws on the face... one dr has concluded its wise to use certain creams that have very high carbon chains to pretty much rebuild your skin layers back on your face. because of the constant steriod cream use you pretty much destroyed your skin which is why now its made it so senestitive. So one dr did some test trials and has concluded first thing you need to do is do something called priming the skin... 

    What this does is pretty much get youru skin tone back to its natural self.. not really killin the fungus or getting rid of flaxes all the way but more of not getting scienctific on you but pretty much rebuilding your skin layers is what you want to do before adding anything medicated to your face... his approach is take doxcyc 40mg this will actually help kill the fungus at same time has great effects of gettting rid of redness.... then you want to use washed and creams on your face that have a lot of cermides in them and lipids in them... cermides have very high carbon chains .. carbon chains of almost like 30 to 40 C30 C40... so this provides very great relief of going through steriod cream withdraw and is actually very comfortable. 

    Thanks for all the great input out there.... ive read so many forum post so many reports.. and pretty much i gathered them all together and found really great advice and real true answers that work... So this is actually my first forum post but i just had to give back from everything i learned. Thanks guys. 

    • yasmeen01339 yasmeen01339 southtx

      Dear Southtx

      Thankyou for so very generously sharing an impressive amount of research which you have clearly explained. My face is covered in bright red , with hard yellow scabs. I've had strong antibiotics and steroids and recently a doctor prescribed fucibet potent strength cream which literally burnt my whole chin and upper lip area. I look horrendous and have since February. It's ruined my life. I have not seen my young grandson since February as I keep getting infected cleared and off it goes again. I'm so grateful to you. I'm going to try all that you have suggested. Thankyou kind southtx

    • carol60453 carol60453 southtx

      Hi, Would like to read tese reports if u can provide the links.Aso how do /i know which creams have lots of lipids in them and also what is doxcyc? Is it safebto use with this condition. Having the same problem with my face, gets better, them starts all over again.


    • lisa12680 lisa12680 southtx

      Hello I read your reply with great interest. My daughter is struggling with TSW. She is rebounding again. What are the creams that have the best ceramides? Also how would I ask my Dr. for the antibiotic?

  • carley79575 carley79575 sempiternal95

    What brand soap did you use? Every soap i look up says it isnt real coal tar soap and they dont make that anymore


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