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May 08, 2019

What Is Topical Steroid Withdrawal?

TSW (also known as topical steroid withdrawal syndrome, red skin syndrome or RSS) is a condition that affects people who have stopped using topical steroids after a period of using high potency creams. Withdrawal from steroid use affects the way the body reacts after it has become reliant on steroids to manage its inflammatory response.

Topical Steroid Withdrawal

Symptoms of TSW can be really distressing and might include the following:

  • Extreme shedding of skin
  • Redness on face and body
  • Oozing skin
  • Nerve pain
  • Intense skin sensitivity
  • Difficulty regulating body temperature leading to chills/overheating
  • Night sweats
  • Insomnia
  • Hair loss
  • Oedema/swelling
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Dry irritated eyes
  • Decreased energy levels/extreme tiredness
  • Mood swings or depression

What Can Balmonds Do To Help?

Balmonds offer information and support, whether you’re going through topical steroid withdrawal, looking for safe long-term management strategies or wondering whether your symptoms match the condition.

Check out our TSW Info Hub for more information about Topical Steroid Withdrawal, including blogs from people with real life experience of the syndrome, and practical tips for managing symptoms.

Skin Salvation is a safe, effective, non-steroidal, intensively hydrating emollient that works in four crucial ways to help you manage your TSW or chronic dry skin:

  1. It is free from the preservatives, perfumes, parabens, essential oils, coconut oils, nut oils, soya, and other common irritants that can hurt so much when applied to such sore, sensitive skin.
  2. It nourishes depleted skin with the essential fatty acids, vitamins and other nutrients the epidermis needs to repair and regenerate.
  3. It uses beeswax to protect broken or raw areas by providing a fine, protective barrier over the skin - like a sticking plaster over a wound - reducing itchiness and stinging.
  4. It hydrates, softens and conditions severely dry, flaking or shedding skin.

For more information about TSW, its symptoms and how to manage them, go to the ITSAN website or Scratch That UK.

With much gratitude to Louise King for her photographs on this page (follow on her TSW journey)

Other hashtags to follow for peer-to-peer support: #thisisnoteczema #tsw #TSWFab5

Current medical advice is not to use daily topical steroids continuously for more than two to four weeks; then the frequency should be tapered to twice weekly use.

Topical Steroid Withdrawal Bundle
Skin Salvation • Shampoo & Body Wash • Intensive Lip Balm • Intensive Facial Oil

Important Note

If you require medical advice we recommend you always contact your healthcare professional.

If you or someone you are caring for seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there's something seriously wrong, call for emergency services straight away. For general medical advice, please contact your healthcare professional, this article does not contain or replace medical advice.

Do not delay getting help if you're worried. Trust your instincts.

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