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Woman, 26, has terrible reaction to steroid withdrawal

One woman has revealed how she couldn’t leave the house or even look at herself in the mirror after experiencing horrific withdrawal symptoms from eczema creams.

Daisy Malin, 26, from Teddington, London, was diagnosed with mild eczema as a toddler, with doctors prescribing various topical steroid creams.

But after becoming increasingly dependent on ever-increasing doses, Daisy decided to stop the treatment – leaving her with topical steroid withdrawal (TSW).

This gave her horrendous skin symptoms, including a red and burning face, neck, arms and hands – much worse than her original eczema.

Daisy (pictured) had normal skin before she had a withdrawal reaction to creams she used to treat mild eczema

Daisy (pictured) had normal skin before she had a withdrawal reaction to creams she used to treat mild eczema

The 26-year-old suffered from terribly red and painful skin, which made people think she had been sunburned

The 26-year-old suffered from terribly red and painful skin, which made people think she had been sunburned

The 26-year-old suffered from terribly red and painful skin, which made people think she had been sunburned

She is now sharing her story to support others going through the same.

Daisy said, ‘At the beginning of topical steroid withdrawal, I couldn’t even look in the mirror.

“I had to cover them all with blankets because I felt like I had lost the person looking at me, and I hated what was looking back.

“I couldn’t get out of the house, I barely moved because I was in so much pain, and I think I blacked out from trauma in the beginning.

“I experienced a burning, weeping, flaking, peeling, peeling, flare, swelling, redness, wrinkles, thin skin.

“I also suffered from pus-filled bumps, cracks, itching, nodules, pain, insomnia, hair loss, chills, fatigue, depression and brain fog.

“It was so painful, imagine feeling like you’re covered in little paper cuts, like your body is always moist.

“Like your clothes are clinging to you and feeling like you’ll never feel comfortable or have a chat, let alone get out of the house again.”

“I felt very isolated and overwhelmed.”

Daisy suffered from flaking and flaking skin, as well as red bumps and swelling, all of which were very painful

Daisy suffered from flaking and flaking skin, as well as red bumps and swelling, all of which were very painful

Daisy suffered from flaking and flaking skin, as well as red bumps and swelling, all of which were very painful

Withdrawing from the steroid creams meant that Daisy's skin erupted, leaving her with flaky skin, lesions, cracks and weeping sores.

Withdrawing from the steroid creams meant that Daisy's skin erupted, leaving her with flaky skin, lesions, cracks and weeping sores.

Withdrawing from the steroid creams meant that Daisy’s skin erupted, leaving her with flaky skin, lesions, cracks and weeping sores.

Her skin was incredibly sore and sore, making her feel like she was covered in tiny paper cuts

Her skin was incredibly sore and sore, making her feel like she was covered in tiny paper cuts

Her skin was incredibly sore and sore, making her feel like she was covered in tiny paper cuts

It wasn't just her face that was affected by the steroid withdrawal, but most of her body including her neck, arms and feet

It wasn't just her face that was affected by the steroid withdrawal, but most of her body including her neck, arms and feet

It wasn’t just her face that was affected by the steroid withdrawal, but most of her body including her neck, arms and feet

Daisy’s skin problem dates back to childhood, when she remembers that her eczema was treated with medical creams.

She said: ‘Some of my earliest memories are of my mother covering me in steroid creams, balms and ointments – wrapping me in cling film before bed and generally just being smeared in creams.

“I wouldn’t go anywhere without my eczema creams – they were in all my mom’s bags and even kept at school.”

“I remember once having a lesson from the doctor on how to apply my creams when I was very, very young.

And soon caution turned to chaos. As a teenager I remember a doctor telling me “a little bit of Betnovate won’t hurt your face” which is a very strong steroid.

“I also remember that a doctor told me to use Hydrocortisone in moderation and then prescribed me up to 10 tubes.”

Most commonly, steroid creams are used to treat skin inflammation caused by conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.

In Daisy’s case, her skin would calm down for a while, then flare up again.

The use continued into her 20s and whenever her skin flared up, she was given increasingly stronger steroid creams and oral steroids.

However, it wasn’t long before Daisy decided that the drugs weren’t for her, and that it made her situation even worse.

With her peeling skin from the TSW, Daisy felt unable to look at herself in a mirror.  She also didn't leave the house for a while

With her peeling skin from the TSW, Daisy felt unable to look at herself in a mirror.  She also didn't leave the house for a while

With her peeling skin from the TSW, Daisy felt unable to look at herself in a mirror. She also didn’t leave the house for a while

If she doesn't have eczema or is not on steroid withdrawal, Daisy is outgoing and sporty and enjoys different types of exercise

If she doesn't have eczema or is not on steroid withdrawal, Daisy is outgoing and sporty and enjoys different types of exercise

If she doesn’t have eczema or is not on steroid withdrawal, Daisy is outgoing and sporty and enjoys different types of exercise

Sometimes Daisy's eczema is mild and relatively manageable, despite covering much of her body - pictured in the photo above

Sometimes Daisy's eczema is mild and relatively manageable, despite covering much of her body - pictured in the photo above

Sometimes Daisy’s eczema is mild and relatively manageable, despite covering much of her body – pictured in the photo above

In her worst days, Daisy's face was bright red and blotchy, and her lips and skin were usually dry and cracked.

In her worst days, Daisy's face was bright red and blotchy, and her lips and skin were usually dry and cracked.

In her worst days, Daisy’s face was bright red and blotchy, and her lips and skin were usually dry and cracked.

She added: ‘I had to stop taking them simply because they weren’t working. My skin was getting redder and more inflamed all over my face.

“They started offering me new drugs and I started to worry about what would happen if I kept taking them.”

Daisy decided to phase out her use of the medication in March 2021 and stopped using it for good in June 2021.

But then she experienced the horrific symptoms of topical steroid withdrawal (TSW) where her skin peeled and flaked, turned red and caused her tremendous pain.

She also received unwanted comments from people and was unable to look in the mirror.

Daisy, now a skin influencer and social media coordinator, said: “People often asked me what was going on if I was sunburnt or if it was contagious.

“So I eventually stopped leaving my flat and started isolating myself. People just stared at me.’

But Daisy then realized that she was not alone in her suffering.

And after meeting other people online through topical steroid withdrawal (TSW) support groups, she began sharing her journey on Instagram.

The redness was caused by stopping the use of steroid creams, which she had relied on for years to soothe her eczema

The redness was caused by stopping the use of steroid creams, which she had relied on for years to soothe her eczema

The redness was caused by stopping the use of steroid creams, which she had relied on for years to soothe her eczema

If she doesn't suffer from eczema or steroid withdrawal symptoms, Daisy can live a normal life

If she doesn't suffer from eczema or steroid withdrawal symptoms, Daisy can live a normal life

If she doesn’t suffer from eczema or steroid withdrawal symptoms, Daisy can live a normal life

Topical steroid withdrawal (TSW) can make people with red and burning skin much worse than their original condition caused by the eczema

Topical steroid withdrawal (TSW) can make people with red and burning skin much worse than their original condition caused by the eczema

Topical steroid withdrawal (TSW) can make people with red and burning skin much worse than their original condition caused by the eczema

What is TSW?

Topical steroid withdrawal (TSW) is a potentially debilitating condition that can arise from using topical steroids to treat a skin problem, such as eczema.

A recent government review concluded that topical corticosteroid drugs when used correctly are safe and effective treatments for skin conditions.

However, with very frequent or prolonged use, withdrawal symptoms (TSW) may occur upon discontinuation.

This can lead to redness and burning of the skin that is worse than the original condition.

She said: ‘At the beginning of TSW I felt lost, lonely, vulnerable and found it almost impossible to share my true emotions without getting upset.

‘I found sleepless nights difficult and decided to write down some of my thoughts, which usually ended up in the form of a poem, something I’ve never done before.

“But now I think I’m finally ready to share my thoughts and how small TSW really made me feel in the beginning and hopefully inspire others who feel the same way.”

She added that her main advice to offers who suffer is “it’s okay not to be okay.”

She added: ‘Being vulnerable doesn’t make you weak, talking about your problems doesn’t make you powerless, quite the contrary.

“Your experiences give you the power to help others and connect with people you might not otherwise have.”

Daisy’s skin is now improving and she is on the road to recovery, her body has adapted to not using steroids.

She now takes salt and oat baths and uses ice packs and compression gloves to help with flare-ups.

Daisy said: ‘I remain positive for what the future may hold and hope that my journey and recovery can help others feel less alone in their own skin.’

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