By Alyce Collins
THIS WOMAN has suffered with eczema since childhood but years of using steroid creams has made her allergic to EVERYTHING with even her own clothes making her feel like she is on fire – but now she’s ditched the meds in favour of a natural approach and claims SHOWERING ONCE A WEEK for just ONE MINUTE has helped.
Assistant manager, Neyina Arrieta (28) from Colorado Springs, USA, has had eczema since she was only two years old and she frequently treated it with steroid creams to manage her painful eczema which covered most of her body, including hands, face, arms and legs.
Neyina often wore socks on her hands to prevent herself from scratching and people asked whether she was contagious. The change of seasons would cause Neyina’s eczema to flare before it was controlled by creams. However, as she got older, the flares became more frequent and harder to maintain.
By March 2017, her entire body flared up which forced Neyina to try taking Benadryl for eight months to manage her symptoms because she was reacting to everything around her, including foods she’d eaten all her life, animals and plants. Wearing clothes made Neyina feel as though her skin was on fire so she decided to get rid of her entire wardrobe and instead wear cotton polo shirts which irritated her skin less.
In 2018, Neyina had an allergy test to work out what she was reacting to, but her results showed she was allergic to almost everything, including cats, dogs, most outdoor trees, grass, dairy, yeast, gluten, latex, avocado, penicillin, mushrooms and soy.
Going outside left Neyina in hives with no understanding how to improve her condition. She started following eczema support groups on Facebook and had someone tell her that her symptoms resembled topical steroid withdrawal (TSW). Neyina denied it initially but once she started researching it herself, she felt relieved that she wasn’t exaggerating her problems and she investigated natural methods of healing TSW.
Now, Neyina doesn’t use any moisturiser as she is allowing her skin to create its own oils after being dried out from steroids. Neyina only takes one shower a week for a minute each time, she meditates daily, eats a mostly vegan diet and doesn’t have anything artificial.
“I was diagnosed with atopic dermatitis at two years old and I remember wearing socks on my hands at a young age,” said Neyina.
“People would ask me if I was contagious, which damaged my self-esteem. The eczema was everywhere except my feet. The most frequent areas were my arms, hands, palms, fingers, the creases of my legs, my face and neck.
“Each dermatologist would prescribe me different steroid creams, and the ones I remember are Clobetason, Triamcinolone and Hydrocortisone. These helped, but I still had the occasional full body flares which usually happened when the seasons changed. I would wake up with swollen eyes and a rash all over my body.
“I was using the creams to help with my skin, but the flares started to become worse and more frequent by 2014. I tried to deal with it but by March 2017, my entire body was flaring, and I had to take Benadryl for eight months to cope.
“I was reacting to everything and I thought it was just my eczema being out of control. I hated waking up and I didn’t have a life. I ended up getting rid of all my clothes and getting different coloured versions of the same polo shirt because any other material made my skin feel like it was on fire.
“In 2018 I had three allergy tests done and I tested positive to everything I ate daily, everything indoors and outdoors. I was suddenly allergic to avocado, broccoli, cats, dogs, most trees, most grasses, peanuts, milk, eggs, barley, yeast, wheat, latex, mangos, coconut, rye, gluten, mushrooms, dust mites, penicillin, sheep, chickpea, sesame, malt, tomato, spinach and soy. I would get hives from just being outside.
“There was no spark in living. I couldn’t eat, couldn’t be a mother, couldn’t enjoy even healthy things. Washing my hair, taking a shower, eating, sleeping, walking outside, all made my body react. My gums would swell after foods I’d always eaten.
“I ended up eating rice and oatmeal, and by the advice of my allergist, I added fish back to my diet since I couldn’t eat anything else. I went to a dermatologist who looked at my entire body red, angry, swollen and he just told me it was my body’s way of getting older.”
Neyina stopped using all steroid creams in May 2019 and has already begun to see her skin make improvements naturally as her skin becomes less dependent on the creams and breakages becoming less frequent.
Neyina decided to share her experience on Instagram and document her TSW recovery and discourage others from using steroid creams due to the harmful effects they can have on the body.
“I started following some Facebook pages for eczema support and had others reach out and tell me that my symptoms resembled TSW. I didn’t want to believe them, but I kept getting signs pointing me in that direction,” said Neyina.
“I finally researched TSW and it all made sense and I felt relieved because I finally had an answer.
“I went cold turkey from all medications in May 2019 and all hell broke loose. One night my arms felt like they were literally on fire and I had nerve pains shooting up my neck and I the worst bone itch that I could never satisfy.
“I would wake up with loads of dead skin all over the bed and in piles on the floor. My fiancé had to help dress me as everything hurt, my clothes would stick to my body.
“Then I discovered a popular method for treating TSW called the no moisturising treatment which I began, and it took me out of the worst flare I’ve ever had. It brought me relief, little by little.
“At this point I decided to start an Instagram page because I wanted to share my story and use this to advocate against steroids and to spread love to other sufferers.
“I was finally able to be mobile again, I could work out and meditate. I was having huge break throughs and could eat food that made my gums swell up before.
“I’m limited to one shower a week for one minute; I exercise daily to rid my body of toxins and meditate daily. I have a mostly vegan diet with the occasional salmon. I don’t eat anything artificial.
“My skin is learning to produce oil and healthy skin on its own without depending on the creams. It’s getting stronger and doesn’t break as easily. I want others not to use steroid creams.
“There are other ways to treat eczema naturally, so be kind and love yourself during this process. The road to recovery is a very scary and painful one, but your body has not betrayed you, it’s fighting for you to be healthy again. You will heal in time.”
To see more, visit www.instagram.com/tsw_butterfly