Twenty-three-year-old Alice Burleigh had been suffering from extreme eczema for years.
Her condition improved when she stopped her medication, noting that the medicine was actually worsening her disease.
Alice spent more than 8 years using steroids to get rid of eczema and lived in constant stress all those years, only to find out she can do better without the medication.
Last April, Alice noticed her medication had negative effects on her condition and that she was addicted to the steroids she was taking.
Alice, who’s a Ph.D. student herself, decided that the only way she could tackle the situation was going cold turkey – so she quit taking any medication.
It was hard but she realized this was the only option for her.
Alice spent a challenging half-year, faced the withdrawal symptoms after leaving the medication but in the end, she had clean skin.
Alice, who lives in Market Harborough, Leicester, said: “After being diagnosed at 13, my eczema got worse and worse – I noticed stress was a massive trigger.
“I was first prescribed steroids whilst at school to control the flare-ups and over the years, they got stronger.
“During my final year of university last year, I was under a lot of pressure and stress – my whole body being plagued with eczema.
“I hashtagged ‘eczema’ and found hundreds of accounts that had symptoms the exact same as mine and mentioned topical steroid withdrawal.
“I had never heard of it before but it seemed the only way to stop my skin from being red was to completely stop taking steroids.
“I didn’t ween myself off them, I just stopped taking them in April. As the weeks passed, my skin got worse – I also lost a stone in one month because I felt so ill and lost my appetite.
“It was frustrating because when you are ill, you just want to lie down in bed but when I was in bed, the sheets would irritate my skin.
“Most of the time I was happiest standing up without clothes on in the middle of my room.
“My skin got worse before it got better, I had to quit my job as a research scientist and move back into my parents’ home.
“Eczema was controlling my life and began to take its toll on my mental health.
“I had to sleep with mittens taped onto my hands to stop the itching and in the morning, I would use a dustpan and brush the skin away.”
The ‘turning point’ in Alice’s life was when she found out that she could even skip using moisturizer as her skin had started to get in better shape and regenerated fast.
She found out the foods which triggered her condition and started avoiding gluten, dairy and citrus fruits.
She said: “My diet is very restricted, but it has massively helped my skin, it is basic but worth it. I still suffer with flare-ups and my skin may not be perfect, but it is perfect to me.
“The most frustrating part about this ordeal is doctors are the one who prescribed me with steroids that led to worse skin than ever before.
“I visited them a number of times and even dermatologists weren’t willing to take on a case like mine. I learned about everything on Instagram and gained support from other girls going through the same thing.
“It was nice to know that I am not the only one and I have since made friends through TSW so at least there is one positive.”
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