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Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Don't use cortisone cream - Recovery month 5.5

Five and a half months into the recovery and things are going from good to better every day. I haven't had any flare ups, or bad days, just a steady improvement. There are a few patches that go through stages of redness and itchiness, this lasts about 1 month but doesn't affect me physically at all.

In the last 2 months I have been partying, drinking, and generally having a great time and the body has been lapping it up. I'm really happy with the progress U;m making and it looks like the recovery only has another 6 or so months before I'm back to normal.

Pleasingly it has been a very long time since anyone asked if I was sunburnt, or mentioned how red I was. I use to get rejected from bars a lot after security thought I was drunk from my redness, now that never happens.

Another really interesting thing I noticed was my balls (sorry if that makes anyone uncomfortable). For the last 4 or 5 years they have been bright red, itchy and occasionally had small white zit like pustules on them (sounds worse than it was). I never put cortisone on them, but they still reacted this way. Since quitting cortisone my nuts were the first thing to heal, now a dark brown skin colour, no marks, not itchy and 100% back to normal.

So on that bombshell (sorry), I'm signing off. Thanks for the support, particularly to you John Boy for your regular e-mailing.

See you all soon.


  1. Your post made me chuckle! It's interesting to see red skin syndrome from a mans point of view. Your frank comments give a realistic view of what to expect from this hell. Sounds awful! Glad you are out there enjoying life. Your positive attitude is helping your healing, I am sure.

    I wish I could be more like you. When I flare, I hide away from the world. It's just my way of coping.

  2. HI Josh. Ive been following your blog for a while now - its one of the best red skin blogs (along with LouiseUK who posted above). So upbeat and funny. Burgers and booze indeed! I hope my own recovery goes as well as yours. Stay well. Elaine

  3. Hey Josh, I've been following your blog closely, as I am only a little behind yourself and Ty. Today marks day 112 for me. I used a potent steroid on my face every day for 10-12 years. I jusy got through what I hope is the worst. Your upbeat attitude is infectious and much appreciated when I'm feeling down. It's nice to know we are not alone. Here's to a speedy recovery.
    Cory Z. Canada

  4. Hey Louise, Elaine and Cory,

    Thanks so much for writing on the blog. These comments give me such a boost to keep writing, it really makes me smile.

    You will be pleased to know the video's are no act, that's just me. I spend my work day trying to make the office laugh, just being myself and not taking life all that seriously and I recommend the same medicine to you all.

    It's really interesting to see my recovery against your, and others. I'm absolutely positive that if you just treat your body well, it will heal itself and get better. On top of that, the lesson we learn is that we should look after our body like its the only car you will ever drive.

    Personally I'm now focusing much more on relaxing, eating better and exercising appropriately. I know it's simple advice, but it's something we rarely observe. I've cut a lot of sugar from my diet, and am limiting carbs as well by eating more leafy vegetables. It has nothing to do with Red Skin Recovery, but rather making sure I do everything to keep the machine clean!

    Hope all the best for you all, thanks again for the messages, please keep posting and sharing.

    1. I also have drastically changed my diet. I have always been a healthy eater, but I strongly beleive that my scratching sores heal faster, and my ability to cope on so little sleep has a lot to do with a better diet and exercise. I'm glad to keep in touch if it motivates you to keep up with your posts. They mean a lot to me. Cheers.

    2. Please do Cory, it's such a great feeling knowing that we are all going through it together and even more do that my time and effort is helping others... it puts an enormous smile on my face.

      I've said it a few times on here, but diet, prime rose oil and code liver oil tablets have been brilliant, as well as taking time to relax and get good sleep. Since doing all of those my recovery has sped up a lot.

      One other topic that is a little hard to discuss, but my guts have healed right up and I now have unbelievably large and consistent number 2's, which makes you feel great, but is also a key indicator of recovering.

  5. Hi Josh,

    Have been enjoying your blog, it's been bringing some great inspiration to keep going on the steroid withdrawal. I am now on my 5th week and still finding it tough. I have had some improvements skin wise but one of my main issues has been with the swelling in my legs and feet which have grown huge like 2 big tree trunks. I stand all day at work and they have been giving me grief all day. My legs are also weeping and itchy. I do my best to elevate them at the end of the day and have been drinking water and taking supplements but nothing seems to help at the moment. Was this a big problem for you and how long did it take for your swelling to go down?

    Keep up the great work your looking great!

    Geoff, NZ

    1. Hey Geoff,

      Glad to hear from a fellow Kiwi. I grew up in the North Island splitting my time between Auckland and Omaha Beach. Back then we were one of only a handful of people at Omaha and I spent all my time in the water or running a muck on the beach. Now with the recovery softening my skin I can finally do that again when I return latter this year.

      You are going through a really tough part of the recovery, the symptoms are the absolute worst between months 1 - 3 and like you I had the swollen leg problem. I blogged about this on day #59 of recovery which you can read here:

      The trick for me was to get my legs rubbed once or twice a day, pushing the fluid back up and out towards the heart. If you have someone at home that will do it for free, then jump on YouTube and teach them to do it well, you will notice a big change in a short period of time.

      The swelling took about 1 month for me to start massaging (until I realised it wasn't going to fix itself) and then another month with massage to fully go away, but I was working on my feet at the time, so if you are resting it should be quicker.

      Make sure you are taking prime rose oil and code liver oil tablets, they are the best for the whole recovery process!!

      Let me know how you get on.


  6. Hey Josh,

    I'm pretty sure I have red skin syndrome. My neck is always red and burns if I don't put steroids on, and the same with my forehead. The initial eczema rash was tiny, but now it appears all over my body and the current steroid strength isn't enough to suppress it. Fortunately, I've only been using steroids continuously for a few months, maybe a year at most if I count intermittent usage. I'm pretty scared.

    Your positivity and attitude are really impressive. Reading other blogs, the bloggers seem to be so negative and say that they are going through hell. I'm sure it is pretty hellish, but that doesn't give people like me much hope. You, on the other hand, accept the harsh reality, but always talk about the positives on your videos which I appreciate.

    I'm really scared, as, like you, I love to be around people, to keep busy and to enjoy life. My skin has been a huge issue over the past few months, and I dread to think what's going to happen in the next few months. Seeing you come out on the other side after only 6 months (granted, it's not a complete recovery, but you're very happy - which is all that matters!) is giving me lots of hope.

    Thank you for doing this blog, good luck with the final few hurdles!

    JP, UK

    1. Hi JP - sorry, but it is indeed hell. However, that's mostly if you have been using for a long time. It depends on length of time used and strength of steroid. Josh certainly is a breath of fresh air - the other blogs are pretty disheartening, I agree. Sounds like you have only been a user for a short period of time. You could be free after 3-6 months! Have you read Dr Raps paper? Its on the ITSAN website. It gives rough recovery times.
      Sorry to use your blog to communicate with others, Josh. I was actually looking for your latest optimistic bulletin! How's it going? Elaine

    2. @Elaine please feel free to communicate through my blog, I love seeing other people also sharing advise and being positive, it adds credibility to my thoughts!

      I'm promoting you to my #1 favourite already ;)

      @JP - Sounds to me like you are suffering from the same thing as me. It can happen to people who have used cortisone for as little as two weeks, but as Elaine mentioned the faster you get off it and go through the recovery, the sooner it will be something of the past.

      Even though you have only been a short time users, you will go through some pretty tough times, but believe me when I say it goes quickly. Rent lots of movies, crank the tunes and just get through it as best you can. I promise after 6 months of eating well, resting and moisturising you will see improvement and feel a million zillion times better.

      Keep me posted with how you get on.


  7. Hi Josh,

    Firstly I'd like to say thankyou for taking the time to make this great blog it's really helpful to me and you are an inspiration. You have come a long way and its good to see you happy.

    I was wondering, how potent were the steroids you used and where did you use them and how often? You seem to be recovering pretty quick and I am wondering if I have a chance of recovering so well so quickly.

  8. Hi Conner,

    I was using 0.1% steroid cream and 4 x 5mg tablets (when I took them).

    In the first 5 years I used only a little cream, but near the end of the 10 year period I was using a lot, even 2 - 3 tubes per sitting (once a week after sport).

    It was tough getting off the creams, but now it has been 6 months and I'm feeling brilliant. I strongly recommend prime rose oil & cod liver oil.

    I've just run out of time to answer e-mails, blue please keep me posted of your recovery.