Woman with severe eczema claims doctors laugh at her

Eczema sufferer who was plagued with red hot rashes and hair loss and dropped 3st due to withdrawal from steroid creams reveals doctors LAUGH at her for blaming medication they prescribed

  • Elin Wade, from Swansea, Wales, has lived with eczema since she was a child
  • But, now 30, she was advised by doctors to treat it with topical steroid creams
  • The teacher claims that after stopping treatment she suffered with withdrawal
  • She said she developed hot skin rashes, lost clumps of her hair and three stone

A woman who has been suffering from severe eczema after steroid withdrawal has claimed that doctors laugh at her when she blames the medication they prescribed.

Elin Wade, from Swansea, Wales, has lived with eczema – mainly limited to the folds of her arms – ever since she was a child.

The 30-year-old said the patches would only flare up for a few days and were easily manageable with soothing cream.

But, after Elin began her career as an English teacher five years ago, she became self-conscious of her eczema patches and was advised by doctors to treat them topical steroid creams.

She now claims that after stopping the treatment she suffered with withdrawal and, as a result, developed hot skin rashes, lost clumps of her hair and lost three stone – dropping to just 6st 5lb.


Elin Wade, from Swansea, Wales, claims that after she stopped treating her eczema with topical steroid creams she suffered with withdrawal including losing clumps of her and losing three stone. Pictured: Before (left) and after (right) 

Elin said: ‘I think I’ve always had eczema and I remember having it in the folds of my arms – but I only used Sudocrem on it and I never went to the doctor, because I always seemed to manage it.

‘When I started teaching at 25-years-old, I guess the stress triggered a bit of a flare up. I wasn’t really bothered until somebody at work pointed it out and I became self-conscious.

‘That’s the first time I remember using steroid creams and I was amazed, because it cleared it up immediately and I thought, “Wow, miracle cream”.’

However, after two years of successfully using steroid creams, her eczema started to spread to other parts of her body, such as her chest and face, and she went back to her doctor for advice. 

Elin (pictured before) began her career as an English teacher five years ago and became self-conscious of her eczema patches and was advised by doctors to treat with topical steroid creams


Elin said that, after two years of successfully using steroid creams, her eczema started to spread to other parts of her body (pictured) such as her chest and face

She continued: ‘First it spread to my arms, then my chest and it was strange because it had never done that before. Before long, it was on my face, which was horrific because I’ve always been very lucky with how clear my face is.

‘The more I went back to the doctor, the more they kept saying, “Oh yes, it’s just worsening eczema, here’s more cream” – not once was I offered advice about diets, stress etc, just more creams.

‘I started panicking that my skin was going to erupt on my wedding day, because I’d completely lost control over my body and was obsessing over what made it worse. 

‘I was barely eating anything because I was so scared something would trigger it – I just couldn’t figure it out.

Elin said that she started to panic that her skin was going to ‘erupt’ on her wedding day (pictured) which caused her to obsess over what made it worse

She now claims that after stopping the treatment she suffered with withdrawal and, as a result, developed hot skin rashes, lost clumps of her hair and lost three stone – dropping to just 6st 5lb (pictured after)

‘After the wedding, it erupted into the biggest flare-up I’d ever had and I was prescribed a higher potency cream – but it just got worse and worse.’

Elin said that she decided to take matters into her own hands and tried a range of diets and natural remedies but nothing seemed to work.

She eventually researched her symptoms and stumbled across topical steroid addiction (TSA).

‘I tried everything – every diet, natural remedy, but nothing worked and I was completely stumped.

Elin said that after her wedding (pictured) her eczema erupted into the biggest flare up she had ever had and was later prescribed a higher potency cream


Elin said that she decided to take matters into her own hands and tried a range of diets and natural remedies but nothing seemed to work (pictured after stopping using topical steroid creams)

‘During some obsessive research, I read the symptoms of topical steroid addiction and withdrawal and I remember feeling elated because finally, here it was. Although, I never imagined how horrific the journey would be,’ Erin said.  

As a result, in February 2019, she stopped using her steroid creams – but shortly afterwards she developed hot skin rashes which made her body feel like it was on fire, lost clumps of her hair and lost 3 stone – dropping to just 6st 5lb.

She continued: ‘I started the withdrawal immediately upon discovering this and my body went into complete meltdown. I had every single symptom that every sufferer reports – the skin rash that spreads everywhere, that’s red, hot, oozy and flaky, which cycles so quickly you can’t keep up.

‘Your whole body feels like it’s on fire and when it oozes, it’s metallic and super uncomfortable. You can’t regulate your temperature and I used to shake violently bundled up in huge duvets and at the very beginning, I couldn’t even get out of bed.

Erin (pictured after stopping using topical steroid creams) went to visit doctors once again but claimed that none of them believed her and instead suggested that she was just suffering with severe eczema


She eventually researched her symptoms and stumbled across topical steroid addiction (pictured after stopping using topical steroid creams)

‘I lost weight immediately and at one point, I was six-and-a-half stone, even though I was eating loads – but I think my body just used all the calories to heal.

‘Some of my hair fell out and I had crippling insomnia, where one night, I didn’t sleep a wink and I just got up and taught a whole day with no sleep at all. I still struggle with insomnia now – although I manage to sleep for two hours at a time at least.

What is topical steroid withdrawal?

Topical steroid withdrawal, also known as ‘Red Skin Syndrome’ appears to be a clinical adverse effect that can occur when topical corticosteroids are inappropriately used or overused, then stopped. 

It can result from prolonged, frequent, and inappropriate use of moderate to high potency topical corticosteroids, especially on the face and genital area, but is not limited to these criteria. 

Burning, stinging, and bright red skin are the typical features of topical steroid overuse and withdrawal. The signs and symptoms occur within days to weeks after TCS discontinuation.

In general, TCS withdrawal can be divided into two distinct subtypes: erythematoedematous and papulopustular. Clinical features differ between the two types, but there is some overlap of some signs and symptoms.

The majority of erythematoedematous type was found in patients with an underlying eczema-like skin condition like atopic or seborrheic dermatitis. 

Patients with this type of withdrawal experience swelling, redness, burning, and skin sensitivity usually within 1-2 weeks of stopping the steroid.

The papulopustular variant was more often associated with use of topical corticosteroids for cosmetic purposes or for an acne or acne-like disorder. 

It can be differentiated from the erythematoedematous type by the presence of papules (pimple-like bumps), nodules (deeper bumps), pustules, redness, and–less frequently– swelling, burning, and stinging.

Source: National Eczema Association

‘I had swollen lymph nodes everywhere, which led me to be tested for HIV, lymphoma and leukaemia and I even had to have an ultrasound on my lymph nodes because the doctors were concerned – but I knew it was just another symptom of topical steroid withdrawal.’

Erin went to visit doctors once again but claimed that none of them believed her and instead suggested that she was just suffering with severe eczema – which Elin said she knew was not the case.

‘No doctors have believed me and even one suggested that I had been swimming in lakes in Africa – which made no sense. 

‘I’ve literally had doctors and dermatologists laugh at me – it’s horrific. I can’t imagine having a doctor or a dermatologist believe me.’

Elin reached such a low that she decided to see a private dermatologist, who prescribed her immunosuppressants.

She said that they had helped a bit but added that as she needed a blood test every two weeks to check her liver whilst on them – she knew something was not right. 

‘I then asked for a new drug, which you inject into your stomach, but it didn’t work and I stopped after three doses because my whole body broke out in a huge rash.

‘I couldn’t believe I’d gone from a healthy 25-year-old, to someone who had to inject drugs every few weeks. I quit everything in March 2020,’ said Elin.

‘The process is relentless and I’ve been in a constant flare for two years – but it’s starting to cycle more noticeably now, which is good.

‘My skin is just dry all the time, because it doesn’t hold any moisture and appears so flaky. Each time I moisturise, it just goes red and I feel like I’m fighting a losing battle.

‘Aside from the physical symptoms, the mental ones are equally as bad and I’ve suffered with bouts of depression because of this; it ruins your whole life.

‘I feel completely defined by this condition and I don’t feel like me anymore. I’m so passionate about my job, but I don’t feel like I’ve been able to do it properly for so long.

‘I can’t look at myself in the mirror, because I don’t recognise myself and I’m worried I’ll have PTSD after this whole experience.’

She now believes that topical steroid creams should no longer be prescribed, unless doctors give clear warning about the side effects they cause, adding that topical steroid withdrawal is completely preventable but can ruin people’s lives.

Elin said: ‘I’ve been so lucky to have the support of my family, husband and my colleagues – they’ve been amazing and so understanding.

‘Everyone heals from this and I share my experience on Instagram because I’ve experienced every symptom, so I hope I can give others a sense of hope.

‘I don’t think doctors should continue to prescribe steroid creams so liberally, as I’ve always followed the advice given to me and I’ve ended up here.

‘I know I’ll get better, but I’ve lost two years of my life to something which was entirely preventable and not my fault.

‘Although doctors say it’s rare and just steroid phobia, thousands of people have the exact same symptoms – but everyone recovers and I believe we should stop using steroid creams.’

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