Ashlee’s fight with TSW.
Health Hub blog

Ashlee’s fight with TSW.

Topical steroid withdrawal is no joke, friends. A bone-deep itch, oozing skin, insomnia, flaking, wrapping her body in bandages — only a few of the awful symptoms poor Ashlee deals with. 

Before TSW took over her life, Ash loved spending time with friends and fam, hosting fun dinner parties, and was acing her job in event management. A self professed ‘social butterfly’, if you will.

Ash has had eczema since she was three and oh boy, her parents tried EVERYTHING to help.  Doctors, naturopaths, Chinese medicine — you name it, Ash has given it a red-hot-go. Nothing was off the table. 

After being prescribed topical steroid creams, her parents questioned the ‘miracle cream’ that would clear up her flares overnight. So, they threw them in the bin. Brownie points to you guys.

When Ash was 15, bullying at school increased, tenfold and she didn't want to go anymore. Kids didn't understand what eczema flare-ups were, so she went back on steroid creams for a loooong time. Anything to avoid a flare.

Last year, she came back from a lush overseas trip with her partner and realised her skin was flaring up in patches, and she wasn’t really producing oil anymore. Some research led her to learn about topical steroid withdrawal. 

After a tough convo with her partner, she decided to wean herself off them. It took two months for her to be able to go cold turkey in Sept 2023.

In came: a huge flare up. It was so painful, she hid away for two months. No one (besides her amazing partner) knew what was going on. 

I scratched myself raw constantly and was just in agony. I had to bandage myself up from neck down to my ankles and had to sleep in our spare room away from my partner for four weeks.” 

Basic things Ash couldn’t do anymore coz of TSW: 

  • Shower herself 
  • Wash her hair 
  • Walk her dog 
  • Drive her car
  • Bend her limbs 
  • Clean her house
  • Eat without worrying about triggering her skin

I lost my complete independence and was so sick. My body just felt like it was giving up on me.”

Going from being such an independent person to this, was agony. Then, the universe threw a cruel staph infection into the mix, which made everything 10x worse. 

This was when she discovered the TSW community on TikTok — Ashlee started sharing her story, and made so many incredible friends who supported her through this crazy journey.


She learnt all about ‘no moisture treatment’ (AKA: no moisturiser, at all) and pairing this with red light therapy. She consulted her healthcare team to see if that was best practice for her, and they’re supporting her through it and other treatments. It’s helped her finally start to heal and recover. 

“I am so grateful given such a horrible circumstance that I can help others. I used to be in pretty insecure about myself before going through this and if anything this has made me love and accept myself so much more.”

Her mission now? Keep healing, and spread awareness. 

Here are some of the ways Ash has gotten through it:

  • Patience is key. You can’t rush something like this.
  • Surround yourself with the right people.
  • Put yourself first. Focus on healing and what works best for your skin.
  • Reach out to people who are dealing with similar situations. Community is important.
  • Make sure to work with health professionals who are right for your journey.
  • Keep researching, always.
  • Love yourself.