To moisturise or NOT to moisturise
I notice many people are enthusiastic about moisturising - not only people with red skin syndrome but also ones with normal perfect skin.
Dr. Kenji Sato recommends moisturiser withdrawal(MW) or reduced use of moisturiser during TSW. I understand that for many people this idea is hard to accept. Most people think that moisturising is a good thing to do, and in fact many derms - well, pretty much all of them - encourage to keep moisturising your skin.
Dr. Sato recalls in his book "when I stopped applying moisturiser for children with eczema who were in the process of topical steroid withdrawal, they had a strong withdrawal reaction on the first week. This continued for the second week, but their skin appeared to start slightly drying and healing. On the third week their skin became obviously dry up which gave me a positive perspective. I was relieved. And their skin became strong so that scratching didn't leave scars any longer." From his experience, he seems to think that it is worth doing MW at one point of the TSW process.
In my case, I don't use moisturiser at all during the periods of flare-ups. I've been off moisturiser for 8 months and am fine without it. When I first read about TSW 4 years ago on a Japanese blog (it wasn't Dr. Sato's), the author recommended MW as well as TSW, so I followed his instruction.
During my TSW/PW/MW, my condition became the worst from worse. My skin felt so tight I couldn't move my head at all. But after a month or so, my skin became relatively soft and started healing. I was quite surprised how quickly you can get used to a non-moisturiser lifestyle. I don't know if MW has quickened the TSW process or not, but my skin did heal after 3 months.
I am into 8 month of the last TSW/PW. It's taking a lot longer to heal than usual, so I applied some moisturiser on my face for several days. Just for a change. I didn't like the feel of it to start with. Then, I noticed that because moisturiser softened my new layer of skin, scratching could easily ruined it. Usually during the withdrawal, my skin creates new layer of skin, which goes to dry scales and then peels off. And it creates new layer of skin again. As I repeat this process literally thousands times, redness on my skin reduced and one day I have normal skin. I felt that moisturing was messing up with this process. Moisturising delays my skin to dry up and stops scales to peel off, when they actually need to be dried up and peeled off.
I understand MW is controversial. I don't mean to encourage people to withdraw from moisturiser all at once like me. But if you are for any reason skeptical about moisturising, you may as well try MW. For me, even if it's not dramatically improving the condition, it is at least one less thing to worry about.