the outer shell

5 QUESTIONS WITH: Keisha Gregson

I'm so excited to be able to share another 5 QUESTIONS WITH you all as I was getting major withdrawals ... but the best kind! This time I'm talking to the fabulous Keisha Gregson who runs an Instagram account (here) that you need to check out immediately. When I first joined Instagram nearly two years ago, Keisha was one of the first people to welcome me into the TSW Instagram community and ever since then, I've loved following her account, which offers so much hope to anyone going through TSW, along with some rather fabulous pictures which will leave you with an unhealthy amount of food-induced envy. Without further ado, I'll hand it over to Keisha:

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself and your skin journey.
Hi! I’m Keisha (pronounced Kay-sha). I’m 27 years old, I live in London and I work in TV.

I developed eczema at the age of 14. It began in the usual places; on my wrists and inner elbows. It wouldn’t go away on its own, so I went to the doctors and was prescribed steroid cream. For 11 years I used the cream and slowly, my eczema began to spread to additional places on my body and face. Each time I went to the doctors I was prescribed a stronger steroid and at the age of 25 I had aggressive eczema covering my whole torso. This was met with more prescriptions from doctors and dermatologists, including steroid creams on my face, scalp and steroid eye drops.

2) How did you find out about TSW?
After numerous doctor's appointments and prescriptions of increasingly strong steroid creams, steroid eye drops and steroid tablets, something just clicked that I couldn’t carry on using this insane amount of medication forever. I was desperate without my creams. It was a horrible feeling to be so dependent on them and I wanted to get off them. My housemate had bought a juicer and she was looking at recipes by Jason Vale. I noticed he had a ‘Clear Skin Programme’ where he had cured his psoriasis through diet and juicing. In the plan, there was a whole section about how dangerous steroid creams can be.

I then googled something along the lines of ‘eczema getting worse whilst using steroid cream’ and ITSAN came up. I searched on Instagram for the hashtag ‘Topical Steroid Withdrawal’ and spent about two days reading everything related to it. I remember watching Laura Stageman’s video and emailing it to my parents with the subject ‘this is what I’m going through, I know it’, they fully agreed and I decided to stop using all steroids.  

What I experienced after stopping steroid creams was worse than I could have imagined.  I was in an incredible amount of pain; my skin would ooze and consistently flake, my hair fell out in clumps and I couldn’t lie down without sheets sticking to my skin and it feeling like my skin was burning.

3) When did you decide to try and heal yourself naturally with food?
Straight away, it just made sense to me, especially after reading about Jason Vale’s experience. My friends, seeing what an awful time I was going through, gave me a sum of money and advised me to spend it on anything I thought would help. That allowed me to find my Naturopath who was lovely and so inspiring. She helped me with supplements and diet advice and also acted as a therapist most of the time!
My diet consisted of: gluten free, dairy free, egg free, soya free, no alcohol or sugar and no nightshade vegetables. I would never eat grains and protein in the same meal and I would alternate different food groups on different days. For example, I would have meat and vegetables on day one, then a vegetarian day, then a carbohydrate day followed by another veggie day. I also drank, on average, a litre of freshly made juice a day. This would consist of vegetables such as celery, cucumber and spinach and the most fruit I would add would be half an apple. I was incredibly lucky that I was able to work from home for much of my withdrawal, which meant that I could really take time preparing food.

Nowadays I can eat everything! I try to keep it as healthy as possible and I limit my dairy intake as I find my skin can get a bit itchy if I’ve gone overboard on the cheese! But overall, everything is back to normal.

4) Sum up TSW in five words.
An incredibly difficult, humbling and life-changing experience (I know that’s more than 5!).

5) What positives, if any, have you found from going through TSW?
I can’t deny that TSW was an extremely difficult experience but I have also found SO many positives. I’ve learnt so much about skin and nutrition and it’s made me conscious of everything that I put on my skin. I appreciate my health a lot more and I have a lot more self-love for myself; what my body has done and what it’s overcome is amazing and I don’t know how to thank it enough!

As well as learning more about myself I’ve also learnt a lot about other people. Yes, people used to stare at me on the Tube and avoid talking to me and yes, my doctor denied that topical steroid withdrawal was even a thing. But also people are kind. My best friend listened to my every thought for hours and would stroke my hair as I bawled my eyes out. My boyfriend offered me so much kindness, made me laugh and took such good care of me even when I was experiencing some extreme self-hating moments. My family never once denied that I was going through TSW and when I had to move back in with my parents they welcomed me with open arms. All my friends and colleagues were incredibly supportive and every instagrammer that offered kind words made the experience just that bit easier.

As a whole, I’ve learnt that you can’t predict the future. I never thought I would go through something like TSW but it’s taught me that no matter what happens in my future I’m so much stronger than I often give myself credit for and that, for me, is a very positive life lesson!

Her fabulous Instagram account can be found (here).

Thank you so much for sharing your story with me Keisha <3

Links to previous 5 QUESTIONS WITH:
Henni @rawsomesoul (here)
Alice @healthy_healer (here)
Maleeha @TSWHealed (here)
Nina Sloan (here)
Nick @Eczemacism (here)
Stephanie & Isaiah Quinn (here)
Nina @Nina from Eczema & Topical Steroid Withdrawal for WOMEN-Healing Through Positivity (here)
Stephanie @TheItchyConundrum (here)
Josh @Redskinrecoverydiary (here)
Briana @PREVENTABLE (here)
Melanie Lynch (here)
Mattiel Brown (here)
Stephanie Miller (here)
Holly Dillon @GetYourSkinOut (here)
Me (here)

Sending you all love and healing,
Cara xxxx


This is just a quick post to let you know that my book MY DATE WITH A RAZOR is available as an eBook and paperback worldwide on Amazon NOW! Here is a little blurb about the book:

'My name is Cara, I'm twenty-nine years old and I have a secret.' 

A frank account of one woman's battle to overcome Trichotillomania and Dermatillomania with surprising results. A seven week journey to transformation, both in body and mind, with a dose of humour and honesty along the way. Not to be missed.

As well as the diary, I have included my tops tips and advice for Trichotillomania and Dermatillomania along with a six month update of how I am getting on now.

I am very proud of it and of course I really hope if you are suffering from Trichotillomania and/or Dermatillomania that it helps you but my main goal with the book is to show that you are not alone and that everyone is going through something, whether it is mentally or physically, and you are doing the best you can.

And here is the paperback version, naturally chilling with some peonies ... I'm a blogger, what can I say :)

The book trailer for MY DATE WITH A RAZOR:

UK Links to buy my book
eBook (here)
Paperback (here)

US Links to buy my book
eBook (here)
Paperback (here)


Much love to all of you and thank you so much for your support - it truly means a lot <3
Cara xxxx
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