Maartje’s T.S.W. Journey

We all may be walking beside each other, but our stories are never the same.

Name: Maartje Francisco

Age: 40

Work: I’m independent working in my salon at home.

Date of Withdrawal:


What type(s) of steroids did you use? 

Bethamethasone and dermovate and a form of Vaseline.

Are you on any other medication?


Do you have a supportive doctor?


What is/was your favorite comfort product?

Dermaviduals and Joomo

What is the hardest thing you’ve had to endure during your withdrawal?

Not being able to take care of my daughters for example in the morning or bring them to school.

What is one thing you are grateful for during the withdrawal process?

Discovering Dermaviduals and growing my business because of TSW. And learning SO much more about skin.

How did you discover you had TSW?

I was googling for the Dutch word for topical steroid addiction, because it felt like I became addicted to the TS that I was using on my hands when it would be very itchy. It wasn’t until I googled in English that I discovered the ITSAN animated movie on YouTube and after that the ITSAN website.

What were the first tell tale symptoms you experienced?

Burning skin on my arms and hands.

What is one memory during the withdrawal that you will never forget?

Some itching attacks, like one in the car driving home from Paris, and I couldn’t just sit still, everything was itchy, so pants down pants up. And because I couldn’t get out of the car it became claustrophobic. And it felt like I had to throw up so we had to stop at one time.

How is your TSW journey going?

I feel like I’m in control now. I know some of my triggers. I try to stay balanced with skin, mind and gut as much as possible. And I don’t experience real flares anymore, with the burning red skin and then dryness. I think I did experience still some flares after 4 years of TSW, but I also feel like the worst days and longest flares were over after 2.5 years.

If you had a call to action for the medical community, what would it be?

Research what TSW is, help the right way, acknowledge that it’s real and try to help patients that WANT to go through TSW.

What was a pastime you used to help during TSW?

I think Dead Sea salt baths.

What is something you wish to share with the community?

Keep on going, try to look at every aspect in your life and tweak that first. Stay positive.

What is a quote you live by?

I don’t!

What resources help during TSW?

Facebook. I started the Dutch support group so that has always shown me that I wasn’t alone.

What is your instagram handle?


Thank you, Maartje.

We love you. We see you. We are you.

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