I feel like moisturizing is imperative for me. Last time, I went about TSW without moisturizer (as a few TSW-ers were touting the benefits) and it was absolute hell. The dryness & cracking was absolutely unlivable. This time, I don't care if moisturizing slows down my healing (as some people say it will). I want to be able to get through every day as comfortably as possible! I work two jobs and absolutely NEED to be able to look & feel the best that I possibly can everyday. I was not able to work or do anything last time when I wasn't moisturizing.
My moisturizer(s) of choice: after a warm shower (twice a day), I slather my entire body in coconut oil and then seal it in with Aquaphor (however, I do not use Aquaphor on my arms, which I'll explain). In the past, I tried many other moisturizers, but this seems to work best (and is the least irritating) for me. It's REALLY greasy, though, and I have to wait about 20 minutes until I'm able to put clothes on over top of it (the clothes still get very greasy though :( .)
Occasionally, I'll retouch my skin with either coconut oil or jojoba oil when I feel my skin getting dry throughout the day (particularly my face & neck). My arms are covered in bumps and moisturizing them actually seems to irritate them more, so I only use coconut oil on them twice a day (and definitely not Aquaphor). It usually helps to open up the skin pores with a little bit of warm water even if I'm just touching up a small area of skin.
One other "moisturizer" that I think is helping me: after my evening shower, I wrap my head in a towel and leave it on my head until I fall asleep. If possible, I try to keep the towel on my head all night as I sleep. My hair stays wet for most of the night. I feel like this extra wetness on my head helps me stay moisturized. (I could be way off base here, but I honestly feel like it helps with the dryness).
I also sleep right next to a humidifier. My hygrometer currently says that the humidity in the house is 16%! That's really low and really dry! A humidifier is absolutely necessary.
Help with the itch: I've been taking Atarax (aka Hydroxizine) 10mg multiple times throughout the day. It's drowsy effects only catch me off guard occasionally nowadays, but it generally isn't making me feel sleepy anymore. It doesn't take the itch away entirely, but it definitely takes the edge off (thank God)! I don't really like the fact that I'm dependent on this drug, but.... gotta do what it takes! I know that I absolutely cannot stand the itch if I don't take it. So, I'm taking it and not worrying about it!
Here's two photos from today:
The bumpies and pimply-looking/rough texture is mostly gone at the current moment. My chest is smooth-feeling but still flakey.
My hand looks... like a 90-year old woman's?