21 Days at the Dead Sea was enough time to cure any scepticism I had about the treatment or it’s effectiveness. My experience at the Dead Sea has not only helped my skin but had long lasting effects on my attitude towards Vitiligo. I’ll try to get as much into this post as I can, but if you have any specific questions please ask in the comments below.
I should mention from the outset that Prof. Schallreuter’s treatment isn’t just about the Dead Sea, for optimum results you must continue with the PC-KUS and UVB lamp(Panel or Handheld) when you return from the Jordan. I’m currently only treating my face with the handheld, I travel so much in my job that I couldn’t make use of the full panel at this time.
Right from the start, everyone wants to know if it worked…
Well, about 14 days into the Jordan trip, my eyes started to repigment. I initially got hyper-pigmentation(darker than normal) around the edges and since I’ve been home from Jordan for three weeks now, it’s continuing to repigment inwards very well. I’m told the hyper-pigmentation will return to normal skin colour as I continue the treatment. Nowhere else on my body(hands, wrists,knees, etc. ) did I see any improvement but as I said, I’m not actively treating those parts now.
The hotel consists of a Medical Center where you will meet Prof. Schallreuter a few times to review your treatment and progression. There is also a decent gym, swimming pools(swimming outside of the Dead Sea water is not recommend due to chlorine), a sports bar and a large restaurant. Breakfast and Dinner buffets are included in the package and there are healthy options(gluten-free upon request) but I found the food very average. We often ate dinner at surrounding hotels because the quality was much better.
The daily treatment routine consists of a morning session at 8am and afternoon session at 4pm. Each sessions has a 15 minute swim in the Dead Sea or one of the the Dead Sea pools(Indoor and outdoor), shower, then apply the PC-KUS before then sunbathing(naked!) in a specifically allocated bed in the open solarium. Men and Women are separate. The amount of time you sunbath is built up starting from 5 minutes to a maximum of 15 minutes and then switching sides of your body and different positions to make sure the UVB rays get to all affected areas. You will only spend a maximum of 1 hour sunbathing in the solarium at each session.
About 120 people attended this year and there is a fantastic social circle out there and I’ve remained in contact with a lot since I’ve come back. There is no judgement with regards to the skin and everyone is very comfortable around each other. No matter how mild or severe the Vitiligo, everyone has had the same experience of the psychological stress of having the condition. It is a very welcoming environment and Prof Schallreuter even makes some effort to provide social events to help integrate the group. Whilst I was there, I played football almost daily, there was a Disco, an Arabic night, I stayed the night in the Wadi Rum desert and visited Petra.
I also had the pleasure of meeting and spending a considerable amount of time with Lee Thomas whilst doing the treatment. Considering Lee had lost of all of his pigment, it was amazing to see how much he regained – He believes that now around 80% is back. Lee is inspiring and is likely the most influential person in Vitiligo awareness. My very good friend Gurinder interviewed Lee whilst in Jordan for his own personal blog, you can watch the interview here:
In terms of the success for other patients out there, it was mixed. The majority had very good repigmentation and others had little or none but it was clear that all those that were successful followed the Professors treatment plan to the letter. The Pseudocatalase cream is very important to bring the oxidation of the skin down. I heard from those who had tried Climatherapy/UVB with and without the cream and they only started repigmenting with PC-KUS use. One patient even mentioned that it took 8 months for her to see any new pigment but she is now 95% repigmented. Many that go to Jordan have been previously, some go yearly, others bi-yearly and others have only needed to return after 10 years.
I feel the trip is worth it, there is no doubt it’s expensive but it does work and it may give your skin that necessary boost that combined with the UVB lamp will kick in the repigmentation. It’s not a quick fix, be prepared that it can take years to bring much of your body back to it’s normal colour and even then, parts may never repigment(commonly the hands, feet, etc). Also, should your Vitiligo become unstable again you could still lose that pigment you’ve regained. Apart from that, it’s not just about the the repigmentation process, meeting so many other people that cope with the same condition is a very powerful thing and does a lot for the psychological recovery process.
In conclusion, my opinion is that this is probably the most effective Vitiligo treatment available at the moment with the highest success rate but again, it’s only a treatment. My goal is still to fix the internal problem with my immune system, whatever that may be. Diet and supplementation came up a lot in discussions out there and I still believe there is a naturopathic, nutritional method to this so I will continue to investigate and blog whilst also doing my PC-KUS/UVB treatment.
Here are some of the pictures I took out there, I’m tempted to buy a pet camel now….. 😉
I’ve had a few comments asking about prices of the Dead Sea trip. It comes in two packages and you can either fly from Frankfurt which is included in the package or pay for the flight yourself if it makes more sense to do so. For me, it was cheaper fly directly to Jordan from London. Please be aware these prices are subject to change year on year, this was just for 2014.
Dead Sea price list including flight from Frankfurt:
Dead Sea price list without flight from Frankfurt: