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My Life During Topical Steroid Withdrawal 


Tech Spec

Ever since she was a child, Cecillia French, a fiancée and mother of one has been prescribed various types of topical steroids in efforts to cure her mild eczema. At the age of 34 she discovers that the steroids used to treat her mild eczema were in fact the fuel that started a full body condition known as Topical Steroid Withdrawal Syndrome.

The concept is simple. Over periods of time, the body develops tolerance to topical steroids. As a result, the body requires more application of the steroid than previously needed to achieve the desired results. She decides to completely cut out all steroids to give her body an opportunity to heal. Never did she think the dependency of steroids would cause her body to deteriorate without it. Her skin condition became comparable to third degree burns. This path to recovery is currently not supported by the medical industry, but has been proven successful for many people with this condition. Her story is a testimony of her courage, patience, and confidence in the process she follows.

Shooting Format: Digital


Lenses: Tokina Vista Prime T1.5 18MM, 25MM, 35MM, 50MM, 85MM, 105MM, 135MM

Director & DOP: Carlos Torres

Co-Director & Co-Writer: Karen Torres

1st Assistant Camera: Jake Slonecker

Production Company: CutFocus


What do you hope to get out of this short film?

This film was produced to spark conversation and represent those out there who may endure this condition in silence. Creating a movement in raising awareness requires a community. Most importantly, it requires those within the community to feel confident to share their story. Cecillia’s story is only one story out of potentially hundreds of thousands or more throughout the world that are going through Topical Steroid Withdrawal. The more stories that are shared, the stronger the community will become. It’s a snowball effect and this is our effort to contribute to that movement. -Carlos

Why did you choose to tell this story?

Cecillia used to work at CutFocus as the Operations Manager and PA when we needed more hands on deck. In early 2021, we had a talk with Cecillia in regards to her health and her needing to take a step back to put her health first. Being that I’ve had my own health situations in my life, I knew the importance of taking the appropriate time to make a full recovery. As months went by, I realized the severity of her condition. Not only physically but on her mental health. It not only broke my heart but our entire team as well. I took personal time well before the inception of this film to learn about TSW and why Cecillia might be going through this. As a storyteller, I wanted to help her with the skills I know best- filmmaking. I’ve always believed that filmmaking has more power than telling a good story. It has the power of helping real people- changing lives and beyond for the better, whether it’s through narrative filmmaking or telling true stories. This film was my calling at this point of time in my life. 


The style of how Cecillia’s story is shared is unique. What’s the inspiration behind it?

We have a lot of experience in documentary filmmaking but we wanted to push our abilities as narrative filmmakers. We did some research and found that the majority of the content made related to TSW have been talking head style documentaries. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but we wanted to challenge ourselves to create something that used some documentary elements but consisted more of a narrative style. I guess you can let us know if we accomplished that! -Carlos

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