I’ve never really spoken openly about the eczema on my hands before. I have always had eczema, as baby, child, teen, but this started 11 years ago when I was 18. It’s different to my ‘normal’ eczema that appears in patches in the creases of my elbows and knees, this is more like a ‘contact dermatitis’. I can tell IMMEDIATELY if I am going to react to something, be it a hand cream, a nappy wipe, or from peeling the potatoes! It’s the most intense burning, itching, hot sensation under the skin. Then the blisters start, which weep. Then the cracks start, which bleed. Then the skin peels, creating more cracks. Then I will touch something which sets it all off again and I can never seem to get on top of it. Even the powerful steroid cream is no longer helping.
In the past, I would find the latest and greatest eczema treatment, it may work initially, and then stop, or just to really mess with my head, start a reaction! Let’s just say I have a very expensive graveyard of eczema creams under the bed.
I saw a dermatologist about 6 or so years ago now and results showed a slight allergy to ‘fragrance’. I had already eliminated everything humanly possible with fragrance, sigh. And then I thought I’d nailed it…it had to be the toothpaste running down onto my hand while brushing my teeth…well I stopped being a ‘lazy tooth brusher’ but that didn’t help either.
It effects EVERYTHING I do, I mean really, how often do use your hands? While I’m typing this I have one split in particular hurting constantly. Netball, oh netball, each time I catch the ball it opens the splits a little more, so I wear plasters, classy. And my nails, they are ridged, dry and split frequently. My fingertips are so rough I can’t feel things properly, mind you, the cops would never be able to get a fingerprint from me.
I became a mum one year ago and this has only made my skin worse…well not being a mum per se (other than a few extra wrinkles) but mum duties! I’d hate to imagine how many times I have to wash (with non-allergenic weird non-soap stuff) my hands each day…changing nappies, wiping up spills, bath time, my hands never get a chance. We even went to the trouble lately to see if it was our water irritating my skin…nope, all tests came back normal, sigh!
I have been fiercely determined to do EVERYTHING in my power to make sure my little girl doesn’t have to suffer like I have, and continue to do.
And that my friends is how the new ‘Oat Range’ has come about. I have only ever bathed my daughter in colloidal oatmeal. I would wrap some in a muslin cloth, tie if off with a hair-tie, run the water through it and ‘milk’ the pouch turning the bath all white and creamy. I became truly fascinated by the stuff. It’s beautifully gentle and silky and after a while you can squeeze out a ‘gel’ like consistency which is like a natural body wash! Besides it being a great alternative to soaps or body wash, colloidal oatmeal has so many amazing benefits for the skin (I’ll post a few links below) but my main reason for using it is to give my daughter the best chance possible at not having to suffer from such a frustrating and at times debilitating condition.
And then I thought, but now what…I need to put a barrier cream on her. Research shows you need to moisturise, moisturise, moisturise to prevent, maintain or form a natural barrier to the environment. “Keeping your skin’s moisture intact is one of the most important things you can do to help control your eczema. When your skin gets too dry, it can become irritated and cause your eczema to flare” (nationaleczema.org). So I needed a balm. I used a multi-purpose locally made 100% natural balm, which was great as it didn’t irritate my hands and locked in moisture for my daughter. But I wanted the benefits of the colloidal oatmeal to keep working its magic. So I have developed a balm infused with colloidal oatmeal. I use it, I use it on my daughter. I started giving it to friends and family. I gave it to my neighbour with psoriasis. I gave it to local Mums with kiddies suffering from eczema and the results have been amazing and very humbling. If I can help just one person, that’s all I could wish for! So at nap time, and in the evenings I have been working on packaging and branding, all while filling private orders for people desperate to try this pot of goodness.
BUT I don’t want this product to become another ‘jar under the bed’. I am so committed to doing what I can to help restore your skin that I will be providing a tailored option just for you! I intend to have a base oil you can select and additional extra’s that can be added such as calendula oil, shea or cocoa butter, active Manuka honey, and a range of Certified Pure Essential Oils. I want open and honest feedback from my customers so I can continue to refine this product and…..AND I get it, the balm may (but hasn’t yet, 4 months and counting) become resistant, but I hope with our tailoring options, we can change the base and mix it up and keep that friggen’ eczema on its toes!
I must admit, I was super jealous as I was getting so much positive feedback but the balm just wasn’t working for my hands, grrrr. Until I made what I call ‘The crème de la crème’ balm earlier this week…just for me, it’s like a secret little pot of pure magic…and it worked. I felt it instantly, this may just be the one. I woke up and much to my surprise, my hands looked pretty good, I’ve been lathering my hands in it for a few days and the change is pretty dramatic, and the most amazing part (cue water works) I can feel how soft my baby girls face is for the first time.
So as I sit here watching the clock countdown to the end of nap time, my stomach rumbling and dishes staring at me, I best go do mum duties and wait in anticipation for the final proof of the product labelling to come through.
So watch this space, our ‘Oat Range’ will be available soon.