Shaloah Skincare began when a young mother’s love and care for her baby turned into struggle, fight and sacrifice.

 

Our story – my son’s and I – began with childhood eczema.

Take a look at any list of symptoms for this condition, and I can tell you – they don’t even come close to what we had to endure.

 

At 3 weeks, his skin was not like your typical baby’s – smooth, soft or silky. It was flaky, rough, dry and itchy.

At three months, he was officially diagnosed with eczema which showed mostly on his cheeks.

At four months, it spread – from his cheeks to his face, to his scalp, arms and legs until

his entire body was covered – top to toe – and his hair fell out.

 

It was like wildfire. Unstoppable. Appointment after appointment. Nothing helped, nothing even made so much as the slightest difference.

 

After months of weeping scabs, continually cracked, angry skin, redness, rashes and raw, sore skin it became impossible to tolerate– his crying was almost non-stop. While other mothers are doing battle with a sleep routine – reading blogs, forums and pondering the input of friends and family, there are no manuals for coping with severe eczema.

 

What could I do?

 

I put him in his cot – and his face would stick to the sheets.

I would swaddle him – and he would rub his head on the sheets – until his face would swell and eventually weep and even bleed.

 

Far beyond the sleepless nights (and days), no one talks about the fact that pain replaces the milestones – the giggling, laughing, interacting. Missed milestones made me wonder – would this affect his development long term? His hands were constantly in scratch mittens – he wasn’t able to explore and discover the world the way babies do and should.

 

These were dark times – a nightmare that didn’t end come the break of morning light. It was never-ending. And the whole family was suffering.

 

 

The real-world symptoms for the mum of a baby struggling with eczema

(perhaps you can relate?)

 

It starts with exhaustion and forgetfulness, then moves on to headaches, and parts of the body become numb. Your vision may blur, which in turn leads to disorientation. You begin to drop things, and then the pins and needles set in.

 

Those are the physical symptoms. But, as with any condition, chronic physical stresses lead to chronic mental strain – stress leads to anxiety, anxiety to depression. Pressure mounts on your relationship – you’re both exhausted, overwhelmed and desperate which (as if you didn’t have enough to deal with already) leads to arguments. Finally, you become isolated and alone, hopeless and helpless.

 

 

Despite medical input my baby son continued to suffer from eczema.

It was torture. And I thought that it would never end.

 

The months that followed were a hazy blur of doctors, dieticians, allergy departments and dermatologists. The answer? Only steroids and paraffin-based creams which have some nasty long term side effects. Not the answer I was looking for.

 

Through my own research I became aware that often food allergies and eczema were closely related. So I exclusively breastfed my baby, eliminating all possible allergens in my diet – dairy, eggs, wheat, seafood, nuts. Convenience foods were impossible. Cooking with a crying baby even more so. I was in agony. Slowly, we became used to what things triggered his eczema and allergies, and I carefully avoided those.

 

 

Darkness.

 

Every, single, night, I’d sit in darkness with curtains drawn from 6pm onwards. Every, single, hour, he would wake. My head was spinning. I longed for relief. It was hellish.

One (as it turns out) fateful day, my husband arrived home with an iPad – a connection from the darkness to that magical light world out there. And so the research began – research that could have stopped with the Eczema Society website (as every other online source of eczema information seemed to be a carbon copy). Still no real answers.

 

 

But I was adamant that I didn’t want to use steroids.

 

My faith has always sustained me in times of trouble.  

When I felt like giving up – I typed in “Eczema Jesus help me”. And I discovered a lady with the worst eczema condition I have ever seen – her skin was literally falling off. I read her story – I learned that steroid cream had awful side effects – that ‘topical withdrawal’ leads to eczema ten times worse. I was right about the steroids (something that sleep deprivation had almost had me doubting).

 

Ultimately this woman would self-heal with special herbs and flowers. She used a mixture of diet and extra supplements.

I was inspired, determined, invigorated – I knew then, it would be nature’s own remedies would help my baby boy!

Yet the ‘natural’ remedies out there were anything but natural – promise after promise, product after product, each was full of chemicals; empty and ineffective.

 

“I will make it myself!”

 

Spurred on by the screaming in the dark, I ordered plants, waxes, flowers and herbs. I researched the healing properties of plants. On the rare occasion that I could catch up with sleep, I didn’t allow myself the luxury. Instead, armed with a saucepan and nature’s contributions, I began creating in my kitchen. And that is exactly where our first product began – Calendula Cream – a cream now hailed by other users as “a miracle”, “a wonderful cream” and “a little jar of wonders” – a cream that brought my nightmare to a close.

 

No chemicals, no irritants, just natural ingredients  . . . and the results are amazing.

 

 

This story (and yours too) is set against a glittering backdrop of perfect lives

lived out on social media

 

In this social-media driven world, images are projected that don’t reflect real life – images that form a sparkling reel of best bits – filtered, fake, fraudulent.

Today, struggle is a part of life that’s hidden away. Yet it can and does build character, it could and should shape who you are. This picture-perfect social world of ours leads us to believe that struggle represents our doing something wrong, thinking wrong.

 

NO, not true.

 

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

–              Romans 3:5-6

 

We are not God. We do not have that power or control. But we can embrace struggle and persevere. 

 

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

–              Romans 5:3-4

 

I’m a bible believing Christian and this hope has rallied me on to find a cure.

So, what’s your story?

 

Up and down the country there are an estimated 15 million people feeling the very real struggle of eczema – 1.5 million of whom are children. 70% of these children will go on to develop an allergy – to eggs, nuts or ‘airbornes’, such as dust.

 

 

 

If you find yourself among these statistics – know this: you’re not alone.

And maybe the story of Shaloah Skincare is as much your story as it is mine.

 

Over the course of 5 years I’ve heard many stories – including customers who recount their own experiences in their reviews. What began as a simple, natural cream has progressed to a platform – a place of support – of tips and advice, rants and discussions. Please, do join in.

 

 

If you’re a parent to a little soldier with eczema (or an adult sufferer yourself)…

We all want to hear about your battle

 

Share you story, right here. Tell us your tips – what’s worked, what hasn’t. Get things off your chest – the advice that you’ve been given, time and time again, that hasn’t worked. The products you’ve been prescribed, over and over, which have had little to no effect.

And last but not least, perhaps the most important question of all…

 

Tell us… how are you feeling?

 

Mom and Dad – this is one of the few places where fellow-parents understand your struggles.

Adult sufferer – there’s a lot of support here and you will find like-minded friends.

 

Leave your comments, and let’s start a conversation.