Shaloah Skincare began with sacrifice, struggle and a fight against eczema.
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.
At 3 weeks, his skin wasn’t like your typical baby’s. It wasn’t smooth, soft or silky.
At three months, he was officially diagnosed with eczema.
At four months, it spread – from his cheeks, to his face, to his scalp, arms and legs.
At four months, two weeks, his entire body was covered – top to toe – his hair fell out.
It was like wildfire. Unstoppable. Prescription after prescription – appointment after appointment, nothing helped, nothing even made so much as the slightest difference.
Queue months of weeping scabs, continually cracked, angry skin, redness, rashes and raw, sore skin – 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.
Far beyond the sleepless nights (and days), no one talks about the fact that pain replaces the milestones – the giggling, laughing, interacting (missed milestones that made me wonder – would this affect his development?). 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 the morning light. It was never-ending.
The real-world symptoms of a mom to 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 becoming numb. Your vision may blur, in turn leading 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, leads to arguments). Finally, you isolated and alone, hopeless and helpless.
These were my symptoms, as a mum to a baby son suffering from eczema.
It was torture. And I thought that it would never end.
The next few months were a hazy blur of doctors, dieticians, allergy departments, and dermatologists – the answer? Steroid and paraffin-based creams. Answers that have some nasty long term side effects. Not the answers I was looking for.
A link between eczema and allergies?
Through my own research I became aware that often allergies and eczema were closely related so I exclusively breastfed, 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 famished. Slowly, we became used to what triggered his eczema and allergies, and I carefully avoided those.
Every, single, night, I’d sit in darkness from 6pm onwards. Every, single, hour, he would wake. One (as it turns out) fateful day, my husband arrived home with an iPad – a connection to that 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.
“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
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 has recently had me doubting).
Ultimately this woman would self-heal with herbs, flowers, diet and supplements. I was inspired, determined, invigorated – I knew then – it would be nature’s remedies that would help my baby boy. Yet the ‘natural’ remedies out there, were anything but natural – promise after promise, product after product, each was empty, ineffective.
“I will make an all natural eczema cream 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. Instead, armed with a saucepan and nature’s contributions, I began creating in my kitchen. And that is exactly where our first cream began – Calendula Cream – a cream hailed as “a miracle”, “a wonderful cream” and “a little jar of wonders” – a cream that brought my nightmare to a close.
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. Struggle is part of life today 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.
I don’t believe that to be true…
I don’t believe we are God. I don’t believe we have that power or control. I believe that we should embrace struggle and persevere. In the darkest times, I remember repeating these words to myself… they did help.
“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
So, what’s your story?
Up and down the country there are estimated to be 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 amongst these statistics – know this: you’re not alone.
And the story of Shaloah Skincare is as much ours as it is yours.
Over the course of 5 years I’ve heard many stories just like ours – as well as customers who recount their own experiences in their reviews. What began as a simple, natural eczema cream has progressed to a platform – a place of support – of light, tips and advice, rants and discussions.
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, dad – this is one of the few places where fellow-parents understand your struggles.
Adult sufferer – there’s support and friends here.
Leave your comments, and let’s start a conversation.