Natalie Balmond can’t believe how a pot of cream changed her life. But, 14 years ago, desperate to find a cure for her daughter Lula’s chronic dry skin, she created a salve in her kitchen and has never looked back. Not only did the cream help Lula (now 17), but it also led to Natalie launching a successful skincare range, which is now sold in shops all over the country.
Mum-of-three Natalie (47), recalls: “My middle daughter Lula began suffering from extremely dry, painful skin when she was 18 months old. I took her to our GP who prescribed creams, but nothing worked. We saw numerous doctors and specialists, and tried everything from Chinese herbs to changing her diet. Some creams were painful when applied, and I worried about the side-effects.
'Conventional treatments were doing more harm than good’
“When Lula was three, Great Ormond Street Hospital wanted to try a type of steroid treatment on her, but I refused, convinced conventional treatments were actually doing more harm than good. By now the itching and bleeding was unbearable. Ninety per cent of Lula’s body was covered in open sores, and she had to be wrapped in bandages every day. Often she would cry herself to sleep.”
After reading a book about herbs, Natalie began studying those known to alleviate skin problems and made her own cream. “I experimented by combining hemp oil with various skin-smoothing ingredients such as beeswax and camomile,” she says. “It took a few attempts to produce a consistency I was happy with, and I tested the cream on myself to ensure it was safe before applying it to Lula.
Amazingly, she didn’t flinch. It soothed her skin immediately, and within days the itching and soreness subsided.”
The story could have ended there, had friends not asked to try the cream on their own children. A subsequent local newspaper article meant orders were soon flooding in, and Natalie had to work flat out to meet demand.
In 2002 she launched Purepotions, which produces skin creams using ingredients as close to their natural state as possible, and the company takes thousands of orders every month.
“I never imagined that first little pot of salve I produced would go on to make such an impact, but now I get thank you letters every day,” says Natalie. “It’s a lovely feeling knowing I’ve created products that are helping so many people. It just goes to show that it’s always worth trying something new – you never know where it might lead!”
- For more on Purepotions, call the advice line on 01273 623123 or visit www.purepotions.co.uk
What is eczema?
Eczema, also known as dermatitis, varies from person to person and comes in different forms. It’s not contagious, affects people of all ages, and one in five children, and one in 12 adults suffer from it. Keeping skin moisturised using emollients is key to managing it, with topical steroids commonly used to keep flare ups under control.
- Call the National Eczema Society’s helpline on 0800 089 1122 or visit www.eczema.org