Written by Meghan Rhodes MCPP MAPA
A few years ago, the world went into sanitisation mode. What had previously been for most people an occasional tool when caught without soap and water became something used many, many times a day, both instead of an after washing with soap - often antibacterial.
So when M came to me with cracked, painful, bleeding hands, I was not surprised to hear she had been using a lot of hand sanitiser over a two year period. Not only was she in pain, but her cracked hands were effecting her self-confidence.
On top of that, she had tried everything - every cream, every balm, prescription, drugstore and natural. They might appear to work for a week or two, but her skin never properly healed and would always revert to its painful state. And so her father suggested she look for a solution that was completely natural and bespoke - that's how she found me.
When we discussed her hands, we went back to when it began - what the circumstances were, what products she was using on her hands, her work environment, etc. She had been using a lot of hand sanitiser, and had to use harsh chemicals at work, although she did make an effort to wear protective gloves. So surely if she just made sure to wear gloves and decreased her hand sanitiser use her skin would get better by itself?
But she had already done those things and the dry, cracked skin had spread to her feet. In other words, it was beginning to become systemic.
I explained there were two critical pieces of the puzzle. First, that the heavy use of sanitisers had significantly depleted her skin microbiome. Second, that the skin is not only healed by topical creams - that it is equally as important to support the skin in healing itself from the inside out.
So I made her two bespoke herbal remedies to use in tandem - one to support her skin in healing and generating healthy skin cells from the inside out, the other to protect, soothe and mend the outermost layers of the skin from the outside in. I also recommended a bit of gardening or any other excuses to get her hands directly in the soil, as repopulating her depleted skin microbiome was crucial.
After the first month of using her remedies, M's skin was significantly improved. Her hands felt soft again, didn't feel tight and sore and were no longer splitting. Her feet were less itchy and dry and the cracked, dry skin hadn't spread elsewhere.
By the end of the second month, she had finished her tincture blend and was just using the herbal cream I'd made her. Unlike the two week surface patching she'd had from previous pharmaceutical and over the counter creams, the one I'd made for M was still working. All the cracking, dryness, bleeding and itching was gone.
Needless to say, she was very pleased.
So I made her one last top up of her cream, and she went on her way.
When it comes to skin, a herbal balm or cream like the ones I make from scratch and sell in my online shop can be incredibly healing and supportive - especially when it comes to things like general seasonal dryness, redness and irritation, or cuts, scratches and rashes. But when a skin condition is persistent, continues to get worse, or balms alone are only getting you so far, that's when it's beneficial to work from both the outside in, as well as the inside out and where the bespoke support I offer means we can look at the whole picture to understand and address the root cause so your skin can get healthy and stay healthy.