Imagine being told by your doctor that you may have to give up your dream job because you have stubborn and painful eczema on your hands, that hasn't responded to eczema treatment and that will only get worse the more you work.
This was real-life for junior hairdresser Nicole O'Dwyer. Five years ago, the young woman from Tipperary, Ireland, enrolled at college to pursue her dream of becoming a hairdresser. But the constant use of hair products and water irritated her hands, causing them to become extremely dry and painful.
"I was absolutely devastated because I love my job and it's all I've ever wanted to do," she said.
Desperate to follow her dream, O'Dwyer visited a dermatologist who advised her that she may need to give up hairdressing because of her eczema.
Devastated at the thought of giving away her dream, the 21-year-old took a year off hairdressing to reassess. She got a job in retail but decided to return to hairdressing and position at a salon.
But again, the job left her in constant pain. O'Dwyer developed a nightly routine of slathering her hands in ointments, and putting on gloves to absorb the creams faster, to try to heal her hands.
Aware of his daughter's battle, a couple of months ago, O'Dwyer's dad suggested she try Childs Farm Baby Moisturiser after he read about it online.
Childs Farm is a British brand that uses naturally derived ingredients to produce skin and hair products for newborns, babies and children. There is only one retailer who stocks Childs Farm Baby Moisturiser.
Happy to try anything that may make the slightest difference, O'Dwyer started regularly applying the cream intended for babies. And as if by a miracle, her suborn eczema, that up until now hadn't responded to any treatment, cleared up.
"The eczema on my hands had cleared up completely. I couldn't believe it," she said.
"I'm currently applying the cream four times a day and the eczema hasn't come back so far. I'm absolutely blown away by the results."
A very happy O'Dwyer posted her amazing results on social media.
Well, O'Dwyer isn't alone in her claim that this 'miracle' baby cream took away a life time's worth of irritation and pain. Indeed, Laura Gray from Cramlington in the UK argues the same thing...
"I suffer from psoriasis, have done for years," she wrote on Facebook. "I get it all up my arms, neck and chest, and up until yesterday only hydrocortisone cream would get rid of it, but it's really harsh and only pharmacists can give you it."
She then went on to say that her mum had suggested that she try the Child's Farm Baby Moisturiser and was left speechless at the results.
"I'm not joking - 24 hours later my psoriasis is gone!"
While this is fantastic news for O'Dwyer, who has found relief for her eczema and Gray, who is beyond happy with relief after her psoriasis symptoms disappeared within a day, it's important to know, that experts say there is not yet any cures available for eczema and not all treatments work for every case.
With that in mind, let's talk a little bit about the facts.
What is eczema?
According to the Eczema Association Australasia Eczema (atopic dermatitis) is a recurring, non-infectious, inflammatory skin condition. Eczema affects all ages, but it usually appears in babies between two-to-six months of age and disappears at around six years of age. While, most children grow out of the condition, a small percentage may experience severe eczema into adulthood.
The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy tells us that that where eczema occurs the skin barrier is damaged, therefore moisture evaporates and this makes the skin more susceptible to allergens and irritants. This irritation can trigger the skin to release certain chemicals that make the skin itchy. If you scratch, more chemicals are released and the skin feels even itchier. This "scratch and itch" cycle can be distressing.
WATCH: Does eczema have a cure? Post continues after video...
What causes eczema ?
What causes eczema is not well understood, however experts have linked eczema to certain potential triggers.
Known triggers (or aggravating factors) for eczema in some people include:
- Dry skin
- Viral or bacterial infections
- Swimming in chlorinated swimming pools
- Playing in sand and particularly sandpits
- Sitting directly on carpets or grass
- Inhalant allergens – worsening of eczema in spring and summer may also be due to pollen sensitivity
- Food intolerances to artificial colour and preservative in some people
- Irritants such as perfumes, soap, chemicals, woollen or synthetic fabrics
- Temperature changes (such as heat) or overly heated rooms
- Stress (this can make it worse but eczema is not a psychological condition)
While these triggers may be relevant for some, it is not routinely recommended that everyone avoids all these potential triggers.
You should discuss these potential triggers with your doctor. If you have eczema, and want more information, you should also seek further advice from your trusted GP.