|Tried and Tested Skincare Products|
We first spotted Graham’s Natural Alternatives skincare range, which is designed for those with eczema and psoriasis, at the Natural and Organic Products Show in the Spring, and have been impatient for its launch into the UK ever since. Finally, this Australian brand has arrived on UK shores, and we recruited four of our regular testers to put the range through its paces. Here’s what they had to say.
Hannah and her two sons (aged 1 and 3) all have eczema. They tested the Natural Kids Eczema Cream (£21.99, 75g)
“We all get very patchy dry, itchy skin as our eczema flares up and we used the cream morning and night to help it.
“The cream smells natural and doesn’t have much of an aroma to it, which I liked. The shea butter means it applies easily and feels light but effective in its coverage. It absorbs quickly and is cooling and soothing on itchy skin, seeming to get to work right away. The absorption rate is important with kids so that it doesn’t come off on clothes before it has a chance to work. It worked effectively on the children’s small dry and flaking patches of skin. It was really good at soothing my itchy legs, something that not many creams are able to do, and one application would last.
“I liked the fairly natural ingredients, such as the shea, and the olive oil, though I was a little concerned to see cetyl alcohol on the list as some eczema sufferers can react to this, although we don’t. I liked the packaging, I felt that it was simple and clear to read, and that the instructions were clear too. The cap made it easy to dispense the right amount.
“The cream is different from the cream we would usually buy in that its water based and the one we usually buy is oil based, however because this cream has shea butter and olive oil in it I think that’s why it works where other water based creams haven’t in the past. I would definitely recommend it and I would buy it again both for myself and my kids.”
Anoushka has chronic eczema and highly sensitive skin. She tried the Body Wash (£16.50, 250ml), Soap (£8.50, 100g) and Sooth-it-Balm (£20.99, 120g)
“The Bodywash is thinner than most, but it gives a good lather which stays on your body much more effectively than a standard shower gel. It feels lovely and moisturising as you use it - like some kind of oil making a silky veil over your skin. I moisturised as normal afterwards, but some may not need to. There’s a lovely moisturising effect if you wash your legs after shaving them!
I liked that it had Manuka as this is supposed to have good health effects. There was no stinging or itching and it did not give me any spots - all of these are reactions I often have with bodywashes and shower gels. My skin did not feel dry after my shower, which it normally does. All in all it left my skin feeling very soft and comfortable and it was a pleasure to use. I found the bodywash made my skin less dry and itchy over time and left my skin soft, comfortable and silky. I would use this again!”
“The soap is big and chunky, and gives hardly any lather, but seemed to clean just fine. The soap is meant for dry, itchy skin and to be suitable for eczema - it is colourless and fragrance free.
I am prone to hand eczema, although this was not active while I was using the soap. Unlike many similar products, the soap did not make my skin irritated, itch or sting. It made my hands less dry than a standard soap, but still drier than my normal handwash. I loved the size, and liked that it contained Manuka.”
“The Balm feels very greasy on the skin, like Vaseline, but it does sink in fairly quickly. I liked the long-lasting moisturising effect of this, but unfortunately could not tolerate the lanolin.
When I did use it I noticed it made everywhere I used it feel soft and moisturised and this feeling continued into the morning when I had applied it the night before. It did not cause any itchy, stinging or spots which I normally get with a lot of products, so it may well be a good product for anyone who is not sensitive to lanolin.”
Michelle has eczema and highly reactive skin. She tested the Calendulis Plus Cream (£16.95/£29.99, 50g, 120g) and the Bath Oil (£17.50, 120ml)
“I used the cream on my hands, arms, legs and body, for my chronic eczema. It had a good texture and was easy to use and apply.
My main criticism concerned the aroma which I found unpleasant. Overall my skin felt soothed and well moisturised. I don’t think my skin is any worse or better than with usual products I use designed for sensitive or reactive skin, but I did like that the cream was more easily absorbed than some I’ve tried. I will keep using the cream on small patches of eczema rather than as an ‘all over’ product.
“The bath oil left my skin soothed and well moisturised too, although I prefer a bath oil that mixes with the bath water - such as Oilatum - because I find this gives a more full and even distribution of moisturisation.
“I would recommend the products to someone with problem skin who has not yet found anything that works for them.”
Rebecca has scalp psoriasis. She tested the Shampoo (£14.99, 250ml) and Conditioner (£14.99, 250ml).
Labelling was clear, and I liked the packaging - it was nice and simple.
“Overall I liked the scent and the texture - they were nice and creamy. My only dislike would be that the bottles aren’t especially big and I tend to get through shampoo and conditioner quickly, which would be a concern if I was purchasing them.
I found the Graham’s products to be similar in effectiveness to other natural psoriasis/scalp shampoos I have used in the past and so would use them again.”
Note that all products except Soothe-it-Balm contain Manuka honey, and so are not vegan-friendly, and the Calendulis Plus Cream contains propolis, which the manufacturers warn can cause irritation in some.
Further, The Calendulis Plus Cream and the Bath Oil contain emu oil, so are not vegetarian. The ranges are free from parabens, petrochemicals and sulphates.
For further information, see www.grahamsskincare.comAvailable from Allersafe