Joanna Rose-Hazel reached out to me back in August of last year. Summer 2019 was a crazy time for me. Having just appeared on TV show dragons den, my inbox was flooded. With over three thousand emails to wade through, many direct message on Instagram unfortunately went unanswered.
I'm a big believer in paths crossing at just the right time. My break from posting on Instagram this week, has given me time to scroll back and respond to my messages. I was so happy to connect with Joanna, so much of her story resonates with me. I feel as though we have been on very similar paths in so many ways.
Listen to Joanna share her story on my podcast.
Joanna's mission is to connect, help others and raise awareness, so please reach out to her on Instagram. Here is her story.
In May 2017, not long after my daughter was born, I began to change my lifestyle and eat whole foods that were mainly organic. Not too long after this, my body went into full detox mode and broke out in all over body eczema.
It spread quickly up my legs and then began to cover my stomach, neck and chest. Before I knew it, I was covered in eczema all over, but it wasn't just dry patches. It was angry, weeping and unbearably itchy. There were some days I would literally sit for hours scratching my legs until they bled and the cycle would just continue.
At times, I couldn't leave the house or wear clothes for long lengths of time because I would have to peel them off my legs when I got home and I couldn't really wear skirts or dresses because I didn't want people to see it.
During this time I stopped uploading youtube videos because I was so embarrassed about how I looked. My blog was about fashion and beauty and in that period of time I felt incredibly ugly and very self-conscious. My skin resembled someone who had been caught in a house fire. It was so black and charred.
It finally got to a head when I started to realize that every morning I was waking up with my face becoming more and more swollen as the eczema began to cover my face.
On the third morning, I woke up as if I had gone ten rounds with Mike Tyson. My face was swollen and I could barely open my eyes. I took myself to A&E where a dermatologist took one look at me and told me I had caused my skin to become this way by 'under-treating' my eczema. Under-treatment meaning not using steroids.
Although I knew that healing my skin naturally was the best way, I was so afraid of how my face looked, I felt like there was nothing left for me to do but to take it and use it; but doing that would prove to be one of the biggest mistakes of my life.
In the two weeks I was told to use the steroid, my skin 'healed' everywhere I was using it, but after a week my hands began to bubble up as if I had been burned; and I began to break out all over my scalp. Basically everywhere I wasn't using the cream is where the eczema decided to surface but it didn't look like just eczema. It was flaky and very weepy.
I called the dermatologist about what was happening, and without even asking to see me so he could look at it, he prescribed me a stronger steroid to keep using on my hands and a steroid shampoo for my scalp. It was at this point I realized that they had no clue what they were doing, and rather than find out why my skin was continuing to break out they were throwing more medications at it.
As soon as I stopped the steroid cream, the eczema all over my body came straight back, but this time it was ten times worse than before. Despite what the 'experts' say, majority of skin conditions are your body's way of telling you that something internally is wrong.
I came back on my channel and social media to began sharing my story. Initially, it was just to let people know where I had been, but the response I got was unbelievable. All the while I thought it was just me that was going through what I was going through but there were literally hundreds of people messaging me saying they were going through the exact same thing. it wasn't my plan to talk about eczema on my channel but I decided to keep on sharing.
I was absolutely determined to heal my skin completely, and in the summer of 2018, almost a year since I uploaded my first eczema video, I managed to do exactly that.
Although it was torture going through the process of trial and error, and figuring out the different elements that caused my own eczema, it has been the best thing I could have ever done.
One thing I've learnt going through this experience is that there are many different triggers for eczema and other skin diseases like psoriasis and hyper pigmentation. It could be hereditary, allergies and sometimes even environmental. One of the major factors in my eczema flare up was the fact that we were living in a damp flat ridden with mould.
The second thing I learned, is that the medical world has absolutely no idea what eczema is, where it stems from and how to treat it. Eczema is a symptom not a condition; and when you get to the root cause you can and you will heal.
The creams prescribed by the NHS and found in the mainstream market do nothing to help people with skin diseases; rather the ingredients they use exacerbate them.
The beautiful thing about healing yourself naturally is that you are in control of your own process. You get to learn your body and the way it functions in a way you didn't realize it did before. The changes you make to your lifestyle will not only benefit your skin but your overall health and well being. There are many other chronic illnesses and conditions that can and will be addressed at the same time as your body begins to heal from the inside out.
No matter what your trigger is, anybody is able to heal naturally by using a holistic approach that tackles the root of the issue.
Now that I've healed my own skin, my desire is to help others do the same.
I remember how lonely, depressed and at times almost suicidal as I was going through what I went through, and many of the people that message me feel exactly the same.
Although I am still passionate about fashion and beauty, I've decided to focus my time and energy helping other people overcome chronic skin conditions and better their overall health.
I'm currently studying plant based nutrition and coaching in order to tailor my advice to each individual's needs; but otherwise, I'm just a normal wife and mom who managed to overcome her skin disease...naturally.