HEALTHY BABY BLOG. In our HEALTHY BABY BLOG we focus on a different topic each time and have experts talk about their role in keeping little ones happy and healthy. Today we speak with Michele, founder of Frankie Apothecary and creator of Frankie Kawakawa Eczema Balm.
Michele has been so kind to offer us a special 15% discount code!! You will find this at the bottom of the article xx
Tell us a little bit about yourself and why you started Frankie Apothecary.
Hi I’m Michele, Kiwi, Maori mother to two girls Eva and Frankie, and creator of the award winning skin healing balm - Kawakawa Repair by Frankie Apothecary.
My journey in starting organic skincare Company, Frankie Apothecary, began at a real turning point in my life which I have no doubt was part of the universes bigger plan for me. I was questioning my career as a corporate Lawyer, embarking on a journey of learning Rongoa Maori (Maori plant based medicine) struggling with sleepless nights with a new born and trying to deal with my eldest daughters severely Eczema inflamed skin, all at the same time.
Eva was 18 months old. Her skin was terrible – dry, itchy, inflamed and raw, keeping her awake most nights. She would wake in the morning with blood-stained sheets from scratching her skin to pieces.
Finding a moisturiser that did what it claimed (soothed, stopped the itch and repaired the skin) proved impossible: I tried absolutely every product on the market. All had little or no effect.
Being trained in research, I had a natural tendency to want to know how all things worked and why others didn’t. The market didn’t have a product that worked for us, so sheer determination and a heck of a lot of research combined with my knowledge of how skin troubles were treated by my ancestors in the past, gave me a reason to ultimately create my own product.
Why did other creams on the market not work?
Synthetic chemically loaded moisturisers can cause the skin to become more irritated and worsen flare ups for those with sensitive skin. But interestingly I discovered that all moisturisers contain a very simple ingredient that required these synthetic chemicals to be added to prevent mould, bacteria growth, to preserve the product and to ensure the oils and water did not split apart - water! Lesson 1 - create a product that had zero water so that synthetic chemicals are not required.
When an eczema flare is triggered - trans epidermal water loss begins. Think, rapid moisture loss from the skin, leading to the shredding of the outer epidermal layers and the exposure of the inner layers of the skin. These inner layers should not be exposed to the environment. When they are, the skins pH alters causing the skin to become itchy, inflamed and if not controlled, infected. - Lesson 2 - water based moisturisers do not create enough of a barrier to stop trans epidermal water loss or to protect the inner skin layers.
What makes your natural Kawakawa balm so unique?
Armed with this information, I created an all organic oil-based formula more suitable for Eva’s dry skin, primarily infused with a native NZ plant called Kawakawa which has been used for generations by Maori. Kawakawa, also known as Macropiper excelsium or the Maori Pepper Tree, is endemic to New Zealand and long known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties. The leaves and bark can be used to heal wounds, ulcers, skin disorders, burns and more. Drinking an infusion of the leaves can treat colds and flus, digestive troubles, chest problems like asthma and even blood pressure. Healing Calendula was also added and the benefits to Eva’s skin were almost instantly apparent and her skin healing within days.
Further clinical based research, led me on the path of finding the best way to extract the chemical properties of Kawakawa so that every pot of Kawakawa Repair was loaded with the highest healing properties possible. An anti oxidant was also added in the form of vitamin e to ensure every pot was not susceptible to microbes and to ensure the Kawakawa’s healing abilities were still strong a year on. - Something many other oil based ranges fail to ensure.
Since then, my Kawakawa Repair has won a place in the top 10 most recommended products for babies in the OHBaby awards, has sold thousands all over the world and is sold in over 60 retailers across NZ. We have a sustainable Kawakawa farm in Mangawhai where Kawakawa is harvested and extracted applying principles of tikanga Maori.
Do you have any tips for dealing with Eczema?
My top tips for targeting Eczema:
1 - See your GP first to test for any allergies.
2 - If this doesn’t help, undertake a food elimination diet – you can find steps on how to do this on my website.
3 - Eliminate any common chemicals in the home to see if these are triggers (washing powders, soaps, cleaning products).
4 - Switch clothing to eczema friendly fibres like 100% cotton or bamboo like the new Snugbags Eczema Bamboo & Organic Cotton Sleeping Bag.
5- Eliminate mould and keep your home as dust-free as possible.
6 - Take a really good probiotic for the whole family to ensure the gut is functioning as it should.
These steps take time. In the meantime you will no doubt have an upset irritated child, so soaking in our Colloidal Oat powdered mix will help to stop the itch and applying the Kawakawa Balm will soothe and support the skin’s healing.
Michele has been so kind to offer Snugbags customers a generous 15% discount! Please use the code 'snugbagsfrankie' to redeem the discount at checkout.
Click here to purchase Frankie Apothecary's wonderful products.
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Kim is the owner of SNUGBAGS - Merino for Kids. Together with her partner James and their little girl Neeva Rose, she lives in a little beach town called Piha on the West Coast in New Zealand. They love surfing, building sandcastles and all things natural and organic.