On my travels around the LNLO exhibition hall in July I was fortunate to meet the lovely Gem, of Gem’s Cream, and to hear more about her journey from aromatherapy student to product developer. Gem’s cream is made from natural base and essential oils and designed for those suffering with eczema or dry, troublesome skin. It’s now stocked at a growing number of UK retailers and has been featured in The Telegraph and Natural Health Magazine, amongst others.
Most importantly of all though, her magic cream impressed my other half and he is notoriously product shy. To put this in context, it took a number of years of gentle persuasion before he considered using any moisturiser at all and even now he uses the tiniest pea-sized blob. If I could only copy his example, it’d take me a year to get through the average tub of face cream!
I came home from LNLO with a small sample tin of Gem’s cream and was pondering what to do with it. It wasn’t quite enough to tackle some of my troublesome skin patches and I really wanted to use it on someone with eczema rather than my miscellaneous issues. Then a little while back my lovely husband, or TMWTC (the man with the camera) as he’s referred to on the blog, mentioned the eczema on his hands was playing up. *Ding!*
I didn’t really give him much choice but he very graciously agreed to give Gem’s Cream a whirl and, more incredibly, he stuck with it for a good 3 weeks or so as I’d asked.
Following on from that, I asked him some questions and I’m giving you his answers below, direct from the horse’s mouth…
1. Can you describe the condition of your hands prior to using the cream?
I had numerous dry patches across the knuckles and fingers of both hands, particularly the sides of my forefingers and thumbs. The dry patches would appear almost “chalky” and would frequently crack to reveal paper-cut style damage across the area. It wasn’t particularly painful or itchy until the skin broke.
2. What’s your average working day? (Can you describe the kind of stress your hands are under?)
My working day involves either a day at my desk; typing, clicking, making tea, dialling etc, OR lugging heavy peli cases and bags around various filming locations, rigging camera and tripods, and handholding camera kit for a reasonably long time… lots of gripping & grasping, but nothing that would necessarily damage the skin on my hands (such as gardening / bricklaying etc) – it would be more likely to cause muscle stress / repetitive strain type problems.
3. How did you incorporate the cream into your working day?
During desk-days, I basically put the small jar of cream in front of me on my desk, and applied it whenever I noticed it – usually 4-5 times during the working day, plus 1-2 times during the evening. I’m not really a “product person” so it wasn’t really in my nature to do this, but managed to remember most days for around 3 weeks.
4. What were your first impressions?
Didn’t really like the smell – I always felt a little antisocial in our small office, even though other staff probably couldn’t smell the product. It felt a little oily, and when I rubbed it into the “chalky” areas on my fingers they would appear almost grubby. Also took a long time for cream to dissolve / disappear – so it meant my mouse / steering wheel were at risk of getting greasy & slippy.
5. What effect did the cream have after a couple of weeks?
I didn’t notice much change, until I stopped using it. It was then that I realised how soft, moisturised and generally better my hands had been. Very quickly my hands returned their chalky, dusty appearance, and the cracks started opening up again, when during regular useage there had been no cracking and almost no dryness. I started using the cream again and very quickly the dryness disappeared. I wouldn’t want to have to commit to using the cream 6/7 times a day, forever, in order for it to work, but it definitely did have a positive effect on the skin on my hands.
6. Would you recommend this to other people having problems with eczema?
It didn’t medicate, heal or remove itchiness (which I didn’t really have to begin with anyway) but it does have a positive effect on the symptoms if not the cause. I’ve used “Norweigan formula” type hand-creams, which had almost no effect. The effect of cream was much more noticeable, so I’d certainly recommend trying it for a few weeks.
So there you have it. It might not be gushing, but coming from TMWTC it’s high praise indeed. No cream can ‘cure’ eczema (sadly) but Gem’s Cream is definitely worth a try if you have occasional or seasonal flare ups and would rather not default to prescription steroids. And if you’re London-based, look Gem up at her Portobello Market stall and say hello!
Gem’s Cream is available in her standard blend and a new 100% organic blend. Prices start from £8 for 30ml.
Ingredients: [note these are taken from this page on the website and NOT listed in order of quantity as per usual] Prunus amygdalus dulcis oil, Theobroma cacao seed butter, Daucus Carota Sativa Root extract/Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil, Ferula galbaniflua resin oil, Cera alba, Pelargonium graveolens, Rosa damascena flower oil, Oenothera biennis seed oil, Citrus aurantium amara flower oil