Actress and presenter Nadia Sawalha has gained an army of fans from her honest approach on lunchtime show Loose Women. The star says it like it is, and that's why we all love her. Nadia always looks so radiant on the show alongside panellists such as Andrea McClean, Coleen Nolan and Stacey Solomon. But while her beauty look appears flawless on screen, the mum-of-two actually battles a common skin condition behind the scenes, that of severe eczema.
We spoke to Nadia about her experience of eczema, which she told us has, at times, made her want to hide away at home. It has also affected her TV work in the past; once Nadia had to fly home from filming in Ibiza after her skin became painful after time in the sun. Thankfully, she has now found a treatment approach that works for her and has teamed up with Cetraben, a Natural Oatmeal Cream for eczema-prone skin.
Nadia reveals that her eczema started years ago and one of her worst 'blow-ups' occurred just after her daughter, now 16, was born. "It got so bad that I had no skin at all on my hands," she remembers. "I would have to go into work with my face totally blown up."
She adds: "For me, it was emotional. It was a real shock after having my baby. I was an older mum, I wasn't really coping very well with it and I was newly married." The presenter had another major blow up of eczema on her face when her husband's nan died two Christmases ago.
Nadia remembers another bad eczema experience was when she was filming City Hospital Live. She recalls: "It's a very early call on that show; I think you're in makeup at 4am. I had a massive blow up overnight. There was no way I could go sick because they would have had no one for the show, but I couldn't put a single bit of makeup on my face. My face was swollen and my eyes were like currants. I did the opening piece in the foyer and some of the patients were coming down and saying, 'I'm glad you're alright' - and some of these people are terminal. That's how awful it looked."
Nadia has discovered that stress is one of her triggers for her eczema, along with diet and dry skin. "Doctors have checked me and there was very little they could do," she says. "Eventually I took a completely holistic approach."
The star cut down on wheat and dairy in her diet and noticed a huge difference in her skin. She reveals: "I do eat wheat but if I were to eat wheat every single day, I know I'm going to start getting really itchy hands or it might come up on my face. The biggest things are stress, tiredness and to keep moisturising. I moisturise three times a day with Cetraben cream. If your skin is dry it's going to be so much worse."
The presenter continues: "I have so much sympathy for people with skin complaints because people really recoil. They say, 'What's that? Are you alright?' People don't realise, it's really hurtful. It's a very emotional thing for people when they have a skin condition."
Makeup can be tricky for Nadia and she's careful about which products she uses. "I use Clinique and a foundation by It from Boots," she tells us. "But what works for one person might not work for another. Always do a skin test for 24 hours before. Go in and ask for a sample so you can be sure. If you buy an expensive foundation and your face blows up, it's a nightmare."
On her skincare routine, Nadia reveals: "I am very slapdash, I have to say. I know you're not supposed to use wipes but I do. I use Simple eye makeup remover, a Simple cleanser and the Cetraben cream three times daily."
Nadia is working with Cetraben, the first eczema-prone skin care range to be approved by the British Skin Foundation. Nadia uses brand new Cetraben Natural Oatmeal Cream containing colloidal oats to soothe and rehydrate her skin, £8.99 from Boots.
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