Hands On

As an eczema sufferer (pompholyx, to be precise), I tend to wear gloves for most household and garden tasks. Unfortunately, wearing gloves makes my palms sweat which exacerbates the eczema. A horribly vicious, itchy circle.

That was until I discovered the wonder of white cotton gloves. And now I waft around like a 1950’s housewife! Brilliantly soft, fine, light and absorbent, I wear them alone for window cleaning and dusting. And in the garden, beneath my gardening gloves, acting as a liner between my skin and the glove. They wash brilliantly and at less than £10 for three pairs are an inexpensive solution for anyone suffering from contact dermatitis.

Obviously, there are still many tasks around the garden that I perform without gloves. And so my hands are still exposed to dirt, air, pollen etc. So my skin must still be washed regularly and moisturised.

And yes, you guessed it. Delicate flower that I am, I also react to many soaps, handwashes and hand creams. I’ve tried a myriad products over the years – those prescribed by my GP, numerous expensive, glamorous ‘brand’ names and many so-called ‘kind’ offerings, with varying degrees of success and rashes.

At Abbots Ripton Hall garden show last summer, I discovered something that has been near miraculous for my troublesome, itchy hands. In the grey drizzle of the late British summer, a cheery stall festooned with woolly sheep toys, blankets and sheepskin slippers caught my eye. Also there, displayed beautifully, were a range of soaps, hand washes and creams in simple, no-fuss packaging. Romney Marsh Wools are sheep farmers based in Kent. Their flock provides wool for knitting, for blanket weaving and for the lovely sheepskin-lined slippers and toys. A by-product of the sheep shearing is lanolin. The fleeces are washed thoroughly and during this process the wool grease (lanolin) is removed. This thick, waxy residue is the secret to these wonderful products.

On the promise that the products were ‘good for eczema’, I treated myself to a small bottle of hand lotion (£6) and the wool fat soap (£3). Both are, quite simply, brilliant. Rich, hydrating and supremely gentle. And a little goes a very long way, so they last for ages. I’ve only just finished my bottle of lovely, lightly lemon-scented hand lotion and am about to place another order for a larger bottle and some more soap and possibly the shampoo. I might treat myself to some new fluffy slippers too…

100% British. 100% not tested on animals. 100% wonderful.




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