Mum who became a recluse after allergic reaction led to sore and flaky skin says cream ‘helped me get my life back'
A new mum who became reclusive after an allergic reaction to hair dye sparked a flare-up of flaky skin, resulting in painful, sore patches across her face as she battled steroid withdrawal, said she thought she “would be stuck like that forever” before finding a life-changing cure.
Alexandra Maguire, 29, an office supervisor from Manchester, says anxiety over her red, itchy skin got “so bad” that she got to the point where she avoided leaving the house for fear of “being stared at” by strangers.
Since finding a high street cure in Balmonds Skin Salvation, Alexandra’s skin has started to recover, and she said she has regained her self-confidence.
Alexandra, who lives with her husband, William, 29, a grounds worker, and their two-year-old daughter, Ivy, said: “I was going through topical steroid withdrawal (TSW) on my face and neck for nearly five months before I found Balmonds Skin Salvation.
“I started using the Skin Salvation on both my face and neck morning and night and I can honestly say it’s the only product I have found that has helped my TSW and that I’ve not been allergic to.
“I was so low when my skin was at its worst and I was at a point where I didn’t think anything would work and I would be stuck like that forever.
“Now I feel like I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, my skin is healing and I feel like I can socialise and leave the house again.
“The cream has helped me get my life back and, after a terrible few months, I finally feel like myself again.”
Alexandra’s ordeal with her skin first started after dyeing her hair in September 2022.
She said: “I’ve had sensitive skin all my life, but it wasn’t until I dyed my hair that my face got really bad. I got my hair dyed one day last September when a bit of hair dye ended up on my skin and I had an allergic reaction to it, which just didn’t heal.
“I went to the doctors, and they prescribed me steroids which I used for about five weeks but didn’t see any improvement.”
Going cold turkey on the steroid cream, Alexandra’s face swelled and started to flake.
She added: “My skin went bright red, and it was so dry that it began to flake.
“It was itchy, sore, and I had cracked, bleeding skin.”
Embarrassed, Alexandra began to avoid leaving the house as she feared people would look at her.
She also could not face going to work and went on sick leave as her skin condition grew worse.
“It got to a point where I worried that this was how it was going to be for the rest of my life, which was just horrible,” she said.
“Dropping my daughter off at nursery every day became a nightmare and I’d have panic attacks because I didn’t want anyone to look at me.
“I wouldn’t go to any family events and it really affected my work too.”
Alexandra said she began suffering from sleepless nights and, after searching online, she realised she was suffering from topical steroid withdrawal (TSW).
TSW is a reaction that can occur after prolonged steroid use, with symptoms including redness of the skin which can extend beyond the initial area treated, a burning or stinging sensation, intense itching, peeling of the skin, and oozing open sores.
Alexandra said: “I just got into a horrible state of mind.
“I tried going private and spent over £1,000 on appointments and a further £700 on allergy testing, which is how I discovered that I’m allergic to hair dye.
“But it still didn’t solve the problem with my skin.”
After searching online, Alexandra found Balmonds through a YouTube video in March 2023.
Taking the recommendation from social media influencer Michaela Warne, the mother of one bought the Balmonds Skin Salvation cream.
To her shock, within a month, Alexandra’s face started to clear.
She said: “I couldn’t believe how well it had worked, my skin is nearly back to normal now – it’s improved so much since I first started using it in March.”
Alexandra now swears by the cream, using it twice a day as part of her skincare routine.
“I use the hand cream on my hands and feet because I still have eczema on my feet. In the morning, after I’ve used a cleansing oil, I’ll put on the Balmonds Skin Salvation cream and again at night-time before bed,” she said.
Now back at work, Alexandra said that the biggest difference has been in her self-confidence, with friends and family noticing a huge improvement in her moods since her skin cleared.
She said: “I feel so much better now. When I think about it, I’m shocked that was actually me. I can’t believe what a rollercoaster it’s been, I felt so lost, especially when nothing was working for my skin.
“During my skin issues, I found a TSW Facebook group and asked questions on it and people were really helpful.
“But now I definitely feel like I’m back to myself again, which is really nice for me and my family.”