Tell us a little about yourself! Background, career, business?
My name is Mariah, and I am the Founder of Minty + ReliePH Skincare. After graduating from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a bachelor's degree in business management, I became enthralled by entrepreneurship and philanthropy. I soon began conceptualizing a plant-rich skincare brand that would help those with sensitive, eczema prone skin, like myself.
When did you start noticing you had sensitive skin/eczema? Was it something you were born with or did it come about as you grew older?
My eczema became prevalent my sophomore year of college. I first noticed it on my scalp and around my temples. I had itchy bumps and blisters on my edges, and it eventually spread to the very top part of my face, my neck, and on both hands. The eczema flare-ups would wake me up in the middle of the night. I scratched so much to the point I started bleeding. I remember getting so frustrated I would cry! Additionally, I had a tumor removed from my stomach when I was 13 and less than a year after my operation, I noticed I was having digestive issues. Foods I grew up eating were suddenly making me feel extremely sick. I dealt with the stomach problems for a while before I went to see a doctor, and by that time I noticed how bad my eczema had gotten.
What has helped you calm flare-ups? Any particular practice, medication, ointment, cream?
After years of struggling with digestion, bloating, and cramps, I decided to change my eating habits. I eventually switched to a plant-based, gluten-free diet and noticed results within months. While I still have mild flare-ups if I touch a “trigger” (which might happen once or twice a year), they are not nearly as painful or itchy as before. Adjusting what I ate definitely helped keep my eczema calm. Also, using the products from my Minty + ReliePH collection has also helped keep my eczema at bay. These are the only products that I use to moisturize my body, as a spot treatment, and on my scalp! They really do work WONDERS! I have not used any other products in years because of how sensitive my skin is.
Do you know what your triggers are?
I primarily suffer from contact dermatitis. If I touch a certain type of dog, both of my hands will get red, itchy blisters within minutes. Using certain shampoos, conditioners, and curling products will also cause my eczema to flare on my hands, scalp and neck. I’m not too sure which ingredient is causing the eczema, but it is typically found in one of those products. I also get itchy when there is a lot of dust. Certain plants/trees will also make me react. Wool fabric is definitely a trigger for me as well, along with nickel metal! Synthetically fragranced products are a NO-NO for me too. To be honest, when you have eczema, any and everything can be a trigger! But it is really good to know what they are.
What advice would you give another eczema warrior?
My advice is to stay PATIENT! Easier said than done, trust me I know. Do not be afraid of consulting a dermatologist. If speaking with a dermatologist does not help, reach out to people within your eczema community. There are SO many of us who have tried various products and practices to get our eczema to calm down, and one of our methods might work for you. Its OKAY to try multiples things to find a solution. IF you can stay away from steroids, please do. But understand that steroids might be necessary for a small amount of time. I was on steroids for months, but once I started transitioning my life to “natural and plant-based”, I stopped using them and created my own products. To be honest, the steroids did not help me very much. My flare-ups were still AWFUL while I was on it. Try to find out what your triggers are! Whether its food, stress, clothing, animals, or environment. I highly recommend doing an allergy test and elimination diet.