My journey into the world of natural skincare products began with my sister Wendy.
When Wendy was forced to leave her nursing job due to an acute case of eczema, I decided to take matters into my own hands.
I could see there were already plenty of moisturising treatments available on the market but I didn’t know what the long term effect of the chemical ingredients would be. This concerned me. Surely there had to be a more natural and effective alternative?
Armed with nothing more than a bowl and a blender, I took to the kitchen, bathroom and garden in the hopes of finding suitable ingredients that I could use to make a moisturiser. Lo and behold I found plenty and the winning combination became:
- Lavender, sweet orange, shea nut butter, witch hazel, jojoba and grapeseed oil from the bathroom cabinet
- Chamomile, sesame oil and olive oil from the kitchen shelf
- Aloe vera plucked fresh from the garden
With my first concoction ready to go, it was time to put it to the test. I took it to my workplace at the time, the coffee shop at the Royal Brisbane Hospital, and there I handed out sample pots to hospital staff. It was a hit because it helped to heal their dermatitis. Soon enough I was spending every weekend making up to 20 pots of my healing cream and selling to the nurses.
Despite such quick success, it wasn’t until I tuned in to watch a late night martial arts show one evening that I decided to take the cream to the retail market. While I was watching the television that night, three brilliant letters blared at me through the television set: XMA – short for extreme martial arts. Bingo – a light went on in my head. “XMA…xma…eczema!” I immediately trademarked it. To this day people love saying the name XMA.
I continued making the cream at home for over a year before a move to England prompted me to take it to the next level. News of my impending departure quickly travelled around the hospital. One day one of the nurses came to me and said, “Have a look at my hands.” To me they just looked normal; then she said, “My hands have never been this good. What am I going to do if you move to England? How will I get the cream?”
From that moment on I knew what I had to do. I told her not to worry.
Nervously, I approached the owner of the hospital pharmacy to ask if he would stock the cream for the staff. To my delight he said yes! The largest hospital in the Southern Hemisphere was about to become the first retail outlet for XMA.
With my first stockist under my belt, I began to research my competition. There was only one other eczema treatment on the market in Australia that used natural ingredients and I was to be the second.
With ingredients like chamomile to calm redness, witch hazel to strengthen capillaries, anti-itch favourites – aloe vera and lavender, Vit E for tissue repair and Vit C for cellular renewal it’s easy to see why the cream was helping people with eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis.
Getting the business running over the next few years was an uphill battle filled with lawyers, manufacturers and Therapeutic Goods Association approval.
Fortunately, today is a different story. Since the humble beginnings of XMA in 2002, the business has become one of the most popular eczema treatment companies in Australia and was a Finalist in the 2016 Small Business Champions. Helen’s Skin Therapy is now recognised as being in the top 12 for Health Improvement Services in Australia specializing in transdermal skincare products for eczema, acne and arthritis.
Aviation Hydration, an additional brand, has been gifted to celebrities at the Logies, Emmys, Golden Globes and Oscars. XMA has grown into an International business, proving that natural medicines can be just as effective – if not more so – than their chemical filled counterparts.