Eczema helped this entrepreneur build a skincare brand In 2017, Gugulethu Ntombela was diagnosed with eczema. Already feeling excluded from the beauty and skincare industry, the diagnosis pushed her to start Ngwedi Beauty.

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“The emotion that inspired me to make my own skincare products was frustration. I was not finding the right products for my chronically dry skin in the shops,” says Ntombela. At the time of her diagnosis, she thought she was having an allergic reaction. She used medical creams containing cortisone, but these never worked for her.

Ntombela credits nature for her healing and says we all come from nature. It only made sense to her, then, that she turn to Mother Nature to heal her skin.

‘My skin, my armour’

Skin conditions like eczema and acne are some of the most common conditions that exacerbate skin and beauty insecurities. For the 25-year-old Ntombela, it was no different.

“I didn’t have much self-confidence when the breakouts got bad,” she says.

“I just wanted the eczema gone so I could feel comfortable in my own skin. I reached a point where I had to make my own skin products because I didn’t have a choice and my saving grace was my body butter.”

She adds, “After the first time I used whipped shea butter. That became the standard way I used shea butter on my skin. My friends and family started to notice the health and glow in my skin and would ask what I was using.”

While others may find it challenging to experiment with their skin and hair, her journey has been one of self-discovery.

“It was all a great and fun experiment, I tested my products on my own skin and that of my loved ones,” she says.

Shea trees are native to West Africa, and most shea butter still comes from that region. For Ntombela, the butter was a saving grace.

“After realising that the base ingredient, shea butter, worked for my skin I tried numerous other oils on my skin and stuck to the best ones. And ever since I used shea butter, I never looked back. It healed my skin and moisturised it well.”

To read more on Ntombela, click here.

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