A mum has spoken of her horror after a photographer suggested “airbrushing" her son's eczema, because his skin looked so livid when the family posed for a professional shoot.
Diagnosed with the itchy, red, dry and cracked skin condition just after his first birthday, Jack Todd, now three, was treated with a number of steroid creams by his mum, Emma Nunn, 24, of Medstead, Hampshire, to no avail.
As a result, claims handler Emma says she and his stepdad Jordan Arif, 28, who works in recruitment, attracted stares when they took Jack out, adding: “Other parents would ask what it was on his face, if he was contagious and if their little one might end up picking something up."
She continued: “You would hear them saying things like, 'Stay away from that little boy.' Then you would hear children saying, 'What's that on his face? It doesn't look very nice.'
“I can appreciate why parents might react like that, but getting asked these questions was not very pleasant for me."
But the worst moment came for Emma and Jordan when they decided to have some family photos taken with Jack, in December 2017, after he had been suffering from eczema for about six months.
“After the shoot, the photographer asked if we'd like his skin edited and it just broke my heart," she recalled.
“He looked so happy in those photos and I didn't know why anyone would want to airbrush him.
“I actually ended up walking out telling the people at the studio, 'We're not doing business with you.'"
Jack before with eczema on his face and a week after using Childs Farm (PA REAL LIFE/COLLECT)
Jack had been just a baby when, shortly after his first birthday in July 27, 2017, he started to develop red, sore patches on his face and a few weeks later on his legs and arms.
“It looked like the skin condition impetigo," Emma said. “I took him to see the doctor pretty much straight away and he was prescribed different steroid creams, but none of them worked, or if they did it would be for a very short period of time. We were back and forth to the surgery sometimes every couple of weeks.
“It was awful for him, he was just sore and itchy. I'd have to use a lot of distraction techniques to try and make sure he didn't scratch it.
“He tried to smile through it all but it made him quite miserable."
I would take him to my friend's house to play with other children or to the park, but avoided any environment where he would be so close to other people,
As eczema which, according to the NHS, causes the skin to become itchy, red, dry and cracked, is regarded as a long-term condition without a clear cause, Emma was worried that little Jack would never beat it.
For about 18 months, when it was at its worst, she avoided taking him to soft play and other playgroups, so he did not face cruel comments, and she did not have to explain to staff that his skin condition was not contagious.
“I would take him to my friend's house to play with other children or to the park, but avoided any environment where he would be so close to other people," she said.
Jack with eczema on his face (PA REAL LIFE/COLLECT)
But their luck changed when, in January 2018, shortly after the disastrous photoshoot, Emma pleaded on social media for help in finding something that could treat her son.
To her amazement, people started recommending Childs Farm to her – a simple moisturiser for children costing just £4.50 for 250ml.
Emma said: “I'd heard of the company and wrote to them asking if they could help and they sent over some samples."
Jack with eczema on his leg (PA REAL LIFE/COLLECT)
Emma recalled: “I thought it would be worth a go, so we did a patch test, then tried it on his sore bits. Within a week we'd had a really good result. It looked less red and sore.
“Then, within two months, it had gone completely and it's been like that ever since.
“We still use the cream every morning and night. Jack does it himself as part of his routine."
Jack after (PA REAL LIFE/COLLECT)
“He's so much happier now. I took him to soft play at the weekend and he was completely himself and totally confident, so I don't worry about him at all anymore," she added.
Hailing the cream a “miracle," Emma says she can no longer imagine life without it.
She added: “I don't know what we would have done without it. It's so nice to take him out and not feel like people are pitying him anymore."
Jack after (PA REAL LIFE/COLLECT)
And Joanna Jensen, CEO and founder of Childs Farm, is delighted that the cream has improved Jack's quality of life.
She said: “To know that our products have helped this little boy be happy in his skin and to start exploring the world with confidence is fantastic."