Natural living: son's cure prompts mum to open shop

AN Axminster woman was inspired to set up a shop of organic beauty products following her son's illness.

AN Axminster woman was inspired to set up a shop of organic beauty products following her son's illness.The owner of Essential Beauty in Milton's Yard, Sandra Ryton, started her son Jack on a chemical-free life while he was recovering from septicaemia.Jack fell ill after a urinary infection when he was one year-old, but two years later he had still failed to make a full recovery.Sandra believes that changing his diet to an organic one, and using bathing products with natural ingredients, helped him to get better.She said: "When we took Jack to hospital he had turned blue and was unconscious in my arms the whole way. I knew he was dying. Fortunately, there was an A and E paediatrician on site who acted quickly."But this was the start of our two-year journey. Jack would sometimes spend two weeks in hospital at a time and we didn't know what was wrong with him. So I thought what can I do as a mother to make him better?"While changing his diet was simple, Sandra found moving to baby products without chemicals was more challenging.Many toiletries contain chemicals - such as sodium lauryl sulphate, which is often found in shampoo. The ingredient is a detergent and foaming agent, also used in car wash.Opinions are divided about the use of such chemicals - with one party claiming they have adverse side affects and others saying appropriate levels are safe to use.But chemicals have been linked to problems such as cancers, hormone problems and skin irritations.Sandra also considers parabenes and alcohol, often used in skin creams, to be aging."I'm not a scientist or a doctor," she said. "But I think there's a very serious link with chemicals in products to various conditions." Jack, who is now 10, recovered after the lifestyle changes were made and soon the whole family were following suit. One of four children, Sandra believes the changes also helped with Jack's eczema. She said: "It's not a miracle cure but I believe people should do research and make an informed choice."Essential Beauty opened on January 1. For further information, visit the store off West Street or call (01297) 639700.