A wee article in the Belfast Telegraph...

Carol Rowney

A nurse for over 20 years and more recently a Sister in one of Belfast's busy accident and emergency departments, Carol Rowney, from Crawfordsburn, knows first hand what nurses have to endure. And she doesn't mean the long hours. As recently as 2017, reports revealed that over 46% of nurses and other healthcare workers suffer some form of occupation-related skin dermatoses, including sanitiser and latex allergies.

Carol explains how disappointed she was with conventional treatments - and that this inspired her to explore the ingredients in nature's pharmacy. She soon came up with a balm to soothe and heal damaged skin.


Natural solutions: Carol Rowney of Mrs R’ganics
Natural solutions: Carol Rowney of Mrs R’ganics


"We take healthy skin for granted," Carol says. "I suppose, like everything, we don't notice it until something goes wrong.

"I was just 12 when I developed psoriasis so I know what it's like to live with painful, itchy skin. I spent years trying to get rid of it, taking prescription after prescription of various drugs, lotions and potions. I even had light therapy - the whole works - but nothing helped.

"In the end, fed up and worried about the long-term effect of the drugs, I began looking for a more 'natural' treatment. However, as I began inspecting labels, I was horrified by some of the 'nasties' I found and so it was time to make my own."

Carol then began researching, turning her kitchen into a science lab.

"When I cook, I work by the method of 'a handful of this and a sprinkle of that'. But essential oils can be powerful stuff so I had to follow measurements exactly. Eventually I came up with a formula that I called my 'rescue remedy balm'. There is no cure for psoriasis but I was delighted by the improvement in my skin.

"For me, the most important thing was that I had taken control of my condition and knew exactly what I was putting on my skin."

As word of her rescue remedy balm spread, people began asking Carol for help.

"I suppose my balms are the result of the stories people share with me," she says.

"But I don't make a balm if there's something else I think is just as good! For example, someone asked about an organic skin cleanser but, as I explained, there's nothing better than 100% organic coconut oil!

"One of the stories that really moved me was the problem of contact dermatitis, especially among health workers.

"For us, it's an occupational hazard and not one the public know a lot about. Honestly, the state of some of my colleagues' hands is unbelievable. The constant washing, the use of cleaning chemicals etc, takes its toll. So I decided to come up with a balm to help.

"I used an oil base infused with chickweed which is great for itch, and added chamomile and marigold which are both known to soothe pain and promote healing. The result was a lovely, light, easily absorbed product that I called Nightingale Balm - after Florence Nightingale of course!

"I never claim my products cure, but the feedback has been incredible. I like to think I'm helping to solve a problem."

As Carol's products began to sell - including balms, oils and scrubs - her company, Mrs R'ganics, was born. How did she come up with the name?

"I wanted to play up the word 'organic' because my products are 100% organic and I'm fanatical about that. I even go to an organically registered farm to pick my own chickweed, herbs and flowers. My husband Andrew, who works for the Environment Agency and is my biggest fan, gave me the nickname, Mrs R. So I put them together and, Mrs R'ganics seemed a perfect fit."

Now 50, Carol has decided to take a career break to concentrate on developing new products. So far she's added a few, including Rascal Rub for children over the age of two. But she's particularly excited about the latest research.

"Have you ever suffered from a flaky, itchy scalp?" she asks. "Well, if you had, you'd know how irritating and sore it can be. I've come up with something I think will help. Its called Sea Spray and I'm already getting great feedback. I'm very excited about this one."