Regina Dillard, who was inspired by her infant daughter’s skin condition to go into business for herself. Below, one of the many products sold under Dillard’s brand, Inner Sanctum Wellness. | Photos: Facebook
When Regina Dillard’s four-month-old daughter came down with a severe case of eczema, a chronic skin condition, 25 years ago, Dillard searched for alternative treatments that didn’t entail dousing her baby in chemicals.
Little Gabrielle Thomas’s skin had turned red, dry and scaly. She had dry patches on her face, shoulders, legs and arms.
“I thought what would treat eczema and dryness of the skin, but was gentle enough for babies?” Dillard recalled.
While researching her mom’s herbal book “Back to Eden,” Dillard, 48, began mixing a couple of formulas, leading her to create a healing cream that healed her daughter’s skin just within a few days.
“It was a drastic improvement. The skin began to heal itself,” said Dillard, a Proviso East High School alumna. “She’s a living witness that it works. She still uses my products to this day and treats her own children with my products.”
Since then, Dillard has expanded her self-made products into something of a cottage industry that includes other products like body butter, sea salt exfoliator, skin polish, body oils, bath and shower oils for men and women, milk baths, facial scrubs and beard oils.
She sells these as part of Inner Sanctum Wellness, her business that has been in operation for nearly a year.
“I feel honored to be the stepping stone for my mom creating her business down the line,” said the younger Thomas, who has since grown out of eczema but whose three-year-old daughter suffers from the condition.
“My mom has a really creative spirit and a go-getter personality. Whatever she sets her mind to, she does it really well and it flourishes into something more,” she said.
Customer’s favorite products include the skin polish, salt scrub, body oils, beard oils, the women’s fragrance line Ritual and the men’s fragrance line Bergamo.
Cynthia Jackson-Jones, a customer of Inner Sanctum Wellness, suffers from a herniated disc and began using Dillard’s facial scrub two years ago when the skin on her face started to become dry from taking prescription medicine to ease the pain of the herniated disc.
Jones said she had blotches of dry skin on her face and that dermatologists told her it was a side effect from the medicine.
Dillard made the facial scrub specifically for Jones, who applied the scrub to her face every night. By the fifth night, the dry patches were gone.
“I used her scrub as a preventative measure. Now, it’s part of my regimen once a week,” Jones said. “It’s the combination of oils that she puts together that helps.”
Dillard said the products will have customers smelling good, feeling good and will also give them health benefits, such as increased blood circulation.
Even though Thomas has grown out of eczema, she still suffers from dry skin. So, she’s a customer, too.
“The salt scrubs and body oils makes my skin feel soft and moisturized,” said the younger Thomas, who lives in Maywood.
Dillard creates all of her products in her production kitchen in Oak Park. Some of her secret ingredients include lavender, rosemary, frankincense and myrrh.
Lavender calms the skin, rosemary gives the skin medicinal benefits and includes antibacterial properties, and frankincense and myrrh gives the skin a youthful appearance, Dillard said.
She said that those seeking out skin treatment should never put essential oils directly on the skin, because it could irritate the skin.
“They’re always combined with a carrier oil to help soothe the skin,” Dillard said.
Dillard currently has one retail partner, Oak Park Visitors Center, 1010 Lake St. in Oak Park, where her products are being sold.
She wants to expand the business to include more retail partners and also create a wellness event where people can learn about the oils contained in the product, the benefits of using them and how they can make their own products at home.
“Without quality oil, it’s not a quality product,” Dillard said. “This will help people get on the path to help and wholeness.”
Dillard’s products sell from $10 up to $30. She also has special Valentine’s Day products selling from $15 up to $250, which include e-gift cards, the Bella-Box gift box for women and the Beau-Box gift box for men. VFP