Acne – a four-letter word that is no stranger to teenagers and even adults. Acne is not just about the pain and marks left behind. Since acne can harm one’s emotional health, for many people, it has an impact beyond just their appearance. While the war against acne continues, one woman has triumphed after a 14-year struggle and innumerable attempts and experiments to beat the condition by developing a skincare line that has provided relief to many acne patients, as well as herself.
Meet Jasmine Kang, an “Acne Fighter” and founder of the skincare line, Skinlycious. The 14 years of battle Jasmine had with acne inspired her to design and produce the best acne treatment on the market. With a background in biomedicine and pharmaceuticals, she sought doctors’ expertise to help the creation of her acne-fighting treatment line. And thus, Skinlycious was born in 2013.
Since its founding, Skinlycious has benefited countless acne sufferers and generated healthy revenue, with Jasmine still behind the wheel. She recently shared with Lipstiq her experience on developing Skinlycious from the start, what it’s like to be a “mompreneur,” and her advice for all teenagers and adults who battle acne:
1. Did you struggle mentally and emotionally because of acne? If so, how did you deal with it?
Yes, definitely. When my cystic acne was really bad during my teen years, I refused to take pictures and I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror. When I had to go out, I would avoid eye contact and try to hide. I was pretty chubby then and my self-esteem was really rock-bottom. It was only in university, when I had Accutane and my big red cystic acne was gone, that I had a bit more confidence. Although Accutane got rid of my big cystic acne, I was left with bumpy/textured skin but I could live with that. It’s way better than the red, huge, pus-filled bumps. I took up belly dancing and that changed my life. I lost weight and through belly dancing, I learnt to accept myself for who I am and got back some of my lost confidence. I even had a troupe where we performed in RWS and in gigs.
2. How do you manage your time, being a mum and a researcher?
I would say I’m a mum first, then an entrepreneur/ researcher. It’s common for entrepreneurs to “brag” about how little sleep they get, like it’s a badge of honour. With limited funds and being a solopreneur initially, I used to think I would have to work hard to bring Skinlycious to greater heights as quickly as I could. After I had my firstborn, I realized I’m not superwoman.
I was so tired that I fell asleep while driving! I never imagined this was possible. I remember pinching and slapping myself to keep myself awake, and the next moment I knew, I heard the rustling sound of broken twigs and leaves. My car was scraping the bushes planted along the divider. I got a rude shock and woke up. My baby was still asleep in his infant seat at the back. I realised how I could have gotten both of us killed.
I was steaming my firstborn’s puree, and I fell asleep while putting him down for a nap. Hubby came home and smelt something burning. My Combi silicon bowl and spoon actually melted in the pot! I can’t imagine what could have happened if he had worked late that day. After two terrible accidents, I no longer give myself tight deadlines. That’s also the reason why I decided not to accept investors’ funding, as I knew that I would not be able to work at my own pace anymore.
During this period, while I was working on Skinlycious, I also went through 5 pregnancies and developed Adenomyosis. Sometimes, when I look at the numbers my entrepreneur friends are making, and how they have grown so much over the years, and then I look at my pace of growth, I honestly get embarrassed by it. But for the sake of my health and kids, I have to pace myself out. Entrepreneurship is a marathon, not a sprint.
3. How long does it take to see results when using Skinlycious’ products?
If you have acne, within 5 days of using our starter kit, you should experience less redness, less oiliness and existing acne getting smaller. Many, including myself, experience glow exfoliant reducing our pimples with just one application. For totally clear skin and new acne to stop popping up, it generally takes 2-3 months as a skin cell’s cycle is 28 days. Patience is needed.
4. Will Skinlycious’ products help treat post-acne scars?
It depends on what kind of post-acne scars you are talking about. Unfortunately, we can’t really help the pitted scars, but we can help lighten those red/brown marks, which are post-inflammatory hyperpigmentations (PIH). Our two spot correctors, Glow Exfoliant and Clarifying Serum, can help to lighten PIH, though I find Clarifying Serum helps to lighten PIH faster. I often get PIH when I get cuts or scratches. When I don’t apply anything, these brown marks can stay on for 3 weeks and still don’t lighten. But once I apply Clarifying Serum, it lightens very quickly. Within a week, the PIH are gone. Here’s a testimonial video:
5. Can Skinlycious’ products be combined with other skincare product brands/ingredients in one’s regimen?
Yes, of course you can, if you know how to mix and match ingredients – but there are certain ingredients we won’t recommend using with our spot correctors. Some examples are retinols or even some prescription creams like tretinoin creams. But we can guide/recommend you on how to incorporate such prescription creams with our products, as some doctors only give the prescription creams, but don’t provide the other skincare like cleansers and hydrators, which are crucial too. I have tried quite a few doctors and have used many types of prescription creams when I had acne.
6. Can someone not facing acne issues use Skinlycious’ products, or are they specifically made for those with acne?
Yes, you can! Skinlycious is suitable for all skin types because our range is focused on building up the skin’s natural barrier, reviving and maintaining healthy, glowing skin. But we focus on acne-prone and sensitive skin because of (my personal struggle with acne), and these are the group of people who have the greatest difficulty in finding suitable skincare. Even after acne is cleared, our acne-fighters, including myself, continue to use Skinlycious to maintain clear, smooth skin. Who doesn’t want clear, glowing, smooth skin?
We also do not use essential oils, colorants, artificial fragrances, etc., that are known to have allergens that might irritate sensitive skin. We are a clean beauty brand. We use science-backed, natural and naturally-derived ingredients in our products. We also cater to normal to dry skin. With our hydrating serum, barrier booster moisturiser and balancing facial oil, you can customise your moisturiser with these 3 products to find your own optimal/ideal water and oil balance. Here’s a video to explain how you can do that, and how to know you have achieved the perfect water and oil balance:
7. Will there be any side effects if a product’s use is discontinued?
I won’t call them side effects, but acne might recur. The thing is, we need to understand the basis of why we get acne. Like me, who is genetically-prone to acne, scientists have discovered that our skin cell turnover is slower than normal skin, hence our skin tends to clog up more easily, developing acne. I need to use Glow Exfoliant regularly to exfoliate my skin (2-3 times a week in the evening), otherwise my little bumps/textured skin comes back. Likewise, when we get older, our skin cell turnover slows down, hence our skin loses the glow. By exfoliating, it helps to revive glowing skin. If vegetables are good for you, why would you stop eating vegetables? That applies to skincare too.
8. What makes your products unique compared to other acne products?
All our products are formulated and tested by acne fighters. I have tested ingredients that have good data in research papers, but when I tried them, they made me break out. The worst was an encapsulated salicylic acid that is released slowly and is supposedly less irritating. That really gave me a bad breakout.
We only have acne-fighting ingredients in our 2 spot correctors. The rest of the range is formulated to build up our skin’s natural barrier. Many other brands put acne-fighting ingredients in their whole line, drying up the skin excessively. We don’t have acne on our whole face! This destroys the skin barrier, hence we see many hard-core acne fighters having very weak skin barriers and sensitive skin after years of using harsh acne products. That was me in the past too!
Our whole range is purposefully formulated to complement one another with different skin-loving ingredients in each product to give different complementary benefits. Many other brands find one star ingredient and put it into their whole range of products. Something which I find unnecessary, because in Skinlycious, each ingredient has been put in optimal concentration already.
We have tried and tested plans (Plan A and Plan B) depending on your cause of acne. We also have recommended skincare routines based on age and needs. We also don’t offer toners in our range because as a formulator, I know active ingredients in toners are not as concentrated as serums. Hence, we advocate double cleansing and using serums. I don’t believe and use toners, hence I don’t offer them in Skinlycious.
9. Who or what inspired you to go this far? Was there anyone specific who supported you in pursuing your goals?
I had to come up with my own skincare line as so many skincare products on the market made my skin oily, leading to breakouts. Every positive review, the smiles, thank yous and the transformations of fellow acne fighters keeps me motivated and going. My parents are my biggest supporters. They have unconditionally supported me emotionally, financially, in whatever way they can. Since young, my dad always says to me: “Just try!” We ventured into the Chinese market last year, and decided to pull out recently, as things are not going the way we were expecting. I would say I’ve failed in my first try into China’s market, and incurred quite a bit of losses. But my parents were ever so encouraging. I just feel so blessed to have them!
10. Besides using Skinlycious, what other advice would you give users to achieve clearer skin?
These are my top 8 tips for clearer skin. It’s really all about being more self-aware and knowing your own acne triggers.
11. Are there any upcoming products in the pipeline?
Not in the near future, as we are focusing on marketing now. It took 8 years of R&D to come up with a complete range of essential skincare that I’m truly happy with for acne-prone and sensitive skin. But the next product I would like to make is an East meet West supplement for acne, so that I can enjoy durians without getting breakouts. I still get acne when I eat my trigger foods, like spicy food, durian, peanuts. Essentially, in Traditional Chinese Medicine, those “heaty” foods affect the liver. I’m also sure a supplement like that would help a lot of people clear their acne faster than just by using skincare.
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