Whether you’re an acne fighter or an acne survivor, you’ll agree that the battle is not an easy one. Just one bump on our skin will take our confidence down several notches. For Jasmine Kang, her own battle with acne was described as a treacherous one but she took that experience and built Skinlycious. Years of research and basing her own experience into the brand, the brand empowers the fight and has helped many on their journey to better, clearer skin.

Skinlycious is not just another brand that fights acne. It is the result of years of research and development, as well as real-life experiences of acne sufferers. The skincare line provides products and regimens personalised to your acne requirements and is designed to address skin difficulties in people of all ages, from teenagers to adults. Discover more about the brand, and the inspiring journey behind its founder, Jasmine Kang, in our exclusive interview with her.

Jasmine Kang, Founder of Skinlycious

Who is Jasmine Kang?

A mother of two young kids and an entrepreneur who is passionate about helping others achieve healthy clear skin. I barely have much me time left but, I do set aside time for bellydance, Zumba and badminton. I started bellydancing in my Uni days and it helped me to learn to love myself for who I am and regained some confidence that I’ve lost when I struggled with acne. When I was younger, I used to perform in gigs with my troupe and here is one of our troupe piece. My first business was actually a bellydance costume business but it’s too tough to do a handicraft business, so I gave that up.

How did your journey to building Skinlycious begin and what inspired that first step?
It really started when my husband got posted overseas for work and I became a trailing spouse. I had spare time and that’s when I decided to start a business. Prior to starting my own skincare, I was using a calamine cleanser and a salicylic acid spot treatment from an old dermatologist and a hydrating serum from my aesthetic dr. That was the only serum I could use as a moisturiser and I’m selling at 1/3 the aesthetic doctor’s price!
I was actually afraid that I have no cleanser and spot treatment to use should the dermatologist stops his practice. We worked with the dermatologist for 1.5 years before he passed away.
The calamine cleanser, a.k.a. Calming Cleanser and salicylic acid spot treatment, a.k.a Glow Exfoliant was learnt from this dermatologist and we’ve since refined them over the years to be free of nasties but yet retaining their efficacy. 

When you first started having acne, how did you deal with it? Did you have any guidance?
There weren’t really any guidance. My mum I were just trying different remedies.
When I first started having acne, it wasn’t that serious. My mum used traditional home-made remedies like the pearl powder, hazeline, green tea, honey etc coupled with drug store anti-acne products and when these didn’t work, we also tried more expensive skincare brands.
As it got worse, we even signed a thousand over dollar facial package only for me to go for two sessions and forfeited the whole package as it was so painful during extraction and after every facial, my face was swollen and red. Their in-house skincare was also so expensive.
Then, we progressed to GPs and had antibiotics, prescription creams, and it didn’t help. Then, I progressed to take Accutane for 6 months. Accutane helped to get rid of my big cystic acne but I was still left with textured/bumpy skin, which are whiteheads(a form of acne). I also had procedures like chemical peels, microdermabrasion, laser, etc, done by drs but I learnt that nothing beats a good skincare routine that suits your skin. That’s what ultimately got rid of my acne for good.
That’s why you can see that we have specific clear skin plans and systems to guide users how to identify what ingredients suit them and how to identify their acne triggers, so that they can stop wasting time and money trying different ways to get rid of their acne.

We also have suggested skincare routines based on age groups as I didn’t know how to build a good skincare routine when I was younger.

As someone who has suffered from acne, what was the one message that you wanted to deliver through Skinlycious?

Don’t lose hope. Clear, smooth glowing skin is possible.
This is coming from someone who has suffered from acne for 14 years and has also seen many hard-core acne fighters, who have struggled with acne for decades, achieve clear skin with Skinlycious. An example, Joanne struggled with acne since her teens and finally found her solution with us at the age of 40.

Were there any challenges you faced when building Skinlycious?
I’ve been science-trained from college all the way to University, graduating with a B.Sc in Biomedical Science, without having any business background. Even then with science background, I wasn’t able to fully grasp the natural/organic skincare ingredients. I then took a Diploma in Organic Skincare Formulation, so that I could use both science and natural ingredients to create products that represent the best of both worlds.
With limited funds and knowledge, it has been a steep learning curve. I was really quite bad at branding, marketing and managing a business initially. When I first started, my website was not responsive, we didn’t even have a brand story, etc. Different country has different regulation for beauty and it took me a while to figure things out. Skinlycious has come a long way and we are still iterating. 

What is the one thing that you’ve seen yourself accomplish through Skinlycious that you are most proud of?
It’s helping a small group of acne fighters who are suffering from acne due to sensitive skin. I know that this group of acne fighters would not have clear skin that easily because they would just be trying different acne-fighting products but what they really need is to lay off any acne-fighting ingredients and build up their skin barrier.
I never knew acne could be caused by extreme sensitive skin as my acne was due to clogged pores. It was until I was formulating a makeup remover, which is now Soothing Cleansing Gel, that I realized that by putting in higher concentrations of the soothing extracts, it actually helped to clear one fellow acne fighter’s acne. A lower concentration of the Soothing Cleansing Gel didn’t help her. Since then, we have seen more successful case with our Plan B that includes Soothing Cleansing Gel.
Skinlycious has evolved from just satisfying my personal need to a collaborative effort with fellow acne fighters. The products, the plans, the systems are all the collective knowledge of thousands of acne fighters.

Growing up, we’re certain that the chatter around acne isn’t as supportive as it is today. Why do you think it’s important spread acne positivity?
Yes, definitely. There isn’t even such a word as acne positivity. Many of us who suffer from acne has low self-esteem and it affects our social life. I even had suicidal thoughts. Spreading acne positivity helps gives courage and also to let fellow acne fighters know that we are not alone. You never know when such a message would uplift someone who’s struggling bad at that moment. We’ve had customers telling us how depressed they are and we became their aunty agony and try to encourage them to look at their other strengths and let them know that there’s hope. Don’t give up.

As a momprenuer, how do you connect what you do with your brand to how you raise your little ones?
I teach my kids not to judge people by appearance. Having heard unkind comments when I struggled with acne, I always teach them not to say anything unkind and to put themselves in other’s people shoes. Would they like it if someone said that to them. If no, then don’t say it. And of course, I also teach my eldest, who’s 8 year old to take care of his skin. He saw how bad my acne was from photos and is conscious to wash his face, so that he doesn’t get pimples.

As the movement towards acne positivity grows, is there any advice you would like to give to the moms out there who are struggling to support their teenagers through their acne experience?
I think it’s not just moms with teens that struggle with acne, it’s every parent that can teach their kids to be kind.
For moms who have teens with acne, try not to nag. Encourage but not force. Be generous with praises and it doesn’t even have to be outlook. It could be the kid’s other strengths. Emphasize the good of the kid to bring up their self-esteem.

What is the most interesting finding about skincare that you’ve discovered so far?
The most interesting discovery is that so many common skincare ingredients at the “wrong” concentration triggers my skin to be oilier. I never knew that until I had the privilege to test ingredients right down to the concentrations.
I even split my face into 4 to test the different concentrations on my skin. If the concentration is not right, my skin will become very oily. A lot of surfactants(cleansing agents make my skin very oily and it was quite hard to formulate cleansers that don’t disturb my skin’s balance.
However, when my friends with normal skin tested some of the formulations that made my skin oily, they told me that their skin is ok. That’s why acne-prone skin is different and having the formulator with acne-prone skin to formulate and test is crucial.
By far, the Mineral sunscreen was the hardest to make as I’ve spent 1.5 years breaking out before finally finding a formulation free of chemical screens that doesn’t clog my pores.
This also explains why I had so much difficulty achieving acne-free skin when I was using products from other brands. My skin could never achieve balance and was always oily. Now, with using Skinlycious full range, my skin is balanced, normal and glowing, solving acne at the root cause
It doesn’t only work just for acne-prone skin. Anybody with oily skin will benefit with a balanced skin. Ryan does not have acne now but very oily skin. As man, he doesn’t use anything more than a cleanser. Once he switched to our cleanser, his skin is no longer oily.

Where do you see Skinlycious heading in the near future?
In the near future, we are focused on increasing brand awareness to help more fellow acne fighters. In the past, I have been focused on the formulations and I would say the products are perfect now, at least for me. The plans and system we have in place to help fellow acne fighters to achieve clear skin have also proven to help many cut short their time and effort to identify what works for them as everybody is different. It has been affirmed with the many positive reviews and life-changing stories we heard from our customers.

My longer term vision is to be the trusted one-stop shop for acne-prone and sensitive skin offering skincare, acne supplement and makeup. A safe space for this group of people where they know if they purchase anything from Skinlycious, the likelihood of breaking out is extremely low.
I took 8 years of R&D to come up with a complete range of essential skincare for acne-prone and sensitive skin. But I’ve not fulfilled the needs for this group yet.
A lot of makeup products make me breakout. Not just foundation! I even had pimples in my eyebrows after trying out a new eyebrow pencil. Hence, I would come up with makeup for acne-prone and sensitive skin.
I still get acne when I eat my trigger food, like spicy food, durian, peanuts. Essentially, in TCM, those “heaty” food that affects the liver. I would like to make an east meet west supplement for acne, so that I can enjoy durians without getting breakouts. I’m also sure a supplement like that will help a lot of people clear their acne faster than just by using skincare.