Most people develop acne upon hitting puberty, and deal with going through an awkward phase till their skin matures and settles down.
But this ordeal isn’t as simple for everyone—some have it much, much worse.
For 35-year-old Jasmine Kang, acne plagued her since she was a teenager, and went on to torment every area of her life for years ahead.
She says, “The acne was big and red and it filled my whole face.”
Regardless of how many treatments she tried, and how much money she spent, her persistent acne problem was so severe that nothing seemed able to fix it.
She Avoided Mirrors And Taking Photos For 14 Years
Being afflicted with acne problems caused agony for Jasmine far beyond the surface of her skin.
But she’s not afraid to open up about the struggles she has faced.
“It got very bad in my JC years. I became withdrawn and didn’t want to step out of the house other than for school,” she tells us.
“I could barely look someone in the eye during conversations, and used to walk with my head down all the time.”
Those were my ‘lost years’, because I hardly took any pictures. I actually got very depressed, and with the stress from ‘A’ Levels, I was even suicidal.
Thankfully, Jasmine pulled herself through that period.
After ‘A’ Levels, she began to work part-time to fund treatments for her skin, continuing to juggle jobs and studies throughout university.
Graduating with a degree in biomedical science, she entered the pharmaceutical industry where she sold drugs for all sorts of ailments, ranging from osteoporosis to erectile dysfunction.
Tried, Tested, And Failed
Jasmine went through lots of skincare products over many years, and perhaps some can identify with her frustration and disappointment when they repeatedly failed to clear up her complexion.
Although an oral medication helped reduce her cystic acne during university, she experienced acne coming back in different forms.
She first started with anti-acne products from pharmacies, and then tried natural remedies, such as honey, aloe vera, and tea tree oil—all to no avail.
When those didn’t help, I then spent thousands of dollars on beauty packages with two pretty famous beauty salons.
“I also bought expensive products from them with my hard-earned savings. But in fact, the extractions and facials from the beauty salon made my acne worse,” she says.
Her woes ranged from from red cystic acne, to uncountable bumpy whiteheads that resembled a bad rash all over her face.
The treatments she sought included antibiotics, chemical peels, laser treatments, and microdermabrasion, among others.
Even with visits to a few dermatologists and aesthetic doctors, Jasmine tells us their medicines had some positive effects, but always fell short of helping her achieve totally clear skin.
Taking The Situation Into Her Own Hands
Seeing a dermatologist is probably as far as most would go in the pursuit of good skin.
But with 8 years of her biomedical and pharmaceutical background, Jasmine took it a step further into the laboratory where she put herself in charge.
I was disappointed [when treatments failed], but I didn’t stop searching for a solution.
With lots of research and development, she tested ingredients that were known to tackle acne in various proportions, until she found some combinations that alleviated her condition.
That was the beginning of creating a 3-part Anti-Acne Bundle, and her own skincare label, SkinLYcious.
Jasmine says it’s hard to put a timeline to her work on the Anti-Acne Bundle, consisting of a wash, anti-acne solution, and hydrating serum.
She says she developed it gradually over years of struggling through her skincare issues, personal experiences with all types of treatments, and advice from doctors along the way.
What made it different, even from solutions provided by skincare experts, was the fact that Jasmine was able to be her own test subject for her products.
She shares that she employs the expertise of dermatologists to support product development, and tests their effectiveness on her own skin to really know what works, and what doesn’t.
Standing Up Again From A Failed Business
Before SkinLYcious, Jasmine attempted and failed at another business.
So this time, she felt she needed a partner to do it right with her.
“Entrepreneurship can be a very lonely journey, but a good friend said she would join me,” she tells us.
Together, they invested a “low 5-figure sum of capital” to get SkinLYcious up and running in 2013, and her friend helped out on a part-time basis.
Then came the struggle of learning how to run a business, right down to the nitty-gritty of packaging, branding, and managing sales.
Without the relevant experience, it was a very steep learning curve. My first website was not even responsive!
They started the company as a generic skincare brand, lacking a unique strategy or story, until feedback from customers eventually pushed them to focus solely on their strong-suit of acne care products instead.
“Through recommendations from satisfied customers and media features, our customer base grew, mostly through word-of-mouth.”
SkinLYcious broke even and has been profitable since the first year of operations.
Although her business partner later decided to go back to her full-time job, Jasmine successfully took over and now sees SkinLYcious’ sales revenue grow at an average of 28% each year.
Their products are currently sold online and at a Toy OutPost outlet in Bugis Junction, with a customer base in Singapore and Malaysia.
Here To Help Acne Sufferers Like Herself
Coming from demoralising experiences with acne herself, Jasmine is empathetic to the ordeal her customers are going through.
“I cannot guarantee that [my products] will work for everybody, but having tried so many products and treatments, I am very confident in our offerings,” she says.
She encourages first-time customers to start with their trial kit, and promises a refund if it doesn’t improve their skin.
“I have been through the painful route of spending lots of money [on products] which eventually did not clear my skin. If SkinLYcious cannot help, I do not want to add on the pain.”
But for the most part, her anti-acne line has been receiving positive reviews and encouraging customers to share their testimonials.
Having once been overwhelmed by insecurities, Jasmine now feels empowered by what she has achieved, helping not just herself but other acne sufferers.
“SkinLYcious helped me get out of my second episode of depression,” she shares.
“I lost my baby at that time. I couldn’t really work and only wanted to stay in bed.”
But when I received an email from a customer thanking us for helping her, it reignited this meaningful purpose that I have in life. I pulled myself up and started working again.
It’s Not Just What You Put On Your Face
On this journey, Jasmine says she never really figured out what caused her acne in the first place, apart from having suspicions that it was genetic.
However, what she did learn is that acne develops in different forms, and their triggers can be identified.
Now, she urges customers to not only use skincare products, but to be aware of how their daily lifestyle affects their skin, including the food they eat.
“I believe that the solution lies in understanding the acne triggers and having a holistic regime supported by complementary products,” she says.
To help with that, Jasmine is currently working on an app that will help users track their lifestyle and acne triggers, and journal their skincare routine.
“We are pioneering an innovative mobile app now, to help users have a detailed and customisable journal on the factors influencing their skin conditions,” she says.
While she is hoping to launch it by the end of 2018, interested individuals can register for a preview of the app here.
Jasmine feels that she’s still far from her goals, but is working towards making SkinLYcious a one-stop solution for people with acne and acne-prone skin.
Featured Image Credit: SkinLYcious