Kansoskin is a socially conscious skincare brand specialising in Asian pre and probiotic skincare for dry, sensitive and eczema-prone skin. We aim to raise awareness about the various skin conditions so that we can destigmatize them and inspire self-love and self-acceptance. We also want to create meaningful jobs for people with compromised skin.
In early 2021, we launched a skin inclusivity campaign (#skinclusivity) on Instagram in collaboration with the body within movement where we featured different ladies with different skin conditions and the challenges they face with their skin and their journey towards self-acceptance. It was nice to get to meet so many inspiring and brave women who were willing to share their stories and we are very thankful to be featured by Singapore Kindness Movement and Zula.
What drove you to kickstart on your business?
Even though I’ve always been interested in skincare after overcoming severe cystic acne during my teenage years, it wasn’t enough to drive me to kick start a skincare brand.
The biggest inspiration and catalyst to the creation He suffers from a non-contagious condition called topical steroid withdrawal (TSW), which is a side effect from the long-term and improper use of mid-to-high potency topical steroid creams.
This caused his skin to appear red, cracked, flaky and oozing. As a result of this, he is unable to get an ideal job, was ever chased out of a public swimming pool by a lifeguard, and even called names like "skin disease boy”.
The way Abel is being treated in society convinced me to start Kansoskin in order to change the narrative of beauty, and inspire self-love and self-acceptance by normalizing the various skin conditions. I wanted to create a line of products specially for people suffering from skin conditions such as eczema and sensitive skin, so that they can reduce or avoid the use of topical steroids, and feel good and be more confident in their own skin.
What is the story behind your brand?
Before starting Kansoskin, I was actually working as a cabin crew with Singapore Airlines for around 7 years. It was during this time that I took up a diploma in skincare formulation and advanced diploma in organic cosmetic science from the UK to learn about the skin physiology and the science behind skincare.
In my family, we are not blessed with good skin. I myself had severe cystic acne when I was younger. And my dad has psoriasis. We start to observe that more and more people, including young children, are diagnosed with various skin conditions like eczema or sensitive skin. But many of them have no knowledge or guidance on how to manage these conditions.
This really pushed Abel and I to start Kansoskin. We want to provide relief for people with compromised skin, to educate the public about the various skin conditions and how to manage them, and last but not least, we want to change people’s perception of skin beauty.
I think it’s really important to show empathy towards people who are suffering from skin conditions. Having a skin condition - whether it is TSW, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea or even acne - is more than just the outlook. These conditions can sometimes be very painful and really take a toll on one’s mental health.
Are there any new / upcoming products or projects we can anticipate?
We are in the midst of formulating our second product, which will be a gentle cleanser for dry, sensitive and eczema-prone skin. We are so excited about this because it is actually one of the top requests from our customers, making it a natural transition for us. Do keep a lookout for that!
What are some of the main challenges you face?
For us, the biggest challenge we face is getting people to know about the brand. As a newly start up that is completely self-funded, and having majority of our capital invested into R&D and product formulation, we have a very tight budget on our marketing efforts, especially since we only carry one product at the moment.
What are the 3 words you associate your brand with?
Calmness, genuine, sincere
What would you say sets you apart from other brands?
At Kansoskin, we use time-tested Asian botanicals with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and combine them with modern pre + probiotic complex to keep the skin’s microbiome balanced and happy.
Our products are designed with the following principles in mind:
• Skincare should be enjoyable – it has to feel good on the skin
In the case of our first product, because we understand the adverse side effects that comes with the long-term and excessive use of topical steroids, we designed Simply Better Barrier™ to reduce the need to use topical steroids in order to prevent these negative side effects in the first place.
We know that for people with eczema-prone skin, it is important to moisturise regularly as dry skin can trigger flare-ups. Regular moisturising can soothe the skin and help them feel better. We believe if people do not enjoy how a product feels on their skin, they will not use it even if it is the best product in the world. This is why Simply Better Barrier™ is non-sticky and non-greasy, so people feel comfortable to apply and reapply it throughout the day. It absorbs quickly and provides long-lasting hydration.
• Skincare should be free of common irritants and allergens – formulations that respects the skin
We do our best to omit common irritants and allergens and this include fragrance and essential oils, which can be irritating for some people, particularly for those with compromised skin. As much as possible, we avoid the use of unnecessary ingredients that may not be beneficial to the skin. Even though fragrance and essential oils can enhance the sensorial experience and there are allergen-free fragrance, we still chose not to use them in our products to minimise the risks.
Simply Better Barrier™ contains 17 types of botanical extracts from Asia that are loved by many and still widely used today. These plant extracts contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to reduce signs of irritations and sensitivity. On top of that, it contains ingredients like ceramides, squalane and pre + probiotics to provide long-lasting hydration to the skin and support skin barrier health.
Many people think Kansoskin is only suitable for people with eczema. However, our products are designed to be gentle enough for normal, dry and sensitive skin, including eczema-prone skin. It is also suitable for babies and those who are sensitive to fragrance and essential oils.
Beyond the products, I think what really sets us apart is how we choose to market ourselves. We don’t believe in tapping on people’s insecurities or lack of understanding in cosmetic science to push products to consumers. Cosmetic products should make people feel good about themselves. Instead of promoting unrealistic beauty ideals to make people feel bad about themselves, and then selling them a product with the idea that it will help them feel better, happier, prettier, etc, we choose to showcase real people with real skin and to provide value to our consumers.
What motivates you to keep doing what you do?
I motivate myself by constantly reminding myself of the purpose in starting Kansoskin. Success to me means being able to provide meaningful jobs for people with compromised skin conditions. When I joined the various eczema and TSW support groups in search for help for my brother, I see many despondent people who either got fired from their job or cannot find a job, simply because of the state or appearance of their skin. I hope to be able to make a difference in this area. When I see the bigger picture in my head, it makes it easier to find meaning in what I do and help me cope with challenges better.
I also get very heartened whenever I receive kind messages from families, friends and strangers, saying how our moisturiser works very well on their skin or when they love our marketing messages. It truly makes this journey worthwhile.
Follow @Kansoskin for their latest updates and new launches or purchase them online from komma!