As some of you will know, just prior to Christmas I trialled an Australian-made skincare range called ESK – Evidence Skincare.
I was so impressed with the products and how my skin felt that I wanted to know more. I’m not easily impressed. I’ve tried a lot of products and for me to say I love something, is a big thing. I love this product range, why? Simple. It works.
I was even happier to find one of the founders is a woman, the lovely Dr Ginni Mansberg, who is currently going through perimenopause. Music to my ears! Someone who finally gets ‘midlife’ skin. It’s been a long time coming.
I asked Ginni some questions, ones that were important to me, and questions I am sure you’ll be interested in too. At last, someone who understands our skin during perimenopause.
Jo: Firstly, congratulations on such a great skincare range. I’ve personally been blown away by the products I have been using, particularly the A+ (and I’ve used a few). Our followers/readers/community are ages 45 – 59, and one of the biggest concerns is dry, damaged, pigmented skin. What would your advice be to these people? Where should they start with a skincare routine and what will be effective?
Ginni: Thank you! It’s been an interesting journey for us, but so satisfying to know that the original concept that we had “to provide effective evidence-based products that simply work” was one that users really wanted! The 45 – 59-year age group is the one where most premature aging appears and it’s also the form of skin ageing that we can do most about. We really believe that the only way to start is with scientific evidence. That really means:
• sunscreen (with good UVA protection) every day
• then the ingredient with the strongest “anti-ageing” evidence – Vitamin A. According to the evidence, the most effective, least irritating form is Retinal (not Retinol, the form that is mostly commonly found in anti-aging products).
• The other ingredients that have good evidence are
– L-Ascorbic acid (The only evidence-based Vitamin C… also not often used),
– Vitamin B3 (or niacinamide) and
– Glycolic and Lactic Acids.
– And for pigmentation 4-n-butylresoricinol (not this comes from a class of ingredients which take 2 – 3 months to start working).
A word about pigmentation: it’s the hardest “ageing” condition to manage and the best evidence is that using multiple ingredients which work in different ways get the best result.
The other ingredient that helps is patience. The skin has a turnover cycle of about 28 days, so for the change to start experiencing real changes in its architecture, while the first signs might start to appear at about 2–3 weeks. The best improvements come after months or even years of use.
Jo: There is so much noise in the skincare market, it can often be confusing, what is your advice for those who are confused about what they need?
Ginni: That frustration is exactly why we started ESK. So, here are our suggestions for how to navigate the noise:
1)There are only a few evidence-based ingredients out there (see above). Look for them on the ingredient label
2) Don’t look in the bargain bin. At approx. $30,000 per kilo there are a couple of evidence-based ingredients which are expensive.
3) While “cheap” products will be unlikely to contain high quality ingredients, you don’t need to pay a fortune either. Any product that sets you back $150 or more will be charging you for expensive branding and celebrity endorsements- not ingredients or results
4) Look for companies who put their money where their marketing is. Buy from companies who offer a money back guarantee. (If they’re confident about their products, they will offer it)
Jo: Do you personally have a ‘go-to’ product that you just can’t live without?
Ginni: Personally, it’s the Reverse C Serum. For me it settles my skin, hydrates and provides great anti-ageing benefits. I know the evidence for Retinal is stronger and I love the Ultimate A, but I’m only human 😊
Jo: A woman’s skin changes a lot during perimenopause (in fact, it is a nightmare). It is an area that nobody is taking about, and it affects millions of women worldwide. Skin is often very dry (super dry) and stressed. Do you have a product for this?
Ginni: It’s funny you should mention that. I am in perimenopause right now so I’m living that particular nightmare! In fact, I have just written a book on menopause and perimenopause and devoted an entire chapter to skin.
The best products to use during perimenopause are really the core range of anti-ageing products which include L-Ascorbic Acid, Retinal, Hydroxy Acids and a High-quality sunscreen containing both UVA and UVB filters. That is our core Normal Skin Anti-Ageing kit with (1- Hydroxy Cleanser, 2- Reverse C Serum, 3- Zinc Shade, 4-Smoothe Serum and 5- Ultimate A). If you’re getting breakout during perimenopause you can switch from Reverse C Serum to C Serum Lite. Once you hit menopause proper dry and thinner skin as well as itchy skin can be a real problem.: I recommend a gentle creamy cleanser (Calming Cleanser) then 2- Reverse C Serum, and 3- Zinc Shade. And at night 5- Ultimate A followed by our B Quenched rich moisturiser containing niacinamide and hemp seed oil. This combination targets Anti-ageing, collagen production and hydration – and we have put them together in our Mature/Dry Skin kit.
Jo: Women aged 45-59 often feel left out, not targeted to, when they are the biggest consumers worldwide and with the largest spending power. Does your range specifically target ageing skin?
Ginni: I know! We can feel invisible despite the fact that we are the ones with the consumer power!! We try to cater to everyone, not just older women. Our “Normal Skin Anti-Ageing” kit is a general anti-ageing regime and most men and women use this quite happily. But once you notice your skin getting thinner, drier and more sensitive, we would suggest adjusting the regime to the “Mature Skin” kit to remove any potential irritants and add extra moisture while retaining the key active ingredients that combat the signs of ageing.
Jo: Do you deal directly with the consumers and offer advice?
Ginni: Absolutely! Customer experience has been a HUGE focus for us. Daniel and I both hate the experience of going into a store and not having any staff there to advise or buying a product and then finding that everything that comes after is our problem. So, we really focus on ensuring that we can advise before (call 1300 884 875, email us or contact us through social media and test us 😊) and help after the purchase. We call new users about 1 week into their use to make sure all is settling in well and make sure that if any tweaks or changes are required, we work out what needs to change and make the change at our expense. We are recently developed a two-minute questionnaire which helps people work out which products are right for their skin.
Jo: Can consumers contact E.S.K for a direct consultation?
Ginni: Yes! Whether it’s phone (1300 884 875), email (email@example.com) or social media we love to chat to customer’s before they buy and make sure that they get the best recommendation and information before they make a purchase.
Jo: What made you take the leap and develop your own skincare line?
Ginni: It all started with a conversation that Daniel [her husband] and I had on a date night in 2012 and it was based on:
• A realisation that there were no evidence-based brands on the market.
• The knowledge that there were consumers who wanted simple to use, BS free, effective skin care.
• My total outrage at the pseudoscience and marketing hype that played on our insecurities.
• And probably the most important element was a brain fart where we thought that with absolutely no small business experience, 6 kids (all of who were at school or uni at the time) we could do this.
Jo: What is the best thing about setting up your own company?
Ginni: Without a doubt, the best thing is hearing back from users who are overjoyed with the products and at having found us. Apart from having the best evidence-based skincare in the world, we’re all about making sure that customers have a really good experience.
Jo: What can we expect from ESK in 2020?
Ginni: We are spending most of our time trying to get more people to know about us. So hopefully you will see our name a bit more. We are still the same science nerds we always were and continue to read the latest studies to ensure that ESK skincare is still providing the BEST and LATEST evidence-based skincare. I guess you could say that we just want to keep doing what we’re doing now, just better.
Editor’s note: I’ll share my trial with you in a few days. But as you can tell, I was very impressed. This trial was not sponsored, not paid for, I just loved the fact the product worked.