A Q&A with Kiri Yanchenko from AMPERNA®
We speak to Kiri Yanchenko, founder of Australian skincare label, AMPERNA®. Grounded in research, AMPERNA® is committed to creating accessible and active products for even the most sensitive skin. Here, Kiri shares her personal story of how the brand came to be.
When did AMPERNA® first begin and why?
AMPERNA® launched in Feb 2018 after five years in start-up. I have always had sensitive skin and suffered acne as a teenager. I couldn’t use most acne products on the market because they were too strong for my skin. I wasn’t getting the holistic help I needed from professionals. I decided to ditch the medications and start helping myself. I began looking for an ultra-gentle skincare range that contained key active ingredients, but I couldn’t find one. So, I decided to make my own. I felt that there was a gap in the market for active products with no nasties for even the most sensitive skin.
I decided that I needed to review my entire lifestyle and take a holistic approach to my health. I started researching diets and a healthy lifestyle. Going through the process of identifying certain triggers to my skin problems and helping myself took two years. I definitely experienced a gut-health link when it came to investigating my skin’s health, so I put this concept into AMPERNA®.
What was the initial vision for AMPERNA®? Has that changed over time?
AMPERNA® is about providing sincere, holistic and practical solutions to help people feel comfortable in their own skin. We have refined our brand message along the way and we will continue to do this as we evolve and develop more products and grow our business.
We believe that skincare doesn’t need to be complicated. We are affected both physically and emotionally by the appearance of our skin. Our customers look for an effective and affordable solution they can trust and AMPERNA® aims to fill this gap. Our skincare solutions are for all skin types and we offer them at a sustainable price point in order to help as many people as possible.
Where did the name AMPERNA® come from?
I actually worked on the brand with a strategy mentor and brand consultants as I have a background in FMCG packaging design and activations. I knew I wanted something short and to the point that would be easily recognisable. AMP comes from Ampoule and ERNA was originally derma, referring to the skin. So AMPERNA® the brand was born.
Your products are suitable for very sensitive skin. Which do you use?
I wanted to create a simple and effective line that could be personalised depending on skin concerns. Because AMPERNA® products can be used by people with even the most sensitive skin, they can be used by everybody. Personally, I use our full range of products as well as taking an holistic approach, tailoring my regime to how my skin is feeling at the time. Holistic skin health takes time and is an ongoing process as our body responds to our environment, stress, what we eat and our overall lifestyle in different ways all the time.
What are some harmful toxins that can be found in commercial skincare products? Why should we avoid these ingredients?
My skin reacted to many of the common irritants in skincare products. Skin sensitivity can be triggered by certain ingredients found in common skincare and household products, causing unexpected irritations that can be difficult to deal with. Certain ingredients are known to be irritants for those with sensitive skin, such as:
Synthetic fragrance: irritating and may cause allergic skin reactions and inflammation
Alcohol: found in many toners and can strip the skin of moisture
Sulphates: Our products contain only the necessary base ingredients plus skin-changing actives, such as our probiotic complex, glycolic acid and vitamins B and C. All our products are free from nasties including but not limited to: sulphates, parabens, aluminium, synthetic fragrance, synthetic colours and bleaches.
Where do you source your ingredients?
Our products are made in Australia from mostly Australian ingredients. We have a few ingredients that we source from overseas, most notably our hero probiotic ingredient Lactococcus ferment lysate. I wanted a probiotic that I could include in our formulas that was shelf-stable.
Can you tell us a little more about including probiotics in your skincare? Why is this important?
The products and ingredients are inspired by my learnings on holistic skin health and the link that I found between gut health and skin health. You’ve probably heard about the reported health benefits of consuming probiotics in foods or supplements, but you may not realise that probiotics can also be of benefit to the skin when applied topically. Probiotics in skincare:
- Act as a protective layer on the skin.
- Boost healthy-looking skin by helping to fight bad bacteria.
- Help soothe and calm the appearance of redness and irritation.
- Help defend the skin against age-accelerating free radical damage.
The skin has billions of microflora (made up of both good and bad bacteria) living on its surface. This is what’s referred to as the “microbiome”. When these bacteria are out of balance, they can contribute to chronic skin problems.
What is your favourite product in the range?
They are all my favourites, but if I could pick two it would be our 10% Pro+ Resurfacing Lotion and our no nasties steroid alternative, the Probiotic+ DS Soothing Serum. The Resurfacing Lotion is a 10% Glycolic that has been formulated especially for first-time users and people with even the most sensitive skin. It contains liquorice root extract and antioxidants to help with blocked pores, the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, dark circles and uneven skin tone. Our DS Soothing Serum is a deeply restorative formula that helps cool and soothe irritated skin and calm redness. The copper and zinc gluconates help to limit harmful bacterial proliferation and replenish the skin barrier. Both products have helped a lot of people’s skin health.
What does your daily AMPERNA® skincare routine look like?
I get up in the morning and drink lots of water and green tea. I then have a shower with cool water and cleanse with cool water in the sink afterwards using the Ultra Gentle Soothing Cleanser. I apply the Pro+ Vitamin C Hyaluronic Serum and then the Lightweight Soothing+ Emulsion Moisturiser all over my face. As I mentioned, my skin is prone to reactions so if I am feeling red or irritated, I apply the Probiotic+ DS Soothing Serum. I use a holistic approach to keep my skin healthy. Mostly it’s about what I eat, which is a healthy anti-inflammatory diet to support my gut health.
My evening routine is generally the same as the morning routine except for when I am using the 10% Pro+ Resurfacing Lotion to help maintain my skin. I use this twice a week in summer and always protect my skin from the sun with a hat, sunscreen and umbrella. I increase (just checking that “increasing” in winter is correct?) its use during winter, however I still practise sun sense.
What’s next for AMPERNA®?
I dream of opening an holistic location as I want to help as many people as possible and make healthy skincare accessible for everyone. We have more products in development now based on what our existing customer base has requested, as well as market research. Ultimately, I would like more people to know about the brand and I have my eye on certain stockists here and overseas. I would also like to work with dermatologists and doctors and be recommended by these professionals and be readily available when this happens.
For more, visit amperna.com