We caught up with Kiri Yanchenko the founder of AMPERNA® the groundbreaking Australian skincare brand to talk about healthy skin.
L.N Kiri, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background
K.Y I am passionate about health & wellbeing. I hold graduate qualifications in Visual arts, Graphic Design and User Experience as well as qualifications in Fashion Styling from The Australian College Of Professional Styling. I have over 15 years experience in the design industry with skills across project management, end to end delivery of content, leadership and strong technical abilities. I have also taught marketing & social media. I enjoy the fast-paced online world that the beauty industry now enjoys plus I also study Japanese on weekends!
L.N How did the idea of AMPERNA come about?
K.Y The main reason I’m in business is to help people feel comfortable in their own skin. AMPERNA® is an Australian skincare brand committed to creating active products specifically formulated for even the most sensitive skin.
The idea for the brand came about as a direct result of some pretty severe health problems I suffered a few years ago. When I was 30 I was looking after my Father, who was seriously ill, and I took some medication that I wouldn’t normally have taken if I wasn’t going through a stressful period in my life. I had lots of complications because of the medications and one of the side effects I experienced was severe pustular acne. It appeared quite quickly and was very uncomfortable. I tried to hide from the world. I took time out from my life and my job. It affected me a lot – physically and emotionally. It was a very traumatic time.
My illness meant my skin reacted to many common irritants, including sulfates, parabens and synthetic fragrances, however, I also knew my skin needed active help to return to its healthy balance. I sought an ultra-gentle skincare range that contained key active ingredients; however, the brand I was looking for didn’t exist. With the help of a like-minded chemist, I spent 5 years researching, developing and testing the optimal skincare solution. After much back and forth, we finally settled on our 5 launch products.
AMPERNA® products are simple yet groundbreaking, containing only the necessary ingredients plus active ingredients. Our formulas include a probiotic complex, glycolic acid and vitamins B and C.
L.N You spent years of researching, developing and testing the AMPERNA skincare range, could you tell us a bit more about the process?
K.Y The process of research really started just after I left the hospital when I was still ill. I decided that I needed to review my whole lifestyle, taking a holistic approach to my health. I started researching diets and healthy lifestyles and eating. I went through the process of cutting out everything I shouldn’t be eating and reassessing everything that I was using on my skin. Going through that process of identifying certain triggers to my skin problems. I spent a lot of time online looking at acne topicals and ingredients that people said helped them in forums and blogs. I was also researching the benefits of taking supplements. Zinc was supposed to help your skin, so I started taking that and found it helped a lot. Then because I had been on a course of antibiotics I had taken probiotics for a while, so I looked into gut health and introduced probiotic tablets permanently to my diet. This led to my discovery about the gut microbiome and then a little later about the skin microbiome as well.
I then started a beauty blog, which was more for myself. I was tracking what I was using, what I liked and what I didn’t like and people really started to respond to it well. I researched lots of skincare from Europe and Korea. I racked up quite an Amazon debt buying all the products I wanted to try with the ingredients and formulas that sounded like they were ok, but not quite right. Once I had found out about probiotics in skincare I tried to find other brands that had them in them and realised that there were only a few available overseas. My skin was starting to look better and I was excited about what the future held. Then about four years ago I suffered perioral dermatitis. I am pretty sure that my perioral dermatitis was triggered by a combination of stress, a fluoride allergy I developed or using medicated cream on a rash around my mouth – I noticed my perioral dermatitis flare-ups were worse after I visited the dentist. And that was when the idea really took hold. I was desperate for something to help my perioral dermatitis. There were various products that included the ingredients that I loved, but nothing streamlined and simple that was active enough or contained the ingredients that I would like to use for my sensitive, acne and perioral dermatitis prone skin. I used the knowledge from all of my research to create my first samples of AMPERNA®.
L.N From your research what did you uncover in terms of what women really need and want from their skincare products?
K.Y Women want great, simple to use and effective skincare that is sustainably priced. They want to know where it comes from and to feel good about what they put on their skin. They also want something that is nice to look at and have on their bathroom shelves. I feel AMPERNA® products tick all these boxes.
L.N What’s so unique with the AMPERNA products and the ingredients used?
K.Y Well for one! I have had really problem skin! So I really enjoy helping people and am available to run through concerns with them. AMPERNA® is an Australian skincare brand committed to creating active products specifically formulated for even the most sensitive skin. AMPERNA® products are simple yet groundbreaking because they can be personalised for each person we help. Our formulas include a probiotic complex, glycolic acid and vitamins B and C. Plus they are 100% free from nasties, including sulfates, parabens, aluminium, synthetic fragrance, synthetic colours and bleaches. We’ve also done extensive testing with real people in the real world.
Glycolic acid is derived from cane sugar and is part of the group of active compounds known as AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids). It contains the smallest molecules of the group and therefore is able to penetrate the skin easily and rapidly, making it most effective for helping the appearance of fine lines, acne, blackheads, dullness and oiliness.
Vitamin C is rich in antioxidants and assists in collagen production. It reduces the appearance of wrinkles, moisturises dry skin and helps to protect the skin from free-radical damage caused by UV rays.
Vitamin B5 is a deeply hydrating compound that helps to keep the skin smooth, supple and healthy. It also functions as an anti-inflammatory by stimulating your skin’s healing processes.
Ceramides are lipid molecules found in high concentrations within cell membranes in the upper layer of the skin. They hold skin cells together, forming a protective layer that plumps the skin and holds moisture. They also act as a barrier against bacteria and environmental pollutants.
Copper and Zinc Gluconates
Zinc and copper are vital minerals for overall skin health and for slowing down the visible signs of ageing. They both contain important anti-bacterial properties. Zinc provides sun protection and cellular repair. Copper helps to desaturate fatty acids which can help to repair and maintain ageing skin. Adding these minerals to your skincare routine helps to prevent skin damage, whilst giving the appearance of firmness and elasticity to your skin.
Liquorice Root Extract
This plant extract has skin-soothing attributes due to its component, glabridin, which is a powerful antioxidant. Liquorice root extract is often included in products for sensitive skin and may help to improve uneven skin tone.
Willow Herb Extract
This extract is a powerhouse: it is anti-inflammatory, anti-irritant, antioxidant, anti-microbial, anti-viral, cleansing and acts as a natural analgesic. It has been shown to be effective against acne bacteria. Willowherb extract simulates hydrocortisone to relieve discomfort. Traditionally, the plant has been used topically as a soothing, cleansing and healing agent to help minor burns and other skin irritations.
Glycerine (Plant Derived)
Vegetable glycerine is a clear odourless liquid produced from plant oils. Glycerine is a humectant; a substance that attracts moisture to the skin and leaves your skin hydrated. Humectants also help active ingredients to become more easily absorbed by the skin.
L.N All the AMPERNA products are free from sulfates and parabens can you explain why?
K.Y When I found myself struggling with pustular acne for the first time when I was 30 my skin reacted to many common irritants, including sulfates, parabens and synthetic fragrances. The range doesn’t contain these ingredients because I don’t use them myself. These ingredients were triggers for me when I suffered perioral dermatitis too. So I made sure when we formulated and I wanted to help my PD & acne prone skin that we left them out of our range.
L.N Can you tell us a bit more about probiotic skin care products, what are they used for and who can use them?
K.Y The hero ingredient of AMPERNA® skincare is our active probiotic complex, Lactococcus ferment lysate. Developed in conjunction with one of Australia’s most experienced skincare chemists, AMPERNA® is the first Australian brand to bring you a full range of probiotic skin care products, and the first to use this particular strain in any Australian skincare product. Anyone can use them!
L.N How can Probiotics benefit our skin health?
K.Y Our skin is our body’s largest organ. While you may not realise it, your skin is working around the clock to protect you from microbes and the elements. There are billions of microflora (made up of both good and bad bacteria) living on the surface or our skin. This is what’s referred to as our ‘microbiome’. When these bacteria are out of balance, they can contribute to chronic skin problems. That’s where AMPERNA® comes in. The probiotic complex infused within AMPERNA® products supports the skin barrier; helping to protect you from aggressions such as environmental pollutants. It helps keep your immune system in check, helping to reduce inflammation. AMPERNA® products deliver good bacteria to your skin gently and effectively. Our ingredients help promote the appearance of fresh skin, help prevent the signs of premature ageing, and help the skin to adapt to negative influences. In short, AMPERNA® products create the perfect conditions for your skin to shine. Furthermore, as the probiotics break down on the skin’s surface, they create amazing new ingredients for skin, such as hyaluronic acid, peptides and vitamins, as well as increasing the presence of ceramides.
L.N What’s your top tip for women with skin problems such as acne, sensitive skin, oily skin or dermatitis, what should they look for when choosing their skincare products?
K.Y Firstly that skincare is never just the product you put on your face. Our brand is a holistic one and we believe in holistic skin health. For ultimate skin health, you need to treat your skin from the inside out. The term holistic sometimes referred to as wholistic, is the philosophy and practice of healing that has to do with constantly keeping the whole body (meaning the physical body, the mind and the spirit) at the highest level of total wellness. Ways that you can take a holistic approach to your skincare (and overall wellbeing) include exercise, hydration, mindfulness and a good diet. As well as the right regime of products with only the right ingredients. When looking for skin care you should choose simple and easy to use products that are well formulated. If you know you are sensitive to certain ingredients, like I am, you should steer clear of those as well. Gentle and effective products are the way to go as well; products that help long term rather than aggravating I found a better as well. I have created AMPERNA® products with all this in mind.
L.N What are the three must-have skincare products you recommend everyone to use (regardless of skin type and condition)?
Our Essential Edit is the perfect easy must have skin trio. Ultra Gentle Soothing Cleanser 125mL, Lightweight Soothing+ Emulsion 100mL and Pro+ Vitamin C Hyaluronic Serum 50mL.
AMPERNA® Ultra Gentle Soothing Cleanser is a light gel cleanser that helps remove makeup while balancing the skin.
AMPERNA® Lightweight Soothing+ Emulsion contains a groundbreaking probiotic formula, along with ceramides, hyaluronic acid and emollients to help nourish the skin and protect it from free radical damage.
AMPERNA® Pro+ Vitamin C Hyaluronic Serum is a deeply hydrating formula that helps create a more youthful-looking complexion.
L.N Lastly, when travelling what are your best tips to keep your skin fresh and hydrated and which products would you recommend using for glowing holiday skin?
1. Maintain Your Moisture Levels
This one seems like a no brainer, but once you’ve relaxed into holiday mode and switched off from your regular daily routine it can be easy to forget to replenish your water and moisture levels.
- Apply hydrating products such as moisturisers and serums during the journey
- Keep your water bottle full and use the need to refill it as an excuse to get up and stretch your legs if in transit or take a break from sightseeing
- Avoid diuretics like alcohol, tea and coffee
2. Forget the Makeup While You’re in Transit
Wearing makeup on long flights or journeys can be a recipe for flare-ups and clogging. It’s best to go bare and apply a fresh layer just before you arrive.
3. Perfect Your Skincare Edit
Some of us are planners when it comes to packing our travel bags, while others leave it all to the last minute and end up with a panic pack full of mismatched outfits, too many shoes and the wrong sized beauty products for our hand luggage allowance. Take some time in advance to perfect your edit of holiday beauty products and invest in some compact, reusable containers to take a small amount of larger products with you. Hands up who’s made a last minute emergency purchase at the airport only to find it didn’t suit your skin or had to throw out an expensive bottle of your favourite cleanser because it was too big to take in your hand luggage? All AMPERNA® products are available in the right size to take on the place with you.
“Make sure you take great skincare with you. It’s best to use something you know and trust that is formulated well rather than taking a gamble just before and during a trip.”
AMPERNA® founder Kiri Yanchenko
Kiri’s hand luggage self-care edit includes:
- Unscented lip balm
- AMPERNA® Travel Size Ultra Gentle Soothing Cleanser
- AMPERNA® Lightweight Soothing+ Emulsion moisturiser (because it doubles as her hand cream in-flight)
- AMPERNA® Probiotic+ DS Soothing Serum in case she has an allergic reaction or gets a rash from the dry air
- An empty 750mL water bottle
- A muscle massage ball
- A small face towel
4. Plan your protection from sun damage
Sunburn can contribute to premature ageing of the skin as well as putting you at a higher risk of developing skin cancer. You may think you’re safe because you’re going to a cooler climate, but skin can burn even on cloudy days.
- Check the UV levels each day when you head out (if you’re staying in Australia you can keep on top of the day’s UV levels wherever you are by downloading the SunSmart app to your phone)
- Take an SPF 30+ minimum sunscreen with you
- Apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before you head out into the sun as it takes a while to sink into the skin and provide adequate protection
- Reapply your sun protection every 2 hours
5. Brace Yourself Against Pollution
According to recent studies, pollution is the second biggest aggressor (next to sun damage) when it comes to ageing your skin. Many skin care experts agree, with studies citing traffic-related air pollution as a major cause of facial lentigines (commonly referred to as age spots). Many travel destinations have greater levels of pollution than your skin is used to, so it’s a good idea to be prepared. Apply products with antioxidants (which can help to fight external pollutants) and probiotics (which can act as a protective layer on the skin).
“Our Probiotic acts as a protective layer on the skin, and can help to reduce the impact of external aggressors such as pollution and pathogenic microbes. If the destination is really polluted I take extra precautions by having anti-inflammatories in my bag and wearing a face mask. Keeping covered up by wearing long pants and sleeves is a great idea too.”AMPERNA® founder Kiri Yanchenko
Our Pro+ Vitamin C Hyaluronic Serum contains a high percentage of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, which is an excellent anti-pollution skin care product to add to your regime.
6. Don’t Forget that Diet Plays a Part in Skin Health
It’s always tempting to take a healthy food break when travelling, however, our diet is really important and integral to skin health, as well as our general well-being. There’s nothing wrong with diving into the breakfast buffet, as long as your choices are balanced.
WIN your own products from AMPERNA®
We are giving you the chance to WIN The Classic Edit from AMPERNA® valued at RRP $220 including; Ultra Gentle Soothing Cleanser 125mL, Lightweight Soothing+ Emulsion 100mL, 10% Pro+ Resurfacing Lotion 100mL and Pro+ Vitamin C Hyaluronic Serum 50mL.