When I was 13 years old I went to the GP with my first symptoms of acne. I was recommended minomycin, which is a type of antibiotic. Trusting in the expertise of my GP I gladly accepted the prescription and started the oral treatment. It helped! I saw significant improvements in my breakouts…
A year and a bit on, just before I turned 15 I started getting very heavy periods that lasted about 7 days, every 2 weeks. I was anaemic (low in iron) which meant I really needed to regulate this ASAP. I went back to the same local GP, who recommended I start the contraceptive pill. Not only would this regulate my periods, but it would also clear my skin (you beauty!).
2 months after starting the contraceptive pill I had gained 10 kgs, and broke out in what was this time severe acne all over my face and back. Safe to say it didn’t go the way I had planned at all. I didn’t even recognise myself. I lost all my confidence, and within a matter of months I was a completely different person.
Over the next few months I was put on a stronger pill, and sent to a dietician to try and control the weight gain. My skin didn’t respond well to the new pills and eventually, the GP gave me back the antibiotic prescription to get my skin under control (back to where I started)!
I stayed on the contraceptive pill and the antibiotic for the next 7 years following. I eventually stabilised on the pill, managing to get on top of some of the weight gain, and the antibiotics did a good job at keeping my breakouts at bay. This took me all the way through from 2012 to 2019.
At the start of 2019, I went to a dermatologist for a skin cancer check. After asking me what regular medications I was on, she asked, “how long have you been taking the antibiotic?”
She advised me to stop the antibiotic (as it isn’t healthy to be taking long term) and then suggested I switch to roaccutane, a well known oral treatment for acne, however well known for its side effects.
At this point I no longer trusted what the health care professionals told me and I wasn’t willing to risk the possible side effects of the oral treatments after my experience with the pill. Coming to a compromise she prescribed me a topical cream, Differin, which she said should work to treat my breakouts. I used this cream for 6 months, seeing minimal improvement whilst my skin started to flake, crack and completely dry out. I was frustrated to say the least! How was I 22 and still suffering from acne?
It was fate that introduced me to what is now the tbh acne hack cream.
Whilst working in digital marketing (a serious passion of mine) in the medical devices industry, I came across the acne cream in a white label form (so basically it was formulated but yet to be branded or available to consumers on the market). It was introduced to me by a family connection who was working in the same industry at the time. A company called Next Science had formulated a new patented treatment for acne, and I was lucky enough to get my hands on samples from their lab to try. In September of 2019, I apprehensively started the acne treatment, and although I was sceptical to start, after reading up on the science I was pretty confident in the results to come.
Starting the treatment in a very stressful period of my life, my skin was worse than it had been in a very long time. I saw results immediately, however in the first few weeks of treatment, I noticed my skin would be up and down (very much linked to my levels of stress/anxiety). I decided to pair the treatment with a little bit of self love! I started meditating and I went and saw a kinesiologist to resolve some personal challenges I was facing at the time. 100 days later, the treatment completely cleared my skin, and not only that, I was mentally stronger than ever.
I decided that I wanted to bring this treatment into the hands of the consumers that needed it most. I also wanted to create a brand in skincare that was relatable and REAL! I found there were way too many overly aesthetic brands that didn’t treat this condition with the respect or sensitivity it deserved. It just so happened that all these dreams of mine aligned with the suppliers need for a company to brand and take this product direct to market… And as a result tbh was born!
Tbh (short for ‘the biofilm hack) was founded in November 2019, after we had raised the necessary money and committed to bringing the brand to life. We spent the following 6 months forming a community on social media, building the website, creating the branding and packaging, finding and creating other products to compliment the acne hack cream and then finally actually manufacturing all of it…and in March 2020, tbh was launched!
It has been 9 months since then and within this time we have generated a customer base of over 5,000 beautiful people, processed more than 5,900 orders, shipped to 125 different countries, launched 2 new products, created a *very amateur* podcast and built up a beautiful community online… and we are so grateful. The best part of it all has been receiving the before and afters from our customers, alongside messages that describe just what tbh has done for their wellbeing (beyond their physical health). Customers are happier, more confident and comfortable in their own skin… going out into the world as the best versions of themselves, finding their voice and making the world a better place.
tbh will never be about clearing your skin to achieve a certain aesthetic or standard of beauty, we don’t buy into that crap anyway and we definitely don’t endorse that message. It will forever be about the way we are able to make our customer feel. That’s where the magic of tbh lies.
Some of our goals and focuses moving forward is of course to grow our community, to get the word out there about our products which we are so proud of, but also to just make the world a better place. Let’s be more sustainable, more inclusive, more empathetic, more active, more accountable, more transparent… and let’s make sure that we leave the world and the people we interact with better off than when we first found them.