The Interview: Dr Ginni Mansberg, founder ESK. How the doctor, author and TV presenter launched her own brand
Dr. Ginni Mansberg is an Australian medical doctor, author and television presenter. She has become a prominent media personality in Australia and is the resident doctor on ‘Sunrise’, the most popular breakfast TV programme in the country. In addition to her work on TV, she’s the author of the bestselling book ‘The M Word - How to Thrive in Menopause’ and in 2012, she launched Auroracare, a private label skincare company that makes cosmeceutical skincare for plastic surgeons and dermatologists all over the world. In 2017, the company launched its own brand, Evidence Skincare (ESK).
A few years prior to launching ESK, Mansberg was frequently appearing on TV segments discussing the latest developments in anti-aging skincare. After having a discussion with her husband Daniel, they decided to create their own skincare range. “We spoke with plastic surgeons, dermatologists and scientists to come up with a range of products based solely on the best available scientific evidence. There are only a few evidence-based ingredients out there and we wanted to make use of those to make skincare which genuinely worked,” Mansberg says.
Initially, Ginni and Daniel only sold their products through a private label in specialist doctors’ surgeries, but in 2017, they expanded their range and launched ESK. “Throughout the process, we remained committed to the original principles that inspired us to embark on this journey in the first place: evidence, efficacy and integrity. The original concept was to provide effective evidence-based products that simply work - and we’ve done that!,” Mansberg says.
Having had five years of experience and feedback from customers (plastic surgeons and dermatologists), Mansberg felt she had a range that deserved to be available to everyone. “We had the basis for a strong range, based on the products we were manufacturing and distributing through Auroracare. I have continued to review every single study I can find on skincare ingredients as new evidence emerges so we can continuously update our offering.
ESK was born out of a need to provide consumers with evidence-based products. Mansberg always looked at the evidence published in respected peer review journals and found masses of evidence for ingredients and formulations. “I would be flooded with emails from viewers asking me what products they should buy and I couldn’t give them an answer I was happy with. At the time, I was also struggling with hormonal breakouts, so my skin problems combined with my frustration at the marketing hype and poor product formulations led me to create the brand,” Mansberg says.
What sets ESK apart from other evidence-based skincare brands in the market is its offering of products that promise evidence, efficacy, integrity and simplicity, which Mansberg found to be lacking when she decided to launch the brand. “ESK only uses active ingredients with the strongest evidence so we know that we will get the best results,” she says. When ESK launched, they were targeting everyone. The range is suitable for all skin types including those who suffer from acne, pigmentation, sensitive skin and the signs of ageing. It’s also accessible online to all consumers without the need for expensive clinic-based treatments, appointments or prescriptions. The brand was well received by consumers who had extensive knowledge of skincare ingredients and formulations and were looking for products that delivered the results they desired.
The brand’s bestsellers are Ageless, Ultimate A and Enlighten. Ageless are 2600 microneedle eye patches that melt under the surface of the skin releasing not only the hyaluronic acid itself but other active ingredients like retinal, caffeine, copper peptide and niacinamide. They reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Ultimate A is a night cream that contains retinal, a derivative of Vitamin A that is 20 times more powerful than retinol. “Apart from its superior efficacy, retinal is extremely well tolerated, even by the most sensitive skin. Paired with niacinamide, it’s effective for building collagen and elastin, skin thickness, and even combating acne and rosacea. Enlighten is a gentle yet effective tyrosinase inhibitor that fades pigmentation. It features 4-n-butylresorcinol, which is the most powerful tyrosinase inhibitor available. “It’s well tolerated and can even be used in pregnancy,” Mansberg says.
Last year, ESK reformulated its B Calm cream by adding in 2% salicylic acid to help combat acne along with the 5% niacinamide that was already in the cream. Their new dissolving microneedle patches are a hit with customers. In addition to Ageless, it recently launched Spotless, which was created with acne-prone skin in mind. “Each dissolving needle is 0.3 millimetres in length, painlessly reaching the deeper layers of the skin. The microneedles allow skincare actives to get past the skin barrier to deliver critical ingredients into the epidermis,” Mansberg says.
The brand is making beauty effective and accessible for all by referring to independent scientific studies that are peer-reviewed and published in major medical journals. All of their products are pH balanced and contain ingredients that work. “We don’t cut corners with the cheaper, less effective versions. The result is an evidence-based skincare range with a diverse range of products that cater to all skin types, skin tones and skin concerns. Beauty can be expensive and many people may not be able to afford high-end products. Our products offer affordable pricing without sacrificing quality,” Mansberg says.
Mansberg has written a number of books, one of which is The M Word. The M Word was written to help women navigate the ‘lonely, frequently garbage peddling world of menopause’. In the book, Mansberg works through the evidence and challenges taboos. “The book provides practical advice and information for women who are experiencing or approaching menopause. It’s a comprehensive guide to menopause that aims to empower women with the knowledge and tools they need to manage this significant life transition with confidence and ease,” she says.
When it comes to menopausal skincare, Mansberg believes that brands should be more aware of the role that oestrogen plays during and after this time. “Oestrogen can make skin drier when the skin barrier is compromised. After menopause, your body and skin has almost no oestrogen left and as a result, you’ll have more wrinkles and fine lines, sagging and thinning skin and poorer wound healing. Menopausal skin is thinner, drier and more sensitive. The two ingredients I’d recommend are Vitamin C and Vitamin A (retinal) - the evidence for their anti-ageing, collagen and skin thickness building properties are so strong,” she says. Mansberg also thinks ceramides are another untapped area. “According to research, post-menopausal women have lower levels of ceramides in their skin, which is why we created REPAIR +, a deeply nourishing cream that repairs dry and irritable skin and restores it to its natural radiance,” she says.
For brands who want to tap into the menopausal skincare market, Mansberg says understanding their unique needs is critical as menopausal skin undergoes many changes which brands should take into account and create products that cater to those specific needs. “Brands can also provide educational resources to help consumers make informed choices about their beauty routine,” she says. Mansberg’s advice to budding beauty entrepreneurs is to connect with their passion, have a unique offering, do your research and be patient. “Find a specific part of the beauty industry you are most passionate about and don’t force your way into the space - try to stand out from the crowd. Conduct thorough research on industry trends, consumer behaviour and competitor products to gain insights into what works and what doesn’t and don’t expect overnight success,” she says.
ESK will continue to expand its skincare offering with the launch of four new products this year. The brand will also launch three new eBooks. For more information about ESK, visit its website.