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My chronic acne inspired me to start my own skincare company'

By mwewachibwe • 2 weeks ago • 2786 views • 1000 comments
My chronic acne inspired me to start my own skincare company'


My chronic acne inspired me to start my own skincare company'

Michelle Doherty says that during her almost 14-year battle against chronic acne she tried everything in an attempt to cure it.

In addition to prescription medications, she used methylated spirits, tea tree oil, and even put toothpaste on the spots.

But nothing worked, and some of the harsher treatments only worsened the problem and her self esteem, as the acne persisted from when she was 14 to nearly 28.

"I was [even] on antibiotics for 11 years," says the 57-year-old New Zealander looking back. "And I was also on a contraceptive tablet to address hormonal functions."

It was particularly depressing for her younger self, because after leaving school in Auckland when she was 15, she started a career as a cosmetics salesperson.


The company's products are now sold around the world
Very self-conscious, she says her acne left her feeling that people noticed her skin, rather than her the person. "I felt so unclean," says Michelle. "In the beauty salons they stocked skincare for people who already had beautiful skin. I wondered: where do people go when they've got problem skin?"

When she was 27 Michelle says she finally discovered a cosmetics ingredient that alleviated her acne, and made her skin look better - glycolic acid.

Derived from sugar cane, glycolic acid is used as an exfoliator - to remove dead cells from the surface of the skin.

Today it is utilised by cosmetics brands large and small around the world, and found in thousands of products. But in the early 1990s its usage was very much in its infancy.

But after trying a few products that contained the acid, and seeing first-hand its positive effect, Michelle was inspired to try to start her own skincare brand based around the ingredient.

For the next four years, she and her husband dedicated themselves to product development, and saving funds. In 1995, when Michelle was 32, they moved to the Gold Coast in Australia and launched Alpha-H.

It is so named because glycolic acid is one of a group of alpha hydroxy acids.

After starting out in the couple's garage, the company today has reported annual revenues of 7.7m Australian dollars ($5.3m; £4.3m). Australian singer and actor Kylie Minogue is known to be a fan, and the firm makes 10,000 bottles of its best-selling product Liquid Gold every day to keep up with global demand.

All production is still done in-house in Australia.


Kylie Minogue is a well-known fan of the brand
Initially Michelle says that only pharmacies stocked Alpha-H, because beauty salons were put off by the word "acid". However, salons soon followed as word spread.

"I'd be working from the home garage in Monterey Keys, in Queensland," she says. "I'd dispense products from sauce bottles, before wrapping them, and taking them to the post office [to be mailed out]."

Direct sales to consumers then followed, which got a huge boost from 2000 when Michelle decided to start advertising the products on 24-hour TV shopping network TVSN. She says that while other cosmetics brands "turned their nose up" to this, she recognised its value.

"What we wanted to do was bring salon-grade products to customers without needing them to come into salons to be faced with flawless beauty professionals who couldn't empathise with people who had serious skin conditions," says Michelle.


Michelle, pictured here with a colleague, says production is not contracted out
Kelly Dobos, a cosmetic chemist at the University of Cincinnati, says that alpha hydroxy acids "have been applied to the face as beauty treatments for thousands of years, in the forms of natural fruit compresses or milk baths".

"But their scientific merits in dermatological treatment only began to be realised when [there was] a flurry of research activities in the 1980s and 90s," adds Ms Dobos.


Maria Hols, a Scandinavian luxury beauty writer based in Dubai, says that Michelle, and her own excellent complexion, has always been Alpha-H's best ambassador.

"Who really needs a model to advertise the brand when you see the results of the products simply by looking at the brand's founder?" says Ms Hols. "She also managed to start a company with three young daughters, and then to employ them in her company years later. It's a genuine family company, still."


Michelle, here photographed 10 years ago, says she has ideas for other businesses
Michelle says her skin "does not look like that of a 57-year-old", despite the fact she is now receiving treatment for cancer.

"I go through laser treatment for brain tumours, and chemotherapy for other tumours, and my skin is still glowing," she says.

As a result of her health issues, last year she sold a stake in the business, for the first time, to global investment company Riverside.

"We have global reach, with a select number of employees on the ground in key regions, but Alpha-H remains predominantly Australian-owned, made and staffed," she says. "We currently have 65 people on the Australian payroll."

She adds that the only reason she wouldn't start another business is down to her health. "I love the chase," she says. "I've got ideas beyond the beauty arena."

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1000 Replies | Last update 2 weeks ago | Last comment

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

     

    wow I'm  inspired 

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Wow am inspired 

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Inspiration 

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Noted

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Interesting news 

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Very inspiring information and very helpful its good to see the positive in the bad situations 

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Wow thanks for the information.

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Nice

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    This is inspiration for us youths

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    following 

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Following

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Following

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Following

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Starting your own skin care must be a great commitment and Michelle Doherty had a drive which was to share her discovery about better skin care and product benefits 

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Following

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Following 

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Quite inspiring

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Following 

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Inspiring

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Following

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Wow,,,Great infor

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Great entrepreneural story, skincare companies should start adding glycoric acid to their cosmetics

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    I'm inspired 

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Thanks for the information

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    This is interesting 

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Following

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    It's so encouraging and motivating piece of information. Points noted and followed

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Following

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Wow that's amazing 

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Nice

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Okay

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Following 

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    wow this is amazing

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Following 

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Interesting 

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Following

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    wow this is so inspiring

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    That's nice

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Great achievement for her , acne is a problem from most ladies , her company is a breakthrough .

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Following 

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Following

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    This is how it’s supposed to be, provide a solution for a problem 

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Interesting Stuff. Very inspiring

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Okay good  for your skin

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Noted

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Following 

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    That's a good steep

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    So inspiring 

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Awsome and very helpful

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    So inspiring

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    This is really good

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Very inspiring article indeed problems don't come to destroy us but to lift us to another level

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    So inspiring

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    following

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    following

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Thanks for sharing 

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    This is inspiring

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Following

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Following 

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Wow I love people that a business minded 

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Okay 

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Inspirational

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Amazing

     

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Thanks a lot for sharing this 

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    When she was 27 Michelle says she finally discovered a cosmetics ingredient that alleviated her acne, and made her skin look better - glycolic acid.. .thanks for sharing 

     

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Following

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Thanks for sharing your inspiration story,it's really nice

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Today it is utilised by cosmetics brands large and small around the world, and found in thousands of products. But in the early 1990s its usage was very much in its infancy.

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    She's such a genius and a very strong lady this is inspiring congratulations she word very hard to achieve this 

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Good

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Nice

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Wow am  inspired... Have always had problems with acne... Am encouraged

  • »
     

    Awesome

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Inspiration 

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Wow

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Following

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Wow this is so inspiring, indeed acne lowers ones self esteem

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Noted

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    This is so interesting to read.... Thanks for the message

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Interesting article

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Wow this is so inspiring and it is teaching us not to give up in life 

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Wow interesting

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Noted

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Thanks for sharing

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    So encouraging

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Following

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    This is very informative news. please keep posting such informative news for people to read

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Following

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    This is incredible 

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Congratulations to her 

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Acne is something else..its good it had positive effects on her life

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Thanks for sharing

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Following

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    This was the most important part in my life and you can get the best of the most common way to the 

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Alright noted thank you for the update and still catching up 

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Thanks for the information.

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Wow so inspiring 

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Thank you so much for the information

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    In addition to prescription medications, she used methylated spirits, tea tree oil, and even put toothpaste on the spots. Up

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    following

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Nice initiative 

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Wow. This is a good read. Talk about bringing something good out a seemingly bad situation

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Thank you 

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Interesting

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Wow

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Following

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    wow, this is really helpful

     

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Following 

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Pain can make u a better person 

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    When people say certain situations lead to greatness this is it

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Following closely 

  • »
     

    Great at least you turned what seemed to be a negative into a positive 

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Thanks for sharing

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Interesting

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Great full for the inspiring words

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Following thanks 

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Great entrepreneural story, skincare companies should start adding glycoric acid to their cosmetics

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Inspirational

  • »
     
    2 weeks ago

    Thank you for sharing

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