When we talk about an inclusive society, we usually think of the handicapped or those with different learning abilities. Joanne Ang would like to add another group to the list – people who are discriminated against because of their skin.

Her brother, Abel, has chronic eczema. In school, he was bullied and called “diseased boy”, she says. Once, he was even chased out of a swimming pool by a lifeguard who thought he had a contagious illness.

The toll on his physical health – chronic insomnia from the intense itching, painful burning sensations – and self-esteem was immense, and he hid away at home to cope. He also couldn’t get work because of his appearance.

Seeing the stigma her brother faced spurred Ang into action. In mid 2019, she quit her job as a flight attendant, invested a large chunk of her savings and all of her time into starting Kansoskin, a skincare line for those suffering from conditions like eczema and sensitivity.

Its main purpose, she says, is to reduce the need for steroid creams by supporting the skin’s natural functions and keeping it protected.

Ang says: “The way my brother is treated in society convinced me that I should start the brand to change the narrative around beauty.” In the long run, she wants to champion “skinclusivity”, where people are treated equally regardless of how their skin looks. And through the brand, she also hopes to create jobs for those with compromised skin conditions.

“I want to stand up for the marginalised, and this gives me a strong sense of purpose,” she says. “My learning curve has been especially steep as I have no prior experience running a business.

“One of my biggest challenges is knowing when to ask for help. Also, the business can only go as far as my capacity allows, so personal growth is something I’m working on.”

I want to stand up for the marginalised, and this gives me a strong sense of purpose.

The Simply Better Barrier moisturiser contains 17 Asian botanicals with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, plus pre- and probiotics.