The founder of local skincare company Herbbies talks about educating the public on psoriasis and eczema

REGARDLESS of how rapidly technology is evolving, the stigma of psoriasis and eczema remains prevalent in today’s society.

Growing up, the founder of skincare company Herbbies, Siau Pheng, witnessed her sister and several of her cousins suffer from psoriasis and eczema.

Determined to ease their pain, Harper (as she is popularly known) took a one-year course to understand more about traditional Chinese medicine.

“From there, I started to know more about herbs that (are effective in treatment of) sensitive skin, like eczema and psoriasis,” she said.

Harper’s motivation to produce such products is also mirrored by her parents’ interest in exploring different types of herbs and traditional Chinese medicines.

“I started exploring which herbs were suitable for making balms and skincare products that can help reduce sensitive skin issues. When I noticed that my products actually helped, that was when I decided to come up with my own brand to help more people.”

Since many are still unaware of the negative side effects of using topical steroid creams, Harper stressed on the importance of choosing the right products, and has made her goods plant-based and vegan.

What do you think is the biggest myth and misconception about psoriasis and eczema?

“I think some of them truly believe that only one particular cream or skincare product can rescue them from all sensitive skin issues, when actually it does not.

“Apart from skincare, you’ll always have to think about your own lifestyle or your own allergies. For example, some people can’t use normal detergent for their clothes, and their bedsheets have to be 100% cotton, but they don’t know that.

“It needs trial-and-error to figure out what kind of allergies you have to fully solve your sensitive skin issues.”

Do you think the public needs more awareness on this issue?

“Definitely. Not just the person with sensitive skin issues, but other people as well because I believe there’s a lot of stigma associated with eczema and psoriasis.

“Those who don’t have this issue tend to think people with bad skin are dirty or lazy or just not earnest enough to get rid of the problem.

“Actually, it’s not that. The person may have already tried everything but others don’t know it, and they tend to assign bad labels to the person. I think that’s not fair.”

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How do you wish to address this issue through your brand?

“I feel like people with sensitive skin tend to go for steroid creams because [they work] fast, but they aren’t aware of the side effects.

“I think more education needs to be done on this. There’s a term called ‘topical steroid withdrawal syndrome’, and I need to create more awareness on this and the side effects associated with steroid use on sensitive skin, and that there’s actually a better alternative.

“It doesn’t just affect your skin, it also affects your mental health as well as your bodily and internal health and toxicity level.

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What was the inspiration behind the name?

“At first, we wanted to create a brand with products that are safe for babies. So, we combined ‘herbs’ and ‘babies’.”

How do you gain the public’s trust to use your products?

“On Instagram, I have a lot of infographics and information on lifestyles for those with eczema issues, such as what kind of foods to eat and avoid, what should be done when the itching starts and what to do to avoid scratching. It is all very educational for them.”

Herbbies skincare products are available at Unplug! and M+ Natural Remedies in Bangsar as well as Re:Health in Publika, Kuala Lumpur.

Harper also gives back to society by donating a percentage of profits to Sekolah Khas Klang in Selangor.

Visit for more information.

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