How we got started with Kawakawa

What exactly am I putting on my skin?

It’s a simple question that Janna Jansen, owner of Honest Skincare, really wanted to know the answer to. Having had skin allergies since childhood, particularly to certain flowering plants in the change of seasons, she was used to the familiar tickle when a rash was starting – and would brace herself for up to two weeks of itchy, inflamed skin and often weepy rashes. She tried every topical cream she could find, steroid creams and over the counter antihistamine pills. While these would calm rashes, they often left her with other side effects such as a very dry throat, dry skin and drowsiness.

A few years ago, out on a bushwalk with friends in Waiheke Island, a number in the group were bitten by mosquitos.

“Bush mosquitos with stripey legs – boy do those bites get itchy, and fast!” says Janna with a laugh. “One of our group suggested rubbing nearby Kawakawa leaves on the bites, and the itching stopped almost immediately, I couldn’t believe it!”

This ignited an old memory – Janna had heard of Kawakawa being a natural medicine used in traditional Maori medicine for centuries, both on inflammatory skin conditions and for internal digestive issues. The team at Honest Skincare began researching and experimenting to see how it could be used effectively in skincare.

Kawakawa has natural anti-inflammatory properties. Myristicin, one of two known bioactive molecules present in Kawakawa, is anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial. Diayangambin, another bioactive found in Kawakawa, exhibits anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressant properties, providing a natural way to resist infection.

“We had heard anecdotal stories about Kawakawa but once we started using this incredible herb in our skincare we just could not believe the results”, says Janna.

At Honest Skincare, a natural process is used to extract these healing substances from the Kawakawa plant, as it can be damaged by heat if you’re not careful – and the end product is a gentle but powerful extract which works perfectly with the natural ingredients Honest Skincare use in their Kawakawa skincare range.

“Of course, I tried it on myself first and it was amazing - any skin flare-ups are quickly nipped in the bud these days!

“The most satisfying part of this journey was sharing it with other people, and the reviews and feedback we have got from all sorts of people has been amazing, we are so glad to be helping others who’ve battled skin problems for years too. It has helped people suffering from eczema, psoriasis and even acne. It’s also gentle enough that it can be used on babies nappy rash or as a barrier cream for dribbling rashes – so you don’t have to use steroid creams on baby any more.

Honest Skincare include a free sample of Kawakawa Balm with every purchase. To find out more about what Honest Skincare offer, check their skincare range at www.honestskincare.co.nz.


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