16 Dec 2020

High school students' acne product flying off shelves

From Afternoons with Jesse Mulligan, 1:32 pm on 16 December 2020

A new natural anti-acne product devised by three Dunedin high school students is hitting the spot with New Zealanders.

Abalro Raw Barberry Powder won three Year 12 Bayfield High School students the runner-up prize at last week's nationwide Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) awards.

Robert Donohoe, Alex Livingstone and Abby Green of Abalro

Photo: Abalro / Facebook

no caption

Photo: Supplied

The story begins last year when Abalro team member Alex Livingstone heard about the acne-relieving potential of barberry - an Iranian herb that's been used as a folk remedy for centuries, says CEO Robert Donoghue.

But although studies show the antioxidants and active compounds in 3 teaspoons of barberry - which is equivalent to 2 teaspoons of Abalro Raw Barberry Powder - can reduce acne by 43 percent over a month, the berries were not available in New Zealand.

As part of their Young Enterprise Scheme, the students started importing barberries from Iran and became the first New Zealand sellers of barberry powder.

Being 'first to market' has been a great advantage for the company, Donoghue says, and people who take the powder daily have seen noticeable positive effects on their skin.

"Just a few teaspoons a day is able to have this really impressive effect."

In the future, Donoghue plans to study Health Science at university, but this summer he's all about the berry powder.

"At the moment we're very busy dehydrating lots and lots of berries … we've had such a high number of orders in recent days but we currently are able to meet the demand."

Abalro Raw Barberry Powder retails at $29.99 for a 210 gram bag which will last for about a month if you use it every day, Donoghue says.