ONNE on Onne with Dr. Vivian Tam, Founder of Zilch

Here at ONNE, we encourage our beautiful onne's to take a holistic approach to heal their skin issues. Finding good internal solutions to skin problems is just as important as your topical treatments. We have already discussed food to avoid for acne-free skin, hydration for healthy glowing skin and foods that help fight aging, as well as what can cause acne. Now we are introducing you to Zilch Acne Formula. Zilch is made up of 17 super-potent herbal ingredients that work to reduce inflammation, clear heat and toxicity in the skin and body and promote blood circulation for healing. We speak to Founder Dr Vivian Tam about what inspired her to formulate this amazing product.

We read that you suffered from acne as a teen and into your 20’s, once you had finished your studies in Chinese Medicine how long did it take you to get your skin in check?

I had always battled with Acne and as with most people, I hadn't found a solution that worked for me yet. When I started working in my first year, I had access to a full herbal dispensary and started making formulas to take home and use. By the end of the 2nd month, the breakouts had reduced to almost nothing and my skin stayed clear even when I had finished them. This completely makes sense to me as a practitioner though, as I understood that the root cause was balanced and treated.

Tell us a little more about Zilch and what types of acne it can help with.

Zilch was designed to help with all types of Acne- cystic, common, whiteheads, over oil production causing congestion etc, but it is especially good for helping with Adult cystic acne- the terrible sort that comes up on your jawline, neck, and cheeks and are large, deep and usually very painful. I recognised there was a real lack of options when it came to cystic acne (and common acne) and with such great successes in my clinic, I knew I had to work on launching the formulas a product. Zilch Acne Formula works in several ways, providing long-term results for acne sufferers. Firstly, it works on reducing inflammation, reducing the soreness, redness and the uncomfortable swelling of larger cysts and nodules. On a similar level, it works on removing heat and toxicity from the body. In Chinese Medicine, an imbalance of heat in the body can cause skin breakouts. A perfect analogy is the Earth’s core getting too hot, causing eruptions on the surface (volcanoes!). Blood circulation in Chinese Medicine is integral to the optimum well-being of one’s health, and promoting healthy blood circulation for skin health is no exception. When there is blood stagnation (blockages) in the body, swelling and inflammation and build-up of toxicity can occur. To better understand this concept, imagine a blockage in a car engine – eventually, this blockage will cause the car to overheat, and “blow up”, similar to the body accumulating inflammation and toxicity, causing breakouts. Ingredients in Zilch Acne Formula promote and boost blood circulation to stop these deeper nodules from occurring in the skin, and promotes skin healing.

Acne can be a huge confidence killer - what is your advice to those people that have these skin issues?

It is the sad truth that it is a huge confidence killer for a lot of people. I've worked in Chinese Medicine treating skin disorders for almost 8 years now and I see patients that have almost given up on their life (social life, drive in their careers, love life etc) because of how low they feel about their skin. I guess it's easier said than done, but looking after yourself in every other way is really important. To focus on all the wonderful things you may have, like health, and friends and family and people that love you. That you are intelligent and have the means to wake up every day and enjoy the things you want to. The other important thing I'd like people to know is that it doesn't last forever and that there are solutions to this! I have treated a countless number of people that have "tried everything!!!". Don't give up hope!

What is the most rewarding thing you have experienced since launching Zilch?

Honestly, I'd have to say when I get emails from customers telling me that I've changed their life. It never gets old! To have someone tell you how sincerely thankful they are for the product, and that they've finally found something that works for them that is not harmful or harsh makes my day, and it doesn't get boring and gives me such a buzz... both because I love that they are so much happier, but also because I feel proud of what I've done!

You have a huge passion for herbs, what are some of your favourites and why?

Yes! I love the practice of Chinese Herbal medicine and how their properties can help so much in internal imbalances and diseases. I actually can't pick a favourite out of the 17 ingredients in Zilch, because they all actually play a part in the formula and are all amazing and necessary in their own way. If I had to pick one though, I'd say I love the properties of Oldenlandia as its a gentle herb, but it works to clears heat and inflammation, clears toxicity and promotes blood circulation which is powerful in reducing acne, abscesses and swellings.

What are your top tips to have a holistic approach to healthy skin once people have finished their Zilch treatment?

Look after your WHOLE self! We are talking diet and eating the right foods (reduce sugar, dairy, and wheat intake) and eat with the seasons. We are also talking taking care of your gut health, sleeping enough (and at the right times! 8 hours starting from 10 pm is very different to 8 hours starting at 1 am!), exercising to promote movement and circulation, and de-stressing. All of these things collectively have a big impact on "qi flow" and "yin and yang balance" which is the fundamental issue underlying acne-prone skin!

We have followed your journey from the launch of Zilch and the amazing coverage you have received so far - what is in store for 2018?

Thanks so much! It's been so amazing up until now. From the years and years of research before launch to our official launch in May 2017. It's been such a success with selling out in 8 weeks and in 2018 we want to focus more on spreading the word through real users and their stories, perhaps look into international markets and looking to grow our wholesale/stockists family.

Now let’s get to know more about the amazing brain behind the product. How do you balance between the demands of your work, social life and “me” time?

That's such a great question because I ask that to myself all the time. Sometimes I have the answer like a Zen guru and sometimes I'm so busy I forget to sleep! I have a day job as a Chinese Medicine Doctor running my own clinic as well as running Zilch. There are not many hours left for much else. I have an amazing husband who is my number 1 fan and is so supportive of everything I'm doing, so I'm going to have to give him credit for keeping most of my sanity. I have a small but very close group of friends that understand how busy I can get. They are super amazing at catching up with me on off days. "Me" time is actually something I book myself in for in my calendar so I know it's there, and there is no risk that work will come along and trump it. For eg: I book my exercise workouts for the whole month and I won't move it for anything (unless Sir Richard Branson requested a meeting with me to catch up). I have lots of half days that I block out to just chill out and do nothing or everything, depending on my mood. I think the key is that I LOVE what I do. So it's not hard for me to get up and go on with my day.

What is your favourite thing to do to unwind at the end of a busy day?

Spend time with my dogs, and go to youtube and watchdog/animal videos (haha! I'm working to retire so I can buy a farm and rescue all the animals!). Eating out or a massage would be my go-to indulgences though!

Favourite travel destination and why?

Can I have two?
  1. Snowboarding in Japan was absolutely epic (out of this world beautiful scenery and mountains).
  2. Swimming with sea turtles and manta rays in Hawaii. It is probably the most magical thing I've ever done. To be that close to nature and wildlife is something you never forget.
To Find out more about Zilch go to