Dr. Vivian's own acne journey

Nobody understands adult acne quite like someone who has experienced it. And it was Dr Vivian Tam’s own struggles with acne that led her to create Zilch Acne Formula in 2017.


After successfully treating herself and subsequently her clients with a unique blend of Chinese Medicine herbs, Vivian knew she had to make her formula more accessible. Now, Zilch Acne Formula is shipped all over the world as a convenient anti-acne supplement.

Read on to discover how Dr Vivian’s own journey to clear skin put her in the perfect position to help so many acne sufferers.

When did you have acne?

From the age of 12 until my mid-20s. I remember it first popped up year 7, when I was teased for ‘all the marks all over your forehead’.

What acne treatments did you try?

I tried everything a teenager usually does, and then some! Creams, washes, skincare, antibiotics, the pill, supplements – everything but the harsher prescribed medications. Nothing really worked, and I continued to experience acne into my 20s, when I became qualified as a doctor of Traditional Chinese medicine and suddenly had a full herbal dispensary at my disposal.

I started making herbal formulas for myself and within weeks my skin was in a totally different state. Within two months, it was clear.

Why did you create Zilch?

I used the formula I made for myself in my cosmetic acupuncture clinic. Patients regularly came to seek help with their acne, and the herbs had such a high success rate, I knew I had to find a way to help more people, not just those who lived in Melbourne. So, I set about formulating a skin supplement tablet, which eventually became Zilch.

How long did it take you to develop Zilch?

The formula was developed and refined over 2-3 years, then the TGA application and approval took 18 months.

In a nutshell, what is Zilch?

It’s a Chinese medicine-based herbal formula, designed for acne. It contains 17 herbal ingredients and that’s it. All natural. No nasties.

How does a TCM approach to tackling adult acne differ?

In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), we are always interested in looking at the inside out. We never see skin disease as an external problem only – it’s often something going on inside that will cause the body to break out.

We take the approach of ‘let’s fix it once and fix it good’. This means we aim to achieve long term results by addressing the underlying root cause. We also don’t believe in fixing one thing just to create another problem (side effects).

What’s the greatest challenge you’ve faced with Zilch

Getting it approved was an extremely rigorous process. I also had to do a lot of education to overcome some outdated beliefs around Chinese medicine. However, the results and glowing customer reviews now do most of the work for me!

And your biggest pinch-me moment?

Definitely waking up and being sold out 8 weeks after of launch. Especially as I’d ordered enough Zilch to last me the year…

What’s been the most satisfying part of Zilch’s success?

Honestly, just helping people. Every day we get stories sent in about how our humble little product has changed people’s lives, and it’s an amazing feeling. Acne is not just a skin disease – it messes with people’s emotional health. We are just so glad to be able to help people have more confidence in their skin and lives.

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