Queensland skincare company fights ‘ridiculous’ Facebook ban

A Gold Coast business owner has lashed out at Facebook for what he calls a "ridiculous" policy that blocks his company's advertisements because its products use hemp.

Brothers Mathew, Tim and Michael Steigler founded natural skincare company Cannabella in 2017 and launched it to market in January 2020. The company's products feature hemp oil as an ingredient, which they claim has healing properties.



Mathew Stiegler of Cannabella Skincare
Mathew Stiegler of Cannabella Skincare



Mathew Steigler says Facebook blocks all its advertisements on the basis that it does not promote illegal drugs. Cannabella advertisements are also blocked on Instagram, which is owned by Facebook.

"If we had the word hemp in it (a Facebook ad) it would not even go up," he said.

"They do not distinguish between hemp as skincare or as a drug.

"I understand Facebook do not want advertising of people pulling cones - that's fine - but I have friends who had hemp bed sheets (for sale) and they got their ads pulled."

Mr Steigler said the inspiration for Cannabella came after his mother was diagnosed with stage four Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2016.



He said the cancer took a terrible toll on her skin so he set about melting down her products and adding hemp oil to create his first product called hemp jelly. It was used on his mother's mouth ulcers and dry skin.

"There was an instant turnaround, her whole outlook changed," he said.

He next developed a serum using hemp oil.

"She did not eat for six weeks (after being diagnosed) and after I gave her the first drop she felt like something to eat."

Mr Steigler said her skin conditions continued to improve and it wasn't long before he was researching different uses for hemp.

He started to use the products himself, developing a range of serums and jellies to market at local farmers' markets, including the Renewal Serum which contains unfiltered hemp seed oil to treat skin prone to irritation and inflammation.

Mr Steigler said his products contained less than 1 per cent of THC, which is the psychoactive chemical typically associated with recreational weed.

Cannabella's products are now stocked in 30 stores across Australia and on the Flora and Fauna vegan online shop.



He said the company was growing quickly but could do so faster if its advertisements were allowed to be put up on Facebook. Sales have increased from $600 a month in January 2020 to $10,000 a month, he said.

About 17 million people use Facebook in Australia.

"We managed to get an advertisement there in November last year and sales went up quite a bit. That ran for two-and-a-half weeks before it was taken down."

Mr Steigler said he worried when the pandemic spread in March that sales would be affected but he said they continued to improve as people focused more on natural ingredients in skincare products.

Facebook did not respond to a request for comment.




Originally published as Coast skincare company fights 'ridiculous' Facebook ban