I got another sample of the salicylic acid product with anti-inflammatories, sebum-reducers, and antimicrobials. The feel is awesome. It looks like a white cream and is viscous enough that you can dollop it on your palm. This allows us to carefully measure how much we want to use. But when you put it on, it goes on almost like water. It leaves a nice feeling on the skin that is non-greasy and light. Plus, my skin is still looking great and I’ve been using the salicylic acid every morning now for a few weeks. I did have a few problems for the first week or two around my nose. I got a few non-inflamed comedones there. But as of today my skin looks pretty perf. I have my fingers crossed that this will do the trick for me in the morning because I’m ready to wear vibrant colors without fear of bleaching them!

I get 6 samples at a time. The next step is to get feedback from Brandy, Joel, Real Maverick and my operations manager, Rhonda, who got four of the latest samples. I’m keeping the last two for myself! If everyone likes it as much as I do, I sign off on it and get a full kilo of it from our manufacturer. Then I can send more samples out to get a broader opinion. If everyone likes it, I’ll put it in FDA required stability for 3 months and when and if it is a stable formulation, I’ll bottle it and sell it.

Little did we know that we had a Web expert in our midst for the past few years. I have been in contact with Paul, known as Real Maverick on the message boards, but we never spoke specifically about how we might work together. I finally had a chat with him over Skype and he volunteered his expertise in helping update our web site. He’s also going to help spearhead our Wiki revolution! I can’t wait to get started. Anyway, much love goes out to Paul for his help.

Finished reading Wikinomics: This book blew my mind from beginning to end. It may as well be titled “How Acne.org should move into the future”. I have what I think is a cool idea to start. Wouldn’t it be great to not have to read all of the pages on Acne.org, especially the Regimen pages that are so long? I’m thinking of having people videotape/webcam themselves reading pages of Acne.org. Then we can vote for our favorite. Whichever video gets the most votes will get posted and I’ll send the person in the video free supplies or…whatever else they want. These videos could even change every month or so just to keep it fresh around here. Then as visitors surf around Acne.org they can simply click on a video link on each page and they can watch and listen to different people explain about that page instead of having to read. I mean, c’mon, after all, reading online is so 2005 :-). Not only do I think this kind of entrance into community video will move us into the burgeoning video Web further, I also think it’ll highlight our community feel. What do you think? Does anybody else have the chutzpa to videotape themselves like I did!?

How I’m looking after two weeks on the 2% SA/anti-inflammatories/sebum-reducing/anitmicrobial product: Really good. I think.

Let me explain. My skin is flawless, except for on the sides of my nose where I have a couple of non-inflamed comedones. But I have had crazy allergies and I blow my nose probably twenty times a day. I don’t know if any acne product will be able to overcome that kind of irritation. But the rest of my face is perfect. I’m running out of samples though! So I only have probably a few more days left until I have to stop using it. I’m pretty excited though. Not only do I think the formulation might be effective (inject skepticism here), I actually enjoy the way it feels after application. It imparts a gentle tingle and a feeling I would characterize as fresh and open–I can almost feel how it is gently exfoliating my follicle walls. Wow, I am such an acne nerd :-)

Since people often ask what I personally use on a daily basis, I made a fun new page to explain it. I put the stuff I use on my dining room table and took a picture of it, printed out the picture, and then traced the picture with a sharpie. Then Joel helped me with a roll-over javascript thing so that you can just roll over each product for an explanation. I had fun doing it.

Click here for the link.

10% AHA is in my experience an amazing spot treatment. Many agree. It is also fantastic for body acne, and along with the regular regimen, can wipe out body acne in a lot of people. See this link for more on that. Since Alpha Hydrox brand AHA can be hard to find and since I think I can make a specific version for acne prone individuals, I asked one of our formulators to mix up a batch of 10% alpha hydroxy, while avoiding any comedogenic ingredients, and mixing in some of the potent anti-inflammatories that are out these days. I got the sample this morning. I didn’t like it. It was too thick feeling and rubbed in too fast actually. I got back to them with my comments and they are redoing it for us. But anyway, just so you guys know, I am working on this as well.

Still trying my SA product in the mornings: I hardly even want to say it just in case I jinx it, but after an initial 3 non-inflamed comedones my skin has gone back to clear and quite frankly is looking really good. It feels healthy and I’m perfectly clear of anything active whatsoever. (Fingers crossed that I don’t wake up tomorrow with a zit! lol)

Another thing that’s interesting is my skin is quite flaky, but in a different way from benzoyl peroxide. Salicylic acid is keratolytic–meaning it removes the top layers of skin cells. At first I thought the medication itself was balling up, and I still think it is to some degree, but I now think much of the continued flaking I’m experiencing is simply my top layer of skin goin’ bye-bye. It is a distinctly different feeling from the flakiness I get with benzoyl peroxide. It makes sense that if this peeling is also occuring on follicle walls that the walls of the follicle will have a tougher time becoming stuck together and leading to a microcomedone in the first place.

Wikinomics: I am still reading this incredible book. I am bursting with excitement with how we can bring collaborative Web technology to Acne.org and allow all of us to pool our intelligence. Wow. Great stuff.

I’m getting a little worried. I have a few tiny zits, one close to my nose, and two under my lips. They are not inflamed, so that’s good, but they shouldn’t be there at all. I have been using only my new salicylic acid in the morning, and still using the BP at night. I’ll keep you guys posted, but I want to use only a Regimen that keeps me completely clear, so the bar is set very high.

In a bigger picture framework, nothing ever seems to work as well as the Regimen. I have tried countless things over the years and every single time I go back to the Regimen. At some point you would think I’d give up and just do the Regimen, but for some reason I can’t stop experimenting. This is probably because I don’t want to use the Regimen forever! My dad still breaks out and is 60 years old, so the prospect of using the Regimen for another 30 years is tiring :)

So, I get my hopes up each time I try something new and they are consistently dashed. But I remain positive and forward thinking. Perhaps the SA product will work. I’ll keep trying for a while. Even if it doesn’t work, if we can get some collaborative technology implemented on Acne.org, we’ll be able to pool the collected learning of all of us, alongside the best minds in medicine, and perhaps come up with alternatives to the Regimen that also work 100% or close to it. Alternately, we may simply discover that the Regimen is the best we’ve got right now. In a worst case scenario, hopefully we can at least come up with alternate Regimens that work well enough so that people who are allergic to BP can use something that approximates the success of a precisely performed benzoyl peroxide Regimen.

For some reason I can’t stop changing the homepage :) But I think it keeps getting better. I know you probably don’t care, but humor me and let me know what you think of it this way if you get a chance. I moved the Mission Statement up to the top, changed it from yellow to blue, and put a shadow behind it. Then I moved the Community up and moved the Regimen down. I also coupled the products with the Regimen in the same box. When I say “I”, I of course mean “Joel and I” since Joel makes it all happen.