It’s been another awesome year. You’ve all contributed a ton to the site with your reviews, blogs, galleries, forum posts, success stories, and emails. Even those of you who just come to hang out and read, I want to thank you for being here and becoming more educated so that you can spread the word amongst your family and friends should the time arise.

I have a sneaking suspicion that 2010 is going to be even more exciting. The scientific community is producing some very interesting research into acne. I’ll share it all with you as I discover it myself. In the meantime, I hope you have a joyous holiday and enjoy the love that surrounds you.

-Dan

The new acne treatment ratings and reviews pages are up! The new ratings and reviews pages should be more streamlined. We switched from multiple 1-5 ratings to one global 1-5 rating to simplify the process. Navigation is improved, and it should be much easier for you guys to add products too. If you find any glaring bugs, or if you have strong opinions on what needs to be added or changed, please reply to this blog post or to the post I’m making in the Announcements forum.

These new pages are the result of months of hard work. A big thanks to Joel and Paul for being amazing as usual.

Enjoy!

I know that some of you guys, especially those of you from Canada, like to use Spectro products, so I ordered the entire line of Spectro products to test them. I want to make sure I feel comfortable with people using them on the Regimen. I have done 3-day trials on to two of Spectro’s cleansers so far. Both cleansers are extremely similar and the ingredient decks have many of the same ingredients. I could not notice much of a difference between them, so I will review them together:

Spectro Derm Moisturizing Skin Cleanser for Dry, Sensitive Skin and Spectro Jel for Blemish-Prone Skin: Both are gentle, nice cleansers. Neither product lathers, so they won’t be good for shaving, but for just a simple wash, they did the job fine. I found that the thick consistency made it slightly harder to remain gentle during washing, and I had to use quite a bit of cleanser to simply cover my face. Having said that, I would feel comfortable with people using these cleansers, as long as they take extra care to remain gentle. They are non-overdrying and I like the ingredients just fine. I’ll add them to the list of approved cleansers.

Dr. Huang, the researcher spearheading the P. acnes toxin vaccine, has also been looking into whether lauric acid might be a natural antibiotic against P. acnes. Lauric acid is the main fatty acid in coconut oil and palm kernel oil, two very common and inexpensive materials. According to Dr. Huang, lauric acid is also an endogenous compound. Endogenous means it already occurs in the human body. What’s potentially beneficial about endogenous compounds is that our bodies know them, are used to them, and tend to handle them very well.

Several studies have shown lauric acid to be antibacterial, which interested one of Dr. Huang’s graduate students, who wanted to put it to the test. Together they tested lauric acid in the lab and in mouse ears, with good results against P. acnes in both instances.

So far I do not know of any lauric acid based acne treatments on the market. Lauric acid must be encapsulated in special spheres they call “liposomes” because it is not water soluble and is not well suited to most water-based formulas. While I believe this would be very possible to make, so far no such product has been produced.

If and when we see acne sufferers test such a product on a wide scale, it will be interesting to see how well it works. Acne is not just about P. acnes overgrowth, however. Overproduction of cells that clog pores, overproduction of sebum (skin oil), and inflammation are also in the mix. Still, it would be interesting to see a lauric acid product tested.

A reporter from the NY Times called me today to ask my opinion and experience on light and heat treatment devices for acne. I gave her an earful for about 40 minutes. I had a lot to say. Basically, science on both fronts is spotty at best and it’s buyer beware. Particularly with heat therapy devices, I find myself highly skeptical. It felt great to give her my opinion. The article should run either next Thursday or the Thursday after.

I’m also now inspired to write new pages on light treatment and laser treatment for acne.org, so I’ll get on it and let you know when those go live. Just in short so you know where I come down on them for now:

Light: Studies are showing moderate improvement, but not much above placebo, if at all. Red and blue light seems potentially slightly more effective than blue light alone. But no light therapy is likely to be enough, and is at best an adjunct to other acne therapy.

Heat: Heat therapy is based on extremely flimsy science. I hasten to call it science at all. Results I’ve seen in person and read about on ratings sites and here at acne.org are poor. Plus, heat therapy devices do not prevent acne. People end up chasing pimples around in a never ending cycle.

Bottom line: People with acne are often desperate and willing to try anything. Quick fix gadgets will continue to come along, and we need to remain extremely skeptical. If you decide to try such a gadget, keep your receipt, and if it doesn’t work for you, return the item for a refund.