A member emailed me asking me to try this product as a possible drugstore brand low-percentage benzoyl peroxide. My review:

The good: It is a gel that goes on clear. I much prefer gel based BP to cream based because gel based does not turn white when you perspire, and is easier to apply. It also has a nice fragrance–not an added fragrance, but just a nice scent from the ingredients in the product. Next, it is a 2% benzoyl peroxide, which is close to the 2.5% that I recommend. Studies have only been performed on 2.5% in comparison to higher percentages. 2.5% works just as well as higher percentages, but does 2%? I’m not certain, but my guess is that it probably does the trick. It comes in a 1oz. tube which, while still small, is still slightly larger than Neutrogena On-The-Spot.

The bad: The biggest drawback of this BP is that it gets gloopy when moisturizer is applied on top of it. I found the combination of this BP and moisturizer to be pretty yucky. Unfortunately, it was so bad that it really was a dealbreaker. The 1oz. size ($5.99 retail) is very small considering the amount of BP that is required to keep the skin clear. Using this BP with the Regimen could get very costly. Next, it is quite a thick consistency which makes it a little tough to apply. I would love to see it made in a thinner consistency.

The bottom line: I do not recommend this product for use with the Regimen because it does not seem to work well with moisturizer, is overly thick, and comes in a small size. However, if you can find a moisturizer that works well with it, take extra care to apply it very gently, and can afford the cost, it may be OK in a pinch.


Dr. Debra Jaliman contacted me recently wishing to speak with me regarding new acne treatments that have been released over the past few years. She is passionate about acne. It was a great conversation. You can read the full interview here. Some of the standouts:

Dapsone: This is a new topical anti-inflammatory which can be used alone or with other topicals, like benzoyl peroxide. It seems to have few side effects, and from what Dr. Jaliman has seen, her patients do not get worse before they get better. However, she did say Dapsone can take 12-14 weeks to start producing results. She claims about 80% of her patients are satisfied with its efficacy.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome can cause hormonal irregularities that can lead to skin issues. Dr. Jaliman says this may be more common than we realize. If you or someone you love has menstrual irregularities and/or excess hair growth (hirsuitism), it may be a good idea to get checked out.

Dr. Jaliman also offered an invitation to anyone to email her with questions. I thought that was quite generous. If you have any questions for her, feel free to email her at debrajal@yahoo.com.

Hey you guys. I’ve been tossing around the idea of making a Regimen iPhone app so people can time the Regimen steps, read the Regimen instructions on their iPhones, or even do the regimen in real time right with me.

iphone app sample screen iphone app sample screen
iphone app sample screen iphone app sample screen

Do you think you would use this? Or do you think people who don’t already know of Acne.org would find it helpful?

Ultimately, I’m looking to at least make an iPhone-friendly version of Acne.org. But an app in particular? Thumbs up? Thumbs down?

P.S. I’ll try to include other smartphones other than the iPhone in any final decisions.

Spot treatment: We’re on sample 5 at this point. I’m liking how it’s working, but we’re having a tough time getting it to not ball up once applied. Hopefully I’ll have sample 6 sometime soon. Pluggin’ away…


New, improved non-SPF moisturizer: I’m in love. And so were the first 30 people who trialed it, well, except for perhaps one of them. But that’s a pretty good success rate. So, I am currently doing a second round of testing to really be certain this is going to be our new moisturizer. So far, zero people have said it stings at all, and no one has said it turns them red either, so both problems with the current moisturizer seem to be fixed. I also love the way it feels. So it’s looking good.


SPF: Now that the new moisturizer is underway, I’m going to start adding in SPF and seeing what I can come up with. There’s no way this will be ready for the summer, so Oil of Olay Complete for Sensitive Skin (once they change back to their original formula in April May) looks like our summer friend again this year. I also wear hats, which is my preference. Hats are a physical sunblock with no extra ingredients going on the skin.


A February, 2010 article in the JDDG (Journal of the German Society of Dermatology) entitled “FoxO1 – the key for the pathogenesis and therapy of acne?” came across my desk recently. For those of you out there who are medical researchers or just into this stuff, if you want to look into this with me, it would be cool to see if we agree with the author’s hypothesis.

Basically, what the author, Bodo Melnik, proposes is that lowered levels of Fox01 (a nuclear transcription factor) leads to all of the processes we see in acne formation: the androgen/acne connection, cell wall overgrowth, increased sebum, higher levels of acne bacteria, and ensuing inflammation. He proposes that environmental factors which upregulate Fox01, such as diet, retinoids, and antibiotics, may all work to a degree because of this Fox01 stimulation.

We know that acne has a genetic component, so it’s worthwhile to look at gene expression when attempting to gauge what causes acne, and how it might be treated. If in fact Fox01 turns out to be a key factor in acne pathogenesis, perhaps Fox01 therapy could be around the corner. It’s interesting to think about. I hope to see more study in this area.

I got a massage last week and it got me thinking about massage and acne. I did a little research. Here are my thoughts:

Benefits of massage:

Reduced stress: I was a puddle of relaxation after my massage–completely content. We all know that mental stress and acne can be related. Massage has been shown to calm the adrenal gland (which is activated during times of stress), a sure fire way to bring that stress under control. This is especially effective for women who make so much of their testosterone in the adrenal gland. Keeping testosterone in check helps control acne as well.

Increased lymphatic system functioning: Every one of our cells is bathed in a clear-ish fluid called lymph, which is filtered in the lymph nodes. This system helps with our immune system and our body’s constant fight against bacteria. Massage can help keep the lymphatic system moving and the lymph nodes filtering properly.

Increased circulation, deeper breathing (better oxygen consumption), better digestion, better sleep: These are among the other benefits of massage. Physical stress is also associated with acne, so anything that can reduce physical stress on the body should help keep us more clear.

Risks of massage:

Skin irritation: Inflammatory acne, the kind most of us get that creates red lesions that usually come to a head, responds poorly to irritation. This is why it is so important to keep the acne-prone areas of your skin relatively untouched when treating inflammatory acne. Massage obviously includes lots of touch. Depending on how sensitive your skin is to irritation, massage can potentially disrupt the delicate balance in the pores, which can cause temporary pore damage and ensuing inflammation (a zit). This is why I avoid facial massage when getting massaged. Since body acne is becoming less of an issue at this point in my life, my back tends to be able to handle massage fairly well without breaking out too much. Another potential irritant during massage is the pillow on which you rest your face. I much prefer getting a massage on a professional massage table. These tables have specially designed facial cushions which help reduce irritation you might get from having your face smooshed into a regular pillow for an hour or so during your massage.

Massage oil: Many oils are comedogenic (clog pores). I always take along some jojoba oil when I get a massage. If you make an appointment for a massage, you may want to either ask if the masseuse/massueur has some jojoba oil around, and if not, take some with you. Jojoba oil makes for a perfect massage oil.

Bottom line: Massage has many benefits and helps get the body into a natural balance. It can reduce stress which can help reduce acne symptoms. However, this must be balanced against the potential irritation the actual massage can engender. I would personally avoid massage if I had active body acne. For those of us with only light body acne, I think massage can still be a great part of life. To ensure that I don’t break out after a massage, I’ll take a shower and treat my upper back with benzoyl peroxide and AHA. I may treat the area for a few days afterward as well.

I’ve never offered automatic shipments because I thought it might be perceived as pushy, and Acne.org has never been about pushing product. But I frequently get requests to set up an auto-ship program from people who would prefer to not have to log in and reorder regularly. I’ve been thinking through how it might work and I’m thinking we could offer the best of both worlds. What do you guys think of the following scenario?:

What if we set up an auto-ship option, but it would be purely optional? People who want to log in and reorder can always do so, and nothing would change for them.
Also, what if the auto-shipments were fully customizable and super easily cancelled, a la Netflix? That way if you did choose auto-shipments you could always change what you wanted to receive and how often you wanted to receive it on the fly. And, if and when you wanted to cancel, it would be as easy as clicking “Cancel” one time.

Anyway, as always, I wanted to get your weigh in before I moved forward…