Here are some answers to some recent questions. I am not able to get to all open questions on the blog, but here’s a start:

Would you please be so kind as to list the five (Avobenzone) products you’ve tried in the past? Thank you.

I don’t remember most of them. Sorry. The only one I remember is Neutrogena Ultra Sheer.

What about the bare minerals new SPF powders. May be kind of girly but have you tried it?

I have tried it, in the name of science! I even went out on the town one day with it on, hoping no one would notice. The first thing my friend said when I saw him was, “Are you wearing makeup?” LOL. Anyway, I hated it. It felt cakey and my skin got dry and flaky. Do people really like that stuff? I can’t imagine. As a side note, makeup is an area that I want to study more. I know it is important. If anyone wants to help with research in this area, please contact me.

…isn’t mineral oil one of those things to avoid?

No. Mineral oil is non-comedogenic. In the old days they had multiple grades of mineral oil on the market and the lower grades were comedogenic, but these days only the highest grade is used in products, and it is non-comedogenic.

Is SPF 15 really enough for good protection than SPF30 during summer heat?

As you go up in SPF you get diminishing returns. SPF15 is over 90% as effective as SPF30. And anything over SPF30 is likely to not give any better protection than SPF30. I personally feel more than comfortable with SPF15. The higher SPF formulas I have tried seem too greasy and heavy.

I think too much BP (for me) causes too much irritation. Is this possible?

Yes, this is absolutely possible in two circumstances. (1) At the onset of a benzoyl peroxide regimen, and (2) if you are not using adequate moisturizer. At the start of the Regimen, you want to use a small amount of BP to reduce overly irritating side effects. And once you are on the Regimen it is vital to moisturize twice a day, every day, to maintain a balance in your skin. Benzoyl peroxide, when used correctly, is incredible for clearing acne, but it must be used within a regimen that includes adequate moisture to reduce overdrying the skin.

How close are you to releasing the new moisturizer?

We are hoping for 3 months from now or so.

Are you going to use (in the spot treatment) a betta-isomer of Salicylic Acid?

Yes, we use beta hydroxy acid, the active form of salicylic acid.

(Will the spot treatment have) BP in it??

No. Benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid cannot be in the same formula. Plus, benzoyl peroxide doesn’t do well in strongly acidic formulations. I am keeping the spot treatment at the legal limit for acidity, 3.5pH, so we can get as much activity from the glycolic acid as we can.

Is it okay to use (the spot treatment) on the whole face instead of the AHA treatment?

I wouldn’t recommend it. First of all, I am leaning toward bottling it in very small tubes. Secondly, it is extremely strong. The spot treatment is made to be used in a tiny pin size amount.

How do I know if I’m being gentle enough (on the Regimen)?

Check out the videos and when in doubt, be more gentle. Also, remember that staying gentle not only applies to during application of the Regimen, but also throughout your day. Try to keep your skin relatively untouched.

I spent a lot of time working with the best formulators in the U.S.A. and together we made the best salicylic acid I’ve ever tried, but I’m coming to realize that there is only so much you can do with salicylic acid. I just don’t think it’s that great of an acne fighting ingredient, no matter how much you bump it up with auxiliary ingredients. In the end, I prefer AHA.

The salicylic acid that many of you asked for is now available. I will not be putting this product on the main page of It will only be available through this link.

I’m keeping the salicylic acid somewhat of a secret because I made a very limited amount of it. I want you guys to give me feedback before deciding whether to make this a staple product. If you do decide to order it I’m asking for you to commit to taking a one page survey on it so we can all decide what we like about it and what needs changing and whether to make it in larger batches for the general public.

More about it:

It is a light feeling, moisturizing cream which has 2% salicylic acid. This is the legal limit. 1 1/2% of that 2% is good ‘ol regular sal acid, and 1/2% is time released. After speaking with several master formulators we decided on 1/2% time released so that we get an initial boost of sal acid and some extra lingering and being released slowly. Salicylic acid, as we know, helps peel inside the pore, keeping pores from clogging and initiating acne. I also put a ton of other stuff in this product. I included lichochalcone, a Chinese licorice root extract which is potently calming and soothing to acne-prone skin. This is the same stuff that’s in our AHA+. I also put sebum reducers to help control oil. Lastly, I put natural antimicrobials in there. My theory with this product is to attack acne from every possible angle, using all of the very latest performance ingredients on the market.

The cream absorbs quickly into the skin. It is a kind of tan/yellow color due to the licochalcone. It has a characteristic odor due to the combination of natural ingredients. This scent be a little strong when applying it, but it goes away completely in a matter of a minute or two.

My bottom line on it:

You guys know I am always completely honest. Well, here goes some more honesty…salicylic acid is not benzoyl peroxide, no matter what other performance ingredients you put in there. Benzoyl peroxide is our workhorse. It’s what will clear up acne completely when used within The Regimen. However, I do think this salicylic acid is the best ever made if I do say so myself. It’s time released and is jam packed with other stuff that I think will really help. It’s absolutely everything I can possibly throw together to bump up salicylic acid’s effectiveness. I tried it myself for about six weeks. I used it in the morning and benzoyl peroxide at night, which was great because I could wear colored clothing during the day without worrying about bleaching anything. This regimen of sal acid in the morning and benzoyl peroxide at night kept me clear for the first four weeks or so, but then I started breaking out just a bit here and there. I prefer 100% perfect skin, so I went back to the full Regimen with benzoyl peroxide twice a day.

Currently I keep some of this salicylic acid around and use it as a nighttime moisturizer when I’m in the mood. Because this salicylic acid is so soothing, I can use it with my benzoyl peroxide no problem.

My bottom, bottom line is really to wait until you guys give me feedback on it so we can all decide together how good this stuff is. At that point I’ll decide whether to keep making it.

New and Improved Moisturizer: After many iterations of our moisturizer with increased moisturizing ingredients (humectants) and with little improvement, I’ve decided the best way for us to move forward is to keep our current moisturizer just as it is minus the stearic acid. The stearic acid is only in the formulation at .4% however, so it will stay remarkably similar. So what do people do who want more moisturization? Add a few drops of jojoba oil. I do this myself from time to time if I want more moisturization on a particular day. I found us a fantastic local, organic jojoba supplier so I’ll be able to offer that in the coming months once I order bottles and get them filled. In the meantime, because I seem to be unable to stop myself :) , I’m working on another few moisturizer formulas with our chemists which will include alpha hydroxy acid. I’ll keep you posted on that.

SPF Moisturizer: I sampled a micronized titanium dioxide moisturizer because it is supposed to be “translucent”, but these words are really just thrown around. It is not translucent. It goes on white. The bottom line is we’re going to have to deal with some whitening if we want full spectrum protection. I’ve got several more samples coming my way.

Salicylic Acid: I am a little obsessive and decided to do further research on the best options for each of our ingredients, and changed a few things here and there. I should get sampled on the final batch Wednesday. I’m hoping it still has the great feel everyone loved when we tested it.

10% Glycolic: People are loving the glycolic so it is good to go. I gave the final OK and got pricing. It is eye-poppingly expensive to produce, but the product is pretty darn great. I’ll try to keep the price as low as I can. Buy a lot of it so we can keep prices low. :)

Organic Jojoba Oil: I just need to order bottles and caps and we’ll start filling. Bottles and caps take a couple of months to produce.

Our manufacturer attempted to match the formulator’s salicylic acid product and sent a sample to me today. They came very close to matching it exactly but it goes on just slightly too white for my taste. So they’re remixing it ever-so-slightly. Once they nail it we’ll put it into FDA required stability for 3 months at which point I can release it.

After being off of BP for a few weeks and starting to see imperfections arising, last night I put on a very generous amount of BP and applied it gently. I woke up this morning and looked almost completely clear. BP is truly amazing. I’m sitting here wondering if I should put BP on again during the day today and I think I probably will. By tomorrow I should be back to completely spotless at which time I’ll go back to my Sal Acid samples in the morning and BP at night. That combo kept me incredibly clear for many weeks and I think it’s how I’d like to proceed into the future. That is, until I can figure out a holistic way to clear acne from the inside. That might be the next project!