I’ve been getting requests to make a larger size AHA+ (12-16oz.) for people using the Back/Body Regimens. Anytime we make products larger we save on materials and can charge a little less per ounce. What do you think?

Larger Size AHA+

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For people using the AHA+ just for spot treatment or who just use it occasionally, a 2oz. would be less expensive. A 2oz. could also allow people who are new to alpha hydroxy acid to try it at a lower price point to decide if they like it. What do you think?

Smaller Size AHA+

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SPF: We have been painstakingly sourcing each ingredient from around the world in an attempt to keep the price on the SPF within reason and within reach. We’re making good progress, and it’s my goal (perhaps I should say prayer since it’s not entirely up to me) to put a sample into FDA required stability testing soon so it can be out for at least part of this summer’s season. No promises, but we’re working on it every day. Depending on certain ingredient lead times and availability, my fingers are crossed that we can make this happen sooner rather than later.

Spot Treatment: The last spot treatment we designed seemed to have everything going for it, and then wham, our testers tried it under BP. It balled up and looked like mini cottage cheese curds on the skin. At the same time, my mind got piqued regarding other potentially beneficial ingredients, and I have been reading about some of them while having a team of people gather research on others. The spot treatment appears to be more of a long term project at this point. I want to launch a spot treatment only when it is revolutionary and amazing since the AHA+ already works so well for me. However, it is very much on the radar.

Moisturizer: For quite some time now, because of my extreme schedule and inability to read through the message boards as much as I would like, Brandy and C’est La Vigne have been updating me regularly on your posts. Rest assured that if you express your concerns to C’est or Brandy, they are likely to be expressed to me. Lately, Brandy and C’est have been telling me that several of you would like me to bring the old moisturizer back. I am hearing you and understand your frustration. However, with my apologies, I’m afraid this is not possible. First, since I would not be recommending it or mentioning it on the web site, I would need to produce it in very small amounts. This is an extremely expensive proposition on several levels–small label runs & small production runs would run the cost into an entirely new “private label” placement in which prices would reflect expensive boutique brands. Next, our full-time team is swamped with current products, and we do not have the resources to relaunch a product at this time. Finally, I feel more comfortable with people using the new moisturizer. While the new formula requires more generous application (at least 3 pumps), the increased gentleness and soothing ingredients that the new moisturizer keep me steadily on board with strongly recommending it over the previous version. For those of you who are experiencing increased dryness with the new moisturizer, please read this post for my recommendation on how much to use, but keep in mind that our current batch of pumps dispense a bit less, so you will need at least 3 full pumps, not 2.

Are any of you wondering why it seems like your moisturizer isn’t working as well as it used to? You’re not alone. Every year around this time people come to me complaining that their moisturizer just doesn’t seem to be as powerful as it used to be. “Aha!,” I’ve exclaimed, in the nicest way possible of course, “It is not your moisturizer! It’s just winter.” It’s true that people experience increased dry skin in the winter. But this year I decided to do a little more digging to find out exactly why. As it turns out, there is startlingly little scientifically sound explanation to be found, and myths abound.  As is often the case, it falls to us to sift through the nonsense and make some sense of this issue.

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First, let’s dispell the myths:

When weather gets cold, it gets dry. This is claimed so often and by so many “reputable sources” that I almost took it at face value myself. But when I decided to double check this pervasive claim, it completely fell apart. I looked at historical charts of humidity levels across the United States throughout the seasons.* It turns out that humidity levels show no particular trend from summer to winter. In fact, in many cities, even Northern cities, humidity levels are higher in the freeze of winter than in the bask of summer.

The winter is blustery and wind dries out the skin. Many of us can recall experiencing our share of cold, windy winter days, and could swear that we experience “windburn”, characterized by dryness, redness, and irritation after being outside on these blustery days. But a look at the evidence forces us to consider other possible causes. The only experiment I could find was performed all the way back to 1937, and was published in Popular Science. Scientists founds through using a wind tunnel that wind alone does not create “reddening or chapping” of the skin. Furthermore, upon browsing through historical wind speed charts, I found that that much like humidity levels, wind speeds show no yearly trend. There is no evidence of higher winds in the winter months. Regardless of all this evidence against the wind creating redness, dryness, and irritation, many sources not only talk about the existence of windburn, but will even explain why it occurs. The most widely used explanation is that wind removes surface lipids (oils) from the skin. Exactly how the wind performs this feat is conspicuously absent from all of these articles. Furthermore, if wind is just as strong in the summer, why don’t people seem to experience windburn as much in the summer? Another common explanation that attempts to explain windburn, which is the current explanation on Wikipedia, is that windburn is actually just sunburn caused by the wind removing surface lipids (oils) which help protect us from UV rays (another claim I am yet to find evidence to support). While the wind can remove some of these surface lipids year round, they say, the removal of the surface lipids in the winter coincides with a season when we do not protect our skin as valiantly from the sun. Thus the redness and irritation people experience is simply a sunburn. This explanation is incomplete at best, and completely misinformed at worst. Yet another explanation, albeit less frequently posited, claims that wind removes sweat, which normally helps filter UV rays. Again, how sweat helps filter UV rays is conspicuously absent.

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Whew. So, now that we have gone through the myths, the fact remains that many people experience dryer skin in the winter. Why? After looking at all of the available evidence, I have a hunch it can be attributed almost entirely to:

Artificial heat: Mother nature can heat up or cool down the great outdoors while keeping humidity levels steady, but when we heat indoor areas, this lowers humidity. When you look at the science of relative humidity (I won’t bore you), this is how it works. For an everyday example, notice how when you heat your bathroom while taking a shower there is less steam in the air. Since most of us live and work in artificially heated indoor environments in the winter, it’s likely we experience long-term exposure to lower humidity environments during the winter months. This dries out the skin, causing many of us to wonder why our moisturizer isn’t working as well as it used to. Back to my original point, “It’s not your moisturizer!” And introducing my new, improved answer, “You’re living in lower humidity indoor environments in the winter!”

And what about the cold? Strangely, none of the authors or reporters writing about winter and dry skin mention the effect cold air itself has on the skin. However, I have a hunch extreme temperatures may figure into a complete explanation of why some people experience dry skin in the winter. When we expose our skin to freezing temperatures, the skin reacts through natural protective methods, most prominently by withdrawing blood from the surface of the skin to protect core temperature. This is the first step which ultimately leads to the skin freezing which causes frost bite and cell death. My hunch is that perhaps even during shorter duration exposure to freezing temperatures which people sometimes experience on cold days, the skin still reacts through a more mild form of cell death. This mild cell death, while not as apparent as the blisters caused by frostbite, is evidenced by flakiness or dryness as the dead cells flake off. The redness experienced by many people after exposure to winter weather, while it would require further research for me to be more definitive, could be the result of cell death or simply the body returning blood to areas where it has been withdrawn.

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So, what can we do about it?

1.  Humidify your home/workplace. Install a humidifying system into your central heat. Alternately, if you use wood burning stoves or kerosene heaters, you can place pots of water on top and let the water evaporate, then repeat. You can always boil a large pot of  water on the stovetop as well, being careful to keep a close eye on it of course. There are commercially available electric stand-alone humidifiers as well. 60% humidity is a good general goal to shoot for. You can measure humidity with widely available humidity measuring devices which are available at most hardware stores, or you can be more relaxed about it and just notice how you–and your skin–feel. When the humidity reaches a comfortable level you will feel less dry and generally more comfortable. You should also notice less static electricity, less shocks, and less frizz to your hair. An easy way to tell if you’ve gone too far and over-humidified your space is if your windows start to pool water at their bases.

Perk: Adequately humidified air feels warmer than dry air at the same temperature. In other words, you can get away with heating to a lower temperature.

2.  Use more moisturizer: An extra pump or two of moisturizer each time you apply should help.

3.  Add jojoba oil: Since jojoba oil does not evaporate, 5-6 drops of jojoba oil added into your moisturizer each time you apply it will provide a boost of all-day moisture support.

*Yes, I know. There is more to the world than the United States, but…well, okay fine, I have no excuse. I’ll make a note to look outside the U.S. for my next research-related blog. :-)

We’re getting ready to fill the new, improved moisturizer. It should be for sale sometime in mid September if all goes well.

Overview: I tell people if it’s not the best moisturizer they’ve ever tried, I’m not happy. Usually it does end up being the best they’ve tried. I have seldom felt so confident about any product release. I have been using it for about six months very diligently every evening and have not found any issues in the short term or long term. I have also sent out about 100 samples and received lots of responses. Feedback is almost entirely positive, with some people begging me for more. I think you guys are going to be completely in love. I’m bursting at the seams waiting to get it out to you guys.

What’s different about it: It has a completely new ingredient list, carefully chosen for non-comedogenicity as well as effectiveness and gentleness. I chose to rebuild it from the ground up in order to completely resolve the old issue of stinging that some people experienced. This issue should be completely resolved with this new formula. It also has none of the “tack” that people sometimes experienced with the old moisturizer. In other words, it will not leave an afterfeel. Your skin should just feel great.

It just goes on smoothly and absorbs quickly. The new formula is slightly thicker than the old formula due to the new ingredients. This thicker feel takes a little getting used to and requires a bit of extra care during application to avoid irritation.

It contains licochalcone, the licorice root extract we use in the AHA+, and is thus has a yellow color. This yellow color does not show on the skin. As many of you know, I love licochalcone for how it soothes and calms acne-prone skin.

Lastly, the new moisturizer is best when used generously. I recommend two full pumps. It is so good that in my experience it actually improves my skin, both my skin’s ability to stay perfectly clear as well as my skin’s overall feel and tone. I’m going to want everyone to be generous with it and receive all its benefits.

Price: I’m pricing out each ingredient now, and as always I’ll charge as little as I can. Some of the new ingredients are expensive–licochalcone in particular–but you guys have been asking for me to put it into the moisturizer for years now, and I agree that it’s worth it. The price will almost certainly need to go up from the previous formula, but I will do everything I can to price it affordably.

Hey you guys. You’ve asked and I’m listening. We’ve designed new labels and taken ACNE.ORG off the front of the label. It only whispers about the web site on the back of the label. We have also added longer, more specific directions to the labels so that “The Regimen is on the labels.” This is the “duh” idea that you guys told me you supported not too long ago. The new labels are much more medical looking, and that’s on purpose. Acne.org products are the very highest quality out there. I want the labels to reflect this.

The products themselves won’t change, just the labels. The one exception is our moisturizer, which if you’ve been reading the blog you know is changing to a new, improved version. Here is our moisturizer label, which will most likely roll out first.

I’ve been soaking in some rays in my back yard for the last couple of weeks. I wear a hat so I don’t expose my face and neck too much, but my body is exposed.

At any rate, bear with me, this might get a little yucky, but I’ve been lazy and not covering the outdoor wood chair I sit in with a towel. It’s been pretty warm too so I tend to sweat. The combo of the hard surface directly against the moist skin on my back caused some irritation and I found myself beginning to break out a bit on my back. The breakout may have been partially due to the sun exposure as well.

I decided to go on 100% attack! Last night I loaded on BP (2 pumps on each side of my back), waited 15 minutes for it to dry, and generously applied AHA.

Literally overnight my emerging breakout subsided to almost nothing. It just reminded me how powerful the severe back acne regimen really is. It also reminded me how important it is to be generous with product application.

Just thought I’d share. I had only a small emerging breakout – perhaps 3 or 4 small zits and some very small comedones. People who have more severe acne should not expect complete overnight clearing. However, even severe back acne should respond quickly and dramatically.

Because the skin on the back is so thick and tough, feel free to go full strength from day one should you decide to try it out.

I love instant gratification :)



It’s raining today, so I guess no sun today…


I’ve always said I think everyone should have some jojoba oil around. It’s brilliant in moisturizer, and is also nice for a ton of other things. I use it as lip balm before bed and if I ever get a massage I bring it along as a non-comedogenic massage oil. My female friends tell me it’s a great make-up remover too.

We decided that to encourage people to try it we’d offer free shipping if you include one in your order for the month of February.

If you can’t order online, you can get organic jojoba oil at most health food stores too. It’s definitely worth trying.

Spot treatment: I’m thinking about calling this product, “This stuff works about 70% of the time.” How’s that for an honest name of a product? :) Seriously though, it is not a miracle. Nothing is when it comes to spot treatments. But from the feedback I’m receiving I’d estimate success hovers around 70%. And for me, I’ll take that when it comes to a spot treatment. I find it’s really nice to have something around that I can use as a weapon should I need it. I’m still awaiting some more input from the people I sent some to, but it’s looking good for this sample.

New & Improved Non-SPF moisturizer: After lots of formulating and testing, I decided on a potential winner for the New & Improved Non-SPF moisturizer. It should have little or no sting, little or no tackiness, and still take care of flakiness if all goes well. Plus it has licochalcone so it should be particularly soothing to acne-prone skin. I sent out 30 moisturizer samples to moderators and a few product testers. I didn’t have enough to send it to all product testers this time. Feedback is coming in, mostly positive. I personally adore it. I do notice I have to use a little more of it than the current Non-SPF moisturizer, but my skin looks and feels great. If the moderators and testers give it a green light I’m ready to switch it over. This is a lengthy process which includes stability testing, reprinting labels, etc., but I’m eager to get that ball rolling.