I ok’ed the salicylic acid formula and our formulator put some in stability but it wasn’t as stable as they wanted it to be. So they made a slightly new formulation that is back in the oven for stability. If all goes well I’ll have a sample on Wednesday. Then if it feels ok I’ll be able to send a bunch of samples out to see if people like it. I am loving it myself, but a couple of people who’ve tried it have said they broke out a bit. I also broke out some when I first started using it, and if I go off BP entirely, I seem to break out. But once a day BP and once a day SA seems to work beautifully for me so far. I should also have a sample of the next moisturizer Wednesday. Please send good vibes regarding that. At this point, turning to prayer seems like a good option :)

Well, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, the latest moisturizer sample isn’t all that great. I was excited because it takes care of flakiness, but my skin is still a little shiny looking hours after application. Also, it’s balling up a bit. So, I let the formulator know what the issues are and they’ll have another go at it. Someday we’ll get it. Someday.

First two moisturizer samples: I got two more from our usual formulator. They are, as usual, better than anything I’ve tried at moisturizing and taking care of flakiness. But, they still have the problem of leaving a slight tackiness on the skin. I’m not sure where to go from here. I don’t know if they’re going to nail it. I might need to come up with creative ways of taking the best parts of this formulator’s samples and auditioning manufacturers to address the tackiness issue.

Third moisturizer sample: I got this one from another formulator. I just tried it about a half an hour ago, so I’ll let you know how it goes. So far so good. It feels fine on my skin. There’s little tackiness if any. It felt a little thick going on, but upon application it just melted into the skin. More on this one tomorrow or the next day.

Salicylic acid medication: I’m still using this stuff every morning. And quite frankly, I look forward to it every day. I look forward to the silky feel of it. I look forward to the slight sting. And I look forward to wearing brightly colored clothes with no fear of bleaching them. But, I have two really small, eensie weensie blackheads on my nose. But the rest of my skin is happy as can be on this stuff. In fact, it is smooth and pretty fantastic. My nose has been a slightly strange area since I’ve been using the SA, but then again, my allergies have been crazy and I’ve been blowing my nose constantly, so the irritation could be to blame. I do love the formulation though, so I ok’ed it. The formulator is doing some final stability testing on it and then will send me 30 final samples. I am going to give 3 or 4 of them to Brandy, Joel, Paul, and myself, and then I’ll need volunteers to try the other samples. I have a pretty cool feeling about this stuff tho.

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.

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 :-)

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.

I’ve been using the SA each morning. I haven’t had the guts to give up BP at night. I just don’t feel like breaking out. So I’m wading into this slowly. So far so good. My skin looks nice and clear. But it almost always looks nice and clear for the first few days after I go off of BP twice a day and then wham-o. So I’m cautiously optimistic. The formula also feels good. It seems to have a nice calming effect, which makes sense since it has potent anti-inflammatories and sebum reducers in it. On the downside it kinda balls up after application. I’ll have to get them to fix that. Also as I’ve said, it’s a tad thick. What I mean by that is that even though it feels nice and creamy going on, it takes too long to smear it all into the skin. Bottom line is I want it to absorb faster, which I think will require a simple change in the emolients.

Oh yeah, and off the subject of the SA, I hired an operations manager. I don’t want anyone to have titles, but that’s for ease of description this is pretty much what she’s doing. She has 25 years of experience in office management and operations. I can’t even tell you how much this is appreciated. I have been flyin’ solo for years and it’s a glorious feeling to have someone else around to help out. Warning: Read on only if you’re interested in my own personal crap :-) For instance, I have found that since switching to our new distributor down in L.A. two months ago that we have been losing mass amounts of money on shipping charges every week. After my own investigations, I can’t figure it all out, so I asked her yesterday to dig into it and totally take it over. It’s a huge weight off my shoulders to not have to handle stuff like this alone. Once she gets up to speed and can tackle these kinds of crises, I can devote more of my time to big picture stuff like how to get everyone involved in content creation and such. So, I’m all smiles pretty much :-)

People will sometimes ask me what they can do aside from the Regimen for their skin. I have nothing to tell them really, and that’s frustrating. Some people are allergic to benzoyl peroxide or just don’t like it for whatever reason and I’d rather give them another option. Selfishly, I’d like an acne treatment that I could use myself that can be performed more quickly and does not bleach fabric. So, I’ve been formulating a salicylic acid product since I went to New York in December and met some genius formulating people. I tried to pool all of their best inventions and information and came up with a salicylic acid product that might, I repeat might, be pretty awesome. I only got it this morning, so who knows. But here’s why at least on paper this stuff is very cool.

1. It has 2% salicylic acid in it. 1 1/2% is run of the mill, pore unclogging stuff. Then there’s 1/2% encapsulated salicylic acid in there that releases slowly over a period of several hours. So we’ve got a burst of salicylic acid followed by a longer acting form.

2. We added antimicrobials (bacteria killers) in there. Since there is no benzoyl peroxide in this formulation, I wanted to add in other antimicrobials that will do the trick. Nothing will kill bacteria as well as benzoyl peroxide, but we added in three other antimicrobials along with a penetration enhancer. Penetration is a lot of the reason why benzoyl peroxide is so great. It gets into the skin and kills bacteria. A lot of other antimicrobials can’t get down there. With the addition of three separate antimicrobials and a penetration enhancer, I’m hoping we can replicate some of the efficacy of benzoyl peroxide insofar as killing P. Acnes bacteria goes.

3. Next, I asked them to put in anti-inflammatories. A lot of times you will see “extracts” in products, but this is sometimes just for show. Companies often put so little of these anti-inflammatory extracts that they’re not doing anything. For the extracts to work, you have to put in a good amount of them so they are efficacious. Inflammation is usually the final stage in an acne lesion’s formation. It occurs when a pore’s wall breaks and white blood cells rush in. In this formulation, we’re putting efficacious amounts of anti-inflammatory extracts in there so in the event that a lesion develops to this point, we can still fight the inflammation and redness.

4. Finally, we’ve got sebum (oil) reducers in here. Once you unclog pores (salicylic acid), kill the bacteria (antimicrobials), and address inflammation (efficacious anti-inflammatories), you want to make sure the cycle of acne itself is diminished. Sebum reducers in the formula can reduce the amount of sebum produced in the first place. It is theorized that overproduction of sebum may be a causal factor in acne in the first place.

So I’m excited about this, but still cautious. I’m also not crazy about the idea of going off the Regimen again to try something else out, but I did not do the Regimen this morning and instead just used this new product I designed. It’s a little too thick for my taste, so I’m going to ask them to work on that, but overall my skin feels pretty squeaky clean. I’ll let you know how it goes.

I got the latest sample in the mail today. First the good parts: It feels so good going on it’s a joke. It’s like liquid silk and it goes on clear and fast. It also takes care of flakiness as it should. It also has no scent but in a good way. Let me explain. Lots of “unscented” products still have a scent of whichever ingredients are in the product. This moisturizer is no different. It has a very slight scent, but the scent is pleasing and something I could really get used to.

One last bad part: It still feels like I’ve got something on my skin after I apply it. I could describe it as a mild tackiness/stickiness. Brandy, our Regimen Assistance person, and Joel, our webmaster, didn’t notice this, but I do. So I’m sending it back to the formulator again. I hope this tackiness issue can be resolved in short order. In the meantime, I have a second formulator working on the project. So, onward and upward!