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.

I’ve been looking into light therapy (red and blue light) and also laser therapy (Diode, Pulsed Dye, LHE, Isolaz) for a while now. It’s a bleak picture for light therapy, and just downright confusing when it comes to laser therapy. New Light and Laser pages here.

Light: My gut tells me it doesn’t do much. Yes, that’s just a gut read, but it seems backed up by some of the science. Even the British Journal of Dermatology states, “our review found only limited or no benefit is given by light therapies alone.”

Laser: I have a bit more confidence in laser therapy, albeit tenuous. I don’t think it works well enough to make it worth it, since there are less painful, easier ways to get the job done more effectively. Plus, the research just isn’t there showing whether it works. But, I have my fingers crossed for the future of laser therapy. I’m hoping we can find a way to specifically target sebaceous (oil) glands with lasers and cook ‘em good. If we can heavily damage sebaceous glands and reduce their output of sebum (oil), that would potentially be pretty amazing.

I just uploaded a new heat therapy page. This page discusses devices like Zeno and ThermaClear which claim to hasten the healing of active acne lesions through the application of heat.

My research into this topic as well as my personal experience leaves me highly skeptical to say the least. If you guys have tried either of these devices, especially ThermaClear, please leave your review. We only have one review of ThermaClear so far!

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.

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.

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.

I wrote to Dr. Huang, the University of California San Diego doctor coordinating research on a potential acne vaccine. He is a great guy and spent a long time with me, answering all of my questions. Here’s what I found out:

– First of all, before we get excited, a vaccine, should it happen, is still ten years away he says. This is because scientists stopped work on the first P. acnes vaccine. They had too much concern that P. acnes may be beneficial to our bodies in some way to justify killing it off. Instead they have turned to working on a vaccine that targets a toxin that the P. acnes bacteria secretes. This toxin is called the CAMP factor. The new hope is that they can turn off this CAMP factor toxin using a novel new approach to making vaccines called proteomics which deals with protein markers on cell surfaces.

– The team produced and successfully treated mice with an initial CAMP factor vaccine. When I asked, “so if the same results you’ve seen in mice occurred in humans, would this be a cure for acne?” Dr. Huang responded with a quick and confident, “Oh yes.” That got me excited of course, but this is a big if. Dr. Huang went on to say that there is no good animal model for an acne vaccine because animals do not produce the sebum (skin oil) that humans produce, which is so integral in the formation of acne. So it remains to be seen whether humans experience similar results.

– The next step is for the doctors to detoxify the vaccine before starting a human clinical trial. They also need to fund such a trial. Clinical trials are long, expensive processes. This vaccine’s clinical trial process will likely go on for a decade and cost in the millions of dollars. If you know anyone who might be interested in funding the research, let me know and I’ll put you in touch with Dr. Huang.

Please respond with any questions you have and I’ll try to pass along as many of them as I can to Dr. Huang.


The BETA program of the Salicylic Acid+ product has reached a close. I have decided not to continue selling the product.

I have never been a big fan of salicylic acid. Over the years I’ve tried numerous salicylic acid products, always with little success. What I always came back to was benzoyl peroxide. But while a properly applied benzoyl peroxide regimen works to clear up just about anyone who follows it precisely, some people are allergic to benzoyl peroxide. Plus, many of us, myself included, get frustrated with how benzoyl peroxide can sometimes bleach fabric. It was my hope that I could introduce the latest cutting edge performance ingredients into a salicylic acid formulation in order to bump up the efficacy of salicylic acid enough to compete with benzoyl peroxide. Along with an industry leading formulator, I put together the very best salicylic acid formulation I could. However, no matter how great I could make a salicylic acid formulation, I could not get it to match up with benzoyl peroxide.

In the end, the Salicylic Acid+ product did not meet my standards of an Acne.org product. Hundreds of you were nice enough to send your feedback through the BETA feedback form and I read each and every one of your comments. While some of you really liked the product, there were as many or more of you who found it to be only partially effective. Moreover, some of you experienced extra redness after application.

I only want extraordinary products which work to completely eliminate acne as part of the Acne.org line. I believe wholeheartedly in the Acne.org benzoyl peroxide, AHA+, cleanser, and moisturizer. This Salicylic Acid+ product just doesn’t quite fit.

For those of you who liked the product, I do not know of a comparable salicylic acid product. As I said earlier, salicylic acid just isn’t benzoyl peroxide. However, feel free to read through the salicylic acid containing product reviews pages of acne.org for alternatives. Also, if you’d like to stock up, I’ll be selling the Salicylic Acid+ for one more week, until November 30, at which point it will be pulled. The product has approximately 11.5 months of shelf life left before it is expired. I also reduced the price to $10.