Recently I made the decision that acne just needs to be cured. So I started research in that vein, and I found that in 2001, scientists started work on an acne vaccine. More specifically, it is an anti-P.acnes bacteria vaccine. Since P. acnes is the bacteria implicated in acne formation and is a major culprit in acne development, if we can somehow turn off its genetic expression, the hope is that we can prevent or cure acne.

A brief history of the vaccine: A company called Corixa worked with a French company to decode the 2.8 milion base pairs that make up the P. acnes genome back in 2001. They then started working on identifying antigens in order to create a vaccine. Glaxo Smith Kline acquired Corixa in 2005. From there, mention of the vaccine seemed to fall off the map, until an article published in 2008 in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology surfaced. The article outlined research at the University of California San Diego in which scientists developed vaccines against P. acnes and successfully used the vaccine in both mice and in the lab using human sebum (skin oil) cells.

The trail seems to end there again. I’m in the process of contacting the researchers at UCSD to get more information. I find this area of work fascinating. I’ll keep you posted on anything I uncover. For now, let’s not get our hopes up too much however. Acne development is multi-faceted. While P. acnes plays a part, it is unknown how much it directly causes the other factors in acne development such as pores becoming clogged, oil overproduction, or inflammation.

New and improved moistuizer: I’ve been in and out of the lab a few times and we’re making some fantastic progress. I’ll hopefully be sending out samples to moderators and product testers soon to see if they prefer it to the current moisturizer. I prefer it quite a bit myself. The samples I’ve been developing have no tack, take care of flakiness, and feel amazing.

Spot treatment: I’m on the second round of spot treatment now and I’ve sent it out to some moderators and testers to see what they think. I’ll let you know when I get a response from them. I’m not settled on this sample, but wanted to get some feedback before taking it back for improvements.

SPF: I’m waiting to nail down the new and improved non-spf moisturizer first in the hopes of using that base for the SPF. The SPF is still a ways away.

In doing reserach on rosacea, I came across a fascinating study in 2009 where about half of the people with rosacea were found to have small intestinal bacteria overgrowth (SIBO). Upon administration of rifaximin, an antibiotic that does not penetrate the intestinal wall, thus staying within the intestine and eradicating the SIBO, many of the rosacea sufferers with SIBO were completely cleared. At a nine month follow up they remained clear.

Fascinating.

No such study has been performed on people with acne, but hey, who knows! So I’ve asked my doctor to refer me to a testing facility to see if I have SIBO myself, just for fun. It’s a simple breath test, and I’m hoping to find someone in the area who can perform the test. I’ll let you guys know how it goes. I am reseraching as much as I can about intestinal bacteria and skin disease, with acne as a particular focus of course. If you have any references for me, please let me know.

moisturizer samples from the lab Hey you guys. I’ve been in the lab helping formulate a new and improved non-SPF moisturizer. While our current moisturizer is my favorite, it’s not perfect, so I’ve been trying sample after sample. I’ve tested 39 new samples in all and we’re getting some awesome stuff. I’m bursting at the seams to get the new, improved moisturizer into distribution. What has changed? We’ve moved from glycerin to methyl glyceth-20, which is a glycerin derivative with less tack and less sting. Also, we’ve added some cutting edge Japanese moisturizing ingredients that have me basically falling in love. I’m hoping to finalize a new formula soon and start testing it for stability. Best case scenario would probably be 6 months or so from now to get it out.

I was surprised to read that Roche Pharmaceuticals, the makers of Accutane, decided to stop selling the name brand of the product in late June. The company cited declining sales as their reason. Since 2002, generic forms of Accutane (isotretinoin) have been available and it turns out over 95% of the time doctors prescribe a generic. Roche’s decision to stop selling also came shortly after a jury awarded $33 million in damages to people who claimed Accutane caused bowel disease.

What does this mean for us? Well, it gives me pause because yet again Accutane’s side effects are in the spotlight. While some people with recalcitrant, widespread, deeply scarring acne regard Accutane as a godsend, I would have to think twice before agreeing to have a loved one of mine take it for anything less than severe acne.

For people who choose to take it, isotretinoin, the active ingredient in Accutane, is still available in its generic form. However, that brings up another concern. Are generics reliable? This study performed in 2006 cast doubt over the quality of generic forms of isotretinoin. It is only one study, and more are needed, but I’d like to see further oversight and studies performed to ensure product efficacy. Let’s keep our eye closely on this issue.