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 just got my latest check from drugstore.com and it was $569 over what I need for bandwidth this month. I don’t know why people have been clicking through to drugstore.com and ordering more stuff, but this rocks. I needed the extra money to pay for past months where I had to cover some of the bandwidth myself, but with another couple months like this one and I’ll be caught up. Y’all rock! Thanks.

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!

Something I find very cool about running a business is being able to affect the sustainability policies of partner companies. Sustainability basically means fulfilling our needs today without jeopardizing the health and well being of future generations. It is a huge movement in business and I believe the way business will be performed in the future. I was active in environmental organizations in college and remain committed to working in that area. After all, when I think about it, I’m part of nature.

I have been diligent lately about requesting written environmental statements from partner companies. A friend of mine who works at a local business school that concentrates on sustainable business suggested I do this. I’ve found it is a great way to express my concern and get them involved. I received the first statement from our fulfillment house and posted it here.

I’ve been interviewing people for the Administrative Manager position and I’ve talked to some amazing people. I’m consistently surprised at the level of intelligence out there. Maybe it’s just that I’m not all that intelligent :) But for real, not only have the candidates been experienced and qualified, they are cool people who share my vision of getting the community involved and heading for people over profit. So I am excited to see what two of us working full time can get done.

I am also waiting patiently to try the latest moisturizer sample. It was delivered FedEx to my door when I was not home, and it is simply not there. I don’t know if it was misdelivered or stolen. But I’m trying hard to breathe and practice patience. I will let you know how it is when I get it.

By the way, do you guys like hearing all my nitty gritty, or should I wait to update the blog until I have serious news to report?

Oh yeah, and my brain is exploding in oh so good of a way. I have been reading Wikinomics, which is a book on how collaboration on the Internet is changing everything. It’s putting into words a lot of what I’ve always wanted to do and given me mass ideas. A quick run-down of Wikinomics’ main tenets:

Openness: Companies are becoming more and more open and working with their customers and with each other to produce products and intellectual property that is much better than what they can produce themselves. I think we can definitely do this. Imagine an open letter to large skin care companies on Acne.org where we can ask for them to make us specific products. Then as the products come out we can rate them, and due to increased openness, we can rate the companies as well since we will insist on knowing their environmental and social policies.

Peering: History is replete with heirarchies. I don’t know about you, but I have never been big on authority figures. There’s something inherently weird about it for me. In my eyes we are all peers, and none of us is better than anyone else. What peering refers to is the end of heirarchical structures where companies are structured top down and simply present the public with a finished product or intellectual property. With the advent of the Internet, however, we can now all work together to create content and share it with each other. An example we could use on Acne.org would be personal blogs where people can post their acne treatment story along with pics and links. Perhaps Joel and I could organize these blogs in such a way that everyone knows which blogs are most widely read, and thus informative. We are already doing a lot of peering on Acne.org with the messageboards and gallery, but we can take it a lot further I think.

Sharing: Acne.org grew out of this concept 10 years ago. I never charged for the Regimen or the videos of me doing the Regimen or for any other info on the site. I decided from day one to share the knowledge and let go of the outcome. I’m tempted to say this is the wave of the future, but I think the wave is already upon us. The most successful Internet sites are largely free and involve a huge amount of sharing. Think flikr, myspace, technorati, etc.

Acting globally: The world is unifying like never before, and in large part due to the Internet. Just look at all the countries represented on the Acne.org messageboards. This is simply a fact of the future and a very cool one. Making sure to think outside of the boundaries of our own country helps us bring in the peering and sharing of the world community. So yeah, that’s pretty much where my mind explodes :) Now I just need more people to help implement this stuff! But I am hopefully hiring someone today.

Two blog posts in one day. I am out of control. Anyhoo, I asked you guys last week what you thought of the homepage and how we could make it better. You gave me a bunch of great suggestions and Joel and I implemented some of them, such as making the community more prominent and moving the mission statement up toward the top. Thanks!

I wasn’t planning on updating the blog this often, but more stuff happened in the last day or two.

First, I’m hiring an administrative manager. I put an ad up on craigslist here. If you know any cool and talented people in San Francisco, please let them know.

Ain’t she purdy? I started selling this thing called “body buddy” which helps people apply skin care products to the back. People have been asking me for years how to reach the unreachable areas of the back to perform the back acne regimen and I finally have a good answer for them. My friend Debi discovered the body buddy at a skin care conference and told me about it. The body buddy company, who are really just a couple of people in Oklahoma, sent me a sample and it’s quite nice. It is made of a soft yet non-absorbent material so it doesn’t irritate. I dig it. If you end up trying it, please let me know what you think.