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The Regimen calls for waiting 5-15 minutes after cleansing before you applying benzoyl peroxide. For the past few weeks, I’ve been eliminating this wait. I have been cleansing my skin, patting dry, and then immediately treating with benzoyl peroxide. I’m questioning the waiting time after cleansing for a couple of reasons:

• People often simply do not have the time
• It may not be necessary

I want The Regimen to be as easy as possible to follow. Eliminating the waiting between cleansing and applying benzoyl peroxide could be a good step in that direction.

So far, my skin is still perfectly clear even though I am not waiting the prescribed 5-15 minutes after cleansing.

My question for you guys: Have you experimented with not waiting after cleansing like I’m currently doing? How did it go?

We took a trip to the lab recently to double check a new machine we’re using to manufacture our benzoyl peroxide. Here’s Kent (my business partner) and I in front of one of the tanks where Acne.org Treatment is made. Why Kent is posing like an automaton I really don’t know :)

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One of the worst things anyone can do for acne is to harshly wash the skin. Unfortunately, people with acne tend to default to scrubbing their skin. A recent study published in the International Journal of Dermatology found 42.7% of people washing their face “excessively,” 28.7% washing “vigorously,” and 14% washing “until I cannot detect sebum (skin oil) at all.” The researchers concluded, “This study showed that our patients may be making a great deal of errors…To effectively treat and prevent further breakouts, appropriate skin care is imperative in patients with acne.”

It is hard for me to read results like this because I just know that these people are doing themselves much more harm than good by washing in a harsh manner. Acne-prone skin is sensitive to irritation, and over-washing the skin, or scrubbing the skin when washing, produces high amounts of irritation which can keep people firmly stuck in a vicious cycle of acne.

Do yourself a huge favor and wash extremely gently with your bare hands for 10 seconds or less.

Green Tea in Skincare

We use licochalcone, a Chinese licorice root extract, in Acne.org Moisturizer and Acne.org AHA+ (10% glycolic acid). This is what gives both products their characteristic yellow color. I chose licochalcone because it is powerfully calming to the skin and works especially well on irritated, acne-prone skin. It targets inflammation and has antioxidant properties and has proven its efficacy over the years that it has worked so well within the Acne.org line of products. However, it is extremely expensive ($6000 per kilogram), and some people don’t love the yellow color it imparts. Because it is such a specialized ingredient, we are also at the mercy of cyclical weather changes and potentially unreliable harvests in the few places where this particular species of licorice is grown.

For these reasons, I have kept my eye out for another comparable calming ingredient with research to back up its use on acne-prone skin. Green tea, or more particularly, the major polyphenol within green tea called EGCG, is one of the strong top contenders. I have been intrigued with green tea for several years now, but the more I look into it the more I’m liking what I’m seeing. Researchers performed two more studies within the last two years on EGCG and its effect on acne, both with promising results. The data is showing that EGCG not only produces anti-inflammatory effects, but may also help reduce skin oil (sebum) production.

Any change to Acne.org products takes lots of time to study, mock up, and ultimately implement, and I am still not 100% convinced that I can’t find anything even better than EGCG, but I’m intrigued to say the least.

References:

  • Im M, et al. “Epigallocatechin-3-gallate suppresses IGF-I-induced lipogenesis and cytokine expression in SZ95 sebocytes.” Journal of Investigative Dermatology. 2012; 132(12): 2700-8.
  • Yoon JY, et al. “Epigallocatechin-3-gallate improves acne in humans by modulating intracellular molecular targets and inhibiting P. acnes.” Journal of Investigative Dermatology. 2013; 133(2): 429-40.

unnamedThere are two things that dull razor blades: (1) water, and to a lesser extent (2) simply using the blade. What causes the most damage is oxidation from water, but blades also get microscopic nicks in them from the act of shaving itself.

I’ve been experimenting with methods of keeping my razor blades dry for about a year now. I’ve tried keeping them dry by rubbing them on a towel after I’m finished shaving, rubbing them several times against denim like a few YouTube videos suggested, and always keeping the razor in a sunny window so it stays dry.

Nothing works. My razor blades still get dull after about two weeks.

Last week, my friend’s cousin’s husband came over to the office to say hi. Good ideas can come from the most interesting of places ;) He pulled me aside and said he’s been putting his razor in jojoba oil after each shave and his razor blade is staying sharp for months at a time.

I started doing this a few days ago. I don’t know if it’s going to work yet, but the shave itself is extra nice with jojoba oil coating the entire blade. Have any of you guys tried putting your razor into oil (jojoba oil or any other oil)? If so, how has it worked for you?

In all the years I’ve been researching acne, I’ve consistently read in most dermatology texts, “there is no cure for acne.” Until a few years ago, I echoed this prevailing wisdom in my writing for Acne.org. However, during my rewrite of Acne.org for our mobile-friendly web site–which is coming soon–I decided to start referring to Accutane (isotreinoin) as a “cure” more plainly in certain circumstances. This is not to say that I feel any differently than I ever have about Accutane. My personal opinion is that it is best left for more severe cases of acne, especially if one tends to scar.

Merriam-Webster defines cure as “a complete or permanent solution or remedy.” This is what Accutane provides for the majority of people who take it. Clinical research shows long-term remission of acne symptoms in approximately 2/3 of people who take an adequate dosage (1mg/kg). Therefore, I feel it is time for me to plainly use the word “cure” in certain circumstances when referring to Accutane, while at the same time noting that it cures most people, but not all people.

A still unanswered question?: I do not recall reading any studies on Accutane (isotretinoin) which follow up with participants past the five year mark, checking in on remission. If any of you have read a study like this, please contact me to let me know. If we do not have good data on this, then we cannot comment with complete certainty on long-term remission. However, anecdotally, based on years of input from Acne.org members, the effects of Accutane tend to be permanent.

A note on the permanency of Accutane: The permanency of Accutane is a reflection of the drug’s power, but also brings urgency to the need to consciously enter into a careful decision-making process alongside a trusted physician if you decide to pursue Accutane treatment.