Vitamin D Questions and Answers:

What about fish oil?  It doesn’t contain vitamin D (with the exception of Cod Liver Oil), but since we’re talking about supplements, does fish oil break people out like some people say?

I can’t imagine a reason why fish oil would break people out.  Before agriculture came about, humans ate much higher amounts of omega-3 fats in their diets.  Omega-3s are an extremely natural part of the human diet.  I would urge people who think that fish oil is breaking them out to remain open minded and look for other variables that might be the culprit.  Supplementing with fish oil, or eating a diet rich in wild fish is a healthy lifestyle, and in my research seems to point toward a potentially positive impact on acne.

Why was the Vitamin D Council I linked to in my comment edited out?

We do not allow hyperlinking in blog comments.  Unfortunately, there are simply far too many spammers to allow it.  However, the Vitamin D Council is a great resource, so there’s a link.

Ancient History of Acne Questions and Answers (note:  there are lots of interesting responses in the comments section of that particular blog post):

Why is acne localized mostly on the face?

We have many more sebaceous follicles on the face than elsewhere on our bodies. Acne generates within these follicles.  The only place where we do not have sebaceous follicles is on the palms of our hands and soles of our feet, which is why it is impossible to get acne in those areas.

Maybe eating grains causes acne?

Humans have only been subsisting on agriculture for about 5,000 years.  We evolved as a species for hundreds of thousands of years prior to that, and ate very little or no grains. Studying a possible diet and acne link is interesting, but eliminating grains in one’s diet is almost impossible for any modern human.  We tried it here on a few years ago, and out of 25 of us who attempted to eliminate grains entirely, only one or two of us managed to even come close, and in the end, we all ended up quitting.  It really is that hard.

What do you think of SMT_D002?

For those of you who are not familiar with it, SMT_D002 is an oral drug which its owners claimed may reduce sebum much like Accutane without the side effects.  This sort of claim sounds intriguing, but the drug appears to have only been entered into a small Phase 1 trial (18 subjects), and its owners have since dropped it in lieu of possibly developing a topical medication instead.  Of all the new drugs which show initial promise in treating a disease, an extremely small percentage make it through trials and to market.  At this point, I don’t know if it is worth much of our time keeping up with this one in particular, especially since the company has put it effectively on hold.

New Moisturizer Questions and Answers:

Whatever happened to the new labels?

The new labels are more of a long-term project at this point.  Please know that I have heard your input on them, and that we are working hard on transitioning to a new look eventually. For now, they will be remaining much the same.  If the on there really bugs you, feel free to put a sticker on there.  I tried it just for fun to see how it would look and it actually doesn’t look bad at all.

What are your recommendations about using the AHA+ as an overall moisturizer?

The AHA+ is still a great moisturizer to use from time to time, even if you are now using the new Moisturizer.  I still recommend using the AHA+ 2-3 evenings a week if you desire, but it is not mandatory.  It will improve skin tone and still provides extra insurance that your skin will appear smoother if you have an important event coming up.  Also, even though it is now approaching winter, remember that AHA will make you more sensitive to the sun, and it is still important to stay aware of this.

Do you still recommend adding jojoba oil to the new moisturizer?

I made certain that the new moisturizer has the same percentage of jojoba oil as the previous moisturizer.  Thus it is perfectly fine to continue adding a few drops of jojoba oil into the new moisturizer each time you apply it if you would like.  If you use a full two pumps of the new moisturizer, which I very highly recommend that you do, you may not require the additional jojoba.  If you still need more flakiness control, however, feel free to add jojoba into the mix.

I need a good eye cream.  Is it safe to use the new moisturizer under the eyes?

Absolutely, with this one caveat:  Anything that goes over benzoyl peroxide can bring the benzoyl peroxide along with it.  If you have sensitive skin around the eyes, be careful not to let this happen during application.

How does the new moisturizer work on oily skin?

It seems to work brilliantly on people with oily skin.  This makes sense because it contains jojoba oil and is specifically designed not to leave sheen on the skin.  Feel free to ask people on the messageboards or look through the reviews of the new moisturizer.

How do I know if I have the old version of the moisturizer or the new one?

The old one is white.  The new one is yellow due to licochalcone, the licorice root extract which is in the new formula.

Irritation Page Questions and Answers:

What about tissues that contain lotion?  Can they break you out?

Great question.  I did a search and it appears that the lotion contained in these tissues may be suspect.  At times they contain emollients such as isopropyl palmitate, which impart a silky feel to the skin, but which also present as top offenders in comedogenicity studies.  Other brands sometimes contain less offensive but still questionable ingredients such as shea butter.  I think it may be best to stay away from tissues with lotion until we get more feedback from users on whether they do indeed break people out.  If you have used these types of tissues, please post your experience on the boards.  In the meantime, I’ll be sure to add this information to the irritation page.

SPF Questions and Answers:

I want the SPF now!  Can you just release it at a high price?

I feel more comfortable releasing this at an affordable price.  In these economically troubling days in particular, I think it is my responsibility to make sure we price things within reach.  I have no doubt this is possible, and I will make it happen.

Shaving Cream Questions and Answers:

Hey Dan, will you try (brand X) shaving cream?

I looked into each suggestion, and each one contained ingredients am not currently comfortable recommending, including either stearic acid, palmitic acid, SLS, or Cetearyl Alcohol + Ceteareth 20.  If you are completely clear and your skin looks good using these shaving creams/gels feel free to continue.  However, if you are experiencing any issues with your skin, your shaving cream/gel may be the culprit.  In that case I would very highly recommend you switch to simply the lather from a gentle cleanser for a while and see if that clears you up.

Miscellaneous Questions and Answers:

So, are we saying that the baby wash is also equal to the purpose cleaner? And if so, is the baby wash also a replacement or a substitute for the face wash in the first step for the regimen?

I’d actually like to hear from more of you on this. I don’t personally like baby wash, Purpose, or Clean & Clear because they are heavily scented. But if it’s working for people, it might be a low cost option.

I been on the regimen for 4 months and am almost completely clear all I have is scars and a few whiteheads. I have a question for Dan what can I do to help with my scars every time a pimple goes away I get a scar I get all frustrated. Please tell me what to use or do. I tried ur aha and it helped little bit. Thanks

You’re doing the best possible thing you can do, which is to clear up your skin and thus prevent future scarring. In order to prevent scarring more completely, be vigilant in your adherence to the Regimen. And whatever you do, do not pick! If you must pop, that can sometimes be done without scarring, but avoid picking at all costs.

For more on scarring, check out the brand new scars pages.

What about the new labels (that you mentioned in a recent blog post)?

These are probably a while away still. We’re planning an entire site redesign which will incorporate the new labels and a whole bunch of new stuff.

Moisturizer Questions and Answers:

Can’t wait to try (the new non-SPF moisturizer). How about shine? The old moisturizer made my skin shine and appear oily. I’m hoping that this one won’t as much. I like the matte look. 🙂

The new moisturizer should be much less shiny than the old one. It has a nice matte finish.

Will the new moisturizer…be available in a tube, instead of a pump bottle?

We are putting it in a bottle to start. In the future, we may switch to a tube.

Will (the new non-SPF moisturizer) be more moisturizing as well?

It should be equally moisturizing. The old moisturizer was extremely moisturizing already. If you are having problems with any moisturizer not providing enough hydration, consider adding 5-6 drops of jojoba oil into each application.

Dan, could you tell us something about the developmental phase of this new moisturizer particularly how the ingredients were chosen and the mixture defined? I have understood that the company behind the doesn’t have as great resources to put into the development of new products as some others so how is it possible that this moisturizer is “the best moisturizer they’ve ever tried”?

I wonder where you got the idea that we don’t have great resources!? Quite the contrary, we have some of the greatest minds in the U.S. and in the world working with us closely on each formula. Our BP, for instance, is made by a company which is owned by a cosmetic chemist who is renown in the skin care world as the leading BP manufacturer bar none. When it comes to our moisturizer, I researched ingredients at length myself, and then worked very closely with a team of top tier cosmetic chemists from around the world, all of us laboring on over 100 samples until we have arrived at our latest one. has access to the best people in the world. I would have it no other way. We carefully work as a team to choose each ingredient. I am also personally involved in each phase, sometimes to an excruciating degree, if you were to ask the chemists 🙂

As always, I will let the products speak for themselves. I aim to produce literally the world’s best product in each category for all of us to use. If I can’t achieve that for us, I see no reason to produce it.

Will we still have an option to buy the old (non-SPF mositurizer) formulation once the new one comes in? Will the old one be for sale?

No. The new moisturizer is improved. I think you’ll be very happy with it. I went with my gut on this one. I quite simply don’t want anything but the best out there, and we have a “new best” now.

Makeup Questions and Answers:

Does it help if the make-up says non-comedogenic? …and hypoallergenic and fragrance free?

Seeing “non-comedogenic” on a product doesn’t mean much. There is no regulating organization when it comes to claiming the term “non-comedogenic”. Anyone can print this phrase on any product, no matter the ingredients. When it comes to “hypoallergenic”, products do have to undergo testing to put this claim on the product. However, many products which do not claim “hypoallergenic” are also extremely gentle. “Fragrance free” formulas are devoid of added fragrances but are not necessarily completely scent free due to natural ingredients in the product which may have a slight scent. I always look for fragrance free products because (1) I just happen to hate fragrance, and (2) the less unnecessary ingredients the less chance of any reactions or problems.

Could you expound on what your research has revealed about isopropyl?

Isopropyl Isostearate and Isopropyl Myristate are two highly offending ingredients from rabbit studies. When scientists rubbed various compounds on albino rabbit ears, these two ingredients tended to clog pores to a very high extent. Myristal Myristate and Laureth-4 presented as the two other most offending ingredients. Another “Iso”, Isopropyl Palmitate, was also comedogenic, albeit to a slightly lesser degree. Keep in mind, however, that the scientists applied all of these ingredients at a very high percentage. Cosmetic manufacturers usually use them in small amounts in cosmetic formulas. I personally choose to avoid these heavy offenders just to stay on the safe side.

How long would you have to stop using makeup to have these (Acne Cosmetica) bumps clear up? And what if you use mineral foundation?

This is a good question. Since Acne Cosmetica appears more non-inflamed, I would surmise that it would take a bit longer than inflamed acne to clear it up. But I do not have close personal experience in this area. Would anyone like to comment on how long it took them to clear up their cosmetic induced acne?

Dan, oh Dan. When will you start recommending mineral makeup for acne prone skin?

I don’t foresee it. In the name of science and in the name of I went to the mall and full-on applied mineral makeup one day and wore it around for the rest of the day. I detested the heavy, ongoing feel of it, and it was everything I could do to not wash it off. Particularly, it was incredibly itchy. This tendency to induce itchiness causes scratching, which in turn produces irritation. In speaking with some women who have tried lots of different types of makeup, they seem to have experienced the same itchiness and cakey feel when it comes to mineral makeup.  What about the rest of you?  What do you think?

Sunscreen questions and answers:

When should we expect to see your suncreen product available to purchase?

I’m hoping to get a sample into FDA required testing within a month or so. This testing takes a minimum of 3 months, after which point we need to produce labels, bottles/tubes, etc. New product introductions are a lengthy process. I’m hoping for next year when the sun again climbs high in the sky.

Dan, I’ve followed your website for years and to my knowledge, you’ve always said that avobenzone is a breakout trigger and that zinc oxide was the best option for acne-prone people. Since when did your philosophy on this change? And what is the reason behind the change? You always seemed vehemently anti-avobenzone before, and the sudden change of heart is confusing.

I can see why you are confused. I was vocally anti-Avobenzone before, and I stand by that decision because all of the Avobenzone-based sunscreens on the market broke me out. However, I always made to sure to include the caveat that it may be the Avobenzone that was breaking me out and it may be something else. If there is one thing I’ve learned over the years it is that life presents us with a multitude of variables, and it’s almost never a good idea to jump on one variable as the cause of something.

But after literally years of testing zinc and titanium dioxide based over-the-counter sunscreens, and after an equal amount of time formulating zinc and titanium dioxide sunscreens myself, I realized these ingredients are not an option. They are simply too flake-promoting, no matter the percentage of emollients I put into the formulas. At the end of my rope, I decided to formulate with Avobenzone myself, thus ensuring that all other variables were safe. It turns out that Avobenzone must not have been the culprit of my previous breakouts because after about 6 months of daily use of the Avobenzone formula I produced, my skin looks and feels great and is consistently and predictably almost perfect. I have received an overwhelmingly positive response from all of those who I asked to sample it as well.

So what was caused my breakouts then? It’s hard to say. I’ll keep looking into other variables and see if I can pinpoint something.

Here are some answers to some recent questions. I am not able to get to all open questions on the blog, but here’s a start:

Would you please be so kind as to list the five (Avobenzone) products you’ve tried in the past? Thank you.

I don’t remember most of them. Sorry. The only one I remember is Neutrogena Ultra Sheer.

What about the bare minerals new SPF powders. May be kind of girly but have you tried it?

I have tried it, in the name of science! I even went out on the town one day with it on, hoping no one would notice. The first thing my friend said when I saw him was, “Are you wearing makeup?” LOL. Anyway, I hated it. It felt cakey and my skin got dry and flaky. Do people really like that stuff? I can’t imagine. As a side note, makeup is an area that I want to study more. I know it is important. If anyone wants to help with research in this area, please contact me.

…isn’t mineral oil one of those things to avoid?

No. Mineral oil is non-comedogenic. In the old days they had multiple grades of mineral oil on the market and the lower grades were comedogenic, but these days only the highest grade is used in products, and it is non-comedogenic.

Is SPF 15 really enough for good protection than SPF30 during summer heat?

As you go up in SPF you get diminishing returns. SPF15 is over 90% as effective as SPF30. And anything over SPF30 is likely to not give any better protection than SPF30. I personally feel more than comfortable with SPF15. The higher SPF formulas I have tried seem too greasy and heavy.

I think too much BP (for me) causes too much irritation. Is this possible?

Yes, this is absolutely possible in two circumstances. (1) At the onset of a benzoyl peroxide regimen, and (2) if you are not using adequate moisturizer. At the start of the Regimen, you want to use a small amount of BP to reduce overly irritating side effects. And once you are on the Regimen it is vital to moisturize twice a day, every day, to maintain a balance in your skin. Benzoyl peroxide, when used correctly, is incredible for clearing acne, but it must be used within a regimen that includes adequate moisture to reduce overdrying the skin.

How close are you to releasing the new moisturizer?

We are hoping for 3 months from now or so.

Are you going to use (in the spot treatment) a betta-isomer of Salicylic Acid?

Yes, we use beta hydroxy acid, the active form of salicylic acid.

(Will the spot treatment have) BP in it??

No. Benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid cannot be in the same formula. Plus, benzoyl peroxide doesn’t do well in strongly acidic formulations. I am keeping the spot treatment at the legal limit for acidity, 3.5pH, so we can get as much activity from the glycolic acid as we can.

Is it okay to use (the spot treatment) on the whole face instead of the AHA treatment?

I wouldn’t recommend it. First of all, I am leaning toward bottling it in very small tubes. Secondly, it is extremely strong. The spot treatment is made to be used in a tiny pin size amount.

How do I know if I’m being gentle enough (on the Regimen)?

Check out the videos and when in doubt, be more gentle. Also, remember that staying gentle not only applies to during application of the Regimen, but also throughout your day. Try to keep your skin relatively untouched.