A question we get frequently is “how did you guys come up with all this?”
I’m a fan of upside down thinking. It is human nature to fall in line and think like everyone else. The old expression of not seeing the forest for the trees is applicable. Often, real solutions are right before our eyes. Our mind is not trained to see them.
About 12 years ago we were on a family trip to swim at the Ocean for the day. Someone commented on our way home how wonderful their skin felt after an ocean swim. Everyone agreed. At that moment I wondered why.
Was it the salt? Or was there something in the water?
Our family suffers from acne prone skin and I noticed our acne seemed to settle down after a day at the beach. Any cuts or abrasions also seemed to heal faster.
Was it all the sun?
The more I studied this the more it confounded me. What was in this experience that made a difference in the skin. If it could be bottled, it would help a lot of people, who couldn’t go for a swim in the ocean everyday.
Tests of sea water really didn’t give me many clues. Salt all by itself really didn’t help the skin too much. Too much sun was harmful to the skin. The ‘ingredients’ in sea water seemed to be a lot of pollutants. If anything one would think this would leave the skin in a poorer state. What was it?
We noticed the pH of sea water was about 8.3. pH is the measure of acidity versus alkalinity. If you remember from your high school chemistry those paper test strips. Battery acid is a 0 and lye is at the other extreme a 14 (very alkaline). Both extremes are caustic and will destroy skin. Neutral is 7.
That was the one clue we didn’t understand at the time. Until we started testing skin care products and noticed all of them were mildly to very acidic. Vitmamin C cream is about a 3.
Why were so many products skewed towards the acid range? This is where the forest and the trees thing comes in. Does this have any connection to the rise of adult acne today? I look at acne products and I see Glycolic acid and Salycic Acid. Even Benzoyl Peroxide solutions were acidic. Why was acid supposed to be a ‘cure’ for acne and why wasn’t it working?
I’m in my 50’s and as a teen in the 1960’s we just never saw adults with acne. We knew at about 18 or 19 acne was going to be over. Of course, we had virtually nothing to control acne. Today is different. For many, acne continues right into adulthood and sometimes until old age. We hear all the time about fighting acne and wrinkles at the same time. Sometimes we hear of adults who didn’t have acne in their teen years getting it as an adult. I had many years of being acne free and had adult onset acne in my late 30’s.
What happened? What is causing this and why isn’t anyone noticing it? (Forest….trees)
Lets see, mildly alkaline ocean water makes the skin feel good and heal. Acid has some sort of association with acne? Seems like a no brainer. But no one seems to be noticing.
What we have come to believe is the reason acids took such a prominent role in controlling all sorts of skin issues is that they do work remarkably well… At first.
This is the seduction of these products. Often the first time you put an acne spot treatmet on an acne blemish, the blemish will go right away. In fact for many this seems to be a permanent solution. Gradually we start to use more and more. Eventually, we start seeing less and less results. At some point people enter what we call ‘”burn out”. They could lay those ointments on their skin an inch thick with a putty knife and still see no results.
Often these people come to us in this burnout state and can’t understand why our product won’t instantly help them. These are the ones who need a great deal of patience. Sometimes two to three months for our product to kick in.