Among Filipinos, soap is still the preferred product over facial wash. We therefore decided to develop a soap formula, which we call Project AcneX, to address the exfoliant need for anti-acne maintenance. Adding scrubbing particles was ruled out because of possible adverse reactions from people with sensitive skin.
We looked at anti-acne soap products in the market. One intriguing concept invited scrutiny, the salicylic acid soap. Salicylic acid is a commonly used anti-acne ingredient. It is highly effective in treating acne because of its ability to penetrate the follicle. It encourages the shedding of dead skin cells from within the follicle. Pores are cleared of blockages thereby controlling acne breakouts.
There is a big problem though. Salicylic acid is effective as an exfoliant only if it remains an acid. It’s a puzzle how that can be done in an alkaline soap. Acids and alkali are very reactive. In soaps, the acid is neutralized into its sodium salt. Most, if not all, of the old salicylic acid soaps in the market have not addressed this critical concern.
With the new micro-encapsulation technology,the acid-in-a-soap concept is now possible. For our AcneX soap project, we decided on using the more advanced double encapsulation of salicylic acid to address two concerns: stability in an alkali base and efficacy in a wash off product.
How it Works. The salicylic acid microcapsule has two layers. The outer layer protects salicylic acid from reacting with the alkaline soap base. During washing, the outer layer breaks up when rubbed on wet skin, releasing the inner microspheres with salicylic acid. The microspheres are designed to adhere to skin even with rinsing. It disintegrates at skin’s acidic pH,slowly releasing salicylic acid. This time-release feature makes the product much more effective and skin friendly.
Although AcneX soap is formulated to maintain clear skin, it has high enough level of salicylic acid at 1% to be as effective in clearing acne as any gel or cream acne product. If you are acne-prone, continuous twice-daily use of AcneX soap is necessary to obtain and maintain clear skin. If you stop the anti-acne treatment, the pores will again clog with excess oil and dead cells, and acne can return.
_____________________________________________________________________This column was published in the Manila Bulletin Lifestyle Section on April 10, 2012. The author is the CEO of SkinStation. He received the 2011 Outstanding Chemist Award from Professional Regulations Commission for his achievements in the field of cosmetic chemistry. He can be reached at email@example.com.