Acne is the most common skin conditions in the United States, and it affects up to 50 million people annually — including Peace Out founder Enrico Frezza.
Like so many people who fall under this stat from American Academy of Dermatology, Frezza's struggle with acne began when he was a teenager. And after not being able to find any success with the number of over-the-counter and prescription treatments he tried, Frezza went on Accutane.
But while the medication cleared up his cystic acne, he still would get the occasional breakout.
So once again, he found himself in the acne aisle at the drugstore, trying products that didn't give him the quick fix. However, on one drugstore run, he wandered into the first aid aisle and stumbled upon hydrocolloid dressing, which is traditionally used to protect wounds against external bacteria.
After applying an overnight salicylic acid peel, he slapped some of the dressing over his forehead breakout. The next morning, his pimples were flat, but the SA also took off a layer of skin.
Luckily, a best-selling cult-favorite acne brand came out of this skincare mishap, and it inspired Frezza to find a way to improve the dressing so it better treated acne. His solution? Infusing patches of the dressing with FDA-approved acne ingredients such as salicylic acid at concentrations that are effective, but won't cause you to lose a chunk of skin.
When Peace Out's Acne Dots first launched at Sephora, they quickly sold out. So they restocked, then sold out again.
That's why following the success of the brand's hero product, Frezza created patches for various skincare concerns, such as Microneedling Dots for dark Spots, Pore Strips for blackheads, and Dullness Patches for uneven skin tone. Most recently, the brand launched its first non-patch product, the Acne Treatment Serum, which treats all kinds of acne at every stage of a breakout.
Given that maskne (mask-induced breakouts) are one of the biggest skincare concerns of 2020, there was no better time to catch up with Frezza to get his tips on how to properly use acne patches, and find out an ingenious hack for getting rid of chin pimples.
What led you to starting Peace Out?
My personal struggle with acne inspired me to start the brand. I had really bad acne starting when I was a teenager, and I was thinking about how it made me so insecure to the point that I didn’t want anybody to see my face. These breakouts always made me feel insecure.
So, I was trying every over-the-counter product to fix these occasional breakouts and I ended up going into a drugstore and looking in the wound care section because I had tried everything in the acne section. I stumbled upon hydrocolloid dressing, which has been used for 25 years in wound care. It absorbs fluids and protects against external bacteria, so I was like, “Well, this sounds great.” I did a 20% salicylic acid peel, and then I put a big patch on my forehead where the breakout was. When I woke up, the pimple was flat, but it took a layer of my skin out because of the high percentage of the salicylic acid peel I used.
However, the pimple really did absorb into the patch overnight, which is huge because when you have a breakout, you want to get rid of that bump. So, I thought about how I could make the dressing better to treat acne, and that was by infusing it with active acne ingredients. We were the first to ever infuse active acne ingredients into a hydrocolloid patch, and we have a patent on that.
Where to people typically go wrong when using acne patches?
It depends on what patch they’re using. With the Acne Dots, it’s definitely about applying them on clean skin so they’ll stick. Also, applying a patch on a pimple that’s really deep into the skin. but not close to the surface because there’s nothing to absorb.
What about Microneedling Dots?
There is more misuse with these dots. Having clean, dry skin [is important] because they need to stay on the skin for multiple hours overnight while you sleep, and pressing the Microneedling Dot into the skin for 10 or 15 seconds to allow the microneedles to get into the skin and deliver the ingredients are two important things to remember. That being said, I think we've been doing a pretty good job of trying to educate people by including straightforward instructions on how to use the dots on the inner top of every box. We try to educate as much as we can to minimize any misuse, because misuse translates into a negative experience with the product, because it doesn't deliver results.
VIDEO: Salicylic Acid vs Benzoyl Peroxide: Which Should I Use To Treat My Acne?
Salicylic Acid vs Benzoyl Peroxide: Which Should I Use To Treat My Acne?
Learn the differences between the two acne-fighting ingredients and how to use them.
You recently launched the brand's first non-patch product, the Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment Serum. What was the inspiration behind it?
With the serum, I tried to put myself back in my teenage years. I was using seven serums, which is too many steps. I still use around three, but I couldn’t find anything in the marketplace that treats active acne, prevents acne, and has ingredients that treat hyperpigmentation without the common side effects such as dryness and redness. While the acne dots, they’re great, but they’re a spot treatment and can only be used on certain types of pimples. So, we wanted to launch something that was an all-over treatment that targets all of the symptoms of acne. The formula includes salicylic acid, niacinamide, vitamin C, zinc, hyaluronic acid, and centella asiatica; ingredients I was using separately, but could never find in a single product.
As the founder of an acne-centric skincare brand, what are your tips for dealing with maskne?
We just created our Maskne MVP kit on our website to help people get everything they need to treat mask-related breakouts. [Ed. note: It's currently sold out.] It includes the Acne Dots, Acne Serum, Brightening Dots, and a face mask. Also, there was a TikTok video about using the Pore Strips on your chin that recently went viral. People have been breaking out a lot on their chin and if you look at the video, you can see her wearing pore strips on her nose and on her chin while running errands for a few hours. Then, she comes home and all the junk is sucked out from the skin into the patch. It’s pretty satisfying, but also protects your skin.
The Best Peace Out Products for Acne
Meet the dots that started it all. These patches are best used on pimples that are close to the surface of the skin (think juicy whiteheads). On top of helping to heal and improve the appearance of huge zits in as little as six hours, patches also prevent picking, which can lead to external bacteria getting into the skin.
To buy: $19/20; peaceoutskincare.com.
Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment Serum
Thanks to a mix of 2% salicylic acid, niacinamide, vitamin C, and zinc, this serum treats all-over acne, plus prevents future breakouts.
To buy: $34; peaceoutskincare.com.
Microneedling Dark Spot Brightening Dots
The patch party doesn't stop once your pimple is all healed up. These microneedling dots help lighten any post-breakout hyperpigmentation. On top of the tiny micro-darts, the patches are also infused with tried-and-true brightening ingredients such as niacinamide, licorice extract, and tranexamic acid.
To buy: $28/12; peaceoutskincare.com.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
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