If taking better care of your skin is one of your New Year’s Resolutions, you might look to a local brand who’s mission is to help you have the healthiest, most blemish-free skin around. Meet Arithmetic, a San Francisco based skincare collection that launched with a single product, Acne Control Complex, in May of 2013. Now, Arithmetic has three products (there’s a thick shave cream and gentle exfoliating sponge), a loyal cult following, and lofty ambitions to change the way adults treat their skin.
The company was founded by Andy Bosselman, who at age 26, found himself battling a horrible case of adult acne. After consulting more than 20 doctors, trying countless skincare products geared toward teenage skin and seeing no positive results, Bosselman decided to take matters into his own hands. His obsession with clearer skin scored him a job at Sephora where he met the Norweigian molecular biologist, Johan Aardal, who along with two Stanford biochemists, created Arithmetic. We recently spoke with Bosselman to learn more about his approach to clean skincare.
What makes Arithmetic different from other blemish solutions?
Most over the counter acne products are made for teenagers where the thinking is to blast the blemish away using higher amounts of benzoyl peroxide. However, we’ve learned that you dont have to use so much benzoyl peroxide. We supplement it with tea tree oil, which is a natural ingredient that fights blemishes. Ours is a much gentler product than anything else out there. We use really good ingredients to make a product that is perfectly optimized for adults. Adult acne has to be treated differently than teenage acne because the skin is thinner, dryer, and has suffered more damage. It also has to be treated for longer periods of time to really control the problem. Instead of a teenager who would use the product for three days before going to the prom, an adult can use our control consistently for three, six, even 12 months.
What is the Arithmetic Approach?
The thinking behind Arithmetic is that it’s something basic that we all know. It’s logical. Acne is something that we all know a lot about and many people get so frustrated that they give up on finding a solution to it. You can’t do long division in your head, but you can figure it out logically, which is what we aim to do with our skincare line. We make products that are scientific and accessible
Why are so many adults struggling with adult acne?
Actually earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal published a story that discussed this exact question. So why are adults getting more acne? The journalist said we don’t really know. That is true. There are a number of factors — which is why it’s so difficult to treat. We eat a lot differently, we don’t sleep as well as we used to, we are exposed to more things in the environment, we deal with more stress. All of these things affect hormones. Antibiotics resistance is probably another big factor.
Where can we find your products?
You openly discuss your battle with adult acne. Are you cured now?
I still use our product! Unfortunately, I have some acne that I am dealing with. It’s in my beard area which can be really uncomfortable. That’s really what inspired me to make the shave cream.
What products can we look forward to?
Ideally, we want to have a line of 30-40 products. We want Arithmetic to help people create a modular skincare system with a range of products that can treat each person’s needs. Right now we are working on a number of different products. One of the things I am excited about is a treatment that is basically just aloe and tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is almost as effective as benzoyl peroxide, so we’re crafting a treatment that is super simple and really gentle. I think we are going to be able to do it with a total of five or six premium ingredients. I can tell you now there is nothing on the market like that. It’s our goal to make a line that is a natural and luxurious experience, but creating the best quality skincare is a slow process. In 2015, we will probably launch three to four more products. A cleanser is something we have been working on. Another high priority is a daily SPF sunscreen that people with acne-prone skin can use.
How can your products be most effective?
With topical products you need to use them consistently. That is the key. If you spend a couple of nights a week at your boyfriend’s house and don’t use the treatment, you’re not being consistent. You won’t receive all the benefits. Your basic skincare routine should always be cleanse, hydrate, and treat. Put any cosmetics on after you use the treatment.
What skincare products do you recommend using with Arithmetic?
For a cleanser, we suggest something very gentle and basic like the Whole Foods 365 Daily Facial Cleanser. On the higher end side and if a basic cleanser isn’t enough, I tell people to get Avène Oil-Free Gel Cleanser. As for SPF? We like the Oil Control Mattifier with SPF 15 from Murad.
Photos Credit: Arithmeti