Acne Care Symposium

14jun9:00 AM6:00 PMAcne Care Symposium9:00 AM - 6:00 PM 285 Madison Avenue, Madison, NJ 07940

Event Details

NYSCC Acne Care Symposium

June 14th

Fairleigh Dickinson University
Florham Campus
Lenfell Hall (located in Hennessy Hall)
285 Madison Avenue, Madison, NJ

Don’t miss this full-day symposium, which will include podium presentations from a line-up of internationally recognized experts in acne care as well as a technology showcase for attendees to interact with researchers in the field.



9:00 – 9:45 a.m.

9:45 – 10:00 a.m.
Opening Remarks

10:00 – 10:30 a.m.
Acne Update:  What’s New and What’s True – Mary Wu Chang, M.D. (University of Connecticut School of Medicine)

10:30 – 11:00 a.m.
Key Strategic Targets for Mitigating Acne-Affected Skin – Ratan K. Chaudhuri, Ph.D. (Sytheon Ltd.)

11:00 – 11:15 a.m.

11:15 – 11:45 a.m.
Challenges Commonly Encountered with Acne Therapy – Hilary Baldwin, M.D. (Acne Treatment and Research Center)

11:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Multi-modal and 3D Imaging for Objective Evaluation of Acne – Sachin V. Patwardhan, Ph.D. (Canfield Scientific Inc.)

12:15 – 12:45 p.m.
Category Insights and Consumer Trends – Francine Krenicki (Crown Laboratories)

12:45 – 2:15 p.m.
Poster Session and Lunch

2:15 – 2:45 p.m.
Cutibacterium Acnes, Phages, and Acne – Nathan Brown, Ph.D. (Parallel Health)

2:45 – 3:15 p.m.
Evaluation of Microbiome Changes Related to Cleanser Use in Healthy and Acne Prone Skin – Amina Bouslimani, Ph.D. (L’Oréal USA)

3:15 – 3:45 p.m.
Troubled Skin, Inflammasomes, and the Skin’s Innate Immune Response: Is Targeting C. acnes Enough? – James V. Gruber, Ph.D. (Vantage Personal Care)

3:45 – 4:00 p.m.

4:00 – 4:30 p.m.
Acne Vulgaris in the United States: Burden of Disease and Prescribing Trends – Ayman Grada M.D. (Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine)

4:30 – 5:00 p.m.
What if the Rules of Fighting Acne Have Changed? – Sophia Bull (Lucas Meyer Cosmetics)

5:00 – 6:00 p.m.
Cocktail Reception

Event Chairs

Roger L. McMullen, Ph.D. (Ashland Specialty Ingredients, G.P.)

Dr. Roger McMullen has over 20 years of experience in the personal care industry with specialties in optics, imaging, and spectroscopy of hair and skin. Currently, he is a Principal Scientist at Ashland, LLC and leads their Material Science team. Roger has over 30 publications in peer-reviewed journals and textbooks. He is also the author of Antioxidants and the Skin, 2nd edition and founded the online news magazine The Cosmetic Chemist ( Roger received a B.S. in Chemistry from Saint Vincent College and completed his Ph.D. in Biophysical Chemistry at Seton Hall University.

Roger actively engages and participates in educational activities in the personal care industry. He frequently teaches continuing education courses for the SCC and TRI-Princeton. In addition, Roger is an Adjunct Professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University and teaches Biochemistry to students pursuing M.S. degrees in Cosmetic Science and Pharmaceutical Chemistry. Prior to pursuing a career in science, Roger served in the U.S. Navy for four years on board the USS YORKTOWN (CG 48). He is fluent in Spanish and Catalan and currently is learning to play the classical guitar.


Miao Wang, Ph.D. (L’Oréal USA)

The event will be held at the beautiful Fairleigh Dickinson University Florham Campus located in Madison, New Jersey. The campus consists of 178 acres, which is the former country estate of early 20th-century socialites Florence Vanderbilt and Hamilton Twombly.

Fairleigh Dickinson University instituted a Master of Science degree program in Cosmetic Science in 1982—one of the first of its kind. It maintains close ties with the cosmetic industry where most of its professors come from leading institutions within industry, offering students a strong academic and practical approach to creating novel products.

Speaker Abstracts and Biographies

Acne Update:  What’s New and What’s True – Mary Wu Chang (University of Connecticut School of Medicine)

Acne is the most common skin condition in the United States, affecting up to 50 million Americans annually. Approximately 85% of people between the ages of 12 and 24 have acne. Adult acne is increasing, and now affects up to 15 percent of women. This talk will begin with a look at different types of acne and review the medications in the dermatologist’s armamentarium.

Mary Wu Chang, M.D.

Dr. Chang is a board-certified dermatologist and pediatric dermatologist with over 26 years’ experience. After graduating from University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, she went on to complete a pediatrics residency at Kaiser San Francisco followed by a dermatology residency at Wayne State University—she served as Chief Resident for both residencies. Dr. Chang then joined the full-time faculty at NYU Medical Center for 7 years before moving to Connecticut in 2005. Currently, Dr. Chang is Associate Professor of Dermatology and Pediatrics at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine where she runs a busy clinic and enjoys teaching medical students, and dermatology and pediatric resident physicians. She has published extensively in the literature and frequently lectures regionally and nationally. Her interests include hemangiomas and vascular malformations, severe acne, atopic dermatitis, and clinical drug trials.

Key Strategic Targets for Mitigating Acne-Affected Skin – Ratan K. Chaudhuri (Sytheon Ltd.)

We have come a long way since 1896, when it was suggested that Propionibacterium acnes found in acne lesions was the cause of acne. Recently, high resolution core genome analysis combining 16S rRNA gene sequences led to changing the name of P acnes to Cutibacterium acnes (Scholtz et al., Int. J. Sys. Evo. Microbiol., 66: 4422-4432, 2016). While the commensal bacterium C. acnes is involved in the maintenance of healthy skin, it can also act as an opportunistic pathogen in acne vulgaris. Recent studies have shown that the relative abundance of C. acnes (in metagenomics studies) is similar among patients with acne and healthy individuals (87%–89%) or even higher in healthy subjects (89% to 94%). Multiple studies highlighted that the severity of acne might not only be due to a specific C. acnes strain but also due to host and environmental factors. Early and intense inflammatory events in the epidermis have indeed been shown to contribute to the development of acne.

Typically, the mean lifetime of each acne lesion is a few days for inflammatory and a few weeks for non-inflammatory ones. Two distinct, partially overlapping, processes need to be addressed during the treatment of acne. One is accelerating the healing of the ongoing lesions and the other one is to prevent the huge number of sebaceous glands prone to enter the acne cycle. Therefore, the key strategic targets in acne care appear to be the pilosebaceous follicle that is not yet involved in the acne cycle and the second one is to adequately control the key switching factors of comedone formation for long term relief. A multi-tasking strategy is needed to improve the conditions of acne-affected skin. Taking all these factors into consideration, we will address key targets governing acne therapy while preventing hyperpigmentation issues. Discussions will also include reasons for selecting ingredients for mitigating acne-affected skin.

Ratan K. Chaudhuri, Ph.D.

Dr. Chaudhuri is President and CEO of Sytheon, which he founded in 2006. Sytheon is an innovative global specialty ingredient company. Sytheon’s global headquarters is in Parsippany, New Jersey, USA with its two affiliates in France and Singapore. Ratan is a humble entrepreneur by heart and a thinker with strong leadership skills. He has developed numerous best-in-class products for the personal care industry, just to name two recent gold standards – Sytenol A (Bakuchiol) and Synovea HR (Hexylresorcinol). Ratan holds over 100 U.S. and international patents and has over 100 publications including six book chapters. Ratan has been named as one of the top 10 inspiring business leaders by Inc. Magazine to watch in 2022. He can be reached by telephone (+1 201-303-5594) or e-mail (

Challenges Commonly Encountered with Acne Therapy – Hilary Baldwin (Acne Treatment and Research Center)

In this presentation, we will address challenges in topical and oral acne treatment. Topical retinoids are the mainstay of acne therapy. They improve existing lesions, and prevent the development of the microcomedones, which are the predecessors of future lesions. However, topical retinoids can be irritating, especially in the first few weeks of treatment.  This often leads to inconsistent use or discontinuation. Benzoyl peroxide is a highly effective, rapid-onset antibacterial which does not promote the development of bacterial resistance. It also decreases the development of antibacterial resistance to both topical and oral antibiotics with which is it used in combination. Unfortunately, benzoyl peroxide is a concentration-dependent irritant—it bleaches fabric and is an uncommon sensitizer.

Oral antibiotics are highly effective in treating the inflammatory lesions of acne. However, the effects are rarely durable resulting in overuse and the development of bacterial resistance. Pregnant and lactating women often experience acne. Unfortunately, clinical trials do not include this population and as such, little exists in the way of efficacy or safety data. As a result, these patients are generally told by their obstetricians to forgo treatment until delivery/weaning regardless of the severity of their disease.

Isotretinoin can be used to treat the most severe cases of acne and 80% of those who complete a course will not need acne treatment again. It should be noted that there are many potential side effects of the drug, most of which are easily managed. The internet tells a different story, however, frightening patients with misinformation.

Hilary Baldwin, M.D.

Hilary Baldwin is a board-certified dermatologist and Medical Director of the Acne Treatment and Research Center in Brooklyn, New York. She is a Clinical Associate Professor of Dermatology at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center. Dr. Baldwin has interests in acne, rosacea, keloidal scarring, cosmeceuticals, and the skin microbiome. She is a frequent national and international lecturer and visiting professor, and her work has been published extensively in dermatology journals. Dr. Baldwin served as a founding board member and second president of the American Acne and Rosacea Society.

Multi-modal and 3D Imaging for Objective Evaluation of Acne – Sachin V. Patwardhan (Canfield Scientific Inc.)

Lesion counts and Investigators Global Assessment (IGA) are the primary endpoints in acne clinical studies. However, they both suffer from inter- and intra-evaluator variability.  Characteristics of acne lesions can be captured, detected, and objectively measured using multi-modal imaging. Collectively these detected characteristics can identify both inflammatory and non-inflammatory lesions, and the measurements can be translated to a global severity score. These objective measurements have been used in several clinical studies as exploratory endpoints or for verifying subject enrollment. Canfield Scientific’s VISIA-CRP now combines multi-modal imaging with micron-resolution 3D facial imaging. This has further improved the ability to detect, and measure, raised topography of acne lesions. VISIA-CRP and its early use in reducing variability in clinical trials, standardizing outcomes, and obtaining more insights into treatment effects will be presented.

Sachin V. Patwardhan, Ph.D.

Dr. Sachin V. Patwardhan is the Chief Intellectual Property Officer and Senior Principal Scientist at Canfield Scientific Inc. He developed a multi-spectral imaging device for early diagnosis of melanoma during his Ph.D. at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). He then helped in establishing the optical radiology lab at Washington University School of Medicine in Saint Louis while doing postdoctoral research. His research there involved developing a small animal diffuse optical and fluorescence tomography system for studying disease models with targeted treatment. Since then, for the past 16 years he has focused his research on developing optical imaging techniques and image analysis algorithms for objective assessment of skin diseases and aesthetic conditions at Canfield Scientific Inc. His work is published in several journals, and he has 11 granted patents and counting.

Category Insights and Consumer Trends – Francine Krenicki (Crown Laboratories)

In this presentation we will discuss the acne category’s past, present, and future. We will analyze and provide insight to where acne treatment is headed in the future and share some experiences of what works for selected brands. In addition, we will dive into ingredient trends and consumer insights.

Francine Krenicki

Francine Krenicki is a beauty executive with over 20 years of experience specializing in new product development, innovation, and brand strategy and has created award winning formulas in product categories including skincare, color, personal care, haircare, and fragrance. She has dedicated her career to creating meaningful product innovation that resonates with consumers and creates consistent brand loyalty. Currently Francine is the Senior Vice President of Global Product Development for Crown Laboratories where she oversees innovation for eight skincare brands including the iconic PanOxyl Acne line as well as the top selling premium clinical skincare brand StriVectin. Prior to joining Crown Laboratories, Francine started up the clean clinical skincare brand Skinfix.

Cutibacterium Acnes, Phages, and Acne – Nathan Brown (Parallel Health)

Acne vulgaris was first attributed to Cutibacterium acnes bacteria isolated from acne lesions by Raymond Sabouraud in 1897. Bacteriophages (phages), which infect bacteria, have been used to treat bacterial infections since they were discovered in the early 20th century. Phages have been used to treat acne almost as long. In some cases, Staphylococcus phages were used, and in other cases, Cutibacterium phages were used, which reflects the long-standing debate over which bacterium “exactly” is involved in the development of acne. Currently, specific phylotypes of C. acnes are thought to be involved in acne, though it’s still debated whether C. acnes has any role to play. Unfortunately, Koch’s Postulates cannot be used to clarify the role of C. acnes in acne vulgaris because the bacteria are ubiquitous on healthy skin with sebaceous glands. New methods such as fine-scale population genomics of C. acnes isolated from hair follicles, shotgun metagenomics methods, and topically applied phages may shed light on the role of C. acnes and other bacteria in the development of acne.

Nathan Brown, Ph.D.

Dr. Nathan Brown earned his Ph.D. in microbiology in 2016 from Oregon State University, where he worked on bacteriophage and bacterial genomics, and used metagenomics to study bacterial ecology. He did postdoctoral work on phage therapy at the University of Leicester in Leicester, UK. He left academia in 2018 to develop the world’s first phage-based cosmetic product, launched in March 2020. Since 2020, he and his cofounder, Natalise Kalea Robinson, have been developing personalized phage-based cosmetics paired with an advanced skin microbiome test at Parallel Health. He has over 15 years of experience working with bacteriophages in different capacities and is passionate about introducing phages to the general population as part of a better way of life.

Evaluation of Microbiome Changes Related to Cleanser Use in Healthy and Acne Prone Skin – Amina Bouslimani (L’Oréal USA)

Topical acne management involves a judicially chosen treatment regimen paired with a compatible cleanser to remove dirt and excess oil without compromising protective lipid and microbiome barrier, while addressing acne-related microbiome imbalance. To build knowledge on the acute and long-term effect of cleansers on skin properties and the microbiome in healthy and acne-prone skin, different types of cleansers were evaluated over a 28-day regimen. Facial microbiome samples were collected at different intervals after cleansing and analyzed by 16S rRNA sequencing and qPCR. The effect of cleansing on sebum and skin hydration was evaluated at the same time points.

All cleansers had a similar and transient effect on sebum, hydration, and bacterial diversity immediately after cleansing. Cleanser composition had however a differential effect on the kinetics of skin properties and microbiome recovery. These results implicate the importance of future studies to support development of next generation cleansers for healthy and acne prone skin.

Amina Bouslimani, Ph.D.

Currently a Senior Scientist at L’Oréal Research and Innovation, Amina establishes external partnerships with academia and industry to accelerate knowledge on skin microbiome and identify new technologies and actives for compromised skin. Amina completed her Ph.D. in biochemistry and biomedical sciences at the University of Montpellier in France where she studied the penetration and intra-tumoral metabolism of chemotherapeutic drugs in clinical samples using imaging mass spectrometry techniques. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship and then worked as a Project Scientist at the University of California San Diego in Professor Pieter Dorrestein’s laboratory. She developed metabolomics-based tools to analyze and visualize large-scale metabolomics data and to link skin metabolites to their associated microbes. Her research interests are studying the impact of individual lifestyles on skin metabolites and microbes, identifying molecular biomarkers of skin conditions, and other forensic applications to link skin chemical signatures to molecular traces transferred to everyday objects.

Troubled Skin, Inflammasomes, and the Skin’s Innate Immune Response: Is Targeting C. acnes Enough? – James V. Gruber (Vantage Specialties)

Historically, treatments for acne have focused on a known causal microbial agent, Cutibacterium acnes (C. acnes), that is known to exist in high numbers in acne lesions. It has been suggested that C. acnes, which populates the human skin microbiome typically as a non-pathological entity, becomes pathological in acne outbreaks. However, the fundamental question of whether C. acnes causes acne outbreaks, or whether it is simply responding to a modification of the skin’s innate immune response has not been adequately answered. What is known is that most FDA-approved treatments for acne address the high levels of C. acnes, which seems to effectively control acne outbreaks. In 2002, researchers discovered the NOD-like receptor proteins (NLRP inflammasomes). These skin cell Terracotta Warrior-like sentinel proteins are the key that starts the engine of innate inflammation. It has been now shown that C. acnes can elicit an innate immune response in both sebocytes and keratinocytes with a concomitant increase in NLRP inflammasome expression, and its subsequent activation of active caspase-1, a potent protease that causes numerous downstream inflammatory responses. So, the problem with troubled skin may not rest solely with control of the skin commensal C. acnes but may lie in understanding and controlling the skin’s innate immune response driven, in part, by the presence of pathological C. acnes and its interaction with the skin’s innate immune response. This talk will address the skin’s innate immune response and focus on how certain well-known acne actives, like salicylic acid and azelaic acid, may do more than just kill C. acnes.

James (Vince) Gruber, Ph.D.

Dr. James (Vince) Gruber is the Director of New Product Development at Vantage Personal Care developing new ideas and technologies for the personal care, cosmetic, and therapeutic industries. Prior to joining Vantage Specialties, Dr. Gruber held positions at Jeen, Botaneco, Sensient, Arch/Lonza, and Amerchol among others leading technical teams and developing active and functional ingredients. He is the author of 40 refereed articles including 21 referenced in PubMed and holds 13 granted U.S. patents and additional published World Patent applications. He has authored numerous edited articles and book chapters and is an author and co-editor of the book Principals of Polymer Science and Technology in Cosmetics and Personal Care.

Acne Vulgaris in the United States: Burden of Disease and Prescribing Trends – Ayman Grada (Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine)

Acne vulgaris is the most common reason for pediatric patients and third most common reason for adult patients to seek care from a dermatologist in the U.S. If not treated effectively, acne can lead to permanent scars. Acne is also associated with a significant psychosocial burden that impacts quality of life. However, referring providers may be reluctant to initiate patients on acne treatment or certain prescriptions. In this presentation, we will review current temporal trends in epidemiology and burden of disease in the U.S. stratified by age, gender, and region. We will share some insights on the evolving treatment paradigm and prescribing habits among dermatologists and other clinicians treating acne vulgaris.

Ayman Grada, M.D.

Dr. Grada is a U.S.-trained dermatologist and a physician-scientist with over 17 years combined clinical practice, academic research, and regulated biopharma and biotech experience. He currently serves as an Adjunct Professor of Dermatology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Dr. Grada finished his dermatology training and a postdoctoral fellowship in cutaneous wound healing at the Boston University School of Medicine. He has published more than 120 articles in peer-reviewed journals on medical dermatology, including acne vulgaris, actinic keratosis, wound healing, and epidemiology topics. Dr. Grada has also been serving as a Medical Director of Dermatology at AbbVie. Prior to joining AbbVie, Dr. Grada served as the Head of R&D and Medical Affairs at Almirall (U.S.), focusing on acne vulgaris. Dr. Grada is an active physician member of the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (EADV), Society for Investigative Dermatology (SID), International Society of Dermatology (ISD), American Acne and Rosacea Society (AARS), and the Wound Healing Society (WHS).

What if the Rules of Fighting Acne Have Changed? – Sophia Bull (Lucas Meyer Cosmetics)

Decreasing the C. acnes quantity is no longer the key to fighting acne, but its distribution between acneic and non-acneic strains is! Composed of a unique patented lysine dendrimer obtained with a green chemistry manufacturing process, we have designed a molecule that is able to selectively weaken the acneic Cutibacterium acnes (C. acnes) strains to favor growth of non-acneic strains to gently rebalance and recover healthier microbiota and reduce the appearance of acne for clear and flawless skin.

Indeed, although the causes of acne are multifactorial, the involvement of microbiota is undeniable, particularly regarding the role played by C. acnes. Our knowledge about this bacterium has recently evolved to include a new understanding of its mode of action, which offers a new strategic perspective in the battle against acne. Using advanced metagenomic technology, the C. acnes genome revealed that this bacterium forms a large family with several sub-groups, called phylotypes and ribotypes including acneic and non-acneic strains. C. acnes over-proliferation has long been thought to contribute to the development of acne, but recent studies now demonstrate that excess C. acnes colonization might not be an important factor, as a very small difference in the comparative amount of these bacteria in individuals with and without acne has been reported. However, healthy skin and acneic skin have different C. acnes strain distribution profiles.

Sophia Bull

Sophia Bull joined Lucas Meyer Cosmetics as the Regional Marketing Manager for North America in 2019. In this role she supports customers and delivers regionalized promotions and launches. She is based at the IFF headquarters in New York City. After several years working in the pharmaceutical industry, Sophia began her career in the personal care industry as regulatory support for Croda, building on her technical background. Roles in marketing and sales followed at Croda and then at Botaneco. Sophia obtained her master’s degree in chemistry from the University of Leeds in the UK.


(Wednesday) 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM


Fairleigh Dickinson University

285 Madison Avenue, Madison, NJ 07940