East Indian sandalwood trees are tropical trees that contain fragrant and medicinal oil, revered and used throughout Asia in everything from traditional Chinese medicine to religious ceremonies and worship. In India, where the tree bears such significance, it’s believed to “lift the spirits to heaven,” thus its frequent use during funerals and cremation. It’s also a tree that’s become endangered in recent years due to poaching and overharvesting. That is, until the world’s leading sandalwood supplier TFS cultivated an essential sandalwood forest the size of Manhattan in Northern Australia 15 years ago. Fast forward to present day and the medicinal oil will be licensed and sustainably supplied to global dermatology company Galderma in an effort to finally soothe mild-to-moderate acne sufferers.

The daily, three-step acne regimen is called Benzac Acne Solutions, and it’s slated to grace Galderma’s best-selling product Cetaphil and topical acne treatments on Jan. 2, 2015. Each product is non-comedogoenic (tends to not clog pores) and made with vegan, cruelty-free, acne-fighting ingredients, including Galderma’s exclusive share of sandalwood oil, salicyclic acid, Kakadu plum, honeysuckle, zinc, onion extract, and lemon myrtle. “We know now, through science, the pimple doesn’t pop up overnight,” Dana Blick, marketing and brand manager for Benzac, told an audience of editors gathered for a launch presentation at the Gansevoort Hotel on Park Avenue in New York. “It’s been happening under your skin for a couple weeks before it actually surfaces. …We’re here with Benzac to start changing that conversation, that as soon as our pimple goes away, we [can’t] go back to old cleanser or quit spot treatment. [Maintenance prevents] acne from coming back.”

Studies testing Benzac's solutions find it to be a clinically proven regimen with acne sufferers seeing results in two weeks. After eight weeks, photos of one tester showed minimal to no traces of acne. Even if a person has oily, combination skin, and they occasionally breakout, Benzac is a viable option for relief. “It’s an incredible blend of natural ingredients that are anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and work to calm and soothe skin while you’re treating your acne,” Blick said.

Benaz Acne Solutions' ingredients
These ingredients are available in a bottle come January 2015. Stephanie Castillo

Galderma reported 40 to 50 million Americans struggle with acne today, but Dr. Jeanine Downie, a board-certified dermatologist and director of Image Dermatology, believes that number is much closer to 100 million Americans. The condition is grossly underreported, she said. What’s worse is there are over 1,300 different types of acne treatments, both over-the-counter and prescribed by doctors and dermatologists. And unfortunately, most don’t work overnight. “A medical-grade treatment, like a cyst injection, will,” Downie said, “but many things for acne don’t work. Or, if pimples clear up, their skin is still dry, irritated, and peeling.”

This, apparently, won’t be the case with Benzac. Combined with science to give you natural, good-looking, healthy skin, its products will apparently leave you with predictable skin, which you want, Blick said. You want to be able to count on your skin looking good and fresh and glowing every morning. Benzac will also leave you with good faith. TFS uses renewable energy to create sandalwood oil, and the recreated forest has made it possible for multiple species of birds and wild life to thrive. Next, TFS will work with Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi to breathe life into an area in India where sandalwood used to grow.

What's Downie's final say on the product? "I like the fact I can tell my clients this product is vegan. Maybe I’ll combine it with a prescription product, maybe I won’t, but some of my patients don’t want to deal with anything but something vegan. In general, mild to moderate [treatments] might also move more toward sustainability and natural ingredients.”