Before I get started, I just want to warn everyone that this post is really long. I've been writing this post in Notepad for about a month and have finally completed it and posted on here for everyone to read. Newcomers, oldcomers..whatever. I've done a lot of "research", if you could call it that, on these forums. I've looked at almost every thread and post and gotten information on questions and concerns a lot of regimen users have. Thanks for taking the time to read this short "book" and don't feel weird asking any questions I failed to answer!
For some good tips on how to control dry skin, please read my published article on Controlling Dry Skin. You guys might find it beneficial. Another article I've recently published is one that talks about the benefits of drinking more water. Take a look at that one as well, please
Many of you probably have seen me around these forums the past few months. Basically, my name is Kat. I'm 22 years old now, but I've been on Dan's Regimen since I was 18 years old. I grew up like any normal teen. Spots here and there, sometimes a little bit of a bad breakout. But nothing horrible. Since I was 13, I had been using a Benzoyl Peroxide acne wash once a day and that seemed sufficient enough to keep the really bad acne at bay.
However, when I was 18 years old, I suddenly broke out really bad. This was like nothing I was used to. I started breaking out June of my 18th year and the breakout never let up. I still am not sure exactly why my face decided to retaliate on me so bad. Maybe it was due to the fact of stress (working with family), working early mornings and napping in the afternoon with makeup on, recent breakup with my boyfriend, new water conditions, working in a restaurant/diner setting. Whatever it was, it was brutal. My acne was concentrated mainly on my left cheek and chin area with several spots on about every other part of my face. I had at least 25 pimples on my face at any given time, and it was normal for me to break out with several new ones daily.
There came a point in August of that summer that my breakout got so bad, I didn't want to leave my bedroom to let even my family see my face. My dad liked to basically make fun of me for having bad acne and told me that I should "wash my face more", which is ridiculous because at that point I was washing it a lot more often than I normally did. I would literally sit in my room for days, weeks on end and spend most of that time obsessing over my skin and running to the mirror to see if maybe, just maybe, it wasn't as bad as I thought it was and/or if I had a new pimple somewhere. My face, to put it bluntly, was out of control. I thought of going on birth control, but hated the fact of taking something internally, so regularly. I thought about changing my diet, but even cutting out the "bad foods" didn't seem to help. I wondered if I should go to a dermatologist, but remembered the bad experience my brother had when he went to one and got treated, basically, like a guinea pig.
I came online around the beginning of August and started doing research on acne and the first search option on google that popped up was this site. It sounded too good to be true, but I decided to try it anyway. There were definitely some bumps and mountains to overcome the first few months of being on the regimen, but with time and the right lifestyle, I'm happy to say that I'm in my 4th year of using it and I finally feel like I have control over my skin. It's not a cure for acne. I still get pimples from time to time (maybe about one-four noticeable spots a month), but it's worked for me and I would recommend it to anyone with any type of acne. It doesn't hurt to try it.
BEFORE YOU START THE REGIMEN (things to take into consideration)
1. You're going to over assess your skin, all the time. Even after 4 years, I'm obsessed with my skin and will study it in the mirror. Of course, at this point there's usually not much to study, but I still do it. In the beginning, you may find that you panic over the smallest spots and pimples. It's normal, I remember doing it. Just trust that the regimen will get rid of these spots.
2. Dan's products are reasonably priced, but even though they are reasonably priced, you're still going to be buying a lot of them. Cleanser, Benzoyl Peroxide, moisturizer, jojoba oil, AHA, every month, every couple months..it's going to run into a lot of money in the long run. So make sure to take that into consideration.
3. The Regimen is time consuming. It takes me about an hour to do my morning regimen and about an hour to do my night regimen. Of course, I take two showers a day and include that into the time it takes to do the regimen...but it will still take you about 30 minutes or longer to do the regimen. And if you really want to get clear, make sure to do it every day, twice a day. Skipping applications, skipping days, going too fast, these are sure fire ways of having the regimen not work for you. I feel like our skin loves routine, so after you've bumped up to the 2 full pumps of BP, keep it that way, twice a day.
4. Your skin's going to look like crap the first couple of months. There's no overnight cure for acne and no overnight cure for amazing skin that's acne-free. For the first couple of months, expect to have really red, irritated looking skin and very itchy, dry and flaky skin. These are all normal and sometimes unavoidable side effects of using so much BP. Changing the amount of BP you're using to cut down on the dryness and/or redness is just prolonging the problem. My redness, itchiness, and dryness didn't start showing some improvement until about the 4th-5th month. Also, expect to not be fully clear until a couple of months. I was still experiencing breakouts (though my skin had cleared a lot from what it was over the summer) in my 4th month in.
5. Benzoyl Peroxide bleaches fabrics. Almost all of my pj tops and pillow cases have bleach stains on them, not to mention a couple of my less low-cut shirts. Please keep in mind that your shirts and sheets might become bleached from your face. Wearing your most expensive designer suit while you're applying the regimen and before it has had sufficient time to dry and soak in is probably a bad idea.
6. Switching from Neutrogena on the Spot to Dan Kern's 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide is a great idea. When I first started the regimen, I went to Walmart and used NOTS for about the first two months. It was...okay. Not great, and the white residue it left was almost disgusting. I can't even tell you how many people commented and asked me what that "white stuff" was on my face! Once I switched to Dan's BP, I didn't have to worry about the white residue. Plus, I feel like I cleared dramatically after switching. Maybe it's his formula compared to the NOTS. Can you still get clear on NOTS? Sure! But you're not only going to be bitching about the white residue, but you're going to be spending more money and making more trips to the store for supplies in the long run.
7. Benzoyl Peroxide makes your skin more sensitive to the sun, meaning your face is going to burn and tan more easily than the rest of your body will. If you're like me, and would rather limit your exposure to the sun as opposed to finding a decent SPF to use..than go for it. If you opt to go for an SPF containing lotion, than that's a great idea too. What I can say is that once in awhile, my face will look tanner than my neck/body. This is because I tend to spend a lot of time outdoors in the summer and even spent one summer (my third regimen summer) outside tanning for 2 hours a day, every day..for like a month. It didn't effect me horribly and the tanned face was only slightly noticeable by my scrutinizing eyes, but keep in mind that your face is going to be more photosensitive. And if you use AHA, it's even more so.
STARTING THE REGIMEN AND WHAT TO EXPECT
Make sure you research this entire site. Knowledge really is power when it comes to your skin. And if you blindly start putting stuff on your face without doing your research on how much and how to exactly apply it, you're kinda screwed. So I would recommend to fully read this site, look at the FAQ, watch all Dan's videos, read forum posts, read every article on the blog..everything. I'm not going to repeat how to do all of the steps of the regimen since it's kind of like beating a dead horse if you've already read how to do it, but make sure to follow it exactly.
Sometimes it's frustrating reading some forum posts about people complaining their skin looks like crap only after a couple of days or a week after starting the regimen. You have to keep in mind that your skin's going to look crappy for a few months. Don't start the regimen a week before school thinking your skin's going to be amazing and glowing by the time school starts, because it won't be. You're most likely going to experience all of the common side effects of Benzoyl Peroxide, which include: redness (sometimes extreme), slight swelling, dryness, tightness, peeling, itchiness, breakouts, pronounced red marks, etc. Don't skip applications, and stick with it, and over the next few weeks and months your skin's going to be great.
THE LIFESTYLE [of the regimen]
Doing the regimen is more than just applying Benzoyl Peroxide and lotion to your face. There are some other things that you can and should do to help the regimen work to its full potential. I recently published an article that lists about twenty things you can do to cut down on the amount of breakouts you have. Give it a look, would you?
1. Clean sheets and towels. I find that I'm constantly doing laundry. I wash my sheets twice a week and never use a towel more than 3-4 times before washing it again. Sheets and towels harbor bacteria and skin oils which can aggravate and cause more acne. It's best to just keep things clean and tidy. Make sure to use a good quality laundry detergent and use hot water to get rid of bacteria. I don't like using fabric softeners or dryer sheets as I think they have too much fragrance on them
2. Clean hands, clean everything. Make sure to wash your hands with any antibacterial hand soap before touching your face. This also includes other things that touch your face. Wash all tweezers and makeup brushes regularly. I find that by using dirty tweezers, I can almost expect a pimple near my eyebrow area from it. Use fresh makeup sponges every time. I get a pack of about 50 makeup sponges at the dollar store for a buck.
3. No picking or touching your face. Don't pick at pimples! Not in the car, not in work, not in school, not in the shower, not while applying you Benzoyl Peroxide, not while watching a movie..never. If I pick at a pimple I have, that sucker lasts a lot longer than if I were to just leave it alone. When washing your face, don't think it somehow cancels out the fact that you shouldn't pick. Touching your face causes the same problem. Try to sleep with your face touching your pillow as little as possible. In the beginning it may be uncomfortable and downright annoying, but you'll get used to it. I did. Does Benzoyl Peroxide rub off if you smoosh your face in the pillow? It might. And even if it doesn't, the irritation of rubbing your face may cause an acne flareup.
WORST THINGS TO DO ON THE REGIMEN AND WHY
1. Sleeping in makeup is, by far, one of the worst things to do. Even after 4 years of religiously applying the regimen, twice a day, if I sleep in my makeup, I'm gonna breakout. I find that even by taking a 2-3 hour nap in makeup makes my skin breakout. Like I explained earlier, I made the mistake in my third year in of sleeping in my makeup for 4 nights in a 2 week span, and my face went nuts. Not as nuts as it would have if I weren't doing the regimen, but nuts enough that I was having continuous breakouts every week for 2 months.
2. Picking pimples won't help them. Sometimes, I find that I pick a certain area of my face to see if I'm getting a pimple there. What does that do? It not only tells me that "YEP!" I'm getting a pimple, but now I've irritated it and it's probably going to last longer. Being in the shower or washing your face doesn't somehow cancel out the fact that picking is bad.
3. Adding products is a bad idea too. The regimen works wonders on the cleanse, BP, moisturize method. The only other things you should add are jojoba oil and/or AHA. When you start adding masks, toners, scrubs, exfoliators, etc, you're starting to come up with your own regimen and deviate from the original. Adding these things may work for you, but don't expect it to. Scrubs, such as sugar, sand and salt scrubs, are way too harsh on skin. You may find that they give you great skin in the beginning, but breakouts soon surface a week or two later. Just because it's natural and/or organic doesn't mean you should use it. It's still adding in products.
4. Skipping applications is a bad idea. Unless you absolutely, totally can not do a certain morning or night application, you should always find time to do the regimen, twice a day. Doing it once a day may help acne, but you are fully helping to prevent new pimples by doing it twice a day. Sometimes if I'm traveling, and I've had a long day..I just don't feel like doing the regimen. But I force myself to because it's become my routine. Maybe this is why the regimen has worked for me for so long? I just don't give my face anytime away from Benzoyl Peroxide.
5. Over scrutinizing your face is a bad idea too. Sometimes it's unavoidable, especially when starting the regimen. I remember when starting the regimen, that I would apply my Benzoyl Peroxide while sitting on the counter in the bathroom about 3 inches from the mirror. Obviously, I don't do this anymore. Now, I normally watch tv or a movie on Netflix while I'm putting my BP on. But sometimes looking in the mirror too much can be a bad thing. Sometimes you might see a spot, pimple, red mark that you missed and now you're panicking that you got a new pimple. Panicking about a pimple isn't going to make it go away faster or somehow prevent it from fully forming. So just take it as it comes and remember that Benzoyl Peroxide is an antibacterial that kills the bacteria that causes acne. It also oxygenates skin, because acne bacteria can not live in oxygenated places. Don't pick at any new pimples you see forming because it'll make them last longer. Scrubbing that area and rubbing crap loads of BP roughly onto the pimple isn't going to help, even if you think it will. Believe it or not, being extra gentle will get that thing to go away faster than anything else you can try.
6. Panicking over every [new] pimple is meaningless. I can sympathize with anyone on here who panics over a pimple. Even to this day, if hormones decide to be a bitch one month and I get a pimple, I automatically panic and start worrying about others forming. And God forbid I get two new pimples..sometimes I actually get that sinking feeling in my stomach! But like I said before, just relax and keep in mind that being gentle, calm, and doing the regimen as suggested will help. Obviously, if you've been sleeping in makeup and/or skipping applications, your newfound breakout could be caused by your own doing. Sometimes times like these help us to realize that even though we may be clear, we still have to do the regimen religiously to prevent new breakouts.
7. Stopping because you "gave up". I've seen so many posts on these forums talking about how they don't know what to do, they're thinking of stopping, etc..because they've been on the regimen for two or three months with very little improvement. This goes back to my saying that your skins going to look like crap for the first few months. Take this into consideration: when I was in my third month, I was on the verge of quitting the regimen. My mom even advised me to quit. My face was very red, very dry, and breakouts (though kept SOMEWHAT at bay) were still a regular part of my life. After incorporating jojoba oil into my regimen and waiting until my 4th-5th month, the redness went away, dryness went away, and my breakouts were completely gone. On a whole, I like to go by the 6 month mark. Everyone's skin is different and will clear at different times, however by the 6th month mark you should basically be clear or completely clear. Side effects should also either be completely gone or minimally there. By the 6 month mark, your skin should be more than used to 2 pumps of BP, twice a day (taking into consideration you've been using that much).
8. Applying your Benzoyl Peroxide in hiding? That's just ridiculous. I remember when I first met my current boyfriend, I was embarrassed to tell him I put on acne cream. I remember sitting in the bathroom, running the shower and applying my Benzoyl Peroxide just so he would think I'm showering and not putting all that "cream stuff" on my face. I also remember when I first had him sleep over, I slept in my makeup because I didn't want him to see me applying all my creams and lotions. Do you know what all of that worrying and hiding and sleeping in my makeup got me? It gave me a breakout so bad, it took me 2 months to go back to clear skin. I learned a valuable lesson, you shouldn't worry what other people think of what you do. By worrying and hiding and skipping applications, you're only hurting yourself. I eventually got so fed up with my breakout that I told my boyfriend I put this stuff on my face to help prevent and get rid of acne and he didn't care. I now live with my boyfriend and I apply my Benzoyl Peroxide right in front of him, while we're watching a movie or he's eating breakfast. I apply my Benzoyl Peroxide in front of anyone, family, strangers. I don't care. If you have a relative and/or boyfriend/girlfriend who makes fun of you for applying face cream or gets mad at you for applying it..they have a problem and you need to not assess your own daily skin care, but assess that relationship.
TAKING CARE OF DRY SKIN
Dry skin is a bitch. I have dry skin, naturally (it runs in my family), so I know exactly how annoying it can be. Over the years, I've pretty much almost perfected how to get rid of dry skin because I'm so used to having to get rid of it. I've actually written a very detailed article on some methods you can use to get rid of dry skin. You might want to take a look if you're dealing with this problem. Here are a couple methods you could try that have worked for me:
INTRO: Before I get started, let me just say that once in awhile I'll find I get a couple of these small, raised little red bumps. They form almost overnight and are usually very itchy. They also usually cause a weird feeling to your face, almost like a "ping" or "sting" of pain. I don't think these things are necessarily pimples because they never come to a head and never go away or get any bigger. I call these "irritation bumps". I get these when I'm dealing with really dry skin. Remember that dry skin is irritated skin. I'm still not fully sure, but I think these little bumps are kind of like the bumps some people get on the backs of their arms. Get rid of the dryness and you can get rid of these things almost overnight.
1. Jojoba Oil; your best friend. In my fourth month in, the dry skin was really taking its toll on me. I remember having to take off a couple days from college because I couldn't get my dry skin under control. I went to Vitamin Shoppe and bought jojoba oil and put a few drops in my lotion, twice a day. After about a week, the flaking and dryness was basically gone. So if you are battling dry skin and haven't tried jojoba oil yet, go and buy some..NOW. You can get it from Dan or from GNC or Vitamin Shoppe. I see a lot of people asking on these forums how to use jojoba oil and just how much is too much. My answer to them would be that there is no wrong way to use jojoba oil. It is the closest thing to the sebum our skin naturally produces and will control both oily skin and dry skin by either drawing out oil or adding. How much jojoba oil should you use? There's no wrong way to use it. If you're using 5 drops in your moisturizer and you're still battling with flakes, add 7 drops or 8.
2. How gentle is being too gentle? I notice that when I'm extra gentle when washing my face and applying BP, I'll get dry skin flakes. I also notice that if I'm just a little bit rougher when washing my face, it takes care of almost all of the dryness. But please don't go scrubbing your face. Remember to find a good median between being too gentle and too rough. Being too rough will cause a breakout, or at the very least a new pimple to battle with. Why does Dan say that being gentle is essential? Because it is: for acne. If you're extra gentle, your acne is going to go away a lot faster as opposed to being rough when washing. But if you're clear and you're battling flakes and dryness, try being just a tad bit rougher.
3. AHA is a great tool. My current moisturizer has AHA in it and I can't live without it. It's a very mild AHA, so it works but without the stinging associated with Alpha Hydroxy Acids. I remember not being able to get my Eucerin w/ AHA lotion and went with original Eucerin and I was battling flakes until I went back to using my trusty AHA Eucerin lotion. Dan's AHA+ is pretty good too, but I'm still in a love/hate relationship with it. I feel like it helps with dryness..a little..yet it also causes breakouts for me. Is it worth it to keep using it? Is it worth it for you to try? You're your own best judge.
4. Steam is great too. Steam will help rehydrate your skin by having moisture in the air that is absorbed by your skin. Something as simple as taking a very hot bath and relaxing and letting the steam soak into your face can help with dry skin. Alternatively, you could drape a towel around your head, while positioned over the sink and allow hot water to steam up and soak into your skin. The towel acts like a "tent", so steam doesn't escape.
5. Water quality plays a big role on not only the dryness but health of your skin. I'll discuss this more in the Water Quality section.
6. Tweezers are great for picking off dead skin flakes. Using clean tweezers is a cleaner method than using your hands to pick off the flakes. If you're battling annoying flaking, throw a pair of tweezers into your purse or wallet before leaving the house.
7. Don't use extremely hot water. Hot water dries out skin. I find that if I use really hot water in my shower, not only will the rest of my body get dry from it (thank God for naturally extremely dry skin..) but my face will to. Keep the water to a room temp - warm setting.
8. Are scrubs and physical exfoliators good for dry skin? In my opinion, yes they are. However, when you have an acne problem and when you are on the regimen, you have sensitive skin. Even though scrubbing the crap out of your dry skin will lessen and might even completely take take of the flaking, you'll find that it's only a momentary thing and after a week or two your skin's going to thank you for being so rough by breaking out. Physical scrubs and brushes aren't worth it, unless you're so fed up with the flakes that you don't mind getting pimples again.
9. Using too much BP can be a problem too. You're only supposed to use 2 full pumps or a fingers length worth for your entire face. Over using BP will dry out your skin. However, the drying will only be for a couple of weeks until your skin gets used to the new, higher amount of BP you're using. But if you're wondering why you're so dry, it may be because you've been using more BP than your skin is used to.
10. I should have categorized this with the "Steam" section, however I thought it deserved to be on it's own. Using a humidifier may also help with dry skin. Humidifiers, in short, add moisture to the air. Dry air, means dry skin. In the winter months, a lot of the reason people suffer from dry skin is because of less humidity in the air and heat in their homes that dries the air. When I used to live in New Jersey, my face was pretty well moistened most of the time. It was rare for me to experience really bad dryness. But when I moved to the mountain region of New York (Adirondacks), I noticed my face got a lot dryer. I thought it might be the water (which was part of the problem), but then I realized that maybe it was the air. I've been using a warm mist humidifier in my room every night and it's been helping already. Humidifiers aren't horribly expensive, but they do need a lot of maintenance to avoid bacteria growth and scale buildup. If you're suffering from really bad dry skin that nothing else is curing, think about getting and using one of these at night in your bedroom.
TAKING CARE OF OILY SKIN
Someone on the regimen might say that they're sick of the oily skin caused by it. The truth is that the Benzoyl Peroxide doesn't make your skin oily. It's, in fact, the exact opposite. Benzoyl Peroxide works because it also acts as a peeling agent and peels off dead skin. Instead, it's the moisturizer and/or jojoba oil you're using. Some moisturizers are more "greasy" than others. My Eucerin lotion that I use, though I love it, is a very greasy lotion. Jojoba oil tend to also be a tad bit greasy. In my honest opinion, I'd rather deal with oily skin than dry skin and/or pimples. But I still like to look good, so I've found a couple ways to take care of oily skin.
1. Using generic napkins; those napkins you get for your kitchen that come in a pack of 500, is a great way to get rid of excess oil on your face. Oil blotting papers designed for oily skin work fine too, but in the long run, it's cheaper and easier to just reach for the kitchen cabinet or napkin holder. Dab a napkin all over your face, on all the oily sections. You'll be amazed how much oil the napkin picks up.
2. Pressed powder works wonders too. If I'm out for the day and I feel like my face is a little greasy, I'll just pop open my Covergirl Clean Pressed Powder and powder my face. It lasts for about 3-4 hours before I have to do it again.
TAKING CARE OF RED SKIN
If your skin is really red, there could be a couple causes for it.
1. You've been out in the sun too long. Remember that Benzoyl Peroxide makes your skin more sensitive, and if you're not using a moisturizer with SPF, you really have to limit your sun exposure. Sitting outside in the sun for an hour or two, having a BBQ with family will probably make your face get red. So take that into consideration too.
2. Your new to the regimen. You've only been using it for about a month or two and your face is really red and swollen feeling. This is a very common side effect of the BP. Your skin isn't used to the amount of Benzoyl Peroxide you're using and it's burning and trying to get used to it all. Give it time and it'll go away. Some people say that if you feel swollen, you should stop using the regimen because you might be allergic to BP. I tend to find it funny how often this phrase is thrown around. Please take into consideration that only about 2-3% of the entire population has a BP allergy and that slight swelling IS common. I had slight swelling when starting the regimen and if I was allergic to BP, I'd be dead by now.
3. Red skin might also be the cause of dry skin. I find that sometimes if I'm extra dry, my face will be extra red. Red skin is sometimes dry and irritated skin. Take care of the dryness, and you might even be able to take care of the redness. After incorporating jojoba oil into my regimen, my face improved of all dryness and redness. Please look at the "How to Get rid of Dry Skin" sections for some good ways to combat the dryness associated with Benzoyl Peroxide.
BREAKING OUT IN CERTAIN AREAS AND WHY
Sometimes, breaking out in a certain area is unavoidable. Hormones play a huge role when it comes to acne, and hormones don't always have a certain agenda in mind. However, sometimes it's our own faults that we're breaking out in a certain area. For instance, for the longest time I was wondering why the sides of my forehead (in my temple) area were breaking out regularly. I would be extra gentle and do that section the same way I did the rest of my face. When I really looked at what I was doing, I figured out what the problem was. I had to wear a hat at work, which was unavoidable..I had to wear it. However, I found that I wasn't washing it often enough. I started washing it every week with my regular laundry and I haven't broken out in that area again.
Here are just some scenarios. Do you break out on your chin? Maybe you drool at night or the toothpaste you're using dribbles on your chin. You could also be a very messy eater. If you break out on your forehead, it could be the reason for wearing a hat either at work or off work that is dirty or too tight fighting. I also found that one time I broke out with a couple pimples on the right side of my face. I was annoyed and confused at why that happened. But when I looked at what might be causing it, I found out that when I sleep, I sleep with my arm folded on the side of my face. Stopped sleeping that way and stopped breaking out in that area.
So to conclude this section, just make sure to look at everything you're doing. Sometimes putting too much pressure on one area of your face as opposed to another can cause a breakout. It's amazing how stupid the cause might be when we finally figure out why a certain area is breaking out. And it's amazing how easy it is to fix the breaking out problem when we find out the cause.
Does the water you wash with really play a role in your acne and dryness? I really think it does. Most public water contains a lot of chemicals and additives that we're not only drinking, but also washing in. Most public water contains chlorine (bleach) because it's a regulation to keep the water "clean". And ask any swimmer and they'll tell you how drying chlorine is to hair and skin. Your dry skin might be the cause of the water you're using. Do you live in a house that's on a well? You're not that much better off either. If you don't have a water softener installed in your house or apartment complex, your water is "hard". Hard water contains crap loads of minerals and metals that get absorbed into your skin. These minerals and metals not only aggravate acne, but they can dry out your skin.
I have washed my face and done the regimen with both soft water and hard water and I noticed that when I use hard water, my skin is not only dryer but also more prone to breaking out. When I used soft water, even hormonal acne was prevented! The Regimen prevents most of my acne, but it can't seem to prevent that one hormonal pimple I get every month. When you use soft water, it is considered soft because salt is added to the water. Bathing in salt water doesn't sound all that great, but I assure you that it's actually better for your skin. The salt in the water dissolves all of the minerals and metals, making it so that you're bathing in cleaner water. The reason hard water dries your skin and causes breakouts is because soap doesn't react well with the minerals contained in the water. Basically, when you are washing with hard water, you are leaving a thin film of soap on your skin because it doesn't get washed off properly. When you use soft water, you'll first notice that the water feels "slick" or even "slimey". This is due to the salt. You'll also notice that your soap lathers better and washes off easier. Your hair feels softer and so does your skin.
Unfortunately, installing a water softener is not only time consuming but can also be quit expensive. The softener I have installed in my house cost about $500, and it takes about 4 bags of salt a month (each bag of salt costs about $5). Alternatively, you could buy a shower head filter. I also have one of these. I bought it online from Bed, Bath & Beyond for about $30. It filters out some minerals and metals, but mostly filters out chlorine. You'll notice that your skin and hair are softer after a few weeks of use. If I had a choice and could only pick one of these, I'd go for the softener over the filter. The filter, though it filters out chlorine, will basically do only that. The softener will actually transform your water and you'll be able to tell the difference right away.
If you can't install a water softener where you live and you don't want to invest in a filtering shower head, washing your face with bottled water will do just as good. Bottled water doesn't contain any metals or minerals like your tap water will, so it's better to wash in than tap water. However, you should wash your face with warm water so you'd have to figure out a way to heat the water and use it that way.
REGIMEN PRODUCTS EXPLAINED
1. Cleanser is essential for the regimen. It removes any oil, dirt, and debris you have on your face. It also removes the old moisturizer and BP from your last regimen application. It's essential to keep your cleanser mild, fragrance-free, and gentle. Cleansers with acne medication in them shouldn't be used. Why? Because you're going to be slathering tons of BP on your face afterward anyway, so what's the point? It's too irritating. Cleansers with an acne fighter ingredient in them have also been shown to not even be that effective.
2. Benzoyl Peroxide acts like an antibacterial. It kills the bacteria that causes acne. It also oxygenates skin and acne bacteria can not live in oxygenated areas. Benzoyl Peroxide (BP) also acts like a peeling agent, and peels off dead skin. This is why when using BP, you get dryer skin than usual. The dry skin can be easily maintained and eradicated if done properly. By using 2 full pumps (or a fingers length) of BP, you're able to cover your entire face and make sure that every part of your face has the benefits of BP. You can use Neutrogena On The Spot as your main BP, but take it from me that Daniel Kern's 2.5% BP is a better choice. Not only did I clear dramatically after switching to it from NOTS, but it's also cheaper in the long run. Oh..and no white residue!
3. Moisturizer is essential on the regimen. Even if you have oily skin, you should use a moisturizer. I feel that by moisturizing your skin, you're preventing all of the free radicals that BP can cause from happening. If you're afraid that using BP will cause pimples, than don't worry about it as long as you're using moisturizer. Oily and moisturized skin has been shown to stand up very well to wrinkles. Everyone's preference to each individual moisturizer is their own. I love my moisturizer, however some people who've used it have told me it's too "greasy" for them. Remember that everyone's skin is different and what works for one might not work for the other.
4. Jojoba Oil is a great tool to use. Jojoba is an all natural wax ester (yes, it's actually a form of wax, not oil) that is the closest natural thing to the sebum our skin produces. Jojoba oil helps regulate oil production. It smooths skin and evens skin tone and texture. I live by this stuff and think those who are on the regimen and not using it are crazy. Some people say it causes an initial breakout when used, but I never experienced this. Instead, when I first used this stuff my skin seemed to drink it up. Some people may also be afraid to use an "oil" on their face, but you have to remember that not all oils are bad for your skin. Where you buy your jojoba doesn't matter. I've used Dan's Jojoba Oil and I've used Vitamin Shoppe brand with great results. Just make sure it's not expired, as I've found that using expired jojoba oil doesn't work as great than if it were fresh.
5. AHA is a great choice for those who are suffering with dry skin. You can either find a moisturizer with AHA already in it and/or you can use a special 8-10% glycolic acid (such as Daniel Kern's AHA+). I personally like the moisturizers that contain AHA as opposed to putting straight 10% glycolic acid on my face. Dan's AHA+, though I've found it evens my skin tone, has broken me out from using it. Currently, I'm still "test" trying it with semi-decent results. I have to dilute the AHA+ with jojoba oil before using it. If I use a thin fingers length, like Dan suggests, I break out from it.
Edited by real maverick, 23 January 2014 - 03:10 PM.