I really do wish the best for those who have supported me and for those attempting this routine, you've all been wonderful! Feel free to continue to post your own experiences and thoughts in here as well. Hopefully everyone understands my decision. I've met some great people here, but it's definitely time that I move on. *Moderator edit, URL removed / No soliciting - read the board rules*
Best wishes to you all!
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Condition of my Skin
This is the primary condition of my skin at around the 6 week mark, as of July 21st, 2011.
- marks have faded quite a bit.
- minimal dehydration, no real flaking issues (possibly only after showers and only on a few areas of my cheeks)
- oiliness is mostly a non-issue.
- enlarged pores on forehead are less noticeable.
- skin feels more comfortable post-shower.
- I'm still unhappy with my red marks.
- possibly ice picks or scarred pores on inner cheeks, possible rolling scars (shallow and only a few) on cheeks.
- minor annoying clogged pores.
July 4th, 2011: The tightness that I've experienced seems to be getting less, and I'm also less oily this morning; a subtle glow, most noticeable on the forehead, but that does not really cause any oil to transfer to my hands. The red marks are slowly getting better, and I'm even able to look at myself in the mirror with my glasses on in some rooms without cringing. Currently only 2 noticeable pimples, and once they go away I will likely feel a lot better about my red marks. My uneven texture seems to be most noticeable after showers, and isn't too noticeable in the morning.
July 6th, 2011: Things are still improving, although I'm getting some very minor flaking on a few select areas of my cheeks. The flakes only appear over areas where I still have red marks, so I think that this shedding/flaking is occurring in order for these areas to properly heal. They are areas that are slightly indented as well, so the shedding might be occurring so that new skin can keep growing back in. Either way, it's barely noticeable even directly after showers, so not a concern. Still purging a bit in terms of getting minor clogs. All remaining pimples are small now; the one on my chin has a small head, so it should be gone soon. Still have some redness on my face, but nothing serious. If I look past the red marks, I can see that my tone is quite even now, other than my own natural flushing. But overall, looking healthy if I look past the marks and minor fleshy bumps and indents. Minor bumpiness on my inner right cheek from scratching at the skin with the intent on scratching out clogs and such. Oops. Nothing serious.
July 8th, 2011: Things look about the same, red marks keep getting better, still have indents from picking, still have a few old pimples healing. But wanted to mention that after going to the gym and touching my face lots, I got a few little clogs; left alone, the ones that surfaced yesterday are gone today. I got no new pimples from it! And I haven't gotten any new pimples in at least a week, probably longer. I think the ones I do have are taking long to heal because I keep touching them. The one on my jaw is almost gone despite being my newest one, and I have barely touched it because it's not easily visible. I also barely feel any tightness on my skin. Sweating might be why, but it's a nice change.
July 17th, 2011: Improvement is slow, and it's starting to make me a bit frustrated. Other than that, I've wound up irritating my skin tonight by rubbing the flakes off after my shower. This made my red marks and indents/scars more noticeable, but I'm hoping that it's temporary and that my minor inflamed areas don't get worse. I've got a few small pimples, some of which are quite painful. I dunno. I'm just annoyed and am unable to stop examining my skin. So I'll be cutting out mirror time, only looking in it if it's necessary. Hopefully my skin looks better in terms of the marks and scars in a month from now. The breakouts themselves really aren't bad now, the minor clogs and acne aftermath are. But that's about it for updates.
July 20th, 2011: This will be my last update here as a regular member. I've got 3 little pimples near my earlobe, which came up last week after going to the gym and touching that area a lot due to sweating (trying to make the sweat not get into my ear as I was listening to music). Those are healing and not a big concern of mine. The rest of the pimples I had are mostly gone, but I do seem to be purging a bit in the form of whiteheads atm. Not sure why, but meh. Got a bit of flaking still on my cheeks, which I don't love, but it's not a huge deal. Red marks keep fading, slowly. And I'm noticing that my indents aren't that noticeable unless I'm really close and looking for them, and at certain angles with lighting you can see them. Been a bit oilier lately. Still trying to make sure to not look in mirrors when it's not needed, and keeping myself away from small compacts. That's about it! I hope that by this time next month I like what I see in the mirror, and hopefully in the fall I can come back, share my results, perhaps post some pictures. I'm thinking I'll eventually record a video to go along with this log that summarizes the things I've said here, but that likely won't be until my red marks fade quite a bit.
My Story At The Org
I first had issues with mild to moderate acne when I was 14 after my first eyebrow-tweezing session. Eventually, I found a routine that kept me mostly clear. In early 2010, I changed that routine, and my skin slowly got worse. By the summer of 2010, I had a bad flare-up on my chin and cheeks. I picked, I made it worse. I then stumbled across this website and onto some threads about Caveman and water-only regimens. I gave both a shot, actually going back to both methods numerous times over the course of the last year. In between, I'd use DIY cleansing methods, all of which made things worse. Never having stuck to any of these routines for longer than 2-3 weeks, in May of 2011 I decided to go back to water-only after a 3-week Caveman stint. And I'm very glad that I did, as once I pushed myself past the 3rd week, I started to see results.
My Skincare Routine
While being the simplest routine possible, this is also the most difficult routine I've ever attempted. Most will agree that ditching all products is essential for this to work, but one must still tailor the routine to work for one's skin and lifestyle. Some of the variables to figure out with this routine are:
- Water temperature
- How frequently to wash on a daily or weekly basis
- Where to wash: the sink or shower
- Whether to use tools such as washcloths while washing
What Can Be Expected With This Routine
Physically, you should expect to experience some or all of these transitional phases (in no particular order):
- Flaking, peeling, and overall dry/tight skin.
- Possible itching (mostly if you've just come off of skincare products)
- Possible irritation, perhaps even a mild temporary rash.
- Slight increase in the feel of oiliness on your face.
- Eventually, a notable decrease in oiliness.
- Dead skin build up (likely to only occur if you've been exfoliating on a regular basis prior to starting this regimen)
- Breakouts - this does not prevent them, so any that your skin wants to form will form.
- Possible faster healing, and very likely smaller breakouts.
- Possible clogs, mostly in the form of whiteheads here and there.
I weaned my skin off of cleansing (includes DIY methods) and moisturizing starting from about January 2011. I also weaned myself off of exfoliating around the same time. So these two factors may have contributed to some of my results, but I do believe that if you leave your skin alone and don't prod at it, you can also get some pretty good results early in.
BEFORE: I had typical combination-oily skin: shiny/greasy t-zone and inner cheeks, with more normal outer cheeks. I also had noticeable dehydration and tightness, my skin was quite thin, and I had terrible sebaceous filaments (the brown dots) on my nose and chin. From July 2010 to now (one year later), I've experienced various types of skin issues. At the worst, I'd have upwards of 30 pustules and papules on each cheek, a few on my chin, and some everywhere else. I also had mild to moderate body acne. For a few months, I had moderate clogged pores on my cheeks and forehead, which resembled large beads coming out of my pores; this was possibly the worst addition to my skin issues. I also had bad flaking and peeling this whole year, as well as horrible red marks due to picking.
AFTER:Once I stopped picking, my neck (which had never broken out until I decided to try washing it in 2010) acne cleared up within 3 weeks, and the red marks almost as fast. My chest and back acne are almost gone and the red marks are fading. My facial acne is mostly gone with the exception of a few minor pimples from time to time, and all I have left to deal with now are red marks and possible scars.
Skincare Tips and Tricks
These are some things that I've picked up along the way, and I'd say that they are beneficial regardless of the routine you are on.
- Don't pick, ever. This includes scratching over bumps/clogs with naughty intentions.
- Get outside! You don't need to be around people, but try to leave the house. Go for walks, eat lunch outside.
- Try not to close yourself off from the world. Keep in touch with people you feel comfortable around, and be sure to make plans with them. If you don't want to leave the house, then invite them over.
- Patience and persistence are key. You need to give any method/routine at least 2-3 months of solid trial before giving up on them.
- Switching between routines on a regular basis will likely make matters worse.
- Don't continuously introduce new/different things into your routine.
- Keep your mind and hands busy. Do things you love, be healthy and happy.
- If you don't like what you see, then stop looking. Obsessing over your reflection will not make the acne, marks, or scars go away any faster! Give yourself a week's break from the mirror every now and then.
- Try not to be too obsessive about anything in your lifestyle and habits. Being healthy and consistent with things is ideal, but it's not going to help if you nit-pick every little detail.
- Don't post in the Holistic/Nutrition section of this forum (the logs one is fine). A huge chunk of people there are elitist, douchebags, and will only accept your ideas if they are identical to theirs. So if you are an extremist when it comes to diet and you think that absolutely everything can break you out, even something as simple as tap water, then by all means post there!
- If you begin seeing progress with your skin, leave these forums and never return unless it is to share how you cleared your skin up.
Q: How long does it take for this regimen to work?
A: From other logs I've found and posts I've found online, the average time-frame is about 2 months. This is simply for seeing a change in acne, and mostly depends on the consistency of your approach. The more consistent you are, the better your skin will adjust. But to see total changes in the skin, I'd say anywhere from 4 months to a year. I'll be sure to update this once I see those total changes to share how long the process took.
Q: How often should I wash/rinse my face in a day?
A: It would be best to start off with once a day, and simply when you shower. If you shower less often, then only wash when you shower. This allows you the best chance of not thinking so much about your skin and can help reduce any dehydration in the skin that will likely occur.
Q: Is it okay if I wear makeup? If so, how would I remove it?
A: It mostly depends on the makeup itself. Some rinse away pretty easily in water. The best types would be sheer, lightweight liquids or loose powder foundations. Either remove it in the shower by letting water thoroughly rinse your face or use a washcloth. The latter can be done by wiping the makeup off or using it to "melt" the makeup by steaming before a shower.
Q: Have you made any other changes in your lifestyle to help with your skin?
A: No. The only things I do are exercise and take Metamucil, neither for acne purposes. I also don't eat gluten, eggs, or cheddar cheese, also not for acne purposes. I tried other internally-driven holistic changes, and I just found them to be too stressful and made matters worse. I only advocate changes like that if you've spoken to a doctor and are doing it for overall health reasons.
Q: What should I do for spot treating?
A: Nothing, at least not for the first few months. You want to see how your skin adjusts without any assistance.
Q: I've been using topicals for a while now; how should I approach starting the water-only regimen?
A: A lot of people will just quit cold-turkey, but that can lead to withdrawal and purging breakouts. If you would rather wean yourself off of products, I'd say go about it in a few months, slowly using less and less of everything.
Q: Will the dead skin/flakes break me out/How can I remove the dead skin?
A: It's unlikely that it will cause any serious breakouts. At most, it might contribute to clogs, but the clogs themselves should slough away once the dead skin sloughs away. And if after 2-3 months you still have the dead skin and flakes, try rubbing the skin after a nice warm shower with your clean hands.
Q: My face is really tight/dry/flaky. Is this normal? Should I moisturize?
A: This is normal, and no, don't moisturize. Wait the 2-3 months and then decide if the skin is still too uncomfortable and needs lotion.
Q: My skin is quite oily. How will water-only work for me and remove the oil?
A: From what I've read, water removes about 60% of the debris and build up on the skin. Over time, build up should lessen, and oiliness should as well. At first you might not feel "clean," but just stick it out for a while and see how that feeling changes. You can always blot if needed.
Q: What are your showering/bathing habits like in regards to your face?
A: I simply stand in the shower and let the water do its thing. I usually like to put my face right up under the showerhead for a while, no touching of my face other than around the eyes if needed. When drying off, I use a new towel each shower; you could just use a new face cloth every day instead of a new large towel.
Q: I work out and work up quite a sweat. How will using just water work for making sure my face is really clean? And how should I tailor my routine around exercise?
A: I work out and get very sweaty! The best thing I've found is to bring a clean, soft towel with me every time and pat the sweat every 5-10 minutes, and then shower when I get home (does not have to be immediately after getting home). Sweat is pretty much salty water, which comes off with water. I've even found that sweating helps to dissolve excess sebum. If you wear makeup while wanting to try this, I'd recommend rinsing it off before working out, then shower again when you are done. You don't even need to rinse off right after working out; if you work out at lunch and don't want to shower, you can just pat the sweat away and splash once if absolutely necessary, and then shower when you get home.
Q: What the HELL is with this insane itching?!
A: I'm really not sure why, but for some reason the skin sure likes to get super itchy when you first attempt this type of a routine. My assumption is that it has to do with no longer using cleansers. The longer I went without cleansers, the less itching I'd feel when I'd try the water-only routine again. This last time, I had no itching at all. The itching may also have to do with the skin being somewhat dehydrated as you are not supplementing the skin's moisture/water levels. It can be a pain to deal with, sometimes literally! The best thing I found was to stretch the skin out if the itching was really bad, and just try to not think about it.
Q: How do you avoid shampoo/conditioner from getting on your face?
A: I don't use any I use conditioner on my ends sometimes, but it's not essential. But when I did use it, I'd just lean my head back to rinse my hair out. Some will lean over.
Q: What kind of things can be done/used for scars and red marks?
A: If you are wanting to stay true to the water-only name, then nothing really. Other than perhaps exfoliating with a washcloth, you will just need to wait. For scarring, if it's serious enough to bother you it would be best to talk to a doctor/derm. I find that exfoliating makes my red marks look worse, so I definitely advocate just leaving it alone!
Q: How should I be shaving when on this routine?
A: Obviously not a guy, but from what I've read it works to use an electric razor or trimmer works. Otherwise, you can try continuing the use of your normal shaving routine if it doesn't seem to bother your skin.
Q: I am finding this routine to be emotionally difficult to maintain, and I keep wanting to quit. What are your tips?
A: This is a very difficult routine to stick to. It took me one year to finally stick to it. The first three weeks are the hardest, so as long as you can push yourself to 3 weeks, you should be okay. Things that helped me were to watch TV shows I love, occupy myself with hobbies that require the use of my hands, and even just sitting around with my family. Not isolating yourself is essential, even if you hate how you look. Find something in your life that you are passionate about and that fills your heart and mind with peace, love, and joy. This can be anything from friends and family, music (my personal favourite passion), films/television (my 2nd favourite passion), spirituality/religion, exercise, anything. Keep your mind and soul hopeful and optimistic. I know that whenever I start feeling down about things, listening to a few select artists brings me tremendous warmth and hope. Two artists I definitely recommend: Sleeping at Last and Daniela Andrade.
Q: What kind of acne does this work best for, and how would this even help?
A: It appears that this method works best for mild to moderate cases of acne. However, I had moderate to severe acne when using DIY cleansing methods, and was able to lessen my acne to mild to moderate by using a different water-only method, so I do think that with time it can work for pretty much any type of acne. It also seems to work best for acne caused by external controllable variables, and also for any other type of internally-based acne (hormonal, genetic, etc) being made worse by products. So for these internally-driven acne issues, it may not completely get rid of the problem, but likely will lessen them in number and size and they will be far more controllable and less of a hassle. This method can help as it removes any products/ingredients/tools that are irritating and clogging the skin. Any breakouts you do get are thus simply caused by your own body or by other external factors (for me, this would be cleaning solution at the gym if it touches my face), and your skin is better able to calm down and heal itself over time. Not for everyone, but worth trying if your skin feels uncomfortable and unhealthy.