I'll pay you $100 if you find someone with bad skin who doesn't wash or moisturize it. Think about it - what is bad skin but damaged skin? What is more likely to damage it, the things you put in your mouth or the things you rub directly into your face? When you get something in your eye, the worst thing to do is rub it, as that just irritates it and makes it worse. When you pick a scab it bleeds and takes longer to heal. Why would the skin on your face be any different? The reason some people find success switching to a gentle cleanser and very gently massaging it in has more to do with their gentle approach than the cleanser. They would be just as successful without the cleanser at all.
Over the past few months I have become 100% positive that acne is caused by... wait for it... worrying about and trying to get rid of acne. In two main ways:
1) I believe in the mind-body connection and that thinking and stressing about acne all the time can cause it to manifest itself.1
2) When you worry about and try to get rid of acne, that usually involves washing your face, which I think causes bad skin.
My skin has been MUCH better since I've been less focused on it, and given up all cleansers and reduced the amount of time I spend under the shower head.
1The placebo effect is more than just "that frustrating phenomenon that routinely threatens the success of our product" (pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies everywhere). Most products show a very insignificant percentage of increased success over the placebo in clinical trials. But since the goal is not to help people but to make money, research has never been focused on using the placebo effect as treatment.
My skin is practically perfect right now. Here's what I'm doing. Unfortunately I started the first 3 things listed at the same time so I don't know which one caused me to clear up. But I haven't had a single pimple since. I've been doing the rest of the list for a long time.
No cleanser. I only rinse my face with water at night in the shower. Lukewarm while gently rubbing the oil off my face with my hands. Then a cold splash before I get out.
Now Foods Opti-L-Zinc once a day.
Wellbutrin XL for mild depression.
Avoiding dairy and excessive sugar.
Drinking lots of water.
Trying to get as much sleep as possible.
Thinking positively, keeping my mind off my skin, trying to eliminate stress and anxiety. This is most easily done by just being outside, working, enjoying the fresh air and sunlight (even if it's -10 Celsius or worse).
I have come a long way over the past several months. It used to take me a couple hours to fall asleep, no matter what time I went to bed. I'd wake up up to a dozen times throughout the night, sometimes for a minute, sometimes for an hour. I'd wake up about 6 or 7 hours after going to bed, wide awake, but then be tired all day. Here's how I fixed it:
-Try to base your sleep schedule around the rising and setting of the sun as much as possible. I wake up at before 8 am and go to bed between 10 and 11 pm. Close enough for me.
-Put a dark curtain over any windows in your room. This made a huge difference. Also unplug or cover up any small lights from electronics. I just switch off the power bar that controls most of the things with little lights on 'em.
-Wear earplugs if you're a light sleeper or noise bothers you.
-Start winding down a couple hours before you want to go to bed. Turn off computer and tv screens, turn the lights off or down, just try to relax. Read a book.
-Don't eat anything after dinner if you can help it. Certainly not any sooner than 3 hours before bed.
I now fall asleep within 10-15 minutes of laying down and only wake up once or twice during the night and it's very brief, I barely remember in the morning. I get 8-10 hours of sleep and have energy most of the day.
I used low pressure for a couple years out of a similar fear. A couple months ago I started using high pressure and my skin is no longer oily and new pimples are rare. Just dealing with old marks now. This might have been caused by something else, not the high pressure, but I'm pretty sure the shower pressure was at least a large factor.
I stopped taking Vitamin C because I read about how almost all ascorbic acid comes from the same source in the States, and is derived from genetically modified corn. Also that ascorbic acid is only one component of Vitamin C and taking just it throws off the balance and confuses the body.
I've also been using high pressure, warm to hot water directly on my face in the shower for a minute or more every day.
My skin is looking better and better every day. Still needs improvement though.
Feeling good. Lots of my spots cleared up in time for this outdoor concert today. I owe it all to running high pressure shower water over my face. I always thought that would just irritate my skin but it's only helped it.
Every once in a while, usually in the shower, sometimes not, I'll just feel my face for once. Instead of being terrified of touching it, I'll feel around it with my hands, gently but not too gently, remembering what it's like to not care about touching it. Connect to it, you know? Feels like hugging someone I haven't seen in a long time. I don't use face wash so my hands never normally touch my face except to itch it for a brief second (which comes with a LOT of trepidation and anxiety). But when I do this, I just feel so relaxed. Tonight as I did it I found myself repeating, "my face is not a foreign object, my face is not a foreign object", over and over again in my head. It's damn-well therapeutic.