Randomly popped by. I started wearing makeup.... God, a year ago? Longer? Since then, was oil cleansing to remove the makeup, and this is what contributed to my skin issues. The oil itself is totally fine, not an issue, but the removal process was effing with my skin. Wash cloths are a huge no-no, cotton pads were better but still caused issues over time.... And cleansing oils with emulsifiers dry my skin out. I recently had issues with super irritated, red, burning, flaking eyelids from using cotton pads too frequently (testing out mascaras, haha), so that definitely made me realize that my issues were definitely related to exfoliation. And funnily enough, I KNEW that the cotton pads were probably behind me issues because I had similar irritation and dryness problems while using milk and micellar cleansers before joining Acne.org years ago, using these with cotton pads... but I wanted to make oil cleansing work! Skin's been kind of crappy for a while because of the nearly daily exfoliation, leading to lots of irritation, dryness, dehydration, flaking, and some breaking out. Recently made some changes though and my skin is getting back to normal! Current skin type - Normal-combo (normal on t-zone, dryish on inner cheeks) - dehydrated on cheeks and forehead Current skincare regimen Morning: - Cleansing: If taking a shower, rinse with water (usually while I'm washing my hair). If not taking a shower, I might splash my face with water, otherwise I just don't do anything. - Moisturizing: Mix water and oil (currently coconut oil) together and massage into face. Evening or before working out: - Cleansing for makeup removal: Massage oil (currently coconut oil) over dry face for a while until makeup is well dissolved. Rinse/wash hands, then emulsify oil with wet hands by massaging face for a while, rinsing hands every so often to get some fresh water. When my hands no longer pick up milky oil, I rinse my face a few times and pat dry. - Cleansing if not wearing makeup: Either a) oil cleanse as listed above, b) just rinse with water, c) or I don't do anything. - Moisturizing: Same as morning. If skin feels extra dehydrated (as it has lately) I'll follow up with another layer of oil without mixing with water. That's about it. I can wind up washing my face every day or sometimes only like 2-3x a week. Still no schedule, I just go by what I feel like doing. For makeup I wear Meow Cosmetics Purrrfect Puss in Persian Inquisitive-0 (might need to get the next shade up for summer though, but overall I think that the lightest shade still matches just fine - at most might need to add in a bit of a bronzer for slight warmth), sometimes adding Angora Inquisitive-0 in slight amounts during other times of the year. I don't have a go-to face concealer though, as their powder concealers I've found to be too dry, and I've yet to find a liquid concealer that is both light enough for my skin AND the right undertone, AND that also works well with powder foundation. Might have to look for other powder concealers but many contain bismuth oxycloride which burns my face something fierce! Using MUFE Lift concealer under the eyes in the lightest shade, which is still not light enough :/ That's about it, I'm still struggling with picking though which is why I have some brighter scabby things on my face right now Here's my skin as of about 15 minutes ago: And unrelated to skin, I'm currently in the process of losing weight! I've lost about 32lbs in 8 months or so, with another 15lbs to go. My aim is to BULK late this year to put on mass, as my goal is get lean and very muscular! Oh, I also buzzed my hair in August 2014, and then again this January considering keeping it short because I think it suits me better (especially as my face thins out) but I miss styling it curly So yeah, that's about it! I'm on myfitnesspal as ana3067 if anyone's on there as well and wants to say hey. I am so grateful I did water-only and Caveman and I'm grateful that my skin has been improving again recently. I'm not really all that focused on my skin anymore, other than when I someitmes break out. But then it's still never as bad as it once was. I'm pretty much focused on my cutting and bulking goals (bulk in the fall!) and on graduating university this summer! for anyone who bothers reading this and any of my old logs, blog entries, etc, hopefully they give you inspiration or perhaps will prompt you to try something different if nothing else has worked.
I really don't know how many people stumble upon my locked main thread, my gallery, or this blog thing. But for those of you who are reading this... hi! I haven't made any updates here in well over a year, and honestly acne as a whole is not something that I've really concerned myself with in the last year. I still worry about my skin overall a bit, but I've become ridiculously relaxed over my skin and I've even started wearing makeup again and not freaking out when I get zits. Anyways, why did I log back in? To be honest, I had no reason. I just impulsively typed the website into my browser, logged in after retrieving my account info, and decided to post some updates. I'm spending much more time focusing on losing body fat to help me reach my goal physique (like this or this or even this) and on worrying about what to do with my life after university, so I've not really thought about this website in ages. But since I am here, let's proceed to the updates! Condition of my skin How has my skin changed since early-mid 2013 to now? Well, it's become less sensitive, significantly less congested, no longer gets as dehydrated, and looks/feels more supple. I still break out, and probably will always be acne-prone, but any zits I do get clear up easily as long as I don't pick at them. I can even get substances I know break me out on my skin and the breakout will either be very small or it won't appear at all, so my skin has become more resilient. I just need to learn to stop picking and any skin problems I have will probably clear up with that. What is my routine? My last blog post was about going Caveman, in the I-am-absolutely-not-putting-anything-on-my-face sense. I honestly have no idea how long that lasted, and I no longer utilize a Caveman routine. However, I still don't use skincare products or acne products. When I started dabbling with makeup again in late 2013, I knew I needed to find a way to remove the makeup without irritating my skin, which meant that I did need to alter my skincare routine. Cleanse: Rinse with water. No schedule, no rituals, I really don't even think about it anymore, it just happens. How often? Well... like I said, no schedule. I shower as often as daily or as little as 3x a week, and that's usually the only time I potentially get my face wet. I may rub my face a bit, or get it wet for a split second, or it may be under the water most of the shower. Makeup Removal: Modified OCM. Massage oil over my skin and wipe off with a wet cotton pad. This is done as needed of course, but I've easily slept in my makeup or just rinsed the bulk of it off with water in the shower when I'm super lazy. Eye makeup is removed with a regular remover as oil on the eye area feels uncomfortable for me. Currently use avocado and apricot oil, also trying out sweet almond oil. Moisturizing: As with cleansing, there is no schedule. I dampen my hands and then put a few drops of oil into them and massage over my face. I'll usually end up applying a bit before my foundation and maybe after makeup removal or cleansing, but I can easily wind up going weeks without using oil to moisturize (or for OCM) without any real changes in my skin. It mostly just keeps my skin feeling softer and looking more glowy. Exfoliating: I don't do it. Skin is much happier for it. And that's about it. My approach to skincare is ridiculously lazy, all of these steps are optional basically. Skin is still fairly nice, I don't worry about it, I'm no longer self-conscious, etc. I also am always touching my face, I lay my face on whatever, I let others touch my face (unless wearing makeup), I have even used body butter on my face in desperation before back when I was still exfoliating and had mad "rug burn" so to speak. That's about it. Some new pics in my gallery, check them out if you'd like. I'm unlikely to come back here for... who knows how long. Maybe never again? You can find me on makeupalley.com as ashleyanders if you need to contact me though.
In the last few months, and especially few weeks, I've done a number to my hair. On Sunday it was super dry. So I haven't showered since then. Which means that I also haven't bothered to wash my face since then. I've already been doing water-only successfully for a few years so not washing my face now for a while really doesn't make my skin look or feel gross or unclean. I had also exfoliated with a dry washcloth (my version of dry-brushing) but was a bit too harsh on my skin, and in these few days my skin has been recovering much better. So, I've decided to give the no-water routine another shot. Over the last few years I've discovered that: 1) My skin gets dehydrated easily, and exfoliating helps to relieve this dehydration. But with regular exposure to water it doesn't last. 2) My skin gets a bit clogged (mostly forehead) when I have more build-up in my hair, even though my hair doesn't touch my face With this in mind, I've decided that my routine will basically consist of showering as needed for my hair and body (will likely be most days still) while not getting my face wet. Because of steam and minor splashes of water, I WILL still get some water on my face, so if I feel the need I will blot my face off with a towel after my shower. Between once and three times a week I will dry-brush with a baby washcloth to help remove any build-up of dead skin and to help with clogs. if I wear eye makeup, I will use my normal eye makeup remover and just wipe it off with a damp cloth or cotton pad. I really don't know how my skin will respond, but I figure that I might as well give it a go, especially since I've still been experiencing issues with flaking skin. My guess is that it's a combo of hard water and mineral deposits, and not using moisturizer with said hard water. (And just to mention, I'm going to give no-poo another shot, probably a smaller quantity of baking soda and then the customary 1tbsp vinegar to 1cup water ratio. I think I might do this today actually, I might be back with an update!)
I don't really see the point in "updating" anymore since my skin's progress is basically the same every time, especially now that I think I've found what works best for me. So here I'll just give a run down of my routine! I shower generally once a day, but not always. I do not wash my face outside of the shower. 1. Wash hands and go about regular shower routine for other areas of body 2. Splash face with water once or twice. Pat dry. 3. Exfoliate by dry-brushing with a baby washcloth as needed. Works best if done before a shower, but can be done any time. The technique to this is to rub in circular motions a cloth over the face without really applying any pressure, doing so until any flakes are removed. My reasons for doing this are that exfoliating when my skin is wet dehydrates it more. This method keeps it feeling comfortable and helps with congestion, flakes, and marks. 4. Remove eye makeup with Clinique Take The Day Off balm if wearing makeup, moisturize eye area with a serum from La Roche Posay (very lazy with this part). And.. that's it! I change my pillow case 1-2x a week usually or less, try to change linens once a week or so, I still take super hot showers, I still touch my face.. picking is really one of the only things that results in breakouts for me still, and not exfoliating clogs me up which can lead to inflammation. I also find it very beneficial to wipe down my glasses, phone, and ipod after a workout to remove the cleaning solution (as I work out in a gym) but I am lazy with this as well. I have also been conditioner-only washing my hair for a month or so now and I do like it, not sure if that has benefited my clogged skin or not. Overall my skin keeps looking clearer all the time. Marks fade, scars fill out, flakes get removed, skin looks brighter, still not all that oily.. overall I'm happy with my skin although I definitely still have more progress to make! I've attached the most recent picture taken of me with a flash camera. So it's far less forgiving than a camera phone. I am drunk in this picture, so ignore that part!! Oh, and I still don't wear foundation or any face makeup on my face. I only wear concealer on my undereyes and then some eye makeup, or no makeup at all.
Finals are now done, and overall my skin is doing better. It freaked out a bit during finals but with more sleep and getting back into exercise I am feeling better about myself. My routine still consists of water-only. I shower usually once a day and will rinse at the end of my shower (one or two splashes max and then pat dry). I've also stopped using a washcloth as a means of washing or wet exfoliation, but now use it a few times a week or as needed to dry-brush/exfoliate the skin. I will do this before showering or when doing to bed so that my skin has more oil on it to help with the exfoliation process (it does work post-shower but it's harder to exfoliate in my experience). I just rub the cloth over my skin for a few minutes where needed until I no longer see flakes. I have some scabbing on my one cheek though so that cheek is a bit flaky still and will just need some more time, but overall this is helping my skin tremendously. I still don't use any products other than makeup remover for my eyes and lip balm, but I do think that I'm going to include a lotion for my eyes to use on days that I've worn makeup so that I can ensure that my skin doesn't become dehydrated there. But otherwise still loving my simple routine! So overall updates: 1) Red marks keep fading, and I think exfoliating helps. 2) scabbing on left cheek from picking at my skin I was quite stressed during finals, hopefully this won't happen again! But it's clearing up and getting better so it doesn't actually look THAT bad. Especially compared to even just a few days ago. 3) Minimal to no clogging overall. Quite nice 4) My scarring seems more filled out, but definitely still there. 5) Minimal dehydration, exfoliating is really helping with this 6) Almost no flaking, again because of exfoliating. I don't know that I'll need to do it as often in the summer since our summers aren't THAT dry, but in the winter it's a combination of harsh cold air and dry heating inside, so... yay! 7) I have one little zit-like whitehead on my chin. That's about it for anything actually active. Also as a side-note, I was water-only for my hair for a good while now but I've decided to stop that. It's been a few weeks or less and I'm still trying to figure it out, but I basically am doing cowashing (conditioner in place of shampoo, used in the same basic way but more massaging). I found that I really can't do it often because my scalp really doesn't seem to be dirty - probably as a result of being water-only for so long, my scalp doesn't get really oily anymore once initial build-up is removed. in between cowashes I will still be water-only. So I will probably wash once or twice a month max, brush once a week or less, and condition with a separate conditioner only after cowashes. No shampoo either. I haven't quite figured out which conditioner to use as a cowash but I think I'm going to just use my old pricier one and water it down to a 1:1 ratio of conditioner to water, since I know that that one works well on my hair when I don't over-use it. Not skin related but thought I'd throw that in there!
Oh wow! I've discovered something new. It's called moderation Yeah.. wait moder- what is that? Yeah. So like I posted earlier I have been using washcloths. And let me just say, excellent for exfoliation! But not so great for my face every day, probably because I don't use a moisturizer. I saw that using it lightly daily didn't work well, using it hard worked well in terms of keeping away flaking but it resulted in lots of redness, irritation, oiliness, and BREAKING THE EFF OUT. Thankfully those were more "almost-pimples" that only became something if I picked... and pick I did. I've not used a washcloth for a few days and my skin is much happier now. So right now I've been maintaining moderation in the shower by not soaking my face in water the whole shower or splashing it like 30846 times. I'll splash 1-2 times (enough to get my whole face wet) and then kind of rub my skin. I don't do this for too long, just maybe ~10 seconds should suffice. Then pat dry post-shower. But I have a feeling that just doing that will not suffice. Since I've seen an almost disappearance of clogs with the washcloth and no flaking (initially) I suspect that, due to a) my past skincare regimens and b) the drier environment here, my skin responds well to regular exfoliation. But instead of DAILY, I've decided on doing it weekly or bi-weekly depending on how my skin looks and feels. And when exfoliating with the washcloth I will be doing it with a lot of pressure to ensure a proper exfoliation. Before I decided on just rinsing with my hands I did try just gently wiping my face with the cloth, and while that worked ok it also seemed to make my face prone to flaking. So overall, here are some updates on my skin: 1) My red marks, without using the washcloth daily, are much better! Especially on my cheeks. 2) My face is muuch calmer. Before it was a bit stingy even, now it doesn't hurt or look weirdly flushed and uncomfortable and the scarring isn't pronounced. 3) Clogs are still at a minimal. 4) I've got 3 little whitehead/pustule things but they are a result of picking while I was doing washcloths daily. I also had almost-pimples from the washcloth that are now mostly gone (THANK GOD) but I have a few marks from those. 5) My skin is feeling a bit rough from some patches - some scabs from picking (mostly small and gone though) and just some minor flaky areas. But hopefully it will improve with regular but not overdone exfoliation. 6) I am much less oily since I stopped scrubbing. I am thankful for this. 7) my face mostly feels comfortable. When I was exfoliating, initially my skin stopped feeling tight at all. Then as flaking started again I got a bit tight. Now I'm still a bit tight but not as much. So hopefully once my skin adjusts to a weekly exfoliation things should balance out and my skin should feel pretty well normal. So right now I'm infinitely happier with my skin than I was even just 3-4 days ago. Hopefully I've found the middle ground I've been looking for! And I've got finals month starting now so I probably won't update until mid-december. This is going to just be a horribly crazy month.
I've been feeling kinda down about my skin lately. I started picking at my face (little clogs or whiteheads) and the results of said picking are quite visible on my face. I have 5 tiny picked-at scabs on my chin and I picked at a small zit on my outer cheek this morning. I had also used my Clinique makeup remover on my brows last week when I tried brow filler for the first time in years, and I wound up with clogs and tiny pustules there that are now pretty well gone except for one scab (sticking to just water for removal of the powder now when I use it). Although I'm feeling down, I realize that it's NOT even close to being like it was when it was at its worst. because other than those scabs (which are really small in shape, thankfully) my skin's not too bad. If I didn't still have red marks I'd probably actually be less down about my skin. But for some more specific updates: 1) I have significantly less clogging, especially on my chin. the ones on my forehead are also smaller and less numerous - I suspect that by the end of December they could be gone entirely. 2) My red marks have also faded it seems! 3) I am still experimenting with how to use the washcloth, but I THINK I found a method that allows for my face to have minimal to no flaking, no serious excess oil, and not beet red afterwards -- splash my face once or twice, then take a wet washcloth (wrung out but not entirely) and quickly but with pressure scrub over my WHOLE face before the splashed water has time to evaporate, then spend more time on the individual areas still with pressure, then rinse and pat dry. I'm not sure if this is what I will stick to or if the first rinse is necessary or if it's just about making sure the towel is wet enough. 4) My skin texture regarding scarring looks much smoother, especially on my cheeks where it was the most prominent. 5) As far as zits, I have maybe 2 of them. I feel like part of that issue is my skin adjusting to the washcloth method and the other part was with that makeup remover, and then picking of course. And possibly lotion residue getting on my face, but I'm not sure. So while my skin's not looking as good as I'd like it to be I have to put some of the blame on my own actions, and hopefully my current issues will be resolved in time and I will feel better about my skin again.
Just to recap, I've pretty well been clear of inflamed/active acne since.. I guess 2011? At that point I'd still regularly get a few zits, and near the end of that year and into 2012 is when those periodic breakouts grew further and further apart until they no longer concerned me (a zit, maybe two, occurring maybe once a month or less). But during this time I still had issues with some flesh bumps/clogged pores, mostly on my forehead but also on my chin and a bit on my cheeks. My marks were also still quite prominent, although fading pretty well over time. I also was still dealing with some oiliness on my forehead and nostrils, a bit on my chin, but overall the oiliness was much less than when I was using products. I was also still having problems with dehydrated and flaking skin, especially on my cheeks and forehead (an issue which I'm sure exacerbated the flesh bumps and redness of my acne marks). Now onto my progress AND an important bit of news... I've discontinued the strict Caveman/no-wash routine, but I am still water-only. I've pretty well gone back to the type of routine I had in early 2011 (I will outline my routine below) and so far I'm happy enough with the results but I know that I still need to maintain more of my Caveman mindset with this routine in order to really get the most out of it. Why did I stop? Ultimately it was a combination of factors: my clogs, while better than they were pre-Caveman, were still there. This bothered me mostly on my forehead and chin. I was also finding myself wanting to rub my face with my hands to remove any flakes more than I would have liked for that routine itself. And to be honest, I definitely missed the feeling of washing my face. My acne was still a non-issue but those little things resulted in an unplanned return to water-only, probably for 1-2 weeks now. So what did I learn from all of this? I pretty well learned that I really don't need to be so hands-on or thorough with cleansing in order to maintain clear and happy skin. My skin does not retaliate if I skip a shower (which is the only time I will wash my face), and in fact it's probably good for me to take breaks sometimes. I've also learned that unfortunately my skin just seems to benefit from exfoliation, despite the fact that it can lead to irritation, redness, and flaking/dehydration - these issues, however, may be more so related to technique than to exfoliation itself. During high school I used a cleanser that exfoliated my skin, and I used it twice a day. For the most part my skin was pretty well clear with periodic outbreaks (a few zits to more of a cluster of them). I'm not sure if my skin's preference for manual exfoliation, which I never needed to use prior to using skincare products, is due to the use of said cleanser or if it is because I also have keratosis pilaris which affects a rather big portion of my body. What is my current routine then? Like I've already mentioned, I've gone back to a water-only routine, which in reality really can just be seen as a more approachable subset of the Caveman method. When showering I maintain the no-water-on-face rule as I go about the rest of my shower duties, and just before stepping out I will take a clean face cloth, soak it, wring it out entirely and then scrub my face with it. I don't really do any particular method of scrubbing, just... scrub. I tend to go up-down or side-to-side more so than circular. I then turn off my shower and let whatever moisture is on my face air-dry. I found that the more wrung out the cloth the better for my skin. My current skin progress: 1) My clogs are almost gone. Especially on my forehead, where I feel and see virtually no bumps. I suspect that in a few weeks any sebaceous filaments or remaining clogs there will be gone or mostly gone. 2) My skin texture and red marks have improved a fair bit. I haven't been documenting with pictures so it's hard to tellsubjectively but I definitely feel better about those two things, especially on my cheeks. My forehead still has a bit of a rough look between the brows but I think that's more to do with a few remaining clogs there that can look more visible if I get a bit oily. 3) My skin overall doesn't seem to be much oilier. I don't know if this is due to weather, how I am washing, how I am drying, or any other factor but I'm ok with the level of oiliness I am getting on my skin. I don't really feel the need to blot either unless I did not shower the day before and will not shower that day (or until later), at which point I might blot my forehead. The oil that I do get does not feel uncomfortable nor do I think it looks bad; it's fairly minimal in my opinion so I doubt it's that obvious to others, especially those my age range. 4) I have noticed some flaking again, but I think it's due to how I have used the cloth a few times - I can't always get around the idea of really WASHING my face as opposed to just quickly scrubbing with the cloth. Sometimes I will find myself scrubbing for too long and I am certain that does not bode well for my skin. It does not stay visible as time goes by. 5) In regards to inflamed spots I am still clear but there was for a short time a bit of an increase in inflammation PRIOR to using the washcloth. I'm not sure why but it's since toned down and I don't have anything new. I have a small thing clearing up on my chin and some minor areas I picked on my cheeks that are just flat and kinda red. I do not regret doing the strict version of Caveman, and I will definitely continue updating with my Caveman-light routine. It's definitely taught me to look at my skin in a new way and as time passes I am still getting more and more comfortable with my skin. Thinking back to a picture I took of myself for last Christmas, I feel like my skin, if the image were taken in the same lighting and same camera and same variables, would look significantly improved. So I'm really glad that I went product-free pretty well 2 years ago. Anyways, I thought I'd share some pictures too! They are phone pics but I used natural lighting and tried to get as clear an image as I could. I am a bit oily and red - I haven't showered today nor blotted and the heater is on because it's very cold here (like -15C probably? Which is not actually that cold for a Canadian but.. compared to what we had last month I am missing the warmth!) You can view them larger in my gallery as well And as a side note to anyone who saw a previous update, my cat did in fact have to be put down earlier this month. It was quite sad, my mom cried, and I do miss him But he was clearly in pain, was not really eating much. I don't really have much else to say about that, I'm actually ok about it, I just miss him!
Just to recap, I've pretty well been clear of inflamed/active acne since.. I guess 2011? At that point I'd still regularly get a few zits, and near the end of that year and into 2012 is when those periodic breakouts grew further and further apart until they no longer concerned me (a zit, maybe two, occurring maybe once a month or less). But during this time I still had issues with some flesh bumps/clogged pores, mostly on my forehead but also on my chin and a bit on my cheeks. My marks were also still quite prominent, although fading pretty well over time. I also was still dealing with some oiliness on my forehead and nostrils, a bit on my chin, but overall the oiliness was much less than when I was using products. I was also still having problems with dehydrated and flaking skin, especially on my cheeks and forehead (an issue which I'm sure exacerbated the flesh bumps and redness of my acne marks). Now onto my progress.... Current Experience: 1) Overall my oiliness seems to be toned down lately. This could be attributed to the cooler weather though. But even in situations where I'd normally be oilier I don't have as much of an issue. 2) My marks are still there but definitely are lighter Scarring is still noticeable on my cheeks but not significantly so - I'd say the enlarged/scarred pores are more noticeable than the larger scarring now. 3) My skin doesn't seem to get flaky anymore, but I do rub my face with my dry(clean) hands when I feel the need. Which might be once a week or less usually. Ever since the 2nd time or so of doing this I've had barely any flakes or dead skin roll off on my fingers. The only reason I've been doing this still is because after a while my face starts to feel a bit rough on my cheeks, so I don't know if this will be something I'll have to keep doing or if after a few months I can just stop doing it because I won't NEED to. Either way it doesn't bother me to do it other than being a bit red from it. 4) My clogs are barely an issue now. They are still there a bit, but wow... It's incredible how much it has improved! Especially on my chin, which was full of under-the-skin ones, now it's almost clear. My forehead still has some minor bumpies that I can see in the light but I can only feel a few sometimes. So I dunno how that area will play out. Overall I'm happy with the state of my skin in relation to clogs! 5) I don't think I've really had any new zits since my last update, or if I have they were too small for me to remember them. It's mostly been dealing with clogs and redness and scars and such. So I don't love my skin but I'm pretty happy with it. Still not washing, still just keeping to my same schedule. I wonder if getting better sleep would help, but you know.. University! I will try to get back on track with school work in a way that allows me to have actual decent sleep while not failing everything (I am doing great in 3 of the courses I've had midterms for - all As or A+ - but one that I've done a midterm for I am sitting at around a C and the other class I have my first midterm for on Wednesday!). I think that sleeping better would resolve the last of my forehead issues as well, but that's all just speculation. Anyways, I was happy to take a break from updating, especially as it kept me focused on school. And btw, my cat is doing a bit better with his antibiotics now, but of course that's just a temporary solution and he will at some point die I have accepted this and am just grateful for the years we've had him AS FOR PICTURES, I will try and get some eventually but honestly it's not a priority for me! Maybe when I am done the semester I will post pictures? And at that time I'm sure my skin will look even better and I will be happier with my skin and be glad to share pictures. And why not mention it, I am still working out 4-5 days a week (trying to up it to 6). This hasn't negatively impacted my skin at all, I don't think it's helped it though either. It's neutral for me. (as a side note, I've been able to lose more weight lately, AND I am packing on some great muscle! Weight has always been as much an issue as skin for me so it's definitely something that I am super excited about )
I found out today that my cat has cancer and is likely going to die within the next few months or sooner. For a while I'm most likely going to forego updating on here just because I want to spend as much of my time focusing on keeping him company when I can while still trying to get through this semester. It's been a hard year for me in regards to just... terrible life things, which I'm sure few here have had to experience (which I'm thankful for). I am quite upset over this, I love my cat dearly. I took it out on my face a bit tonight too, so I might wind up being stressed over this as well. But ultimately I just need some time.
Just to recap, I've pretty well been clear of inflamed/active acne since.. I guess 2011? At that point I'd still regularly get a few zits, and near the end of that year and into 2012 is when those periodic breakouts grew further and further apart until they no longer concerned me (a zit, maybe two, occurring maybe once a month or less). But during this time I still had issues with some flesh bumps/clogged pores, mostly on my forehead but also on my chin and a bit on my cheeks. My marks were also still quite prominent, although fading pretty well over time. I also was still dealing with some oiliness on my forehead and nostrils, a bit on my chin, but overall the oiliness was much less than when I was using products. I was also still having problems with dehydrated and flaking skin, especially on my cheeks and forehead (an issue which I'm sure exacerbated the flesh bumps and redness of my acne marks). Now onto my progress.... Current Experience: 1) My oiliness seems to be better than it was last update, although it seems that when it does get more noticeable it seems to be when I don't change my sheets often enough (i.e. I need to change my bedding at least once a week, but often go a few weeks due to laziness) or change my pillowcase frequently (every 2-3 days or so). 2) No real changes in red marks unfortunately (I know, it takes time!) 3) After my last exfoliation, I didn't really notice any real flaking. I wound up exfoliating (same method - rubbing dry skin with dry hands) because I felt a bit tight and saw some MINOR flaking. This time around there was much less stuff coming off on my hands, especially on my cheeks! My face currently feels red and warm and I know my marks will look worse and I will likely appear oilier but... overall it seems like my skin is benefiting from ~1x a week removal of flakes. I don't know if these are new flakes that are forming due to my skin having to now adjust to not being rinsed (rinsing would remove some dead skin) or if it's just all the flaking I had during my water-only routine that wasn't coming off on its own now slowly coming off. Either way I will monitor the situation and I may exfoliate again next weekend if I see the need. 4) Clogs... it seems that they are now starting to appear more than they were before. Again it's not necessarily new random clogs forming but more areas that were already clogged, especially under the skin, coming up. But I've also been picking so... Thankfully they aren't even THAT bad other than on my chin (which is also still not bad, but to me it does seem bad enough to be annoyed by it). I also seem to be having issues on my nose bridge in regards to my glasses after working out. I don't know if it's the rubbing of the glasses on my face while sweating or if it's something else entirely. Hopefully i will be able to figure it out! Forehead bumps are also still there, but still less raised. They haven't changed much, at least not in my opinion. Some days they feel/seem more noticeable, other times barely so. 5) The couple if zits I had cleared up, no new ones other than some inflammation in a few clogs I picked (they did not become zits tho). So that's about it. Overall everything seems to be going pretty well except for clogging, but I'm not even done a month so I'd assume that I just need to be patient. It could very well be that the minor clogging that is coming out is due to removing the flaking is "revealing" them and allowing them to "go through the motions." Still pretty happy on the regimen though, and hopefully in my next update I have even better news to share
Just to recap, I've pretty well been clear of inflamed/active acne since.. I guess 2011? At that point I'd still regularly get a few zits, and near the end of that year and into 2012 is when those periodic breakouts grew further and further apart until they no longer concerned me (a zit, maybe two, occurring maybe once a month or less). But during this time I still had issues with some flesh bumps/clogged pores, mostly on my forehead but also on my chin and a bit on my cheeks. My marks were also still quite prominent, although fading pretty well over time. I also was still dealing with some oiliness on my forehead and nostrils, a bit on my chin, but overall the oiliness was much less than when I was using products. I was also still having problems with dehydrated and flaking skin, especially on my cheeks and forehead (an issue which I'm sure exacerbated the flesh bumps and redness of my acne marks). Now onto my progress.... Current Experience: 1) Oiliness is still about the same as last update, only bothering me when I become overheated and seem to look a bit oilier. Oil also still feels "drier" as opposed to greasy and thick. Edit September 27: My oil is actually a BIT more noticeable than it has been, which I assume is probably due to exfoliating, which I did a few days ago (possibly the day I wrote the entry actually? I will definitely be sure to share what happens in my next update! 2) Face still feels comfortable, no real changes here! 3) Red marks still looking less severe. 4) I did start noticing flaking, but it looked exactly as it had when I was water-only: a more "scaly" flaking that lays flatter on the skin and isn't easy to remove (and when scratched does not come off as would a build up of dead skin). However, it now seems to actually come off relatively easily. My guess is that it's either the flaking that I've had all along (for the last 1+ year) finally coming "loose" due to the skin no longer being dehydrated or due to extra sebum remaining on the skin, or I am getting a bit of dead skin build up. But when I scratch the skin doesn't collect in my fingernail so I'm leaning more towards the 1st hypothesis. I have rubbed this off about twice now, and both times the flakes rolled off my skin quite easily. My skin becomes red after this but calms down by the next day; I don't know/can't remember if it results in my face looking oilier for a few days after. Edit Sept 27: yes, it does seem to leave me looking oilier 5) My forehead flesh bumps are much much muuuuch better. They are getting to become far more "normal" and flat, lesser in number. Edit sept 27: I actually can't really even FEEL them other than some minor dry prickly spots that feel like my keratosis pilaris does. 6) Clogs are still an issue. Nothing major and I'm not getting NEW ones, but things that were already clogged before doing this are still clogged. It seems like they are slowly unclogging though. Especially in regards to sebaceous filaments on my nose and chin, which are less in darkness and severity (the ones on my chin started "popping out" and could be gently rolled off my face with a sweeping of my finger).Edit sept 27: my chin clogs are actually definitely looking better! I don't know if it was the exfoliation that helped but either way I feel like my chin is starting to clear up better now. I just have to wait on my cheeks clearing out any debris within some of the enlarged pores - which btw are less enlarged since going on No-Wash. 7) Absolutely no new breakouts, only one or two clogs that have become mildly inflamed from picking. Edit sept 27: I lied, I have 1 new almost-zit. It's either from exfoliating or from using body butter on my arms yesterday and the day before. I will discontinue the use of that lotion and go back to entirely water-only for my body. I can't think of much else to say really! Overall I'm pretty happy with how things are going. Sometimes I miss the feel of water on my skin but I don't feel any less clean. I work out 3x a week at my campus gym (extending that to hopefully 5 in place of weekend workouts at home) and when I lift weights in front of the mirror I don't feel uncomfortable looking at myself anymore, which I did when I first started before going No-Wash. I may not have perfectly clear skin and I'm still oilier than I'd like to be but overall I see steady (albeit kind of slow) improvements
I thought I'd go ahead and do a quick update over here as to what I'm experiencing in my first week of going Caveman. Just to recap, I've pretty well been clear of inflamed/active acne since.. I guess 2011? At that point I'd still regularly get a few zits, and near the end of that year and into 2012 is when those periodic breakouts grew further and further apart until they no longer concerned me (a zit, maybe two, occurring maybe once a month or less). But during this time I still had issues with some flesh bumps/clogged pores, mostly on my forehead but also on my chin and a bit on my cheeks. My marks were also still quite prominent, although fading pretty well over time. I also was still dealing with some oiliness on my forehead and nostrils, a bit on my chin, but overall the oiliness was much less than when I was using products. I was also still having problems with dehydrated and flaking skin, especially on my cheeks and forehead (an issue which I'm sure exacerbated the flesh bumps and redness of my acne marks). Now onto my progress.... Current Experience: 1) My overall oiliness is more constant, i.e. the level of oiliness doesn't tend to change much throughout the day. I'd say that in the morning and after showers (I pat my face with my towel) is when I'm less oily though but it's not a drastic shift in sheen as it could be when rinsing my face (after rinsing I'd generally be matte all over for maybe up to half of the day). 2) The oil that I am seeing feels drier (and possibly thinner), especially on my nostrils. Before this my oil could feel a bit tacky or heavy, more greasy. Now it feels pretty dry, although I'd say that my forehead still feels a bit on the greasier side and I can feel a bit stickier when it's quite hot out or I am fairly overheated. But compared to just last week I'd say that the change is quite noticeable and I am happy to see this shift. 3) My face feels more comfortable, not as tight. I still have tightness, probably most pronounced in my cheeks, but it's subtle. My forehead feels much more comfortable than it did last week. 4) The remaining red marks are much calmer in appearance. I'd not say that they have faded more, just that daily rinsing was likely irritating the skin enough to cause the marks to look angrier and darker than they should have. 5) I don't seem to be flaking on my cheeks anymore. If I am it's not perceptible enough for me to notice. I will say that I do get a few areas on my whole face where a large flake might appear but it's easy to gently remove 6) I'm also not experiencing any type of dead skin issues. Generally when people undergo Caveman routines they will experience issues with dead skin building up, nicknamed the "dead skin mask." It could just be too early for me to notice any build-up but I am fairly certain that I won't get any - or what I do get will be minimal - as a result of already having weaned my skin off of both skincare products and exfoliation well over a year ago. 7) My forehead flesh bumps seem to be less pronounced and possibly fewer in number. They definitely FEEL much flatter (actually significantly so) and have been probably since maybe halfway through my week or earlier. They are still visible though but I feel less self-conscious about them now, especially since I do work part-time in retail (a few times a week along with being a full-time student in university!) and am thus face-to-face with customers and my coworkers very regularly on my shifts. 8) I feel like existing clogged areas are going through the process of clearing themselves up, but by going through the full "cycle" of a clog or blemish. I've gotten a few minorly inflamed bumps - not really noticeable - and some whiteheads. None of this has been too major, and it especially gets better when I wake up in the morning and seems to stay better the whole day. Right now I think that some of this is due to my past picking behaviour, so I really just need to make sure I leave my face alone. I think that about covers it! So overall, my results are already fairly promising. The biggest downside is just in regards to my forehead being a bit shinier than I'd like (as I was used to having a matte face for about half the day) and the occurrence with some of the existing clogging in my skin. But I'm pretty happy so far with my skin, it doesn't FEEL gross or dirty compared to when I was just using water, and it doesn't have a "I am not washing my face in any way" look to it.
So a bit of backstory. I've had issues with acne since I was 14-and-a-half, and by the time I was maybe 17 my skin was pretty much in great condition acne-wise. I still had oily skin (and dehydrated, which I was not aware of at the time) and it could get quite bad but I didn't break out much and when I did it was just for a little while. In 2010 my acne abruptly got worse after a few months of playing around with different (mostly "natural") skincare. It was focused on my chin and between my brows, and it was quite a lot of pustular acne. In hindsight I realize that I overreacted and made things worse in my decision to try and scrub away the problem and try skincare after skincare.. That's when I joined Acne.org. Not too long after that I came across threads about "Caveman" routines and water-only routines and for about ~6 months I played around with both while throwing in DIY skincare regularly. Overall my skin was unhappy, I had a lot of issues with dead skin, flaking, oiliness, clogged pores, and at its worst my acne got up to about 40 (maybe more) zits at a time WITH red marks (and quite possibly some scars already). So basically I was looking and feeling horrible about myself, became depressed, things were just not looking up. But I guess around January or February of 2011 I decided to completely stop with using DIY and other skincare and just stick to water-only. I would usually scrub once or twice a day with a washcloth, or I'd only use my hands, or I'd only rinse in the shower... Eventually, although on the flaky and red side, my skin calmed down and my active acne got much better, usually getting 1-2 zits evey week or two. Well, I thought it had gotten much better - over a year after that change in my skincare routine my skin is infinitely better! I break out, yes, but generally I'll get maybe a small zit or two every month or two. I only get small clusters if I pick, and unfortunately I do still have a picking problem with my skin. But I very rarely have any inflammation with my skin now, my marks are probably close to 80% faded. So, yeah, all of this is great right? My skin doesn't have any dead skin build-up anymore despite not really exfoliating, I don't get all that oily, my skin is overall much smoother, and the scarring I had on top of the marks has definitely filled out. But a few issues have remained: minor flaking, redness and blotchiness, dehydration, and clogged pores. These clogs aren't even that bad, but they are on the numerous side on my forehead, and then somewhat on my chin. I do sometimes get some on my cheeks as well but not enough to bother me in most cases (when it does bother me it seems to only do so because that's where my scarring is primarily located). To clarify, the type of clogs I am getting are similar to keratosis pilaris, otherwise known as chicken skin. They are flesh toned and quite small, only visible when the light hits my skin at certain angles or if I'm quite oily/sweaty. These can become whiteheads and blackheads, primarily seen on my chin while my forehead only gets these when I pick at the flesh bumps. The picking contributes to flaking as well, and to the redness.... overall it's just a bad cycle. I've kept telling myself that these types of issues won't bother me anymore when my red marks fade, but I feel like they are bothering me more the more my marks fade. I've gotten aggressive with my skin at times again, scrubbing with a wet or dry washcloth (especially on forehead) to try and get the skin unclogged and then picking to try and unclog. This just makes all of my other issues worse, which seems to in turn make the clogging worse, and of course that "vicious cycle" thing comes into play again. Right now I feel like I've just needed to vent a bit. I've had a pretty... difficult year since the spring with some family trauma. I do wonder if that stress has contributed, I'm sure the poor sleep and poor overall habits hasn't helped. I want to get back on track with things, and I also want to try and get back to my original mission statement with my water-only routine: To STOP having a skincare routine. I started Googling today about skin, clogged pores, and water-only. This is a terrible sign. I came across entries on The Love Vitamin (a member of acne.org, possibly former but I'm not sure) who had written and vlogged about her experience on the Caveman regimen, the one that involves absolutely no face-washing, even with water. And her care-free attitude about it at her 3 month update made me wish I could let go as she does and truly not care. I want to be able to not even think about my face when I go about my normal shower, which is something I never thought about until I decided to start washing my face when I was a teen. So to cut a long story short, I think I'm going to go a head and give the Caveman another shot. I feel like I've already gone through most, if not all, of the gross "healing" transitional phases when I cut out skincare products - dead skin mask, flaking, oiliness, redness and blotchiness, dryness, itching, etc. This isn't something I want to be strict about, I just want to not think about the act of washing my face in any way. I really do wonder if not really washing my face other than through steam, general dripping, and minor spraying of water while showering will help resolve my issues. If not, then at most I might just be a bit oily and maybe flaky for a little while. I already know that not washing doesn't make me break out, so really... I'll just have to wait and see Do I have any regrets with my water-only routine? No, none at all. I wish I had a smoother texture but my skin has been so much better and I'm not too self-conscious (I even have a part-time retail job on top of being back in school full-time!) about the marks or even the clogs and such, but I definitely feel uncomfortable about my skin more than I'd like based on all I've been through. I feel like using only water is great for me, but I also feel like I've probably over-done it. I don't really recall "washing" my face growing up unless I actually had something on it like sunscreen or dirt. Otherwise I most likely just forgot my face even existed while bathing. Even if I did rinse it I want to see what happens if I just start letting go and not really putting in the effort to specifically wash my face. I'll be working out 5x a week as well, still won't forcefully wash. I know I could be setting myself up for more unhappiness but I am pretty familiar with my skin now and definitely know to not jump around on things. I will hopefully post some updates in a little while, if not later this month then in October. I really don't want to get obsessive, and I really don't know how many people will read this, but I'm sure someone will find this and find it helpful!
I've been clear now for some time, getting occasional pimples (maybe 2-3 a month?). Those lessened quite a bite over time, but in the last few months I've definitely started picking again. I pick at small whiteheads and flesh bumps, and then those worsen, and then those prompt me to pick... and on goes the cycle. I've refrained from picking for 1-2 weeks now and the changes are great. My forehead flesh bumps are almost flat (although still there, but I can barely feel or see them), the minor clogs I was getting on my chin are no longer showing up, the small pimples and whiteheads I got on my chin from picking are almost cleared up, and the clogging I was getting on my right cheekbone is mostly gone. I basically had a hard time getting past the awkward stage of the skin clearing up the remaining clogging issues. I am determined to keep this no-picking up, and hopefully in a few months I'll be able to share my success story with this and show more pictures of the minor issues I was dealing with being resolved.
My issues with acne began when I was 14, after tweezing my brows for the first time and using skincare products to try and clear it up. Thankfully my moderate acne cleared up to very mild to mild when I found a cleanser that worked for my skin, but my skin started to become more sensitive and thinner as a result of the daily manual exfoliation offered by the product. In 2010, I changed my routine around in hopes of finally finding a concrete routine that would work at keeping away all of the acne and benefiting/removing all of the other skin issues I was experiencing, but instead my skin just started to break out slowly. By the summer of 2010, my skin broke out quite a bit in what would eventually become the worst outbreak of my life. My acne went from mild to moderate to moderate to severe within 6 months, and I've been plagued with red marks and scarring because of how I treated my face. I experienced very bad pustular and sometimes nodular acne all over my cheeks and chin, as well as my chest, neck, and back. I also had bad clogged pores, and for a few months I had moderate to severe comedonal acne. For those who've had the unfortunate pleasure of reading all of my past logs, you'll know I tried numerous attempts to unsuccessfully clear up my acne via natural and DIY treatments, often going no more than a week before switching my routines around. It wasn't until the start of 2011 that I decided to completely stop using products, but until May I'd still use washcloths or my hands to scrub my skin clean and usually remained on a specific schedule/time-frame for cleansing. At the start of June, I stopped the schedules, I stopped using anything at all, and I commenced on my current water-only skincare routine, which has since cleared up my skin and has been slowly helping my skin in other respects. My current routine is to shower and let the water rinse over my face. There's no real plan to it, and no method other than not scrubbing at my face. I don't moisturize or use spot treatments, and my skin has improved substantially. So, what is my skin like now 7 months into my current routine, and a year and a half after the initial outbreak occurred? 1) My skin appears way, way less oily. Not just less oily in a visual sense, but also in a tactile sense. In the past my face would feel weighed down by the oil, and would often feel almost gummy. Now it only feels a bit tangible on the surface when I'm sweating quite a bit during humid conditions - even then it only lasts while I'm sweating and goes away once I'm able to cool down. I still get oily during the day, but it's normal-person oily, meaning just a mild sheen to the skin associated with youth. When I touch my face, I don't actually feel any residue on my fingers unless I've been sweating and did not rinse my face (as I only rinse it while I am showering, which was how I'd go about face washing as a kid - no water touched my face unless I was showering, swimming, or doing other water activities), and even that is barely even noticeable. I used to also get a weird slime feeling to the skin, which is no longer there. My face doesn't look or feel like it's collecting a pool of oil. 2) My skin is much less sensitive. This is something that was not as immediately noticeable because it was a pretty gradual change, but I find that my face rarely reacts as it used to. I only become red when I'm hot, embarrassed/emotional, or sometimes when I'm stressed. I'm even finding that I don't get too red when I'm in the cold now compared to a year ago. It no longer seems to feel irritated in other respects either, so clearly a lot of my irritation had more to do with products than with natural reactivity. 3) My skin is thicker. Again, not something that was/is super obvious, but I've been able to see that areas where little veins were once noticeable are now barely even visible. The skin doesn't look as stretched over certain areas like it once did. It's kind of hard to explain how one can tell that the skin is thicker, I guess it's just something that you have to see for yourself! 4) My skin tone looks more even, although still not perfect. I still have a bit more peach/warmth in the area around my mouth, but this is also the area that doesn't get flushed. But even when I am flushed it tends to look a lot more even than it did years ago. 5) My face doesn't feel as tight. I still have some tightness, which doesn't surprise me, but it gets better and better every day. I also still have some flaking now, which started when I stopped using products, but the flakes are less concentrated as time passes. I experienced bad flaking on my arms and legs when I went water-only for about 6 months before the skin completely shed itself, so I assume that my face will simply take longer because of how extensively I used to exfoliate and because of how much I had picked at my face. 6) I no longer experience dead skin build up. When I used to exfoliate all the time, I could only go a max of one week before dead skin could be scraped off with a finger nail. And now? I honestly don't recall the last time scratching resulted in flakes under the nail. 7) I break out less, of course. I stopped getting regular, consistent/predictable breakouts. I now maybe get a couple a month if it's a stressful month or if I've been picking, but I usually don't get new ones very often. What I do get tends to come from areas I've picked at, so I know that once I completely eliminate that problem my likelihood of experiencing small breakouts will decrease even more. Over this Christmas break I've pretty well stopped scratching at the minor flesh bumps I had on my forehead, and they are about 98% smoothed out now. This was an issue I had since the summer, and I had been scratching the flesh bumps out since last year. I am sure that there are more changes, but that's all that I can really think of now. While my skin is not perfect, I'm happy with where I am. The red marks are fading, and the scarring seems to be less pronounced with time; or maybe I just don't feel bothered by them anymore. I really do think that this is a viable routine to try out, but it's not an easy or short-term one. It needs to be approached with patience and with commitment. It won't work for everyone, but then again neither do any approaches. For now, here's a comparison of my skin at the beginning of the journey to now. I am not showing the very first pictures I took, as I feel that the artificial lighting webcam pictures aren't very clear in showing the severity of my marks (and none even really show my scarring). I know that it's hard to see any real difference between a grainy webcam picture and a digi camera picture, but bear with me, I can't go back in time to take better pics August 10, 2011: January 1, 2012:
I thought I'd post a bit of an update about my skin. For the most part, I've remained clear. And by that I mean that I still get a few pimples sometimes, but most of these are either caused by picking, lack of sleep (and thus added stress, which makes healing more difficult), or just random pimples. I currently have one small pimple and a few mini clogs, but the clogs for the most part seem to stem from my keratosis pilaris, which covers the majority of my body. Issues to continue working through: 1) Minor flaking, mostly after showers. This seems to be getting better slowly, and hopefully by the time winter ends it will be resolved. 2) Mild red marks all over my cheeks and a bit on my chin. 3) Shallow scarring on my cheeks, a few on my chin. They are either box car scars or rolling scars, or a combo of both. I also have either scarred pores or ice pick scars on my inner cheeks and between my eyebrows, the eyebrow ones being significantly less noticeable. 4) I still sometimes pick at clogs, which causes them to get worse or become pimples. So this is an issue I need to work on. My chest and neck have remained clear since I went water-only, and my back is also almost clear, especially now that I have my picking/scratching almost under control for the area. I've not yet determined if sweating was causing an issue, but I guess I will as I start getting more active again. My face on November 5th and November 9th: Something else I thought of sharing, as it was something I always found to be a bit.. silly on this website: specialty diets. A lot of people here claim that raw, paleo, or other types of diets are healthier for the body and thus better for acne. While not eating allergenic foods can likely help, I don't personally see much credit to it. I came across a study posted on io9 about energy consumed from raw food, and how more energy is attained by eating conventionally cooked foods. I found the comments section to also be a good read, especially as most of these commentators are well educated in scientific fields. The full article can only be read by creating an account with the website linked within the io9 article. http://io9.com/5857914/cooked-food-gives-us-more-energy-than-raw
I decided to create a blog entry for this, as I did not feel comfortable posting an actual forum entry for reasons I'll not discuss. It's been a few months since I stopped posting here, and it's one of the best decisions I've made in regards to acne. Acne is no longer really on my mind, just my remaining marks and shallow scarring are. When posting here, even when mostly clear, I was still worrying about breaking out. I've been able to live a much healthier life, physically and emotionally; people no longer scare me, I no longer hide, and I'm pushing myself to be more involved in my academics and exercise. I joined this website in July of 2010 because of a mild outbreak on my chin and cheeks that had become quite rash-like and pus-filled from picking. Over the course of the next 6-8 months, my acne progressively worsened due to sampling various DIY/holistic methods of skincare and not giving my skin a chance to adjust. And being on this website contributed to my constantly changing routines. By the start of 2011, I decided to swear off products, DIY or storebought, entirely. I continued to shift my methods around, and would sometimes wash with a face cloth, sometimes just using my hands, but very rarely just leaving my face alone. I also, throughout the entire year, tried the Caveman routine and wouldn't wash my face in any way for a few weeks. These approaches allowed my moderate-to-severe acne to lighten up to mild acne. Finally, by May of 2011, after my last Caveman stint, I mashed together my water-only approach with the Caveman mindset and found a routine that works. My routine is simple. Shower when I choose to (generally every evening) and let the water from the showerhead wash my face as it does my body, without scrubbing at the skin. I then dry off. No products or tools, nothing used to treat the actual acne I once had. There are likely numerous reasons as to why this worked, but the main one is simply that my acne was not a natural occurrence. I actually brought it on myself when I was 14, and everything I did to try and clear it up just made it stay longer. Once I reverted to my pre-acne approach, my skin gradually improved. Within a month and a half, the then mild acne disappeared, and for the next few months I'd mostly just get minor pimples from time to time. And as the weeks have passed, I've noticed that any pimples I do get are further and further spaced apart in time. This routine doesn't work for everyone, but I definitely think it's worth trying. I mean, if it doesn't work, it's no different than trying other routines for a few months and not seeing any results. The link to my closed log can be found here, and I'd advise reading the first entry as it contains far more information about my water-only routine and the struggles I went through. Here are some before and after pictures of my red marks; I have none of my acne, because I was too embarrassed. The red marks in my before shot are of red marks that had been fading for a few months, so it doesn't look as bad as it had earlier in the year (around April). I'm not doing anything for the marks or shallow scarring, just learning to accept it and trying to not let it affect me. I will update this once my red marks fade entirely, hopefully with better-quality pictures (these do not show my shallow cheek scars). July 23rd, 2011 (about 2-3 months after my moderate-to-severe acne became mild): September 24th, 2011 (natural lighting, no active acne - a few almost-pimples, but that's about it, everything else is just red marks and shallow scarring):