As promised, here is my update from the end of week 2.
Week 2 was definitely not what I expected. I thought it was go as well as week 1; but alas, it did not. I am not going to go into every single zit I encountered all week - but lets just say, I definitely saw new acne. I started getting a lot of new acne on my forehead. The zits around my eyebrows got better on one side and never subsided on the other. It was misery because it was definitely one of those massive ones that just won't die. I ended up having to pop that one along with a few others on my forehead. I was just getting too self-conscious and they were not going anywhere or healing.
I have only had 2 new zits around my jaw! So I guess that is good. I stopped shaving entirely because I figured that was undoing the whole point of the caveman regimen. So, again, not sure why I am still getting new zits in these areas but I am hoping that my skin just needs time to balance and heal.
Speaking of time, this week has made me realize that this process, for me, is going to take upwards to a year to see the results I want. That doesn't mean I expect perfection in a year or that I expect that one year from now I will wake up and my face will miraculously heal. I just think it is going to take a long term change to make the difference. I have started thinking about taking care of my skin in the same way as working out. There is no easy, quick solution to maintaining your body. Whether you are obsessing over losing weight or gaining weight. It just takes time and patience. Luckily, this method doesn't ask a lot of you! So, I imagine, for my face anyway, if this actually does end up working, it is just going to take a really long time. A year of leaving it completely alone will help tremendously. It will be interesting to see how it does after another few weeks and even a few months.
Additionally, this week has been extremely stressful and unlike other weeks I would call normal. We lost power on Friday night and have yet to get it back. I have visitors from out of town in and they've been in since Sunday. One of this has been driving me completely crazy and I have had to carry around my whole life back from forth from the city to a friends house where I am currently still sleeping on a couch. And even the couch didn't enter the equation until Monday night. Which means I had been dealing with no air conditioning while I slept for three nights. Needless to say, this week has been a huge clusterfuck. I am going home next week to visit my family all week so I hope that will prove to be a less stressful week and will allow my body some time to rest and recover.
If anyone is trying this or thinking of trying it then I will be the first to say that it was very hard to keep my faith in this process when I was breaking out. I had just got a short haircut so I was super annoyed that I was breaking out on my forehead. As hard as it is, I feel like you just have to put your faith in something. I put my faith in products for far too long and they did nothing for me. I read a blog where someone did this process and they basically said you just have to let your acne run its course. I do believe that I got in the first place from a combination of BP and over showering. However, I still think products are quick fixes and now I have to undo what I did by waiting. If its 6 months from now and there is absolutely NO change just new acne in different places... well then I will be skeptical of this process. Again, I don't plan on never letting water hit my face again - I am just letting the skin heal first. As soon as it doesn't seem so dry, flaky (dead skin mask) etc... anymore, I will start using water once a day in the shower. I envy those for who this process worked faster. I suppose my skin just needs more time. Time will only tell I guess.
My skin does look better today! The zits on my forehead are drying up and today is the last day I have my visitors. I am seriously just hoping once I am home and relaxed I will see this process working a little better than it has this dreaded week.
Wish me luck!
I know I said I wasn't going to post again for another week but I needed to add a few details.
- No new acne today!
- All the acne I spoke of in Day 6 is going away! Yay!
- I wanted to make sure I updated everyone on two other changes to my routine that I believe are helping.
1. I am extra careful when brushing my teeth to not let any toothpaste get on my skin. I am even trying my hardest to ensure that i get as little as possible on my lips. Wouldn't it be interesting if that was a factor in why so many people's lips are dry?
2. I am now making sure to get at least 1 tablespoon of flaxseed oil in order to boost my daily omega 3 intake. Since our sebaceous glands use the oils in our diet to produce sebum, I want to make sure I am getting enough of each kind! And salmon is expensive! In order for this to be effective, I bought the refrigerated, cold pressed and unfiltered, organic flaxseed oil from Whole Foods. I bought a more expensive brand because it was higher quality. Again, I am not over doing it; just about a tablespoon a day.
As for the comment on my previous post: I really appreciate your concern! Please do not worry though. I have been to the dermatologist and I have done these creams and anti-biotics before. I am sure that people with severe acne may need these kinds of solutions. My skin is just really sensitive and needs to recover from a few years of harsh chemicals and over moisturizing. Believe me, I can tell this is what my face needs just by the way it looks after 7 days. I have insurance and if need be, I will go back to the dermatologist. However, I am almost 100% positive this has to do with my skin needing to readjust.
My honest opinion is that too many anti-biotics for too long will destroy all the healthy bacteria in your body. Studies are showing that it is difficult to repopulate your body after you have been on anti-biotics long term. Believe what you will but it makes no logical sense that Americans need to be on anti-biotics and nobody else does.
I think acne starts when you reach adolescence, triggered by hormonal imbalances and probably triggered by our health and eating habits at that age. It lasts or starts into adulthood for some, like me, because a lot of people, especially white people, have sensitive skin and try to resolve their acne by putting chemicals on their face in hopes of fixing it. For me, that threw off the balance of moisture in my skin which lotion cannot fix. All of those solutions are short term fixes.
I agree that not washing your whatsoever is an extreme. I do not intend on continuing this regimen forever. Like I said, I am waiting for my skin to stop feeling so dry and to start looking healthy, smooth, and a little moist. That is when I will know my skin has reached a healthy balance and can tolerate a shower every now and again. But everyone is different. You really do have to find your own balance. For people with sensitive skin, I would go the route of washing/cleansing less. It just makes the most sense.
Ok, update for week 2 next week!
Day 6 was sort of a set back - I mentioned earlier that I had these two zits above my eyebrows. Those are still there and there appears to be another on my forehead and another above my eyebrow. However, this is likely my fault. Because I have a hard time leaving the zits alone, I tend to touch and feel where I know zits are on my face. Therefore, I have a feeling my touching and slight picking has caused these new zits. So here is my advice even though we have all heard it a MILLION TIMES - DO NOT PICK. Don't even touch your face.
Therefore, I have adopted yet another plan of action concerning my face. No more mirrors. With the exception of brushing my teeth and driving, I will not be using any more mirrors. They only cause me to obsess over what my skin looks like and search for every blemish I could possibly find. With it only being day 6, I realized I am never going to see the results I want if I do not allow myself to stop obsessing.
So now I have to let these annoying zits above my eyebrows work themselves out. UGH! But seriously, inspection of skin had to stop. I literally promised myself I would limit my mirror use to avoid touching and/or picking.
Upon reflection, I realized picking is a lot like using products on your face to begin with. You see something, go to pick at it, and end up causing more harm than you would have if you just left it alone in the first place. Its also just silly because I am not letting water touch my face so why do I continue to convince myself it is ok to pick with my fingers?! Oh man, lesson finally learned. Hopefully this won't be too much of a set back.
NO new zits anywhere else! And the skin around my chin is looking much better! And I shaved with my electric razor last night so I was a little concerned for what it was going to look like this morning. But no irritation that I could see!
In general, what I am noticing is that on a daily basis, there is not a lot to share. In fact, while it was helpful to keep up with this routine on a daily basis, I am now realizing that this routine is going to take a rather long time to fully heal and show the effects that I actually want to see. Therefore, in the same way I am going to give up mirrors, I am not going to blog about my skin daily anymore. I do, however, want to keep up with the blog and promise I will! But, I want to sort of wait for a few days at a time. I probably won't update again until another week has passed and so on.
So there you go! Almost completed a whole week on the caveman method. I can honestly say, given my slight picking and the regenerating my skin needs, my skin is starting to look better. Not great but not horrible! I will keep you all updated once a week! My new "end" goal is to get to August 20th - that is my first day back at work so I figured it was a good day to arbitrarily assign as my "end" date. I say "end" because I am not sure I will continue to only take baths and never get my face wet, whatsoever. My guess is that I will occasionally shower and occasionally take a bath. Wash my face with water every once in a while and leave it alone otherwise. But that all depends on this "end" date of mine. My determination will be made based on whether or not I continue getting new zits. If I continue getting them, I am going to assume I need to keep letting my skin heal. I have read that for some people this can take months. And I am determined to see it through. However, if I feel like my skin is no longer tight, the flakes have gone away on their own, and I am not getting new acne, I will start letting water hit my face again...every once in a while!
Check back in a week! Hopefully these blasted zits from my picking will dissipate soon!
Day 5 was wonderful! All the existing spots are drying up and should be gone within a few days. NO new acne - which is a great feeling. Continuing to stay out of the sun for any prolonged periods of time and keeping my blanket away from my face when I sleep.. to the best of my ability.
There is one spot on the left side of my face, close to my chin, where there might be a new acne spot. This is the most woeful spot on my face... not sure why this one particular spot on my face gets so overwhelmed. Assuming it has to do with the blanket and sun exposure. REALLY want that spot to finally clear up. Not even shaving until it clears up enough to tell if that spot is going to continue to break out. In the past, this spot was the really bad one that literally never gave way once it started breaking out.
However, this really does seem to be working. I will be better able to tell tomorrow for that particular spot on my face. Fingers crossed!
Otherwise, I worked out today and sweat. Once the sweat dried my skin looked fine. It does get itchier after working out. My "dry skin mask" is definitely building up. Sometimes the urge to itch is so annoying! However, I resist as best as possible. By the 5th day, there is really no turning back. Especially since I didn't get any new acne.
The only thing I am wondering now is - does the dry skin start to go away on its own? Every persons blog I've read about this method says it does. I just want this gross layer of shit on my face to eventually get a little smoother. I'd also like to be able to shower and get my face a little wet occasionally. I will make sure to keep everyone updated on how that progress comes along!!
Day 4 was a big, big improvement! Having stayed out of the sun, I noticed no new acne marks. The others are now having to heal so that will probably take a few extra days. Again, completely keeping my face out of the sun and continuing to force myself not to pick.
Otherwise, I really don't have a lot to say. I feel like the plugs all over my face are starting to get looser and looser. I really just think my face is ultra sensitive. Some parts are just not made for a lot of sun exposure. And as of now, I cannot put lotion on my face so no sun it is!
Oh, I also made another adjustment. I tend to sleep in the fetal position with my blanket pulled up to my face. I am trying to fall asleep without having the blanket pulled up to my face so it will not touch the parts of my face that are breaking out worse. If I sleep on my pillow with just my cheek touching I don't have any problems. However, the side of my face around my chin breaks out badly where the blanket touches it. My guess is that its too much like wiping my face with a washcloth. Needs to be left completely alone - therefore, I am being more conscious about that.
Some of the things I am trying are great because I realize what is probably causing my acne now that I am not washing my face. Taking everything I consciously do to my face away makes me far more aware of what is causing acne in the first place. Sensitive skin, man. Gotta be so careful!
So, day 3 was definitely a set back. The sweat did nothing to cause acne - even after letting it dry on from being at the pool & working out the day prior. However, I did get some new acne spots in places where my acne tends to flare up - the most sensitive places on my face. My conclusion is that it was a cause of the sun exposure.
I know this is the case because while I was in the car/out of the sun my skin felt dry and hot - not necessarily from sun burn but just from the exposure on my face. It also makes sense that my skin always clears up really nicely when I spend a lot of time OUT of the sun. Therefore, I am wearing hats for the duration of this caveman experiment. Absolutely no sun on my face - especially because I cannot put sunscreen on right now. Going to buy a new hat this week!
It also makes sense that the sun is part of the reason why I am having issues - when I went to college, I started walking every where. I spent way more time outside in the sun than I ever had in high school - started walking to classes every day, running outside, etc... No more of that! Maybe this is common sense to some people but I never realized that my skin was that sensitive. I will make sure to keep the really sensitive parts of my skin out of the sun from now on - and that includes my face!
So, when I woke up this morning, the white heads that had previously been there were still there and just about ready to bust. I did very carefully dispose of one (probably shouldn't have but I couldn't help myself.)
New acne - I did have a few new bumps. They were all centered around me eyebrows and one between my eyes. They aren't huge and they are all 3 under the skin. My guess is they will turn to white heads and dry up. It is no surprise to me that this is the case. The first few days are not going to yield perfect results just yet.
Old acne - all my pre-existing acne bumps that were not white heads are starting to just dry up and go away... Never even came to the surface. That was fast!
I imagine I will see a few set backs along the way but so far I am pleased. Last night, my skin did look a little shiny in some areas and a little flaky in others. However, when I woke up it was definitely not as greasy. I wouldn't say my complexion has completely normalized yet but it does look better than when I was even using water.
Dead skin - you can definitely see the dead skin but it's not so noticeable that I would need to cover it with a moisturizer. As the day progressed, it slowly started looking a little less flaky.
My results may be slightly different from someone who jumps straight into the caveman method because I stopped using all products two weeks ago and I stopped using harsh products over a year ago. Even so, my face is definitely in need of repair!
I plan on working out later on today so I will include how my skin does with the sweat in the Day 3 update.
**For those of you who, like me, have a hard time when there lacks instant gratification: I am definitely not loving the way my face looks at the moment. I can still see under the surface, little bumps on my chin, around my upper lip, and on my forehead. This is a test of patience and common sense. I wish I had done it earlier so I wouldn't have to be doing it right now. But, hopefully my experience will work out and then it can help someone else feeling helpless. Also, writing about it had given me a larger sense of control for some reason. I feel less inclined to even look at it or obsess over what is there now that I am writing and keeping track of my progress.
So, I decided to track my progress during an experiment of not washing my face. I never got acne until college - I started working out more often and showering more often - hence, I started seeing a lot more acne than I ever previously saw. Unfortunately, my knee jerk reaction was running to the dermatologist and getting on antibiotics & a BP body wash. I followed that regimen with daily moisturizer for a quite some time.
To make matters worse, this actually worked really well for me. It wasn't until I got off the medication that I started seeing the acne come back. Eventually, I had enough experimentation - I tried gentle soaps, medication again, Retin-A, the oil cleansing method - blah blah blah. Basically, at some point I lost sight of attempting to understand the biology behind my skin for a quick, simple solution to my skin problems.
I have occasionally used this website for a quick consulting measure - I only decided to blog my attempts at just not washing my face, whatsoever, on this website in order to help someone else who may feel the same way I felt.
First off, I was convinced I must have oily skin. I would wash with something strong or gentle and without a doubt, my skin got immediately oily. It has only been recently that I realized I actually have very dry skin - most likely on account of using products for so long. Additionally, I want to point out that I have never had anything beyond mild acne. At my very worst moments, it may have been considered moderate. However, that was definitely while using products!
Two weeks ago, I decided to stop washing my face with all products. As a kid and a teenager, I never washed my face. I was always late for school (haha) so I had to roll out of bed most mornings. Additionally, when I showered at night, I never washed my face. My mom was always ragging on me to wash my face but my dad never did - she had acne and he did not. However, in college, I started showering in the mornings, working out and showering again, and drinking alcohol. It was these changes that I believe led me to get acne to begin with. Not the working out but instead the extra showering! Over cleansing combined with heavy college drinking led to my skin drying out completely. I know this is what happened because I started getting back acne as well - and I never had that!
So back to two weeks ago - I was talking to my brother who said he only used water to wash his face because his skin was so dry. So for two weeks, I have been doing the water only method. I believe this method could probably work just fine for someone like ME a few years ago, before I damaged my skin with all these stupid products and such. However, this method is still a bit too much cleansing, even just once a day! While doing this water only cleansing, I have noticed more white heads than I ever got while using products but way less red, bumpy acne. It has taken literally every ounce of self control not to pop the white heads - they are just disgusting. Anyway, I have been reading posts from people on the internet that have tried this caveman method of not touching their faces, even with water. I decided to convert from only water to caveman in order to see how this affects my skin. Reason mostly being that I think my skin is still in need of more recovery than water only can provide it. Apparently this caveman method will allow for your "acid mantle" to reform and heal your skin through a build up of sweat, sebum, and dead skin. Also, a note on moisturizing - I stopped using my moisturizer because my brother did not use one. I am not using one for this caveman method either. I am going completely natural.
1. I eat pretty healthy. The worst I consume is the occasional cookie, here and there. And even those are vegan/dairy free. I do not consume dairy at all so I know this isn't a factor that contributes to my acne.
2. I try to drink a glass of water fairly regularly. Probably have about 8 to 10 glasses of water a day. I am not sure whether or not it makes THE difference when it comes to everyone's acne but since I noticed my acne getting worse (before harsh products) from dehydration and overcleansing, I want to make sure I am getting plenty of water.
3. I shave with an electric razor and I am still going to shave the parts of my face that grow hair. I do not get much but I do get enough to where I have to shave every other day or so. I am going to try to limit this because it will inevitably cause that part of my face to dry out more than the rest... but I refuse to not shave. My facial hair doesn't come in evenly so that is not an option
4. I am probably going to just take baths and not get the upper half of my body wet. For some people this may seem gross - I am just trying to normalize my skin so I can enjoy the occasional shower without fear of breaking out after this is all said and done.
5. Working out - I am just going to keep working out - I will probably just pat my face dry from sweat with a paper towel at the gym and call it quits.
I am literally terrified to try this but I am also ALL done with acne. I need to just find what works for me and this is literally the closest to returning to the way I used to take care of my body that I can get. I will keep everyone updated, day by day! I hope this ends up helping someone else with sensitive skin like mine!