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!