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Just water is still working after 2 years

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47 year old male here who used to get cystic type pimples usually in the T zone about twice a month or more. They would take a week or 3 to totally go away. I tried everything short of Accutane. About 5 years ago I saw some improvement with a washing and moisturizing routine but was still fighting those big ones a few times a month (ice, used early, was the only hope).

About 2 years ago I finally got to the point that I wanted to try the thing that scared me the most - doing absolutely nothing. Some people call it the caveman routine. I let my face get wet once a day in the shower and pat it dry afterward with a towel and that is it. The first few weeks were strange as my face created this layer of oil and gunk but that eventually went away and now my face feels clean all the time.

There have been breakouts since then, but they are never as bad as before (they happen about once every 3 months). They also don't bother me as much psychologically - not having a washing routine has helped me let go of the anxiety of constantly wondering what was happening under the surface.

How do I explain this? I think all the washing (just twice a day) was clearing away my body's natural defenses. Simple as that. Does this work for everyone? I don't think so - but I also believe that the beauty industry and certainly the dermatology industry is not going to promote a solution that doesn't put any money in their pockets.

I remember reading about it (on this site) YEARS before I tried it. So hopefully this message is going to reach at least one person who is at wits end. Give it a try for a few months. You can always go back to your favorite routine if you don't think it is working. 

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Over the years I have heard many people try this, and most of the time it doesn't seem to work. 

I love the idea of it--letting nature run its course. But unfortunately it seems like treating is almost always better than not treating.

Question: Did you change anything else at the same time? Start eating less maybe? Often when people go natural with things, they accompany it with eating "better," which equates to eating less. When you go lower on calories and are losing weight, the skin can clear up. But when you ultimately level off in weight, that's when acne can come back. Curious about that part of your journey.

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I was about to say no - no other changes but this was around the same time that I started intermittent fasting for other health reasons. I just skip breakfast really. I think I consume about the same calories per day but don't have any from 7:30 PM until 1:00 PM the next day. I never thought it had anything to do with the acne clearing up...but it certainly might. 

Since that is a permanent change (my other health condition will never go away) I don't have to worry about things reverting.


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I've tried the 'caveman' thing once or twice and the longest was for about 9 weeks! I just found my skin got so dry and blotchy and flaked all the time. I never saw that 'levelling off' period. Eventually I had to return to exfoliating the dead skin and then using something to moisturise.

I think this routine would possibly be more effective for those with oilier skin than dry/combination? 

I do also think though that less is more. I read some people's daily skincare routines and wonder how they manage to get anything else done in a day... I'm not sure I believe our skin was designed for double cleansing, toners, serums, acid peels etc. etc.

But whatever works for the individual I suppose. 

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