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bryan

Still more evidence against the "feedback theory"

I hope that by now, most people here have already read my old thread "The myth of skin washing and sebum production", which details some of the experiments that Kligman et al did many years ago to show that washing doesn't stimulate the sebaceous glands to produce more oil and sebum, but to the contrary, showed that sebum is produced continuously, without regard to what's sitting on the surface of the skin. However, I was recently re-reading some old studies and articles I have here, and I came across a completely different type of experiment which ALSO provides powerful evidence against the 'feedback theory'. I had completely forgotten about this experiment, so I'll recount it here, just in case there's anyone who still thinks that washing or shampooing causes more oil to be produced as a "compensatory mechanism" by the body.

This experiment was described in the book Hair Research (Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, 1981) in a chapter titled "Studies on the Effect of Shampoos on Scalp Lipids and Bacteria", performed by A.M. Kligman, K.J. McGinley, and J.J. Leyden (all of whom, BTW, are famous for their work in dermatology...Leyden is particularly well-known for his research into acne). Volunteers agreed to stop shampooing for four weeks under supervision. The subjects were requested to avoid swimming or wetting their hair during showering. They measured the levels of sebum/oil on their scalps during this experiment by a simple but VERY effective, brute-force method: they "washed" the subjects' hair/scalps with a full liter of ether, during which sebum was thoroughly and reliably extracted. Afterwards, the ether was evaporated, leaving behind the lipids which were then carefully and accurately measured.

After a full 4 weeks of NO SHAMPOOING AT ALL, the average amount of lipid extracted from the hair/scalps of the 10 subjects measured 803 mg. Now here's the rub: next they did a period of intensive hair-shampooing, every day for 21 days in a row. 24 hours after that last shampoo on the 21st day , the average amount of lipid extracted from their hair/scalps was only 356 mg. Four days after that, a second extraction produced an average amount of 787 mg of lipid.

Here are some selected comments from the text of their study which pertain directly to the issue of the 'feedback theory': "With daily shampooing for 21 days, the total lipid and the amount of scales were significantly lower than pretreatment values twenty-four hours after the last shampoo. Four days later these values were back to base-line figures....Daily shampooing did not alter sebum production. The mean four-day accumulation afterwards was 787 mg, compared to 803 before the test....In the current study, the sebum output, even in dandruff subjects, was not at all affected by three weeks of intensive shampooing. Kligman & Shelley concluded, in an earlier work, that the production of sebum is constant regardless of whether the oil is removed or not. That is, the sebaceous gland is not subject to regulatory control by a negative feedback system (Kligman & Shelley 1958)..."

Bryan

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i dont care because im not following the hippie regimen .. but what you're quoting is a study done on hair, not the face. the behavior of sebum could be totally different for the two. just sayin.

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Uh, NO. I'm quoting a study done on sebaceous glands. Sebaceous glands in the scalp.

Bryan

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Sebaceous glands are mediated by androgens, not by how many times you wash your face. If washing your face some how caused your skin to produce more oil to "counter act" over drying, then get someone who doesnt have an oily complexion to wash there face 5 times a day with a cleanser of some type and see what happens. They will have a dry face from cleansing too much. There face wont produce more oil to "counter act" over drying.

Washing your face too often does not cause more oil to be produced. As I said earlier, sebaceous glands are mediated by androgens, not how often you wash your face.

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My sister (who lives in another country) has been in town visiting me for the last several days, and she took this opportunity to make a couple of routine doctor visits. One of those happened to be with a dermatologist, so I gave her some written questions to have him answer for me while she was there. These were the questions: "Is it TRUE or FALSE that washing the skin stimulates the sebaceous glands to produce more oil/sebum? Is there any scientific PROOF for that, one way or the other?"

My sister later told me that he read the questions, smiled, and replied that in his clinical experience, that idea about skin washing causing more sebum production was probably "just an Old Wives' Tale" (those were his exact words, she said), although he wasn't aware of any studies which tested it specifically. When I asked how old the doctor was, she replied that he appeared to be in his early 40's. What I find interesting is that the dermatologist was apparently too young to know about Kligman and Shelley's early work in 1958, although he had no illusions about the "feedback theory", based on what he'd seen with his own two eyes over the years! ;)

Bryan

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My god...give it up

Everyone knows oil will always produce. The thing is, washing the face more causes more oil to produce. I can careless what the hell doctors say. I've done my own experiments an am 100% positive washing the face more cause more oil to produce.

It could be just me, but i dont think so. Ask anyone on this site that washes their face twice a day if their skin is oily. They will say yes.

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I can only speak from my own experience, but I inherited my father's oily skin (and his acne)...he doesn't wash his face very much at all. Only when he showers. He uses nothing on his face. His skin is naturally oily, even though he doesn't wash his face nearly as much as I do (which is twice daily, as I am on the Regimen). It doesn't make a difference with his skin- it's still oily. It's likely that it would be the same for me.

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Ballaballa, same with me. During summer years ago I remember washing my face 3 times a day. Well, when I got back to school, I could of course not wash mid-day, so at the beginning for a few days to a week, my skin was super oily and sheeny, shiny during the day. But the skin got used to this and the oil production died down big time to normal. I was no longer shiny or had a sheen during the day and didn't feel any oil on my skin anymore.

Who has ever tested that there is a "SET AMOUNT" of oil released from the pores on a daily basis? It VARIES depending on many factors.

Many of these experiments are very faulty. Likely another study could discount that one.

Do you really think the sebaceous glands and skin of the scalp are as sensitive or inflammed as the face? You could do the same with the sebaceous glands on the back and still get different results. You can even check the oil production beforehand and likely they won't be the same? If they are not, then no it isnt like "Testing the same thing". And likely they are not the same because you get acne mostly on your face, little if any on your back or chest, much less head, in comparison.

When I go to RX sites, they say ". Twice-daily washing is sufficient. More frequent exposure to water and medications can cause overdrying and rebound secretion of sebum. "

One reason how I can say this is faulty to BEGIN with is that going from washing your face daily to not washing at all could cause major extra excess of sebum in the first several days or longer. And then it starts to lessen. The way they performed the test is all wrong. They took a sample of that whole period combined at one time at the end.

Plus giving a test where these people are unsupervised for four weeks and you think they never washed their hair once during this time or even used a towel or paper towel to dry up some oil when they were utter greaseballs? Normal people aren't used to those conditions to begin with, much less for a month!

-------

"24 hours after that last shampoo on the 21st day , the average amount of lipid extracted from their hair/scalps was only 356 mg. Four days after that, a second extraction produced an average amount of 787 mg of lipid."

"After a full 4 weeks of NO SHAMPOOING AT ALL, the average amount of lipid extracted from the hair/scalps of the 10 subjects measured 803 mg."

So four weeks of sebum added up to 803 mg in this scenario and ONLY four days after shampooing there is 787 mg??

How does four weeks of sebum compiled equate sebum accumulated over four days? Seems to be a discrepency there.

And this still doesn't accurately answer the starting question. An average does not account for individual results. Why not show individual testing? Seems they use averages or means, whatever goes in their favor to substantiate a claim, no matter how the results were contrived.

What kind of skin types? Did any of these people actually have inflammed skin or any skin ailments in which their oil glands might be extra sensitive or easily manipulated? Well, probably not because we are using scalp which is usually not a problem to begin with. Unless there is a dandruff problem.

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My god...give it up

Everyone knows oil will always produce. The thing is, washing the face more causes more oil to produce.

My god...give it up.

I've suggested ways for you to test that hypothesis SCIENTIFICALLY, but you refuse to do that. That's because you have no sense of the Scientific Method, and you don't know or care how scientists test theories or hypotheses. You're content to believe what you want to believe, science be damned.

I can careless what the hell doctors say.

I believe you meant to say that you CAN'T care less. :rolleyes:

I've done my own experiments an am 100% positive washing the face more cause more oil to produce.

Your experimental technique leaves something to be desired.

It could be just me, but i dont think so. Ask anyone on this site that washes their face twice a day if their skin is oily. They will say yes.

You have a fundamental inability to distinguish Cause from Effect. People don't have oily skin because they wash their face twice a day, they wash their face twice a day because they have oily skin! ;)

Bryan

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One reason how I can say this is faulty to BEGIN with is that going from washing your face daily to not washing at all could cause major extra excess of sebum in the first several days or longer. And then it starts to lessen.

HUH?? Then how do you explain the fact that they absolutely, positively did NOT get a "major excess of sebum" in the first several days?? The very fact that that it DIDN'T happen is what refutes the "feedback theory", which you seem to be presupposing.

The way they performed the test is all wrong. They took a sample of that whole period combined at one time at the end.

Please describe to me how YOU would have performed the test. BE SPECIFIC, so that I can understand where you're coming from. Let's see if you can really make a good case for the alleged existence of a problem with the design of their experiment.

Plus giving a test where these people are unsupervised for four weeks and you think they never washed their hair once during this time or even used a towel or paper towel to dry up some oil when they were utter greaseballs? Normal people aren't used to those conditions to begin with, much less for a month!

Oh, so are you denying the validity and accuracy of their experiment? Is that the only way you have of challenging their results, just by denying that it really happened like they said?

"24 hours after that last shampoo on the 21st day , the average amount of lipid extracted from their hair/scalps was only 356 mg. Four days after that, a second extraction produced an average amount of 787 mg of lipid."

"After a full 4 weeks of NO SHAMPOOING AT ALL, the average amount of lipid extracted from the hair/scalps of the 10 subjects measured 803 mg."

So four weeks of sebum added up to 803 mg in this scenario and ONLY four days after shampooing there is 787 mg??

Correct. It takes about three or four days for the "casual level" of sebum in the scalp and hair to get back to the typical, "normal" level after being thoroughly degreased.

How does four weeks of sebum compiled equate sebum accumulated over four days? Seems to be a discrepency there.

Not at all. See the statement above.

The part of it which YOU cannot explain (using the "feedback theory", of course) is why, despite three weeks of intensive shampooing, the casual level of sebum in the hair and scalp was still well-below what it was before, 24 hours after the last shampoo. And another 4 days later after that, it was still only just about to return to the previous value. What happened to that alleged frenzy of oil production that washing is supposed to cause?? :think:

And this still doesn't accurately answer the starting question. An average does not account for individual results. Why not show individual testing? Seems they use averages or means, whatever goes in their favor to substantiate a claim, no matter how the results were contrived.

You discount the results because they used average results from 10 different people? Is THAT the best you can do?? Weak. VERY VERY weak.

Bryan

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"HUH?? Then how do you explain the fact that they absolutely, positively did NOT get a "major excess of sebum" in the first several days??"

How would you know that when you said they took the test 28 days after no shampooing? They didn't measure in increments on that test.

From how YOU described, they measured sebum accumulated after a 28 day period. How on earth can they compare that to a level of sebum only measured accumulated at day four?

You failed to answer many of my concerns, so I suspect you don't know the answers and this "study" isn't very credible.

"Oh, so are you denying the validity and accuracy of their experiment? Is that the only way you have of challenging their results, just by denying that it really happened like they said?"

Are you serious? There are so many experiments with errors, it's not even funny. I'd suggest you yourself instead of trying to find ANY little study here and there to substantiate YOUR claim just to prove a point, to instead keep your mind open so that you can judge from BOTH SIDES, not just one. Then MAYBe eventually you can find the REAL answer.

Yes, one major point is... considering they left most of the experiment in the SUBJECTS' hands, there is room for incredible errors.

I can probably find a zillion studies to back whatever claim I wanted. Doesn't mean they are accurate.

What I find weak as this being your only resource. ONE experiment done in 1958 (1958!!! a time when procedures and protocol was very lax) that is concerning the SCALP sebaceous glands. You cannot base a conclusion on one experiment, unless another organization is able to mimic it. And there has to be something better that was done on the face AT LEAST? And not with people who barely produce oil as it is. Hopefully people with oil issues.

Did they disclose the ages of the people tested? What was posted sounded pretty vague.

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"HUH?? Then how do you explain the fact that they absolutely, positively did NOT get a "major excess of sebum" in the first several days??"

How would you know that when you said they took the test 28 days after no shampooing? They didn't measure in increments on that test.

I'm not sure what you mean by "measure in increments" on that test. Please explain.

The point of that was that after a full 28 days of no shampooing at all, their sebaceous glands were MOST CERTAINLY at a point of minimum activity (according to the "feedback theory", of course). That prevents YOU from trying to raise some objection by saying that they still needed to wait a longer period of time before commencing the shampoo part of the test.

From how YOU described, they measured sebum accumulated after a 28 day period. How on earth can they compare that to a level of sebum only measured accumulated at day four?

Because it DOESN'T accumulate in that way, unless you take very careful steps to prevent its loss. See the "cup" experiment in my thread "The myth of skin washing and sebum production."

You failed to answer many of my concerns, so I suspect you don't know the answers and this "study" isn't very credible.

It's up to YOU to express your concerns. I can't read your mind. BTW, I'm still waiting for you to explain exactly how YOU would have performed the experiment.

"Oh, so are you denying the validity and accuracy of their experiment? Is that the only way you have of challenging their results, just by denying that it really happened like they said?"

Are you serious? There are so many experiments with errors, it's not even funny. I'd suggest you yourself instead of trying to find ANY little study here and there to substantiate YOUR claim just to prove a point, to instead keep your mind open so that you can judge from BOTH SIDES, not just one. Then MAYBe eventually you can find the REAL answer.

I can probably find a zillion studies to back whatever claim I wanted. Doesn't mean they are accurate.

LOL!! I've looked at ALL the available evidence on this issue, both pro and con, which is a hell of a lot more than YOU have done. The only objections you've made so far (such as they are) are just nitpicky stuff. You clearly haven't read the mass of material that's available, nor do you really understand (yet) the technical issues. But if you stick with me through all this, you eventually WILL! :)

Bryan

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There are too many questions to raise over this faulty experiment - I can name many more - and too few answers I'm receiving from you to legitimately explain the results. So, I'm not wasting more time on this. I don't hold it as very legitimate though. There are many pieces missing as to how they carried out the study and in what time increments samples were taken. It just doesn't add up as making much sense from here and I'm not too interested in reading about it either. I already know what IS and what ISN'T from personal experience. Enough said.

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What I find weak as this being your only resource. ONE experiment done in 1958 (1958!!! a time when procedures and protocol was very lax)...

Before you shoot your mouth off any more about the "lax protocols" in 1958, I strongly suggest that you actually READ the full study, which wasn't just ONE experiment, but a whole SET of various experiments that they performed to test various ideas and notions relating to the "feedback theory" very thoroughly.

...that is concerning the SCALP sebaceous glands. You cannot base a conclusion on one experiment, unless another organization is able to mimic it. And there has to be something better that was done on the face AT LEAST?

The 1958 experiments were done on the FACE, the 1981 experiments were done on the SCALP. The results were the same: they all refuted the "feedback theory".

And not with people who barely produce oil as it is. Hopefully people with oil issues.

They DID include people with "oil issues"!! :D Many of the subjects in the 1958 experiments were described as "sebaceous athletes", because of the large amounts of oil they produced from their faces! :D :D

Did they disclose the ages of the people tested? What was posted sounded pretty vague.

They did describe in general terms their ages. I'll have to dig up the studies again...

There are too many questions to raise over this faulty experiment - I can name many more - and too few answers I'm receiving from you to legitimately explain the results. So, I'm not wasting more time on this.

Yeah, right.

Bryan

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"The point of that was that after a full 28 days of no shampooing at all, their sebaceous glands were MOST CERTAINLY at a point of minimum activity (according to the "feedback theory", of course). That prevents YOU from trying to raise some objection by saying that they still needed to wait a longer period of time before commencing the shampoo part of the test."

No, I wasn't thinking of waiting longer.

But if the scalp wasn't washed for 28 days, they took a sample of the accumulated oils from the past 28 days. Not oil just released from one day.

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But if the scalp wasn't washed for 28 days, they took a sample of the accumulated oils from the past 28 days. Not oil just released from one day.

Listen to what I'm trying to tell you: they measured the casual level of oils and sebum from the scalp and hair, which tends to reach a "steady-state" level after a relatively short period of time (just a few days). But despite intensive shampooing for 21 consecutive days afterwards, the casual level returned to nearly the same level after another 4 days of non-washing. THERE WAS NO INCREASED RATE OF SEBUM PRODUCTION, despite all that washing.

Bryan

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But if the scalp wasn't washed for 28 days, they took a sample of the accumulated oils from the past 28 days. Not oil just released from one day.

Listen to what I'm trying to tell you: they measured the casual level of oils and sebum from the scalp and hair, which tends to reach a "steady-state" level after a relatively short period of time (just a few days). But despite intensive shampooing for 21 consecutive days afterwards, the casual level returned to nearly the same level after another 4 days of non-washing. THERE WAS NO INCREASED RATE OF SEBUM PRODUCTION, despite all that washing.

Bryan

The same person did both studies, but did anyone else ever care to?

Explain what the "casual level" is?

But it takes time to reach a steady state? Why should it if washing or not washing is not supposed to affect anything?

I still don't understand how they did the study, but I don't want to waste too much time on worrying about sebum either. GL in finding the answers. Because the medical field is still as clueless about acne as it was 50 years ago probably.

These boards would be non-existent if they knew anything worth a damn. Pardon my french.

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The same person did both studies, but did anyone else ever care to?

Kligman was involved in both studies, but there were other doctors involved, too.

1958 experiments: Kligman and Shelley.

1981 experiments: Kligman, McGinley, and Leyden.

Explain what the "casual level" is?

The "casual level" of sebum generally refers to the amount of oil/sebum that you find on the surface of the skin when it hasn't been washed or wiped away recently. It generally reaches a fairly steady level after a period of time...a point where the amount that's being produced by the sebaceous glands is relatively balanced by the amount that's being lost from the surface of the skin by oxidation and sloughing-off, inadvertent contact with hands or clothes, etc.

Assuming that you haven't just stepped out of the shower a few minutes ago, if you were to lean forward right now and press your forehead against the glass of your computer monitor, the grease mark you'd probably see left behind is an indication of the sebum casual level on your face right now! :)

The sebum production rate, on the other hand, means something else (you also occasionally see terms like sebum excretion rate, or sebum secretion rate). It refers NOT to the amount of sebum that's simply found on the surface of the skin at some particular point in time, but to the actual rate that sebum is being produced deep within the glands. For example, the production rate on the forehead of a typical teenager might be something on the order of 2 mg/square-centimeter/hour (I just made that number up, mainly to demonstrate the units with which it's measured). And yes, it's much trickier and more difficult to measure production rates than it is to measure "casual" levels.

But it takes time to reach a steady state? Why should it if washing or not washing is not supposed to affect anything?

Because it takes TIME for sebum levels to build-up enough to be noticeable on your skin or scalp, after you've thoroughly washed it all off. Estimates for the time it takes to reach typical "casual" levels have varied a little from one researcher to another, but Kligman & Shelley etimated that figure to be around 3 to 4 hours for facial skin, and my OWN experiments on my own skin with Sebutape support that estimate.

You need to read my older thread entitled "The myth of skin washing and sebum production", which is currently on about the third or fourth page of this "Acne Research" forum. It gives more detail about all this stuff we've been discussing. Here's a simple and concise summary (written by some doctors) from my very first post in that thread, which briefly discusses why casual levels eventually stop increasing:

"Sebum secretion and sebaceous lipids." - published in Dermatologic Clinics, Vol. 1, No. 3, July 1983.

"... These observations gave rise to a long-lived fallacy (1927-1957) that was posthumously christened the 'feedback theory' by Kligman and Shelley (23). The idea was that sebaceous glands secrete only when necessary to replenish lipid that has been wiped or washed away. Nothing known about the physiology of sebaceous glands gives any theoretical support to this concept, and it has been thoroughly disproved experimentally (23). Sebum is secreted continuously. The reason that lipid levels eventually cease to increase apparently is that the skin can hold only a certain amount of lipid in its crevices, and the rest tends to flow away from sites of high sebum production (23)."

23) Kligman, A. M., and Shelley, W. B.: "An Investigation of the Biology of the Human Sebaceous Gland". Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 30:99-124, 1958.

I still don't understand how they did the study, but I don't want to waste too much time on worrying about sebum either. GL in finding the answers. Because the medical field is still as clueless about acne as it was 50 years ago probably.

These boards would be non-existent if they knew anything worth a damn. Pardon my french.

Thanks for the nice wishes, but I already KNOW the basic facts pertaining to the production of sebum by the sebaceous glands, and they ain't what most people here seem to assume! ;) We may not have all the answers regarding the etiology and treatment of acne, but certain basic facts of sebaceous gland physiology have already been demonstrated by Kligman and his co-workers.

Bryan

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Bryan has provided some sound evidence, i dont know why everyone is getting bent out of shape about it. It is helpful to read and understand those studies. At least now people can stop worrying about there face being oily because they washed it once too many times today.

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Bryan has provided some sound evidence, i dont know why everyone is getting bent out of shape about it. It is helpful to read and understand those studies. At least now people can stop worrying about there face being oily because they washed it once too many times today.

I agree. I've actually heard of these studies before while doing research for work about this very topic!! I only think washing can effect oil is if the surfactant used to wash causes irritation. Other than that Bryan is right. Good job once again!!

The skin will not compensate to produce more oil, if it "senses" that it has been washed off. The sebum production rate is not controlled by how much you wash your face, it's controlled internally.

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My god...give it up

Everyone knows oil will always produce. The thing is, washing the face more causes more oil to produce. I can careless what the hell doctors say. I've done my own experiments an am 100% positive washing the face more cause more oil to produce.

It could be just me, but i dont think so. Ask anyone on this site that washes their face twice a day if their skin is oily. They will say yes.

Wrong. I wash my face twice a day and it isn't oily. So much for the world of generalizations. Correlation does not necessitate causation. :naughty: Have you done controlled experiments and isolated every other possible variable for why your face may appear oilier when you increase how much you wash your face? No, you haven't - because it's near impossible to isolate every single variable. There's simply too many variables. If you feel you're right about this, that's fine - but you've got nothing to back up your statement that "... washing the face more causes more oil to produce."

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"It could be just me, but i dont think so. Ask anyone on this site that washes their face twice a day if their skin is oily. They will say yes."

Oh balla, people with oily skin are predisposed to getting acne, so a high number of people on this site, probably do have oily skin

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Bryan has provided some sound evidence, i dont know why everyone is getting bent out of shape about it.

Actually, I don't even know that people are necessarily getting "bent out of shape" about this any longer. There are a few in the vocal minority, but I think most people are willing to acknowledge the clear scientific evidence I've presented. My friend "ballaballa" is still apparently the main dissenter, though; the fellow "breezehaven" with whom I've had a lengthy back-and-forth right here in this thread appears to be a relative newbie here, so I have to cut him some slack; and "baptista" appears to be annoyed at SOMETHING (he left that icon: :wall:), although he didn't make clear the reason for his displeasure. Maybe he's annoyed at the dissenters, and not me! :)

It is helpful to read and understand those studies. At least now people can stop worrying about there face being oily because they washed it once too many times today.

Exactly. People here should take this information as being rather liberating. They can now practice their personal hygeine (washing their faces) as they see fit, secure in the knowledge that their bodies aren't really "out to get them" by attempting to maintain a type of status quo in sebum production. Their efforts won't be un-done by some fictitious feedback system that most people here have always assumed to be in place.

Bryan

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I agree. I've actually heard of these studies before while doing research for work about this very topic!!

LabGirl, you've got me intrigued! Do you have a job in the medical field, or some closely related area? Can you explain a little how you came to be researching this very same topic?? I'd love to hear any details you can share with us!

I only think washing can effect oil is if the surfactant used to wash causes irritation. Other than that Bryan is right. Good job once again!!

Thanks, and I appreciate your kind support, along with that of {DC}, stiera, and ben100604.

Bryan

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