I’ve Stopped Washing My Face (Caveman Regimen)

by Kate on July 15, 2012

in Acne, Frugal Living, Healthy Living, Natural Beauty, Save Money, Simple Living

I wrote a few weeks ago about my plans to wean myself off the twice-a-day applications of benzoyl peroxide I’d been using for years to control my acne. My wedding has officially come and gone (yay! married!) and so I decided I was ready. I figured there would be no better time to begin my new low maintenance skincare regimen than during my honeymoon. I knew I’d be getting plenty of sunshine (which always does great things for my skin unless I get a burn) and that I would be stress-free. I mentioned previously that I was considering switching to a simple regimen using jojoba oil and/or tea tree oil for cleansing, and possibly using manuka honey as a treatment. Of course, packing my oils and honey was the last thing on my mind leading up to the wedding/honeymoon, so I ended up just deciding to go cold-turkey head-first into a caveman/water only regimen.

Haven’t heard of the “caveman” regimen? In a nutshell, you don’t wash your face. How can not washing your face benefit your skin and help acne? For some people, acne may be caused or worsened by all the products we use (yes, even ones meant to treat acne) because they upset the skin’s natural PH balance and strip away your skin’s protective acid mantle. Adult skin naturally fights to maintain a slightly acidic PH (around a PH of 5.5), but most soaps and even the gentlest cleansers tend to be slightly or very alkaline. When you lather up, you basically send your skin into panic mode trying to correct it’s PH. What does your skin do to regulate its PH? Primarily, it produces sebum: that lovely substance that leads to acne if it’s not produced at normal levels. So you can see why messing with your skin’s PH balance every day might cause or worsen your acne. Some argue that even water (which has a PH of about 7) may affect the skin’s PH balance negatively and thus avoid even allowing water to touch their skin. Furthermore, the water from your tap may contain all kinds of other irritants (like flouride) which have also been associated with acne. I’ve been allowing water to touch my skin in the shower, but have avoided intentionally “washing” with water.

The upside?

So far, no bad breakout. I did get some clogged pores on my forehead around day 3-4, but now, at day 7, they’re mostly gone! I also had a pimple that I had felt coming for a while, come to the surface as a tiny little whitehead, but I expected it to be more inflamed, so I was thrilled that it was so minor.

I guess the biggest upside so far is just the freedom–I’m saving a good 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes at night by not slathering on my creams. (Plus, clearly, this is a huge money saver.)  It’s so simple and stress-free!

Obviously, this is about as healthy/chemical free as you can get and I love that!

I also really just love the way my natural skin feels– I guess the creams I was using were irritating my skin more than I realized. I only notice it now, because my skin feels so comfortable!

The downside?

The anxiety! I’ve been pretty religious about my skincare regimens my whole life and to suddenly be doing nothing leaves me feeling out of control. Over the last week, I’ve had a lot of minor little bumps pop up that resolve almost as quickly as they come, but I keep fearing that they’ll all just suddenly get very inflamed. I’m trying to remind myself that the upside to lack of control is freedom.

Also, since you don’t wash your face, you can’t really wear makeup.This isn’t a problem for me as I’ve never really worn a ton of foundation or anything, but I have had to give up my light dusting of mineral powder. I still use a dot of concealer here and there but I don’t see the harm–it all gets absorbed or melts off by the end of the day anyway. I do still wear eye makeup though!

Supposedly in next week or two, I should experience what’s known as the “dead skin mask” where your skin quickly builds up a bunch of dead flaky skin because you are no longer exfoliating it regularly. From what I understand, this dead skin mask appears around week 2 and takes a couple weeks to go away, but when it does it will reveal new gorgeous baby-smooth skin underneath. Frankly though, I’ve never had dry skin issues in my life so I’ll be shocked if it happens to me. We’ll see!

I’ll keep you updated! Would love to know if anyone else has tried this or has considered trying it? What made you try it, or what’s holding you back?

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*In the spirit of full disclosure, links to products in this post may be affiliate links, which means that I may receive a commission if you decide to purchase any of the products I recommend. Know that I only recommend products that I have used and love myself.

*I am not a doctor, a nurse, or any kind of health practitioner. I’m just a gal with a pretty keen intuitive sense, great research abilities, and curiosity that is easily peaked. Please understand that my advice is really just another opinion and it’s for you (and your doctor) to decide the best course for your health and well-being.

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