Yes, it’s true.
My acne has improved 90% in the last three months. My face is no longer uncontrollably oily. How? Why? Did I stop eating chocolate? Nope. Did I stop eating sugar? Nope. Did I give up steaks and bacon? Negative. Did I start taking a miracle pill, use a new face wash, or start birth control again? No. None of it.
I gave up all the products I had been using to battle my acne. I gave up the anti-acne face lotion, the face scrub, the toners, the salicylic acid, the benzoyl peroxide, all of it. I put it in a bag and stuck it in the back of a cabinet (fearful that my new endeavor would fail). It’s been three months since I started this no-washing and I haven’t retrieved a single product from that bag.
My inspiration to do this began when I read about the Caveman Skin Regimen at The Love Vitamin. This is where you stop putting anything on your face (including makeup and water). You let your skin take care of itself for awhile, go through a chemical withdrawal process, and supposedly your skin will be awesome. I’m a skeptic, so I wasn’t convinced. At the same time, I was willing to give anything a try to 1.) help my acne, 2.) save time battling acne, and 3.) save money by not having to buy all these products.
So I modified the Regimen – there was no way I wasn’t using make up and there was no way I wasn’t going to wash my face (I actually have a job and a (small) social life). So, I ditched my products and decided I would wash only with a washcloth and water to remove my makeup at night, and in the shower I would wash only with almond oil infused with a few drops of tea tree oil. I didn’t remove the oil on my face in the morning and instead opted to put makeup on over my oily face (which actually looked fine). So, I would only ever wash my face if I had makeup on that day – either with a washcloth and water, or in the shower with the oil. If my face did not have makeup to wash off, I did not wash it.
I was afraid my skin would go through a terrible ‘withdrawal period’ at some point. This was simply not the case. To my surprise, the amount of oil my face was producing almost went to zero. My acne has changed from obnoxious blackheads, breakouts around my chin and on my cheeks, large cystic zits a couple times a month, to minuscule whiteheads and maybe a couple zits here and there – you know, like a normal person’s skin. The only issue I had was a brief build up of dead skin around my nose which I just rubbed off with my fingers.
Other products I gave up around this time that may also be contributing to the improvement: detergent (replaced with castille soap), fabric softener (replaced with fabric softening balls), and shampoo/conditioner (replaced with baking soda and vinegar).
I’m not a scientist nor a professional, so I can’t give you an answer as to what it is about the products I’ve been using that were irritating my skin and exacerbating my acne. I’m chalking it up to ‘chemicals’ and screwing up my skin’s PH balance with them. There is solid research on the internet as to why not washing your face will improve the health of your skin – your skin builds an acidic barrier to protect itself against bacteria and fungus and by washing that off and killing it twice a day with products, you are making your skin susceptible to acne. Also, like what shampoo does to hair, you are stripping it of the sebum it produces to moisturize and protect itself, thereby causing the skin to work overtime to produce more.
So, if you have acne, or even if you don’t, consider that all those products you are buying may be a complete waste of your time and money. This might not solve everyone’s issues, as some acne has other root causes (hormonal imbalance, food allergies, etc.), but it helped me and could be worth a try for you.