We layer our toners, our mists and serums, all locked in with a heavy-duty moisturiser for night — but does our modern “more is more” approach actually assist our skin in repairing and clearing acne?
Amongst the pro-natural skincare lovers and acne-sufferers alike, the “Caveman Skincare Regimen” has received some airtime in the last couple of years, calling for followers to stop washing their face completely for up to 60 days, while also eliminating all additional skincare products.
Here, we weigh up the pros and cons of not using any product for an extended period of time, and what we found is that although it is not ideal to do so, there are some benefits in giving your skin a well-deserved break every now and then.
Your skin’s pH
Standing for potential hydrogen, your skin’s pH will usually hit around 5.5 (slightly more acidic) for our acid mantle to function properly. If this balance is thrown off (this could be because of oral or topical medications, or an overly harsh foaming cleanser) you can end up with dried out skin or even infections. Takeaway: In this regard, leaving your skin alone (even for a few days a week) isn’t such a bad idea. The oils in your skin will work their magic to soothe and rebalance, and you’ll also be touching your face less and likely spreading less bacteria because of it.
Acne and blemishes
One of the most frustrating yet common skin diseases, we still don’t know enough about acne to treat with absolute efficacy, but we do know this — no two acne-prone faces are alike. Some acne will be purely hormonal, others will have specific triggers, and not washing your face for 60 days might heal some types of acne but certainly aggravate others. Takeaway: If you have an overproduction of oil that results in acne forming, you may experience a balancing effect from limiting your face cleansing, or you might end up with more breakouts than ever. We recommend taking the easy route and reviewing your cleansers — a gel formula with minimal foam and no alcohol or fragrance will always be a comfortable option for acne-prone skin.
It’s easy to demonise our beauty cabinet and look towards exclusively natural skin products as a solution to our complexion woes, but the fact is that both synthetic and naturally occurring ingredients have a place in your routine. Coconut oil might save your dry skin, but your friend with an oilier face? She’s likely going to end up with some angry clogged pores after a night of slathering that on.
So will going without really make a difference in your acne? Dermatologist Partha Mukhopadhyay notes, “The goal of cleansing for acne-prone skin is to gently remove surface dirt, sweat and excessive skin lipids.” By foregoing all cleansing for prolonged periods, you risk a build up of all of the above, while also sacrificing your sun protection during this period. Takeaway: Try to incorporate cleanse-free and product-free days (or even weeks) into your life, not only for your skin’s benefit but for a mental break from the routine and upkeep (a beach holiday is an ideal location, provided you’re still slathering on the sunscreen), and always take note of how your skin looks and feels for any signs of irritation. For more beauty news, check out the below!