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Why (and how) I Never Wash My Face


Whenever I tell people that I don't wash my face, I usually get either an "ewwwww!" or "gross!" or some other exclamation of shock, disgust, or amazement.

But shortly after that, they'll say something like, "But your skin looks so healthy?!?"

Exactly.



I learned a secret last year that I wished I'd known 20 years ago:
soap violently disrupts our acid mantle (our skin's natural protective layer) - and in doing so, creates a host of subsequent problems. Yet, we insist on slathering it all over our face and body sometimes twice a day (or even more).


Soap is alkaline (9-11). Our skin is acidic (4.5-5.5). When we use soap on our skin, it raises the pH and disrupts the skin's natural environment. An acidic environment is necessary to ward off harmful bacteria (which thrive under alkaline conditions). Then, our skin has to work overtime to re-establish an acidic pH. It does this by pumping out extra oil/sebum...which is exactly what we DON'T WANT!



This is a scientific fact on which every "beauty" corporation spends millions of dollars a year in an effort to keep from you. Do they know about our acid mantle? Of course! They're not stupid. However, they don't want US to know...because if we learn about it...then all of a sudden, there is no reason to spend billions of dollars on expensive name-brand beauty products anymore.

[Soap box: done.  Ha, no pun intended.]

Now, that doesn't mean that we should do NOTHING to our skin. Everyone's skin is different - but there are two things we all have in common whether we have dry skin, oily skin, combination skin, rosacea, or any combination thereof.

The two main skin battles every human being has to fight are:


  • dead skin cell buildup
  • moisture loss

DEAD SKIN CELLS

"When we are babies, our pink, plump skin turns over approximately every 14 days. When we are teens, cells turn over approximately every 21 to 28 days. As we age, cell turnover slows down to 30 to 40 days, and after we reach 50 and older, cell turnover can slow to 1-1/2 to 3 months!" ~Gloria Sciuto
The slowing of cell turnover, in combination with the dramatic increase in hormone production, is the main cause of acne in teenagers. When dead cells build up on the surface of our skin, it traps everything below it (including sebum - our body's natural oil source); that layer of dead skin cells also acts like a lint trap for pollution and impurities in the air around us. This is what creates the ideal environment for acne to pop up.

There are two ways to get rid of dead skin cell buildup: manually or chemically.

My mom does it manually: while in the shower, she takes a clean washcloth and wets it and gently rubs her face. This removes the outer layer of dead skin cells and allows the newer ones to come to the surface. My mom is very lucky and has mostly balanced skin which leans more towards dry than oily. She also never washes her face. Another manual method is to use a brush, like the Clarisonic Aria Sonic Cleansing Brush. If having fancy, expensive gadgets cluttering up the bathroom is your thing, then by all means, have at it. For me - a cheap washcloth takes care of business just fine (of course, if you can afford to buy organic cotton, please do so for both you and the environment).

If you want to do it chemically, you have tons of options at your disposal. Most people use soap to remove buildup, but as we discussed above, soap messes with your skin's natural pH. Some people use chemical peels, but not only do those tend to be expensive, I also find them to be overly harsh on your skin. You're not trying to beat your skin into submission...you're just trying to help it out a little bit. So that leaves us with toners.  Toners are designed to remove anything leftover after cleansing with soap and also to return the skin's pH to an acidic level.
OK - so, tell me again why we're using soap in the first place? It seems to me that toners are good for both cleansing AND keeping the skin acidic...sooooo, why don't we just skip the soap all together?!?!

Yeah, well, that's exactly what I finally did. Duh. It makes so much sense now.
(SIDE NOTE:  don't you hate that feeling when you finally wake up and realize that you've been manipulated and lied to for decades, all in an effort to steal money out of your pockets?!? Ugggh.)

So, when it comes to toners, you can always go out and buy some name-brand product...but again, why? Especially since you can make something at home that's CHEAP and TAILOR-MADE just for your particular skin type!

Our goal is to keep our skin acidic while removing dead skin cell buildup. Well, all we need is raw organic apple cider vinegar (ACV) and distilled water (distilled water discourages bacteria growth). The pH of ACV is ideal for this application; undiluted, it is roughly 4.5-5.0 = the same as our skin!

The key to using ACV as a daily chemical exfoliator is to find the right dilution:

  • If you have very oily skin, try 1/2 ACV + 1/2 distilled water
  • If you have very dry skin, try 1/4 ACV + 3/4 distilled water
  • If you have balanced skin, try 1/3 ACV + 2/3 distilled water


Remember, this is just a starting point: experiment, experiment, experiment! You might want to have a stronger ratio for summer and a weaker ratio for winter. You may need a stronger ratio as a teenager and weaken the ratio as you get older (or vice versa). Find a ratio that, when used once a day, will leave you with balanced skin. 

Simply put a splash of your diluted ACV on a cotton pad and wipe over DRY skin. I have tried doing this on wet skin (after getting out of the shower), but it doesn't work as well; my theory is because wet skin over-dilutes the ACV mixture. You can then either rinse your face or leave it as is -- again, experiment to see which works best for you. I recommend using your ACV toner at night before bed (to remove all the gunk and buildup from the day). If you wear makeup/foundation, you made need to use a few extra cotton pads to get your skin back to a clean slate.

Also remember that you can always alternate between manual and chemical methods of removing dead skin cells.




MOISTURE LOSS

Once we've gotten rid of the dead skin cells, the next thing we have to battle is moisture loss. The good news is, since we're not using soap anymore (which strips our skin of all the oils and leaves us feeling extremely dry)...we don't have as much moisture loss in the first place. However, when we use an toner to remove dead skin cells, it also takes some of the oil/sebum with it.

If you have very balanced skin, you might not have to do anything here. Your skin will produce just the right about of sebum it needs within a few hours and you'll be good to go.

But for most people, you'll want to follow your ACV toner with a light layer of oil(s).

I have combination skin: my cheeks and outer forehead are very dry, while my lower forehead, nose and chin are extremely oily. Finding the right oil combination took (again) some experimenting. I ended up doing a few drops of organic sesame oil + a few drops of organic jojoba oil (you only need a few drops - I promise). I recommend checking out the suggestions on this page to find the best oils for your skin type. Once you figure out what works best for you, fill a lovely glass container with a pump-top with your combination and leave it in the bathroom for easy access (I also do this with my ACV dilution).


Having great skin isn't as difficult as EVERY COMMERCIAL ON TELEVISION AND IN MAGAZINES leads us to believe. It just takes finding out what ratios work for your specific skin type, and being consistent. (Eating a healthy diet full of fresh organic fruits & vegetables doesn't hurt either.)


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19 comments:

  1. I really liked the post---I've shared it on my pages. So as far as the moisture loss is concerned, do you know anything about the rest of the body and how applying soap effects it? What about using a shea butter as moisturizer?

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    Replies
    1. I'm glad it was helpful - thank you!

      As for the rest of the body, the same principle applies: using soap *anywhere* on the skin raises the pH level and disrupts the acid mantle. It is my contention that the ONLY time we should ever use soap is if you are literally covered in mud or something sticky and can't get it off without soap, or to wash your hands when exposed to a particularly unsanitary situation (including after using the restroom). After washing with soap, it is extremely important to re-seal the skin with some type of oil mixture (refer to the link in the article above)!

      Whereas the oils linked to in the above article are best for moisturizing, shea butter is a wonderful skin "healer" due to its nonsaponifiable fraction (the part which contains tons of vitamins & phytonutrients). So, if you have eczema or inflamed acne or a wound or a sunburn - then shea butter is a great choice. I wouldn't necessarily use it as an every day moisturizer though - think of it more like a balm which should only be applied as necessary. Another oil with a comparably high nonsaponifiable fraction is avocado oil.

      I plan on doing more posts about soap and pH in general...so stay tuned!

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  2. I'm very excited to try this! I was wondering if this would also help fight against blackheads, or would I have to do something to prevent them as well?

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    1. To be honest, I've never had blackheads - so I can't say from personal experience. However, I looked it up and apparently blackheads are just "open" whiteheads. If that's true, then this should work for blackheads the same way! Balancing your skin's pH will help to slow the OVER-PRODUCTION of oil/sebum (which is typically caused by stripping/alkalizing your skin with soap and other harsh cleansers).

      I've always had whiteheads - but since I've started using ACV instead of soap - my skin has never looked better in my entire life.

      So, give it a week (or more - if it takes you a while to find the right water to ACV ratio)...and then come back and let us know how it worked for you?!?

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  3. what do you recommend for make up remover? especially for the waterproof stuff?

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    1. Currently I am using a mascara that deposits fibers instead of pigment, so I don't need to use a remover - the fibers just fall off my lashes when washed in warm water. However, I have heard good things about this natural formula (even for waterproof makeup):

      http://wholenewmom.com/whole-new-budget/best-homemade-eye-makeup-remover/?printthis=1&printsect=1

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    2. Also, if you make the recipe above - be sure to use DISTILLED WATER to discourage bacterial growth.

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    3. May I ask what mascara you use?

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    4. Roxy,

      I am currently using the L'Oreal Double Extend Tubes Mascara. It is one of the few "commercial" products that I still buy. It contains a *lot* of parabens (which are very bad), BUT, the whole point of this mascara is that it coats the outside of the lash...versus a dye which is absorbed by the lash. Also, because the tubes just fall off with nothing but warm water, I don't have to worry about using any special eye makeup remover.

      I have tried about a dozen "natural" homemade formulas for mascara but haven't come across anything that is reasonably easy to make and use...and is also effective (because, otherwise, what's the point). I will continue to research DIY recipes until I find one though!

      Please, if anyone has a recipe that they've made & used successfully - post it in the comment section.

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  4. This is absolutely silly. Ever heard of toner? Its purpose is to rebalance the skins PH levels after washing it. Washing your face is not only commonplace, but is recommended by every dermatologist in the world. If you're so concerned about PH balance just use a toner after you wash!

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    1. First, thank you for commenting.

      The main purpose of this article was to educate people about pH, and the harsh products we unnecessarily use on our faces. The secondary purpose was to help people find ways to incorporate more natural (i.e. less "commercial") products into their skincare routine.

      Yes, you can buy toner. But why spend money on a commercial product (which probably also contains, at the very least, preservatives and synthetic fragrances) -- when you can buy a *single-ingredient* product that works just as well...if not BETTER...and is also significantly cheaper?

      And finally, just because a doctor recommends it - doesn't mean it's the best and/or only way.

      I appreciate you visiting my page! I hope you'll take a look at some of the other articles and see if you find anything helpful. Take care.

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  5. Replies
    1. I use the ACV mix to take off my face makeup - works like a charm!

      Honestly though, I don't wear tons of makeup. I use a zinc + mica (Mineral Fusion) powder on my face to even it out and provide some non-chemical SPF protection; I also wear a little blush, eye shadow, and mascara. I almost never wear waterproof makeup. My skin is naturally very oily (got my dad's skin - I'll never wrinkle), so by the end of the day, most of my makeup has worn off.

      Obviously, you can't use the ACV mix on your eyes. So, if warm water doesn't do the trick, I just use organic sesame oil on a cotton pad to get off any residual eye makeup.

      Thanks for the question!

      Delete
  6. Hey!

    Really interesting article! Recently, I noticed my face over-drying and decided it was all the soaps I was using on my face (I have sensitive skin I think) but even using organic face washes for sensitive skin, I get this rash sometimes.

    I have decided to try your recommendations, but my question is-how much oil should one put on? I did just a little bit and now my face is all shiny...should I wait for it to "soak in" or how do I know when I've put on enough? Do I wipe it down? Also-Do you recommend "washing" your face this way multiple times a day? Thank you! Great article!

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    1. Hi Sunny B, great questions!
      I use only a few drops of oil (it's basically one quick squirt of the bottle). It should be just enough to lightly coat your skin to seal in the existing moisture. If you find that you're too shiny after 5 minutes, you can blot with a tissue or towel.

      I do not recommend "washing" your face more than once a day. For most people, the best time to cleanse your face is in the evening before bed (to remove makeup, pollution, and buildup). The great thing about a nighttime routine is that you should wake up with glowing skin and not need to do a single thing to it. If you still find yourself wanting a "fresher" face in the morning, just splash on some cold water.

      Let me know how it works out for you!
      (and don't forget to adjust the ACV to water ratio according to your skin type and local weather)

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  7. Great article! In one response you said that you don't believe in using soap anywhere else on your body either. So do you use ACV in the shower on the rest of your body as well? If not, what do you do? Thanks!

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    1. baavang: thanks for the comment!

      I use a homemade salt/sugar scrub under my arms, and an oily sugar scrub on the rest of my body. [Sugar scrubs are gentler than salt scrubs and are best for everyday general use.]

      My homemade underarm scrub is made of sea salt, turbinado sugar, coconut oil, avocado oil, jojoba oil, vanilla extract, and cinnamon essential oil. On the rest of my body, I currently use Shea Moisture brand's "Red Bush Sage" sugar scrub (because it smells divine)! Eventually, I will start making my own sugar scrub as well.

      Our goal in the shower should simply be to remove dead skin cells and reveal new skin growth. Unless you have a job where you literally get covered in dirt, then there's no need to wash yourself down with soap every day. Sugar scrubs do double duty: they don't upset the skin's acid mantle, and they help our bodies retain moisture (with a light coating of natural oils).

      Find or make a sugar scrub using your favorite smells...and ditch the soap for good!

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  8. Thanks for the helpful article. So, if you use the ACV toner and oil at night, do you do anything in the morning? Thanks!

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    1. I usually take my showers in the morning, so I merely allow my face to get wet during the shower and blot dry afterwards. If my skin is feeling balanced, I don't do anything else. If I'm feeling dry, I'll add a bit more oil. Thanks for the question!

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