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Acne has no singular cause, and many of its culprits range from poor diet, allergies, inflammation, to poor skin care. Unfortunately for me, it’s my body chemistry and dietary allergies.
During my esthetician days at the spa, it was tough to perform skin care treatments and promote products to my clients when I didn’t have good skin: I had extremely oily skin that resembled an oil slick and suffered from cystic acne that couldn’t be concealed under makeup. I felt like a liar because the main selling point I had was my own face. It turned out I was allergic to the very products I was promoting, and I was also doing one particular thing wrong:
I was washing my face too much.
At the time, my mentor Amber Rhines coached me through my own personal regimen. When I told her I washed my face three to four times a day, she immediately told me to stop. Perplexed, I asked why. Everything she’d told me in response made so much sense.
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Acne has a number of triggers, but the top two contributors are an over-production of sebum and bacteria. Once these two are present, all you need is inflammation, and bam, a pimple is born.
Of course, this is common knowledge that can be found within a quick Google search. So naturally, many people assume that combating oily skin will thus prevent acne.
What actually happens when you attempt to eliminate sebum is that you are also taking the skin’s protective barrier away. Our skin is protected by the “acid mantle,” which is comprised of a mixture of sebum and sweat. Your skin will naturally moisturize and protect itself using sebum.
So when you viciously scrub and wash your face to eradicate all traces of oil, that tight and squeaky-clean feeling you love is actually your skin left extremely dry and unprotected. The result? Your skin will compensate for this and produce even more sebum to protect itself.
So you know my best tip for better skin is?
Stop using face wash in the morning. In fact, stop using face wash all day. Use face wash only one time before bed.
Yes, it sounds ludicrous, but hear me out: your body undergoes numerous processes to regenerate and heal yourself, both inside and out. By the time you wake up, the pH levels in your skin are normalized and at its optimal level. So when you use face wash, you’re taking off that perfectly balanced protective layer and throwing off your pH level, thus creating a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Even though you might use a moisturizer after, there is no perfect match for your own body chemistry than its own natural moisturizer: sebum.
Once I adopted this practice, within a few days I noticed that my oily skin’s texture significantly improved, my acne started going away, and my oiliness subsided, along with the enormous blackheads bedazzling my T-zone.
5 reasons to skip face wash in the morning
- Only takes a few days for oily skin to adapt
- Amazing results – a significant reduction in sebum production, enlarged pores and acne growth
- Simplify your morning skincare regimen – sleep in a few more minutes
- No more additional products to buy – it’s completely free
- Save money: minimize product usage and therefore use less and save more
Tempting enough? So if you’re ready to completely transform your oily skin, keep reading so you can do this the right way.
The 7-Day Face Wash Challenge
I challenge you to 7 days with no facial cleansing product in the morning – it will transform your skin for the better! If your skin feels a little dry, feel free to use some moisturizer and sunscreen. And if you have some eye boogers, rinse your eyes out with water. But don’t use your facial cleanser in the morning.
Yes, you can splash with water if you must, but the point is not to completely remove the protective barrier (aka sebum) that your skin worked hard to produce overnight.
For the first few days of avoiding face wash in the morning, your skin might act strange. You may wind up extremely oily, but no problem: simply rinse off using water and moisturize if needed. For me, I adjusted within 3 days. Some may take up to a week. But no matter how questionable your oily skin is in the morning, resist the urge to submit to face wash.
- Be patient: it may take a few days to a week for your skin to adjust
- Avoid using a facial cleansing product all day until bedtime: no midday washing either
- Use a moisturizer after rinsing with water if needed
- Nighttime regimen: Proceed with your full regimen of facial cleanser, toner, moisturizer and any other products you regularly use
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My top 5 tips to boost your 7-day skin transformation
Get more sleep
As mentioned earlier, your body heals itself during nighttime rest. The less rest you get during the night, your skin won’t be able to maximize its healing. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep every night and sleep at a reasonable time.
Avoid dairy like the plague
Dairy is the bane of my existence – it contains hormones that can trigger inflammation and increased sebum production, leading to breakouts. My skin hates dairy and will break out within hours after consuming cheese or milk-based foods and beverages.
You might love cheese, but if you’re suffering from a constant onslaught of oiliness and acne, take a break from dairy and see if your skin improves during this time period.
Other common dietary aggressors also include refined sugar, spicy foods and gluten. Experiment by eliminating these foods and see what could be causing your breakouts.
Don’t sleep with your make up on
This is an obvious one. Piling on foundation and concealer can suffocate your skin during your sleep. You may be lucky enough not to break out from it, but a made-up face during night time will definitely slow down the regenerative process. Let your skin breathe.
Don’t use bar soap or body wash on your face
Limit bar soap and body wash to the rest of your body only, even if it’s Dove or something that claims to be gentle. The pH level on your face is significantly different from the skin on the rest of your body, so by using a product that is not specifically formulated for your face you actually can do more damage rather than clean it.
If you haven’t already, start a skincare regimen
You can’t expect to have better skin if you don’t work for it. Plenty of people can get away with perfect skin effortlessly, but everybody’s genetics and body chemistry are different. Even if you are the lucky one that doesn’t have any skin troubles, it’s important to take care of your skin now to prevent accelerated signs of aging.
Don’t know where to start? Click here to read my Ultimate Skincare Guide that covers all the bases, complete with my favorite budget beauty products.
Take your vitamins
Poor nutrition can also be a major factor in dull skin or acne. Some vitamins that promote better skin are Omega-3, vitamin C, vitamin E and B12. Tons of people don’t see vitamins as a necessity but considering the average American diet, vitamins may help aid poor nutrition and promote better skin. They’re also far more affordable than the chemical stuff your dermatologist will prescribe to you.
If you’re not looking into investing in tons of supplements, my favorite acne supplement by Vie Naturelle is an affordable and natural single-tablet solution to skin woes. A 30-day supply is $24.95 and very reasonably priced, especially when compared to prescription drugs or ointments that can dry your skin out and damage your skin in the long run. If you’ve got a major event planned, start taking these tablets every day and you’ll be ready in no time!
Will you take the 7-day skincare challenge? Let me know in the comments below, and let’s talk!
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What about product for men?
Hey Dean, the vitamins I mentioned in this post work for men too 🙂 I’m not sure what your needs are exactly, but if you’re looking into mens-based products I can only really say that manufacturers label certain products “for men” but there are no special ingredients you need that are different from women.
Great article. I have to admit, my skin rebels when I eat certain foods like dairy and refined foods but it’s hard when you love food so much. 😛
Hello, I would like to try this 7 Day Challange. For me sometimes hard to see the difference and to see if product works for me(but I will take pictures to help me see:) ) My skin is oily-combo(at least that’s what I see) and it is different every time WHEN it is most oily. My skin use to have lots acne randomly and then they will slowly go away and it would repeat until one time I got scars on both my chicks and they haven’t left since(it is been around a year). I really hope to see difference and do what’s best for my skin. Thank You!!
Hi Margari, I think what’s most important to remember is that you have to wait at least 7 days before you can consider quitting the challenge! Most people have a faster adjustment period and some may take longer than others, so even if you feel a bit oilier than usual for the first few days, just give it time and your skin will adjust. 🙂
Let me know how it goes!
Hey! I am interested in the challenge. I will have to rinse off the oil in the shower before getting ready for work. What do you do if you have to wear makeup to work?
Hi Elise! If you wear makeup to work, all you need to do is moisturize after rinsing off with water. It definitely makes your morning routine much quicker!
Also remember that your skin will take a few days to adjust, so don’t freak out if you’re a little oilier than usual for the first few days!
Thanks for the post! I have oily skin – you can fry an egg on it! I’m definitely going to try this and see if it works. I’m all about skin care (budget friendly) and this is just up my alley.
Thanks for sharing! I’ll defin be back to tell you how it goes.
I’m going to try it! I’ve been getting more sleep lately and found that when I do, my acne scars are less noticeable and my skin looks…plumper(?) somehow. This inspired me to keep changing my skincare routine without adding extra products- this the 7 day challenge sounds perfect.
Is it okay to moisturize in the morning, even if you don’t wash your face? I use a moisturizer with high SPF and need to wear sunscreen on my face everyday.
Amazing and usefull tips! I’ve suffered my oily face skin for a long time with many products and methods to prevent it but it wasn’t work. Now I know what step is wrong in my routine 😀