The Caveman Regimen – My “No Wash” acne experiment…

**WARNING** Make-up free pictures ahead…

Got Acne?  Or other annoying and downright embarrassing skin issues like eczema, rosacea, allergic rashes, dry or oily skin?

You’ve tried everything, right?

…But have you tried doing… NOTHING?

I’d heard of going “No poo” for your hair, but it was only recently that I’d heard about a similar approach to treating (or rather un-treating) skin problems.

It’s called the Caveman Regimen, where you basically do nothing…  Intrigued by the results others were getting I thought I’d give it a go…
I’m now a month into my caveman experiment and I thought I’d report on the results so far…

My Acne Story

The only time I ever had totally clear skin was in the first 12 years of my life.  Now, at 42 I still suffer from disheartening skin issues… even after two years of going raw.

Over the years I’ve had acne, eczema, dermatitis, rosacea.  I tried antibiotics, the contraceptive pill, ointments, careful cleansing routines, professional facial treatments with varying success.

At both 15 and 21 years old I went on courses of Accutane, which seem to work well for a certain period of time, but of course my acne always returned… because I had never addressed the root cause of the problem.

In actual fact, I now believe Accutane had a huge role to play in developing the liver autoimmune disease that I now live with… (If you are considering Accutane – DO NOT DO IT)

I now understand that a combination of food allergies, poor digestion and toxic emotions played a role in my skin problems.

Every time I ate wheat products tiny bumps would appear all over my face.  Every time I ate chocolate I would get eczema all around my nose.  To this day too much fat in my diet (that is, higher than 10% of my calories from fat) always makes me break out.

And once I had a pimple, or several, I just couldn’t help myself…  I’d stand at the bathroom mirror and try to make the pimple go away faster by squeezing it.  The irony of that action was that it always made it stay WAY longer.

The Principles of The Caveman

Did you ever wonder why most men seem to have such lovely skin without ever doing anything to it?

That’s the basic principle of the Caveman Regimen.  We need to get out of the way and allow our skin to do what it does best:  protect, heal, breathe, and detoxify.
By irritating our skin with hot water, soaps, chemicals, and harsh exfoliants, all we are doing is stripping the skin’s acid mantle, it’s protective layer, and inviting all sorts of rubbish in through our skin.

By picking we are introducing more toxins and bacteria, irritating our skin and creating scar tissue which distorts and disfigures our pores, making it all the more difficult to eliminate toxins in future.

What to do (or rather, what NOT to do)

Don’t do anything.  At.  All.

  • No cleansing, exfoliating, moisturizing, make-up or sunscreen.
  • No use of anything “natural” on your skin (including jojoba oil, olive or coconut oil, honey or clays)
  • No water (if you can)
  • No picking or touching your skin.

It’s near impossible not to get water on your face, if you shower rather than bathe.  But try to avoid it as much as you can:

  • Only shower once per day (or less)
  • Face away from the shower.
  • Use only warm water.

After a few weeks you may notice some skin build-up or flaking and you can (very gently) exfoliate this with nothing but your finger and some warm water.

Do NOT Pick

Easier said than done, right?

If you’re anything like me then you find it downright near impossible not to touch your face.  And yet it’s by far the worst thing we can do to our skin.

Picking irritates your skin even more, damages your pores and creates more pimples.

Knowing this can help motivate you to keep your fingers away, but sometimes you need more help with the underlying reasons for picking…

If this rings true for you then I encourage you to check out the following resources.

The first is the website stoppickingonme.com where you can find out all about compulsive skin picking, why we do it and how to stop.

You can also download an excellent free ebook, called “Skin Deep” by Dr Grossbart, a Boston based psychologist who specializes in compulsive skin picking disorders and has a program for curing it.  Check out his website www.grossbart.com, and scroll down till you find the link to his book.

But I can’t go without makeup!

In the first few days of my experiment I was terrified of letting the world see the state of my skin.

It took courage and self-acceptance to decide that it didn’t matter what the world thought.

The first day I went off to teach as a casual High school teacher I was really worried about what other staff and students would think of my blemished skin.

But at some point during the day I completely forgot that my skin was exposed for all the world to see, and no-one even seemed to even notice…
No one pointed fingers and sniggered.  No one studied my face.  They clearly didn’t even notice…

After that, I’ve been going out every day without makeup for the last 4 weeks.  If I’m a bit self-concious about a pimple I might put the tinest bit of coverup on the pimple itself, but nothing else.

And I don’t wash it off at the end of the day.  It seems that the washing was causing way more problems than a tiny bit of cover-up on a pimple once or twice a week.

So, if you feel you really need it, you can dab a tiny bit of makeup on a zit.  But don’t wash it off.  Just dab and leave it alone.

What to Expect

My skin felt awful and rough after a week or two, and I was about to abandon the experiment when, in weeks 3 and 4 all of a sudden it became much smoother, with fewer breakouts and a more even tone.

I went out to a birthday lunch yesterday wearing just lipstick and a dab of cover-up on a couple of tiny blemishes and that was it.  My skin tone was so much more even.  It almost looked like I was wearing foundation.

Of course, everyone’s experience of the Caveman Regimen will be different.  I have heard that, if you don’t use any water for a month, your skin will develop a crust, which you have to gently exfoliate with your fingers after 4 weeks.

I’m so excited about the improvements I’m experiencing on the Caveman regime so far that I’m going to keep it going for another month and let you know what happens.

Here are some photos of my skin before starting caveman regimen, and today…

BEFORE Caveman – I also had a cold that day, so my nose and eyes don’t look so great.   🙁

White bumps on my neck below my jawline. skin 3 before caveman

skin 2 before caveman

AFTER – One month after beginning Caveman Regimen.  My skin is not blemish free, but my tone has improved and the white bumps under my jaw are visibly reducing.  The bigger blemishes below my lip and on my cheek are the ones that I couldn’t help but pick. L  This month I’m really going to try to not pick anything.

full face 1 mth caveman left side 1 mth caveman neck 1 mth caveman right cheek:neck 1 mth caveman  right side 1 mnth caveman

Understanding Skin Problems

Your skin is the largest organ of your body.  Its acid mantle protects our internal organs from invasion, but it’s also a primary organ for elimination of waste.

The other pathways for elimination are through your kidneys, bowel, eyes and vagina.  Your liver is a primary organ involved in detoxification.

If you have a sluggish liver, as so many people in contemporary western society do, then chances are elimination through your kidneys and bowel will be limited, and your skin will be forced to assist in the process.

So skin problems are a sign of toxic overload – whether from food and poor digestion, allergies from food and environmental toxins, or toxic emotions.

The last one on this list is frequently overlooked, but is just as important as other sources of toxic waste.

A wonderful website I found is by a girl called Tracy Raftl who found out how to  heal her severe  cystic acne.  One of the methods she uses is the Caveman Regimen.  Here’s a video in which she talks about her experience…

Read my update article on my experiment with The Caveman Regimen here.

Conclusion – Have you tried the Caveman Regimen to heal your skin?  If you’ve tried it, please comment below and let me know how it turned out for you.

If you haven’t tried it, do you think you’ll be brave and give it a go?  I’d love you to join me on this journey and share your experiences here…

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If you found this article interesting or useful and would like to share it with someone in your life, or with the world, I’m more than happy for you to do that!  I just have one request – please copy and paste the message in its entirety, including my details below.

 Anthea Frances is an author, raw food health coach and host of the Raw Life Summit series.  Grab a copy of her free Balanced Raw Vegan Nutrition Checklist and start improving your health today!

  1. Great post Anthea! I have tried this before (although I didn’t know it had a name). At the time I had pretty bad acne and was doing 801010 lifestyle. And it helped a lot. It also helped me downsize my cleansing regime. Currently, I do minimal to my face, I use a natural soap(the same one i use for my body) and water and thats it. No moisturisers or anything else. My skin is doing really good now (more attributed to lifestyle choices). But there is still room for improvement so I’m going to try the no water (apart from swimming in the ocean) and no soap for a while. And I’ll let you know how I go.

    1. Thanks Natalia! Definitely let me know how you go with it. What kind of soap do you use on your face? Do you find it dries your skin out at all?

  2. Hi Anthea, are you still doing the caveman regime? I started around April this year and am still going now. Don’t have time to write an update at the moment but in short my skin has been slowly clearing up and the complexion is evening out. I 2 weeks I will have reached the 3 month mark… I haven’t rinsed my face with water at all for around 5-6 weeks now and it actually improved once I stepped it up by not rinsing. Seems to go against everything we’ve been taught so is very scary in the beginning.

  3. Hi Anthea, are you still doing the caveman regime? I started around April this year and am still going now. Don’t have time to write an update at the moment but in short my skin has been slowly clearing up and the complexion is evening out. In 2 weeks I will have reached the 3 month mark… I haven’t rinsed my face with water at all for around 5-6 weeks now and it actually improved once I stepped it up by not rinsing. Seems to go against everything we’ve been taught so is very scary in the beginning.

    1. Wow, that’s a fantastic effort, Tanya! You did way better than me at maintaining it beyond 30 days. I have to say I went back to very minimal skin fussing after the 30 days. I wouldn’t say I wash, but do splash with water and have been using jojoba oil to moisturise. My skin has cleared up profoundly since I went fully raw 2 months ago, and no longer cleansing with anything, but I would like to give The Caveman another shot. I found it almost impossible not to rinse my face when I showered though. How do you manage it?

  4. At one point in my life I ended up with adult acne and tried everything to cure it. I finally read somewhere to use baking soda mixed with water. So I tried it for a week. It can be drying if used longer or rubbed too aggressively. For the first three days my condition became worse, but after that everything cleared up and I’ve never had another problem. I haven’t used anything on my face (creams, oils, soap, makeup, etc.) for years, except for water. It’s pretty amazing. I’m not raw, but vegan for 22 years.

    1. Very interesting! I’ve not heard of that before. Thanks for sharing your success with this approach 🙂 It’s wonderful when you find something that works after trying so many things.

  5. I’ve been trying to go no-poo for the last 10 months, my hair is slowly getting less greasy. At some point I realised that I am not going to be able to go shampoo-free and wash my hair with water only if I still have super-greasy pimply skin on my face. So I also stopped using any kind of soap or cleanser on my face, too. I wash my face twice a day with just water by rubbing my wet hands over my face and then washing my hands with soap (because I can feel the oil from my face has rubbed off on my hands). In the mornings I use a mattefying moisturiser and in the evenings a special cream from the pharmacy that dries out oily skin. So I have only cut out soap/cleansers, but my skin already looks so much better after just 4 weeks. It’s less pimply, less oily and less red. Also, the pores on my nose are noticeably smaller.

    1. Thanks for sharing what you’ve been doing, Anka 🙂 You might want to try ditching the moisturisers as well and see what happens. You may find that your skin starts to be a whole lot less oily and will find it’s natural sebum balance. Definitely keep in touch and let me know how you go.

  6. i used to need lotions in the winter, my dry skin would hurt otherwise. ive gone vegan a few months ago, gradually transitioning to less animal products and more raw. i also only shower about every 5-7 days. im where i can go that long between shampooing without it looking oily. i at that time allow shampoo water to hit my face and rinse well. i do shower/bath in between if needed to rinse sweat or for muscle aches, keeping my head dry. but ive noticed i done need deoderant even if i sweat, and i dont need as frequent showers to feel clean. summer would likely be diff with hot temps, we’ll see. but really no acne at all, some dry skin, but not painful like winters past. also i dont use makeup except special occasions, maybe mascara and lip gloss.

    1. So cool to hear your progress, A. My skin is smooth and silky these days, with no blemishes coming up at all. I no longer wash or moisturise my face, just a splash of water here and there, and maybe some olive oil to remove mascara. That’s it! Best and cheapest skincare routine ever 🙂

  7. Hi
    I have been forced to drastically reduce the use of facial products ( cleansers, moisturizers, makeup, scrubs etc) due to dermatitis. Reducing the amount of products i use is the only thing that cleared the dermatitis.

    Now i wash with distilled water at night, and i still use Retin A 2 nights a week because i am still too chicken to quit completely. I use a drop of jojoba oil specially around my eyes and my nose.

    I dont get a lot of acne, but i still get clogged pores ( comedones) which i try to ignore.
    During this winter, i find even the water only wash is drying out my skin. I know the retin a is irritating even if i only use it twice a week…

    What makes me afraid of going completely caveman is the fear of more clogged pores, and also, i am still programmed to think i should use SOMETHING ( retin a) to prevent wrinkles….

    Did you see a difference in the amount of clogged pores ( comedones) when you started this regimen, and if so, did they eventually go away on their own?

    Also, what is your philosophy concerning aging and the fear of letting go of anti-aging products ( even though they never seem to give any results anyway!)

    Thank you kindly,
    Diane

    1. “What is your philosophy concerning aging and the fear of letting go of anti-aging products ( even though they never seem to give any results anyway!)”
      He he! This made me chuckle, Diane. It’s so ironic isn’t it? We know they don’t work and yet we invest in the hope that they will. Focus on what you put inside your body for anti-aging. That will actually make the difference for you.
      Honestly, Caveman is the best decision I’ve made in my life regarding my skin. It took a little while, but my skin is smooth, soft and clear. Of course, changing my diet to a low-fat raw vegan diet made an enormous difference too, but so did the Caveman. Last year I had little white comedones around my jaw line. They have all gone now. The hardest time is the 1st month – after that your skin completely adjusts and self-cleans. You just have to break the habit of putting stuff on your face. Once the habit is broken you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it a whole lot sooner, Diane. All the best.

  8. Day 17 for me! My face is dry and flaky so far, and I have to resist the urge to scratch! I know if I scratch it’ll just end up worse. My concern is that it’ll stay that way, instead of clearing after a month or so. How did you manage to keep trust that it would work? I have no problem keeping water from touching it, but the flakiness is just killing me! I do have eczema, that may have flared it up a bit. I do find that there was some relief after a few days, knowing that my face was makeup-free and natural. 

    1. Hi Charlotte. Well done you for going 17 days! The first month is always the hardest. After a while your skin will even out and you will have broke the habit of doing stuff with it. That’s all it is – a bad habit which needs to be broken. Then first couple of months for me were the hardest. Now I have no issues at all with flakiness or acne, and the only thing I really use on my face is some oil to clean mascara off when I choose to wear it. Hang in there. The best thing you can do is to keep reading stories of people who’ve done it successfully. Keep your inspiration level high. You’ll get there. Much love to you.

  9. I don’t understand why you would wash your body if you don’t wash your face. At least your body skin is covered in clothes.

    1. I know, Anceeta, it doesn’t seem to make any sense given our culture of washing everything in chemicals to the nth degree. In actual fact I only really wash my privates with soap. the rest of me I just use water. And these days I just splash my face, rather than using a cleanser or moisturiser. Truly, my skin is so much better than it has ever been, and my bank account is better off for it too 🙂

  10. I’ve been doing this for a week now and I’ve noticed that the red bumps that have been on my skin for months are turning into white heads. But I think that’s a good sign because the oil and pus is moving from deep in my pores to the surface. What do you think? Ive just been splashing my face with warm water at night. I’m afraid if I stop I will develop that ‘crust’ and I’m a little scared of it. 

    1. Hi Jesse, don’t be afraid of the crust. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d imagined, and your skin needs to be left alone to heal. If you need to use a little water though it’s not the end of the world. I just found it so much better staying out of the bathroom and away from the mirror. All the best!

  11. Hi I am on day 3 and I am afraid to continue. I have tried everything and can clearly see that my face gets red and sore when I wash it with anything even after rinsing so I know leaving it is the best option. But will I develop
    Bad spots or acne or uncontrollable blocked pores? 
    Rebecca 

    1. Hang in there, Rebecca. I know it’s an awful feeling. Your skin may get temporarily worse before it gets better but this is a good thing. This is your skin’s natural intelligence in healing itself. The longer you mess with it the more you prolong the problems. Rest assured it will get better if you leave it alone and you focus on all the other healthful living factors. Diet, rest, exercise, sun etc. good luck!

  12. So I’ve been doing the caveman regimen for about at leat 2 weeks and my skin became worse. I started to get more ting bumps and more whiteheads. First, I became a low fat vegan and a no oil diet which improved my skin when I was using my facial cleanser but I stopped washing my face and everything became worse. I just don’t know what to do.

      1. I know how scary it can be when things start getting worse, Joan, but you have to bear with it as it’s a case of worse before better. By leaving it alone your acid mantle is healing itself, but it will take a little while for sebum production to even out. Picking your skin is definitely not going to help, and I would really try avoiding washing your skin at all. Any kind of fussing with it is just going to get in the road of skin doing it’s self-healing. The more you can stay away from the mirror – the more you’ll forget about it and stop touching your skin. Hang in there. Just keep saying to yourself ‘this is only temporary – on the way to vastly improved skin”.

  13. Also will the caveman work if you don’t have acne to start with but just an uneven skin tone and the odd spot and skin that doesn’t work well
    With any kind of wash or cleanser?  Could I
    Be giving myself acne by doing this regime that I never had in the first place? 

    1. I believe it would work for all sorts of skin problems, Rebecca. If you have a breakout it would only be temporary and a healing crisis of sorts. But if you’ve never had spots then I really doubt that this would cause them. 🙂

  14. Okay thanks for the response I have had spots in the past but now I think
    About it it was always when I was using really harsh and expensive products so hopefully they aren’t getting used anymore everything will be fine. Thanks for the quick responses 

  15. I am on day 7 and am noticing flesh coloured bumps on my forehead and a few yellow heads is this normal? Will these bumps on my forehead go away with time or will they be there for a long time I don’t know what to do!! 

  16. hi, i am thinking of giving this a go but the thing is i exercise a lot hence there is a lot of sweating lol. i have heard that clogs your pores, so even after exercise i shouldn’t wash my face?

    1. Hi Hira, you’ll need to experiment. There may be some congestion initially or there may not. If you’re worried you could always splash with a bit of water. NoThing more is neede though. I know it’s scary before you start but honestly it’s really not as bad as you think it’s going to be. These days I usually splash my face in the shower after exercise but there have been times when I haven’t and my skin has been fine. Good luck!

  17. I have done the caveman for 6 months now. It was SO scary at first but it’s the first time I’ve been totally acne-free with no flare ups for 8 years. My skin is clear and beautiful and I’ve totally forgotten the stress and worry that acne brings with it. 🙂

    1. That’s so great to hear, Iman. Isn’t it great? Absolutely best thing I’ve ever done for my skin – hands down.

  18. Hi Anthea. I am so excited, but so worried too, to try the cavemen regimen. BUT because I have been using so many harsh facial products for so many years now, my face is wrecked. The skin is so thin, my blue veins are literally showing up. I really regret using all those horrible products, I miss my thick(in a good way), tan skin. The sun burns my face because I may have killed my skin’s “mantle acid”?
    So my question is, Do you use sunscreen? And if you do, do you wash it off or do you just leave it on???
    Please please reply back as I really want to start the cavemen regimen but the sunscreen issue is holding me back.

    1. I sometimes use sunscreen on my face. Certainly not daily. Only really in the height of summer. And I don’t wash it off. fussing with my skin in any way always had worse effects than just leaving it alone.

  19. I haven’t used any products on my face for 2 weeks now. I was my face with distilled water once or twice a week but my face is still super oily and I’m losing faith… do you think if i keep going this way the oiliness will go away ? cause its super irritating I feel like my skin can’t breath because there is a heavy layer of oil on my skin 🙁

    1. Two weeks is not long enough to see results, Elee. You’re probably in the thick of sebum overproduction at the moment. It should ease up in the next week or so. Just have faith that your skin is wiser than you give it credit.

  20. Beside my acne i have terrible eczema.. it has been two weeks since i start this routine. my eczema is venging me in its worst way. my face is completly dry..my eczema is spoting on my fore head. but my acne break out is decreasing also its scar.
    am about to use my steriodal cream for the eczema cus i dont know what to do or would it heal the same way if i leave it. help!

    1. Sounds awful, Natal. It is highly likely it will just heal on it’s own given time and adhering to the routine. Dryness, oilyness and a ‘mask’ is very common. This too shall pass. Focus intensely on avoiding foods that aggravate eczema – dairy, chocolate, wheat. Blessings x

  21. Ive done this “no wash” thing out of sheer laziness, and my face was always fine! I was on birth control for three years and decided to stop. My face broke out in cystic acne of course, and I started obsessing about it! I’ve tried a million and one things to fix it, and nothing is working! I’m going to go back to this routine. I really feel that leaving your face alone and letting your skin do what it knows to do is the best option. It will be hard and embarrassing for a while but I know it’s worth it. I’ll let you know how it goes! 

    1. I don’t have specific experience with rosacea, Adrian. But my understanding is that it would work with all skin conditions. Remembering, of course, that what you eat and drink is just as important for skin health as what you put on your skin.

    2. Adrian, I just saw this and have no idea if you’ll see my response but…I struggled with rosacea for years but didn’t want to use the creams doctors prescribed (after blaming it on my Irish roots). When I went plant-based and started using only water and coconut oil on my face, the redness and irritation left and hasn’t returned. After reading Anthea’s blog, I might try no wash or coconut oil but my skin is clear and people keep asking me what I use. I hope you find the relief I have!

  22. I’m one month in now. And I must say this is the best thing I’ve ever done. The first week was the best, my face cleared up instantly; however the second week, not so much. I had one of the worst break outs I’ve ever had, but thankfully it’s subsided, and my face honestly feels the best it’s ever has in years!

    I only wash my face once after work and only with luke-warm water to get excess oil off. I must say: all my cystic acne has gone away now, my face doesn’t hurt as much, and I feel no need to put that shit Proactive on my face anymore! The hardest part however is the red spots. Any way to combat this? They’ve been lingering on my face for about a week now, and it’s really driving me nuts. I assume they’ll gradually fade over time, but is there any way I can speed up the process and also avoid scarring?

    1. Hi D, So glad you’re getting great results already. Well done! The only thing I can suggest with the red spots is that extra hydration, movement, rest will help the body detox them more rapidly. Other than that our bodies are on their own time clock with healing. Pray for patience!

  23. I’ve started washing my face with only water for almost two weeks now. I’ve suffered acne since I was 18 (and that was when it was at its worst) and still suffer from it today. I’ve tried multiple cleansers like Proactiv and Neutrogena but they only seemed to give me partial results and then I would develop painful bumps along the sides of my mouth and lower third of my face. So I did some research and decided to stop using cleansers all together, and just wash my face with only lukewarm to cool water. Wishin a few days, the bumps along the sides and corners of my mouth have disappeared and I haven’t grown any new ones there. My face was almost completely clear within the first week I started this regimen, but at the one week mark, I’ve noticed a few big inflammatory breakouts in less problematic areas, such as the front of my cheeks and forehead. Is this happening due to a facial detox or is this a sign that the water-only regimen is not working? I don’t want it to get any worse, so how long should I continue this regimen until I decide what to do about my skin?

    1. Hi Angelica, Good on you for giving this a go. It can be a terrifying experiment but so worth it. 2 weeks is not nearly long enough to experience the best results. I would be inclined to give it a go for a minimum of 2-3 months. You should notice lots of results in just a month, but your skin has quite a bit of repair and detox work to do so give it time. Be patient. Trust the process. Your skin has it’s own quiet wisdom 🙂

  24. Hey there Anthea,

    Thank you for cheering me up and give me hope about this experience, I m 2 months in. Things have improved a lot, my overall tone, the thickness of me skin and the side effect of the dead skin.

    However some days are still much better then others and I still have pimples coming :-/ + scars fading slowly… I currently have 2 new spots from this week and it seems it keeps coming although it s been 2 months ! The firstmonth was really tough and now it’s better but I am wondering, will it keeps improving ? Will I ever see the end of it? It s such a pain to see one new forming as another scar is goin, it s like a never ending thing!! Thanks for your reply.

    1. Hi Sophie, I know it’s frustrating. But you’ve had skin problems for a lot longer than 2 months, right? Are you making sure that what’s going into your body is absolutely the best you can nourish it with. Make sure you’re not still eating dairy, and that your fruit and veggie intake as well as water is high. I’m assuming that you’ve cut out all processed foods. It can take quite a long time for the body to detox, expecially if you’ve been abusing yourself (like I did) for many years!

  25. I have just came across your blog and found this experiment to be interesting! So over the year i finally figured out why i had such a shiny and oily skin that could be the reason i could be breaking out a lot (since no one else in my family has acne) is because i exfoliate my skin twice a day and i think it could be stripping all my natural oil since then so that’s why my face is super oily and shiny.

    It’s been a week since i’ve done the caveman regimen of not using exfoliator on my face and i’ve notice that i have had less breakouts now which is good and my face has seem to reduce the appearance of my skin looking shiny but still has very oily skin. Do you think my oily skin will heal once I stop using exfoliater products? Also i wanted to take the next step of the caveman regiman – would it be okay if i just wash my face once a day basically just giving it a quick splash in the morning and not washing my face in the night. Would this help to get back my natural oil? Please let me know soon. Can’t wait to start my second week of cavemen regiman. I’ll continue to go strong with this experiment.

    Also would drinking water every day be okay for my skin you know just to keep it hydrated so it doesn’t get dried up?

    1. Exfoliator products are very harsh and can definitely damage your acid mantle making you prone to breakouts. I definitely think your skin’s natural oils will balance out after while (a month or so) on this program. A quick splash of water might be okay after a while. Just avoid products. Drinking water is essential for skin!

  26. Hi there, my name is Kaysie and I’m literally at breaking point I cry as I write this 2 years ago a doctor put me on a steroid cream called Avantan for a slight rash on my chin ( back then I had no idea how dangerous steroid creams could be) yes it cleared my rash in 3 days but as soon as I stopped using it my face exploded and not in a good way I’ve tried everything imaginable to try and fix my chin but nothing ever worked. It just keeps getting worse and worse. Not to mention that I have OCD and became a habitual picker! I feel like I have totally ruined my chin Throw in the hormonal issues and BAM I’m on anxiety overload all the time. I never wear make up and just rinse my face morning and night with warm water – nothing else, I have started detoxing my diet and also see a naturopath. I’ve been washing with water only for about a month now but have only TODAY made the scariest decision to STOP picking and squeezing my chin. The rest of my face is clear it’s only where I applied the steroid cream more than 2 years ago. Currently my skin has scars/ few cystic pimples and hundreds of tiny pimples and is Sooooo DRY Fortunately my face doesn’t itch. There’s been so many times that I cry myself to sleep not wanting to wake up the next morning and face another day hating what I see in the mirror! My question to you is if I can just stop picking and let my face be do you honestly think my chin will heal itself? I’m so sick of living this way, having to hide and not go anywhere simply because I’m afraid I will not dare put another steroid cream on my face like the doctors want me to, I just won’t! I am praying that with not picking my skin will finally try to heal itself. Thank you so much for hearing my story. I would absolutely love to hear any feedback you may have for me. Yours sincerely 
    Kaysie ❤️

    1. I’m so sorry to hear about your bad experience, Kaysie. I used to pick at my pimples as well and felt the same kind of shame that you do about my skin. Cleaning up my diet was absolutely fundamental – particularly cutting out all dairy, and overtly fatty foods (animal products, nut butters, avocado etc) Lowering my fat intake for a while really helped. Picking of course is the worst thing you can do because you are constantly damaging the acid mantle while your skin is trying to heal. I REALLY recommend you cover up your mirror/s and don’t look into it/them for a month. If you don’t wear makeup then this will be easy, since you won’t need to look at it. Looking into the mirror and obsessing about your skin and then picking is a vicious cycle that you absolutely need to break. Then start to observe the sensations of healing as they start to happen on your skin. You’ll notice itchiness, tingling etc. Just keep saying to yourself “this sensation is there because my skin is healing. just observe and the sensation will pass”. Hang in there, honey. Your skin will heal, if you just let it do it’s thing. Eat loads of fruits and veggies, lots of water, cut out processed foods and you will see improvement.

      1. Thank you so much for responding Athena. You are so very true in what your saying! It is such a very hard habit to break! But I know I need to do this not just for my skin but for my sanity as well. I’ve had my fiancée take before pictures and I’m going to document how I’m going! I love this blog and I’m so very glad and thank full to know that I’m not alone on this journey xxxxxx

  27. Hey, I am in my 1st week of this… still have 2-3 cysts.. Every morning I wake up and hit the shower and let the water run down my face for 4 secs… and when my face gets oily I just wipe it gently with a piece of tissue and at nights I do the same morning routine. Acne has been taking over my life since I was 14 and now I’m 21.. I hope this work out for me… 

  28. Hi Anthea, I love this blog, I literally just sat here for 20 min reading all of the post. I love that you take the time to actually respond to people and keep them motivated. I happen to be 21 as well and no one in my family has acne except for me, but I started washing my face at 15 everyday due to the fact that I played so many sports growing up thinking it was helping. I wish I would have just stopped then. I’m leaving a post here because of not being sold on this experiment, but because I had a questions. I happen to be in the military and have to shave nearly everyday, which includes putting shaving cream on my face. Do you think if I switched to an electric razor that would suffice or irritate my skin? Also my diet is limited with what I have available sometimes, so I was concerned about starting this knowing I can’t really cut meats, and a majority of carbs out of my diet. I guess my question here is do you think diet has that much to do with acne?

    1. Hi Hayden, Thanks for your sweet feedback 🙂 Regarding the electric razor, I’m not sure about that. I would do an experiment with electric and see what happens. I think it’s important to keep chemicals off your face as much as possible. I do think diet is very important though. If you can’t go raw vegan and I can understand that in the military this might be tough, then I’d recommend cutting out dairy first, refined sugar and all refined grain foods (breads/crackers/pasta). Try to stick with whole grains like brown rice and potatoes. The other thing is to keep your fat intake very low – I can’t stress how important this is. Emphasize fruits and vegetables in your diet as much as possible. Fruit is a supreme source of carbohydrates because it is hydrating, full of fibre and all the great phytochemicals and nutrients our bodies need. Good luck!

  29. Great article! I hope you don’t mind me venting my life story. The main issue for me is Seb Derm. I broke out with it back in April after I stopped my twice weekly prescription wash that I had used for about 7 years (used it every day from fall ’08 – fall ’12, then reduced to twice a week). The wash I was using was discontinued, so I figured since I was only doing it twice a week anyway with good results, I might as well just stop using it altogether. Unfortunately, it resulted in a seb derm outbreak, which I’ve never really had (it was mostly acne in high school). I’ve been a healthy eater since 2010 (went paleo), with the exception of 2013-2015 when I was able to successfully eat whatever I wanted (although still pretty healthy) for a period of two weeks before I would start breaking out and then I would go on a 5 day fast which would clear it up and then I’d repeat the process. Since late April I’ve been on the autoimmune protocol diet, and I’m still not seeing great results. Starting to wonder if it’s the 6TBSP of olive oil I’ve been doing a day, in addition to cooking with Avocado oil. Anyway, I just tried the Caveman Regimen about 4 days ago, only on forehead though, just to test it out. I ended up getting a pretty bad breakout (very rashy and itchy bumps/eczema) after day 3, and it honestly was debilitating to look at it. The problem for me is definitely the mirror. I can be in a great mood, but when I look in the mirror and see a shit show, it sends me into a tailspin. I ended up washing the forehead the next day and applying cortisone because I’m so weak minded. I’m just wondering if an eczema outbreak like that is normal when going caveman? I end up trying to predict the future and fear it’ll just be covered if I end up not washing.

    1. Hang in there, Dom 🙂 I know it’s tough in the beginning, and breakouts (acne and eczema) are completely normal at the start. It does get better though, I promise. Seriously, tape newspaper all over your mirrors so you are forced not to look in them for a few weeks. This is a very freezing thing to do and will prevent you from fussing with your skin.

  30. Hi Anthea,

    Thanks so much – you just sold me on trying this method. Looking back, I started washing and moisturizing when I was fifteen, and that was the time I can really pinpoint that I started to break out. I’m twenty now and my skin seems pretty thin now. My mum was the most beautiful woman, with barely any signs of aging as she used so many creams and serums, so I’ve been trying to follow in her footsteps and do the same, but perhaps over the years creams etc have become more abrasive?
    Anyway, I’m going to try this! I’ve bookmarked this page to post my progress. This is day one for me now. Above you mentioned you use sunscreen sometimes, and I’ve been trying to use this every day for the past three weeks. I live in NYC, though I’m from Australia (where I am right now), and we have horribly high UV rays. I also have the issue of tending to be on-camera for my job – make-up constantly. Anyway, I’m going to give it a go with nothing, and keep a hat on my head, sunglasses on my face, incredibly minimal make-up if nothing, and I’ll let you know how I go! Thanks for your wonderful encouragement xxx

  31. Hi, Anthea,
    Great article!
    I want to give it a try because, at the moment, even after splashing some cold water on my face it becomes red and irritated. I’m at the point when it seems that nothing helps anymore. I have some very stubborn acne on my right cheek and the jawline. I have one question, though – what about blackheads? Somethimes I go for a facial and every week I put clay mask on my T zone because of the blackheads. Also, I would really appreciate your opinion about anti aging products.
    Thank you very much. 🙂

    1. Hi Boka,
      Your blackheads should just go away with this method. They’re a result of over active sebum production. I don’t really use anything much at all, save for a little jojoba oil sometimes in the winter. Good luck!

  32. hi anthea, i try this 4 months ago but my pimples became miserable, i dont wear make up at all, i eat vegetables most of the time, i drink 8 glasses of water everday, i do exercise everyday, i drink lemon water first day in the morning and i only splash lukewarm water twice a day. i dont know what to do? because my pimples got worse everyday. thank you for your reply in advance.

    1. Hi Claudine, Without a complete overhaul of your diet and lifestyle it’s difficult to say what the problem could be. If you are eating any of the problems that could be causing problems too: dairy, chocolate, grains that you may be allergic too (or other foods you might be allergic too) more than 10% of your calories as fat (of any kind). If you are splashing your face with hard water too that could be causing problems. For personal support check out my Health coaching page, or Fresh Start 90-Day program < https://realrawnutrition.com/freshstart>

          1. it so itchy and my whiteheadsgot  visible already but i do not touch it, im just letting it to go on its own.

  33. Hi Anthea,
    I have had Perioral dermatitis or seb eczema or both for more dan 10 years, of and on, but it never went away. I started with the caveman regimen for a week now. The bumbs are getting smaller, lesser pustles, but my scin is itching like crazy and now after a week i tend to get some little pustules back again. Also Im flaking alot and my scin feels tight and beacuse I sweat at night my skin feels dirty. Have you had messages from people that have had PD and used the caveman regimen, or in other ways know if this might work with PD. Also my skin hardely bears anything, especially oils or aloe vera or cream, except for a cream call dr baumann, that doesnt make m,y face tingle. I want to start using it again now my skin is so flaky and tight. I would me gratefull for your reply, cheers

    1. Sara, Are you doing dietary changes as well as Caveman? Dermatitis and eczema are definitely gut-related, as I’m sure you know. Eating raw fruits and veggies had the biggest impact on my eczema. The itching is part of the process – you just need to bear with it. Hang in there!

  34. Hi Anthea (life story alert),
    I’m a 24 y/o male with bad forehead acne. I had perfectly clear skin since I was 14 until about 8 months ago when I was on hard painkillers for spinal problems and since then, my forehead has become really oily but admittedly I was also using all the harsh cleansers and methods in an attempt to combat it.
    I’ve heard that forehead acne can be associated with liver problems which I guess the painkillers could’ve impacted combined with the fact that I’m on heavy nights out most weekends but I was even since 8 months ago and it was since the spinal problems this all started. I’m beginning to drink a lot of carrot juice with a side of beta-carotene supplements to assist in repairing the liver (I’ve heard that this works).

    I have tried this regimen about a month ago and had slight breakouts after the first week and so I caved in to washing again and surprise… I still have acne!
    It’s quite humid where I live and I tend to sweat on my face a lot as a result, do you still recommend that I just let the sweat dry up and move on like nothings happening because the thought of the stickiness and bacteria just screams recipe for acne there??
    Any help is appreciated, thanks for holding this blog too!

    1. Hey Armo, Definitely sounds like you’re detoxing those drugs, doesn’t it? You just need to persist with the caveman, and trust that your skin has it’s own wisdom. Washing is just going to disturb your acid mantle. You could just lightly towel off the sweat if you want though. All the best. I don’t recommend betacarotene supplements by the way as they have been associated with higher risk for cancer. Carrot juice and all fruits and veggies are fine however, and the best way of getting your betacarotene.

  35. Thank you Anthea. I haven’t washed my face in just over a week now (apart from water dripping over it slightly in the shower but that’s almost impossible to stop.

    I have noticed improvement in the skin tone, acne is still there but isn’t as severe I would say – I guess this is because I’m not scrubbing it with harsh chemicals anymore. It’s getting really flaky sometimes though, just dry skin flakes hanging off, what do I so about those? Can I moisturise or gently pick them off or something? Thank you for following up on these posts, it does mean a lot especially after it has been going for years from what I can see

  36. Hi Anthea,

    I’m currently 17, meaning I’m going through my last year of high school. I vividly remember the first time I got a breakout, I was 13 and I completely freaked out and bought half a dozen of acne products. This week has been among the worst ones, I got a huge breakout on my left cheek. It is really bad, to the point where I can’t even look at myself in the mirror. Yesterday I was doing my research and came across “Accutane”, I was so decided into getting myself into the treatment to finally eliminate my acne, which has been the source of my low self-esteem for years now. As I was doing my research I came upon your blog and it made me realize that I haven’t let my skin breath since 2013 and that was just shocking. I’m starting the caveman routine today and kissing goodbye to all those products who have done the bare minimum and yes, I’ll say goodbye to makeup too. I’ll reach out in a few weeks to let you know, how it’s going.

    1. Ah Fabianne, I so sympathize with your struggle. It was my story to a T. Definitely the give the Caveman a go. But seriously think about revising your diet too, if you haven’t done so already, as food definitely has a huge impact. Much love to you.

  37. Hello Anthea,

    I am reaching out to you for hope. I have been on pro active since high school and I have now 24. I ran out about 5 months ago and decided to stop for good. Well just about two months ago, my forehead has broken out severely! Tiny bumps everywhere and white heads. I am trying to go all natural now but using aloe vera, tea tree, and a splash of rose water every so often, however seems like all that is not helping. Why is it that I am only breaking out on my forehead? Do you think I should give the caveman regimen a try??? My cheeks are doing fine so I would hate to see them breakout if I try the caveman regimen. How do I clear my foreheads over production of sebum? ):

    1. So sorry to hear you’re struggling with your skin, Ni. I get it! Trust that your skin, and your body, is a self-healing organism – the more you allow it to heal and get ‘out of the road’ (ie stop doing stuff to it) it will find it’s own balance again. It’s likely that the breakouts are a result of your skin trying to find balance again after years of the proactive. Give Caveman a go. I still rarely use anything on my skin and it’s never been better. But make sure you also look at what you’re eating. A high fat diet, particularly processed foods, will definitely trigger breakouts.

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