Hey guys! I'm back with a highly requested 30-day caveman regimen update. Because this routine was working so well at clearing my cystic acne and restoring my skin to its former glory, I wasn’t planning on stopping it anytime soon. Plus, we all know by now to see a difference with any new skincare routine you have to use it for at least a month or one whole skin cycle, so it only made sense to continue my caveman ways.
If you aren't familiar with the caveman regimen it's basically the no poo regimen of skincare. You don’t let anything (products, spot treatment, even water) touch your face. The purpose is to eliminate all forms of physical irritation and allow your skin to repair itself. Not only is the caveman regimen a physical detox but serves as a mental detox as well. Because you aren't constantly slathering on products the goal is to also stop focusing (and perhaps obsessing) over your skin. Of course, I saw great results physically, but I truly think the psychological benefits were my driving force to continue. I did stop the no water, no wash at all hardcore regimen, which is why this blog is called the modified caveman method, but we will get to that in a minute. To read my previous blog for a more in-depth look at the caveman process and to see what my first 7 days were like click here, .
my modified caveman regimen
After about a week of a very strict caveman regimen I began incorporating water, oil cleansing, and moisturizer. However, I only did so on a once a week basis- which is still a huge cutback from my nightly 12 step skincare routine. The first thing I decided to incorporate was water. During the second week I had accumulated so much dead skin, sebum, and sweat that I was actually beginning to develop eczema patches on my face. They were itchy, scaly and extremely inflamed so one day I decided to take a cotton pad with water and gently exfoliate the skin away, and it worked! The patches cleared up and irritation went away by the next morning.
The second thing I incorporated was an oil cleanser. I began incorporating a face wash because I still wanted to wear makeup about once a week on the weekends and knew I didn't have the willpower to just "leave it" on my face. Although, people have done that on the caveman regimen (and it still worked for them) I wasn't willing to risk my results. I love the caveman regimen but I also love to occasionally get glammed up, so using a cleanser was a small sacrifice to make. For me this regimen has been all about restoring the pH balance and acid mantle of my skin. Luckily, oil-based cleansers don't have a pH and therefor won't mess with the pH of your skin, still allowing your acid mantle to properly repair itself. The Oil Serum cleanser I began using is from Franklin and Whitman, you can read a .
The moisturizer I chose to use is the . I only used this product about once a week after washing my face, sometimes only putting it on the dry patches of my face. I tried not to get too strict about cleansing or moisturizing, because then I'm falling back into the same ways of adding in products. And the next thing you know, I'll be back at the beginning of square one of using a 12 step nightly skincare routine again which is what we're trying to get away from.
I tried not to stress too much with these things, nor did I dive straight back into a full blown, strictly laid out skincare routine. Again, the caveman regimen goes against skincare rules and is all about balance, and just doing whatever feels right to you! If that means no products at all, do that! Or, if it's about just cutting your nightly routine down from 5 products to 0, make a commitment to that instead. Regardless of what you choose, don't feel restricted or that you "have" to stick to a certain way.
week by week analysis
Throughout the month I took notes noticing any differences in my skin. It started as an everyday guide for anyone else who may want to try the same thing. However, my skin changed SO much on a daily basis that I found analyzing it every day actually wasn't really helping. Some days it looked flawless, other days it looked red and splotchy, and sometimes I would get clusters of whiteheads in the morning that would go away by nighttime.
Don't freak-out if you continue to get a few spots, again pimples start anywhere from 2-6 weeks in advance, just trust in the process and stick with it. Know that these results are individual and not definite, everyone's skin is different so the changes I went through may or may not be the same as yours. I believe my skin was healing due to the layers of dead skin, red patches where I typically breakout, and only one new painful cystic spot during my entire course. I am hopeful that it will continue to heal but also certain that all healing takes time. Especially from the current over-use of chemical exfoliators and years of cheap products I used on my skin. Continue reading below for my weekly results.
2nd Week (14 DAYS)
During the second week I accumulated so much dead skin on my face already. I didn't know how I was going to leave it until the end of the month. I had some red dry scaly patches that were actually turning into rashes and eczema on my face (around my mouth). Unfortunately, on my cheeks, where I wanted the dead skin to build up, didn't even really happen. It was mostly on my t zone, chin, and around my mouth. Literally everywhere except my problem area. Figures, right?
After rinsing off the rashy looking patches my skin was looking clear and calm. During this time period I also had my menstrual cycle, which almost always unenviably comes with a few white heads and a cyst. Guess what? This time I DID get a couple of white heads but they went away super quickly, virtually within the same day I got them. I DID NOT, however, get any cysts! Hiphip, hooray!
3rd Week (28 DAYS)
My skin continued to look really clear, except on the chin. I guess that is my "purge zone" from my dreaded period. I found it really, really hard to not pop my whiteheads. Which was weird because I always thought "hey, I don’t really touch my face that much". Turns out, I do a lot more than I realized. I'm surprised this routine is working so great as my diet hasn't really been the best AND my hygiene (I mean, c'mon I'm not really washing my face) hasn’t been the best either.
There were lots of days during the third week where I would get little red spots or patches that looked like they were going to be pimples but then they would either disappear or turn into a buildup of dead skin the following day. I just kept chugging water and believing that they wouldn't turn into pimples, and they didn't! At this stage I had made it 22 days without a single cyst, I was P.U.M.P.E.D. That is, until I got the biggest ugliest pustule looking boil cyst on the side of my face.
This wasn't a whitehead, nor was it "an under the skin bump". It was massive and had a huge head on it, I kept reminding myself not to pop it but with all the pressure and redness, it was growing into the size of a dime! I decided to spot treat it with a mask overnight (), when I woke up the redness had drastically reduced but it was still swollen. As of right now, I'm going to continue to let it dissolve on its own, and hopefully it doesn’t leave a scar. I continue to get under the skin inflammation patches that look like the beginning of cysts but then they disappear on their own within a few days, which is pretty amazing to me!
tips on beginning your caveman regimen
Here are some quick tips if you feel like starting your own caveman regimen:
- Don’t go in with any expectations. It might work to clear your skin, or it might work to clear your mind. Just relax, don’t worry, and let your skin do its thing.
- If you get a pimple don’t freak out, don’t touch it, it will go away on its own eventually.
- Don't feel obligated to stick to your plan. It's okay if you have to use a spot treatment or need to splash your face with water, it's OKAY. Don't be too hard on yourself, just listen to your skin and do whatever feels right to you.
- Try to set one long term and one short term goal in mind. Short term can be a few days or weeks with long term being a few weeks or months. For me one short term goal was not applying any products for at least 7 days including water to let my barrier heal, long term I'd like to readjust and simplify my skincare routine down to the basics.
my final thoughts on the caveman regimen
This regimen taught me, a whoooooooooleeeee lot. Some things I knew subconciously, but other lessons were brand new to me.
I obsess over my skin, OFTEN. Always thinking about what treatments, medication, or diet to try has left me mentally exhausted. The caveman regimen was a nice break from that. I didn't google anything on my skin, I let it do its thing. It really left me feeling well rested and energized, I could put my mind and energy to more important things and move on from the acne trap. It was eye opening for me when I realized how much time and effort I actually spend focusing on my skin, and how much I could get done when I redirected my efforts towards more important things.
It also taught me that sometimes less is more. Of course, pimples can be unsightly and we want them to go away quickly, but your body has a process and layering on 14 products isn't going to make that process go any faster. It might actually hinder your results if you're using the wrong products for your skin. Instead, back off and HANDS OFF. Do. Not. Touch. Not putting anything on my skin brought to my attention that I subconsciously touch my face A LOT. Just remember, popping your pimples is going to spread bacteria, even spread it under the surface if the pimple is deep enough. Popping leads to more pimples, and so does constantly touching your face! Of course, we all know this, but a majority of us do it anyways. That being said, I'm sticking to no popping from here on out.
I learned that my skin is highly reactive and easily irritated. I always knew this, but I didn't know exactly to what extent. For me, even water that’s too hot can make me overproduce oil and breakout. My hair rubbing against my skin can even cause irritation. So, it's no wonder that overusing chemical exfoliators was doing some damage on my skin. I think, because my barrier needed to be repaired, no matter what I put on my skin it was going to react poorly. I'm hoping that now I can dive back into skincare and get the results I'm looking for.
Lastly, I learned that I'm a collector. Last year, I sold a good deal of my clothes and set out to live a "healthy and more grounded" lifestyle: mind, body, and soul. I wanted less materialistic things and also got rid of my entire makeup collection, minus 3 basic products. It felt really good, and I felt really good too. Subconsciously I began accumulating skincare products in their place. Amassing an ungodly collection of products that I will probably never get to use before they expire. This is something that the caveman process has opened my eyes too. I'm addicted to collecting things! As soon as I began the caveman regimen and quit buying skincare, I began buying an excess amount of clothes again. I recently thought, "what the heck am I doing?!" And that’s when I realized I had just replaced one bad habit for another. This is something that I've been working on, and with time will improve.
That's about all I have to say on the caveman regimen! Have you tried it? How did it go? Let me know your thoughts below!
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Kali Kushner, known as the Instagram alias myfacestory, is a natural beauty advocate in the greater Cincinnati area who is passionate about using organic skincare and holistic remedies to heal acne from the inside out. Her dedication lies in her own chronic acne struggles as she continues to restore herself while helping those around her.