It's almost inevitable these days that I have a post explaining a bright and shiny new acne treatment I'm trying. And it usually works. For about a month or two that is. Slowly but surely, I get out of the honeymoon phase and its effects start to wear off. Then it all starts going downhill. I dread that I have to report this back to you guys, but wasn't any different. It's hard for me to share acne treatments that don't work because its not like "oh, this skincare or diet I raved about failed me", it's more like I failed you guys. I know, it doesn't make much sense because I can't control my results. But, sharing my acne fails when it comes to persistent, severe, adult acne has definitely become a bit disheartening.
I had such high hopes for the caveman regimen. I mean the thought of putting nothing on your face and having clear skin- is there anything better? I think not. And it worked, for exactly a month and a half that is. After that my skin started breaking out in cysts again. A new spot every few days, by the end of the second month I had developed four new cysts and I couldn't take it anymore.
My skin wasn't too greasy or too dry, it felt balanced. Since I wasn't using any irritating products, I am 100% sure my spots weren't from external factors. They were cysts that weren't going away anytime soon, so I HAD to put something on them. I started with spot treatments, which worked for a while. That is until the cluster of cysts began migrating around my face. Y'all know what I'm talking about, or does this only happen to me? Then I started using an all over acne treatment and by the time I knew it I was back to a full-blown skincare routine.
And that's completely fine, there's nothing wrong with that. Maybe my skin needed a little break from scrubbing at it every single day! Would it have been nice if the caveman regimen continued working? Yes. But did it? No. I will never understand why skincare or diet changes seem to work short term on my cystic acne. I usually get a month or two of clear skin at the most but then bam! I'm right back to where I started. But that doesn't mean I'm giving up anytime soon. With each #acnefail, I learn an invaluable lesson. It definitely wasn't a loss. And now that I'm completely done with the caveman experiment, there are a few key things I've learned.
my acne is an internal issue
After being on countless topicals and prescription pills, and still dealing with acne well into adulthood- I should have guessed it was an internal issue. But I had to test out the caveman to know for SURE. By putting absolutely nothing on my skin, I got out of the way and allowed my face to do its own healing. Since I put zero products on my skin, yet still continued to breakout, it showed me that product irritation was NOT an issue. It was (and still is) something going on internally, not externally. Everyone is different but my personal theories are hormones, digestion, and stress.
Since these three separate things are hard to constantly manage or have control over on a daily basis, I expect my balance to occasionally be off. And what does it mean when the balance of one of these things is off? It'll probably show up on my skin. And that’s, A-okay. I'm not striving for perfection anymore, as someone who is acne prone I know I will occasionally get pimples. I've finally come to terms with this and accepted it for what it is. My goal now is just to be happy and healthy!
my skins acid mantle was compromised
My skins barrier (aka acid mantle) was compromised. The reason I kept breaking out pre-caveman regimen was because my barrier was completely stripped from over exfoliation. Giving it time to repair itself was crucial in clearing my skin externally. However, it takes 28 days to reach a full skin cycle. I believe this is why the caveman worked for a little over a month and then stopped working. After my full skin cycle had been reached, and my barrier had been completely repaired I began going back into the pore clogging acne cycle again.
My skin didn't need to heal or repair itself anymore, so it kind of just fell back into its old ways and I began breaking out again- quickly and frequently. So, while at first it may have been whiteheads all over from product irritation, in the long run it was actually cystic spots from unbalanced hormones, stress, and digestion issues.
balance, balance, balance
After trying every skincare fad, diet, and cream all I can say is balance is key. Cutting something out completely nor over indulging yourself will not do anyone any good. Whether it be your diet, lifestyle, or your product choices. Live life in moderation. Don't constrict yourself to a 30-step skincare routine, nor should you cut out all skincare for the sake of your skin. Find a good balance and stick with it. It's okay to occasionally go off the rails and try new things (heck I do it all the time) but try to find a few basic key things that you can stick with.