Before you dismiss this as yet another anti-soap story written by some new-age hippie journalist, let me make one thing clear: I love being clean. A shower is often the only thing that will get me out of bed in the morning. I carry antibacterial gel in my purse, and yes, I have been guilty of using my shirt to open a door. Still a colleague suggested that the root of my skin problems may actually be everything I’m using to make things better. After a week of going sans-soap, I realized she might be on to something.
A Lifetime Of Oily Skin
When I was a child, I remember when my mother would hand me a simple washcloth with warm water so I could pat my face fresh before sending me off to bed. Then puberty began, and so did my struggle with oily skin. My life turned into an endless cycle of washing my face and using moisturizer to relieve the tightness, only to wash my oily face once again. At 22, I was frustrated with my skin, and willing to do anything that would help, even if doing "anything" ironically meant doing nothing.
No More Tight Skin
Cleaning your face without soap is actually as simple as it sounds. I would wake up in the morning, and just run my face under the warm water of my daily shower, then pat it dry with a towel. When I came home from work, I would splash warm water from the sink on my face, and dry with a cloth or paper towel. The very first time I washed my face without any type of cleanser I was immediately aware of just how good my skin felt afterwards. It didn’t have its usual tight and taut appearance, and I could effortlessly make a facial expression without feeling my skin pull. Oily skin was by far my biggest skin concern, and amazingly, not washing my skin has made it less oily. I still like to rinse my face as soon as I get home from work, but I’m no longer self-conscious that other people will notice my oily complexion, and start calling me "pizza face" behind my back (I must admit this was a major concern of mine). Also, although I’ve never seriously suffered from acne I do have the occasional spot here and there. A week may be too short to say that going soap-less is the miracle cure to pimples, but I can say that I haven’t had so much as a blemish since I’ve started.
Even Works On Makeup
At first I was skeptical about wearing makeup because I wasn’t sure how well it would come off without using soap. When I did start wearing makeup again I tried using coconut oil as a natural makeup remover. This went against my all my natural instincts. Why would I add oil to my already oily face? Still, I gently dabbed my cotton ball in coconut oil and rubbed it on my eyelids. In moments, my mascara and eyeliner were gone. I then used warm water and a towel to wash away the remaining oil and grime.
The Science Of Why Soap Can Be Bad For Your Face
In a nutshell, soap can mess with your face’s natural oil balance. The ingredients in typical face soaps can be pretty cringe-worthy, such as sodium lauryl sulfate, a chemical that was listed as causing “possible mutilations and cancer” by the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep: Cosmetic Safety Reviews. Soap strips your skin of its natural oils and can cause that tight, dry feeling I used to experience twice a day. “Feeling squeaky clean — we don't want to go there. It's too aggressive," Dr. Patricia Farris, a fellow at the American Academy of Dermatology, told The Wall Street Journal. Signs of harmful stripping to your skin are stinging, burning, and irradiation, Farris explained. In fact many doctors advise that most people without serious skin issues such as acne, only need to wash their face once everyday day, before they go to bed, The Wall Street Journal reported.