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A Not-Dirty Secret...

Around a year ago, I stopped bathing with soap.

No soaps, shower gels, or cleansing agents (other than water). I still use shampoo, but for washing my body I just use the water and a washcloth (or other scrubby thing), and I just scrub myself all over.

Of course, day to day, I still use soap on my hands (for obvious reasons) and my face (when make-up removal is needed).

The result: I'm still clean. Not only that though, but a lot of skin problems that I suffered from my whole life have disappeared. The skin on my elbows no longer becomes sandpaper. The horrible body-acne that has always infected my chest and shoulders since I was a teenager is no more...or at least, only flares up occasionally during a certain time of month, but even then it's much milder than it was before.

I also find that I actually smell BETTER, at least to myself. When I need a shower, my armpits still get a bit stinky, but not to the extent that they used to before. I find that I no longer need to use deodorant at all.

Also, the skin on my legs used to dry out too, and that's stopped. Now, the only parts of my body that I need to moisturize are my hands and my face (coincidentally the only two parts of my body that I still wash with soap...I suppose I could try to scrub make-up off my face with only water, but the hands thing is non-negotiable since I don't want to give myself some sort of medieval dirty disease.)

The reason I'm telling you this is because I kind of wish I had done this long ago...maybe then I wouldn't have stupid acne scars on my chest.


( 30 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 15th, 2012 01:26 am (UTC)
I have body acne too. And those blackheads (the ones normally on the nose) all over my back. I hate it, makes me feel so self-conscious. I'm debating if I should give this a try...

I'm glad it worked for you and thank you for sharing. :)
Mar. 15th, 2012 01:28 am (UTC)
I make no promises, but it certainly wouldn't hurt to try (which is how I approached this experiment.)

Let me know how it goes! Like I said - I still get acne from time to time, but it's more in sync with normal hormonal fluctuations.
Mar. 15th, 2012 01:36 am (UTC)
My body acne isn't that bad, looks more like scars than acne - so I'm also thinking it wouldn't hurt to try! And periodical acne is so much better than permanent acne. Thank you, again. I'm going to start it today - lol have to write it in my journal to track my experiment. :D
Mar. 15th, 2012 01:39 am (UTC)
Don't forget to allow time for your body to adjust. When I started, I figured I would give it two months and then if my skin was worse, I'd start using soap again. If my skin was the same, I figured I would save money and just continue not using soap...luckily for me, my skin improved! :)
Mar. 15th, 2012 01:46 am (UTC)
I didn't think of that! Thanks for the heads up! Even if it doesn't work for me, I'm glad it worked for you. :)
Mar. 15th, 2012 01:31 am (UTC)
Me. Too. I have pretty shoulders(or so I've been told), but I hate wearing sleeveless/halters because my back acne is so horrible. It even crosses over and goes down my arms to just above my elbows, which is fucking annoying.

I recently got my hair cut(from being all the way down my back to a few inches longer than Dean's), and I'm waiting to see if that has any effect on it.

Edited at 2012-03-15 01:35 am (UTC)
Mar. 15th, 2012 01:43 am (UTC)
That pretty much sucks. Makes wearing anything revealing around that area a nightmare. My back acne isn't that bad, I can't even see it (or the blackheads) when I look in the mirror, but I can FEEL it - and that makes me not want to wear halters or anything of the sort.

Would hair have any effect on it? If you're wearing a shirt, that would block it, right? I can't cut my hair too short, regardless. But I hope it helps you! :)
Mar. 15th, 2012 01:50 am (UTC)
I get moderate acne on my chest, too, so wearing anything other than a t-shirt always makes me feel bad. It's really, really annoying.

I know a bunch of people who've said that the oil in your hair can increase your back/chest acne, even through shirts and stuff. It makes sense to me. I didn't get it cut for that reason, but I'm curious to see if it does have an effect on it.
Mar. 15th, 2012 05:00 am (UTC)
That actually makes sense. Especially if our skin is already so sensitive, it only makes sense it would be sensitive to the oil in our hair. I hope it does help you. :)
Mar. 15th, 2012 01:44 am (UTC)
I recently got my hair cut(from being all the way down my back to a few inches longer than Dean's), and I'm waiting to see if that has any effect on it.

Let me know if it does. I've been wondering about the fact that I still use shampoo...which runs down my chest when I rinse it out of my hair...but, I figure that's a long shot and probably whatever periodic acne I still get is just normal for my body.
Mar. 15th, 2012 01:51 am (UTC)
I would think that wouldn't be as bad as soap, since you're not exactly rubbing it into your skin, but IDK.
Mar. 15th, 2012 01:56 am (UTC)
Yeah, plus, I usually do my hair first and then my body...so...I'm most likely washing it away immediately after.
Mar. 15th, 2012 01:29 am (UTC)
I used to have skin issues(still do, actually) like dry skin, body acne all over, skin irritation, to the point where I had to use special soap if I used any at all. As I've gotten older, the problems have faded enough so I can use body wash rather than nothing, but I still deal with a hell of a lot of acne everywhere and my legs still dry out. If I don't use soap, though, it just gets worse. But I'm glad you have a solution!
Mar. 15th, 2012 01:31 am (UTC)
D'oh! Well, sorry it didn't work for you! I'm glad that the problems are lessening with age though - it gives me hope for the future!
Mar. 15th, 2012 01:34 am (UTC)
My health problems have mostly lessened as I've gotten older, which I am eternally thankful for. I used to be incredibly lactose intolerant; now I can do pretty much anything but chugging milk. That's one I'm super grateful for. XD Of course, my circulation in my extremities has gone to hell, but that's the only thing that's gotten worse.
Mar. 15th, 2012 01:41 am (UTC)
My sister has bad skin problems and food sensitivities...I think she's really hoping that those will lessen with age. Her doctor has told her that they probably will.

I had horrible circulation in my legs when I was a teenager, but that actually seems to have gotten better. My knees, however, have gotten worse and they're probably only going to keep getting worse. :P
Mar. 15th, 2012 01:48 am (UTC)
My sisters both had no problems with milk when they were kids, but they've kinda developed lactose intolerance over the years. I only hope I continue to go in the opposite direction!

I've got it bad. It can be the middle of summer and my toes are blue and purple and freezing cold...and yet hey feel like they're burning up and they sweat and get icky and it's just never fun. I'm pretty sure it's genetic: my dad has always had horrible circulation.
I worry about my knees, too. My family has a history of bad knees, and I've always been very active in high-impact activities, so there's always a chance they could give me problems.
Mar. 15th, 2012 01:55 am (UTC)
Oh man, yeah, that is bad circulation indeed. When I was in high school, if I stood for long periods of time, my legs would get itchy...but then sometimes I'd be in the middle of class and one of my legs would just go completely numb.

My family also has a history of bad knees, and mine are already going that route. I developed patellofemoral pain syndrome in '06 and now both knees sound like plastic bags, even on my good days. My dad has had both his knees replaced, but my mum has been able to manage her arthritis through diet...I mean, she's not going to be running down staircases or playing sports, but at least she can still walk without needing major surgery.

I've been forbidden from running by doctors...so, yeah, if I'm about to miss a bus, I'm missing the bus. :P
Mar. 15th, 2012 04:36 am (UTC)
That's really cool! I actually stopped using cleansers for a lot of household stuff - I have a bunch of microfiber cleaning cloths, and I use those and warm water, and maybe a little vinegar, for tables, counters, windows - all kinds of things. It's amazing.

There is so much effort put into selling us expensive, specialized products that are really no more effective than the cheap, natural, non-toxic solutions our great-grandmothers might have used.
Mar. 15th, 2012 04:42 am (UTC)
Not to mention that stuff like vinegar or baking soda doesn't have harmful chemicals like triclosan. :P

Apparently there are people who have gone off shampoo too, and they use baking soda for their hair. I'm not that bold yet, because it takes a long time for your hair to re-adjust and look nice again (if it ever does).

But yeah, with the exception of a few things (like toilet bowl cleaner), I'm trying to use less chemical cleansers as well.
Mar. 15th, 2012 04:54 am (UTC)
Yeah, I don't think I'd give up shampoo. And conditioner, otherwise it's frizz city.

When I was little we used Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Castile Soap for everything (my parents were hippies!) It was pretty awesome stuff, actually. I wonder if it's still around.
Mar. 15th, 2012 04:56 am (UTC)
I don't know, but it certainly sounds like an awesome soap! :)
Mar. 15th, 2012 05:18 am (UTC)
they do still make it! http://www.amazon.com/Dr-Bronners-Magic-Soaps-Pure-Castile/dp/B00120VWJ0

I'll try to find a close-up of the label, it's amazing!
Mar. 15th, 2012 05:21 am (UTC)
Cool! :)
Mar. 15th, 2012 05:34 am (UTC)
Oh my goodness, that's insane! Haha, I'd be too distracted to clean! :P
Mar. 15th, 2012 04:51 am (UTC)
That's great that you found a solution. I had similar results by switching household cleaners for hot water and limiting myself to body wash and shampoo made for babies or allergies. Dry skin is still an issue, but I live in an arid climate. I might try it for a few months though, since cutting out other chemicals worked so well.

Thanks for sharing. :D
Mar. 15th, 2012 04:58 am (UTC)
Yeah, it certainly doesn't hurt to try!

Having dry skin in Vancouver really baffled me, because Vancouver is decidedly NOT arid. So, yeah, my dry skin was completely to blame on something other than the environment. ;)
Mar. 15th, 2012 03:35 pm (UTC)
This is intriguing. I have a bit of chest acne as well. My back acne has lessened though, ever since I stopped exposing it to the environment as often. Plus my elbows and knees are so sandpaper-y.

However, I'm still hesitant about forgoing deodorant because unlike temperate countries, Singapore is hot and more importantly, humid. Humidity can -and usually- range from 70s all the way to the high 90s; it's like we're swimming in moisture if we're out under the sun even for five minutes! Without any deodorant I would stink so badly. LOL

Also, do you think that your skin's better partly due to your scrubbing? As in, maybe you know you're not using soap so you (sub)consciously scrubbing them much more, and thus it's better?
Mar. 15th, 2012 05:21 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I should point out that in Vancouver, I don't have to deal with humidity at all. When I'm back in Ontario, I do have to deal with humidity, and I don't use deodorant often there either, but I probably would be more likely to. I can't remember if I used deodorant when I was in Singapore - but I wouldn't be surprised if I did.

I don't think my skins better do to my scrubbing, and the reason for that is that I've always REALLY liked to scrub my skin. You know how face soaps always say "wash, rinse, pat to dry"? Yeah...I scrub to dry. :P

( 30 comments — Leave a comment )