We spend hundreds of dollars each year on products that promise to erase the signs of aging from our face.
And yet it appears that what we don’t put on our faces is what really protects our skin.
This remarkable secret to beautiful skin is so simple that you have no excuse for not acting right away.
But first here’s some proof for how and why this method works.
How Your Skin Fights Germs And Wrinkles
It’s been known since the 1890s that our skin is covered by an acidic layer of oils and sweat.
This barrier keeps skin moist and keeps out nasty germs that cause embarrassing problems like acne and bad body odor.
Then in the 1950s, it was discovered that the natural pH of skin is around 4.6.
For comparison, water has a pH of around 7.0 and soap has a pH of 9-10!
Each time you wash your face you raise the pH of your skin above 4.6.
Okay, great… But why is this so terrible?
Reason #1: Washing Your Skin Causes Acne And Body Odor
Well it appears that staying as close to a pH of 4.6 is important for keeping out the germs P. acnes and B. epidermidis. These are the germs that are found in acne pustules and that cause bad body odor.
A study by Korting had people wash their foreheads twice a day with a cleanser for 4 weeks. They then measured the effect washing had on skin acidity and the number of P. acnes bacteria on their skin.
Do you know what they found?
After only 3 days of washing their faces 2 times a day, the pH of their skin rose sharply. And the number of P. acnes bacteria on their foreheads exploded! You can see the increase in P. acnes in the left chart below on the solid line.
Washing 2x a day with soap increases acne bacteria! – Click to tweet
Here’s some more bad news. Not only does acne causing bacteria flourish above a pH of 5.0, but so does B. epidermidis… These stinky germs gobble up the yummy oils and sweat that you secrete and poop them out as foul smelling odors.
It has been shown that B. epidermidis really starts to party when your skin pH goes above 5.5. B. epidermidis populations are only controllable when your skin has a pH of below 5.0.
Look at the solid line again. After the first month, the study then changed to using an acidic/neutral pH non-soap cleanser. Starting at day 31, the number of bacteria dropped like a rock. So too did their skin pH until it went back down to about 4.6. So what does this mean?
I Can’t NOT Shower Or Wash My Face!
Well, actually you can…
A study by Hartmann showed that not washing skin did not increase the number of bacteria. After a while, the balance of good bacteria remained constant and kept the bad guys from taking over your skin.
Take heart though! You do not have to walk around smelling like a piece of overripe cheese to keep your skin healthy.
In fact, there was no difference between just washing once a day or not washing at all!
Skin pH was higher right after cleansing, but as long as there was enough time to recover everything returned to normal.
How Washing Your Face Mimics Aging
I’ve showed you how washing your face will increase the pH of your skin.
You also know that washing will also increase the dryness. Which of course is why we wash, because we want to get rid of oil.
Well what if I told you that this is the exact same thing that happens to your skin when you get older.
A study in 1987 studied the cheeks and foreheads of 574 men and women between 18-95 years old. They found no difference in pH based on gender. However, the big surprise was between different age groups of the same gender.
They measured the skin of the young subjects and found pH levels of 4.0-5.5 on their foreheads and 4.2-5.9 on their cheeks. Then they measured the skin of older subjects over 80 years old and found that 89% of them had much higher pHs on both cheeks and foreheads.
They also found that skin takes longer to recover from a high pH as we get older.
As we have seen, it is when our skin is out of balance that damage by germs and the environment accumulates.
Women Who Swear By The ‘No Wash’ Routine
Is there any real world proof that this will get rid of wrinkles, acne, and dry skin?
Two famous women over 40 have already vouched for the ‘no wash’ rule.
One of Salma Hayek’s secrets is to only cleanse her face at night. This is because it’s important to remove makeup and dirt from the day so your skin can breath. In the morning, all that’s needed is a splash of cool water.
Kylie Minogue has also stated her love of Ponds Cold Cream for removing makeup. Cold cream is an oil based cleanser that removes stubborn makeup and is gentle to skin.
Now these are both very wealthy women who have access to the most expensive beauty products. I am not saying that they have not had any other help in maintaining their youthful appearance. But they both have very beautiful skin even compared to other celebrities of the same age.
In my own life, I have seen the wisdom of this advice with my mother and aunt (not biologically related). Both are beautiful women in their mid 50s who are wrinkle free and have only the finest lines in the corners of their eyes.
I like to practice what I preach. I have followed the ‘no wash’ routine since I was 18 and more than 10 years later, I still get carded every time I go out for drinks or buy a lotto ticket.
So What’s The Bottom Line?
Anyway… This was all a long winded way of telling you to:
- Only wash your face once a day.
- Do it at night to get rid of makeup and dirt from the day. You’re not going to get dirty when you’re asleep so don’t waste your 1 wash per day in the morning! Only splash your face with tap water in the morning.
- Use a cleanser with a low pH. Do not use cleansers that are just glorified soaps! New generation facial cleansers do not change the pH of your skin and are great at getting rid of waterproof makeup and sunscreen. Some safe cleansers are ‘cleansing oils’, ‘cleansing milk’, or ‘cold creams’. Some 4/5 star safe cleansers are:
Now I’ve got a little challenge for you…
Leave a comment and share your experience. Try just washing your face once a day for 4 weeks. Do you think your skin has improved?
You should also sign up to the Knowing Shopper newsletter to learn all 6 of my skin healing secrets. 😀