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Caveman Skin Care: Myth or Truth?

Posted by Will Richardson on

Perhaps both......


Admittedly when I was first pitched this editorial I thought, "You've got to be kidding me."   However, a few google clicks later and I became intrigued and really considering whether or not this really could assist us as dermatologists in managing acne given new data on acne. 
It seems this originally appeared in 2013 when people became frustrated with using a variety of products on their skin with minimal improvement.   Suddenly they choose to stop all  topical cleansers and therpaeutics only using water on the face for intervals of 30-60 days.  Patients would remarkably improve without the costly concoctions being applied to the skin. 
Recently in the medical literature it has been observed that patients with acne for years may have been slightly at a disadvantage with rhetorical treatments.   It was observed that patients with acne did improve with use of moisturizers to restore the natural barrier, which was to the contrary of everything we have been doing to date.  Historically, acne was attributed to four common things in both men and women alike.  Excessive oil production, occlusion of the follicle, bacterial overgrowth and inflammation worked together to manifest acne.  For years we told patients to avoid moisturizers on the skin if they had oily acne-prone skin. Now we know that the reverse is true.  Applying non-comedogenic oil-free moisturizers are beneficial to patients with acne as a method of restoring the barrier reducing inflammation. 
In light of this perhaps the "caveman" method of treating acne does allow for the restoration of natural moisturizers on the skin reducing inflammation contributing to acne.  The one absolute scientific connection is that this method will allow for the restoration of the "acid mantle" on the skin which is disrupted by topical acidic cleansers or basic astringents.   The "acid mantle" refers to the skin's natural pH of 5.4 that becomes too high or too low during the use of the multitude of cleansers and medicaments for months as an attempt to resolve acne at home without the supervision and advice of a Board Certified Dermatologist. 
All taken together, what have you got to lose?  Time. It's always best to visit a dermatologist and allow them to advise you on something so sacred as your appearance. 

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