I am not a beauty guru, but – I don’t use harsh cleansers on my face.

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So I am not a beauty guru, I wouldn’t even call myself vaguely an expert, but I have started really paying attention to my skin in the last few years, trying out things that work for me, and learning what makes my skin feel good. This series is some tips and tricks and things I have learned that make my skin feel good. I am 43 but was recently told my skin doesn’t look that age, although I do look tired from a lot of lack of sleep, because I have been strict about sun exposure and a few other things, my skin is handling aging so far, ok.

One of the things I have learned through life with my skin, is that just because it’s advertised and people say a product works, doesn’t mean it will work for you. That’s a whole other blog post.

The point of this one is that harsh cleansers made for oily skin that strip skin of oil are, as far as I am concerned a big no. I used to use them on my face, and they are meant to dry out oily skin to help with spots and acne, but I stopped.

Ok, that sounds weird and it’s not exactly true. 

I do use some products but sparingly and they are the opposite of what everyone promotes. Less is more, I think.

The current trend of double or even triple cleansing skin, I also think is just as bad, by the way, as using products that are designed for acne and spots. I think we are taking too much off our skin.

I use a soft cloth and water, for every day. If I am wearing makeup, I use a cleanser and sometimes micellar water to remove eye makeup, but I mostly find that warm water and a cloth across my face several times, removes grime, and doesn’t strip my skin. I do use an acid toner because I have some patches of skin that that helps but I don’t use it all over my face.

Harsh stripping cleansers, for me at least, take off everything, as they describe, but then your skin fights hard to replace the oils you have removed and you are in a cycle of oil overproduction. Even at my age I still have oily skin, and getting it out of the overproduction of oil stage took about three months. I am also teaching my tweenager about being more gentle with her skin as she faces puberty and the delights of what hormones do for us. I made a lot of skincare errors as a teen and adult and I am trying to help her learn from those.

I have to say, my skin condition is much better and I feel that my skin is copes better I think not stripping it with harsh cleansers and then having to try and balance that is helping a lot. I will be considering some specialist treatments in the future to try and improve some issues that need a little bit of extra help but I am generally happy with how my skin is now, for the first time in a long time.

Have you dramatically changed your skincare routine for the better, or worse? Do you, like me, find that simple and basic is best? I would love to hear your thoughts… 

Posted in Everything else and tagged acne, gentle skincare routines, hormones, no soap allowed, skin cleansing, spots.


  1. Hi, I am a big fan of Paula’s Choice products. She isn’t so well known over here, but huge in the US. Her products are no nonsense and packed full of well-researched ingredients in meaningful amounts. There is a UK website and you can buy sample sizes of everything. My skin has never been better and I’ve been using nothing but for the best part of a year despite usually being so fickle with skincare brands. Six whole weeks without cleanser is a huge amount of willpower! I hope you find the solution soon. Caroline

  2. Oh you poor love, skin issues are horrendous and can really knock self confidence. I can’t even imagine thinking that they could be pre-menopause or anything else.

    Here’s one for you to consider: could it be stress combined with the recent hot weather (think sweat on face)? I ask as I had AWFUL acne with millions of little spots under the skin just before my wedding. I had never had anything like it it was horrific and my skin didn’t even feel like skin. It was just after I moved to France and I was stressed (international move + wedding), hot (gone from mild UK temps to boiling hot France) and sweaty (from all the walking in boiling hot weather). I tried every possible cream and then saw a dermatologist who told me to 1) calm down and 2) ditch the creams/potions etc 3) and to clean my face frequently throughout the day. It took a few weeks but it did get better.

    Good luck

    • I hadn’t thought about the heat. I wonder if that is not helping at all. It has been so hot and sticky here, and I have what you are describing, little bumpy lumps, which are not like full on spots, but under the skin, makes it feel awful, and it’s hard to know what to use to deal with it. Possibly the hormones and heat are a bad combo and that’s what the problem is! I wish I was one of those perfect skin people, but sadly, it’s not meant to be, I think!

  3. I suffered with acne when I was younger and still get breakouts now. I have also stopped using any products on my face and I just wash my face with water every morning and every night. I never use any products on it, apart from foundation on the very rare occasion that I go out anywhere My skin is so much better now. #Pocolo

    • Thank you. I hate wearing make up, to be honest, so if I could go without, entirely, I would be so happy. I am doing a water only in the morning, then a cleanser, a very mild one, at night, and we will see how it goes. It would be lovely to have to use nothing. All this marketing that tells us we need to use so many lotions and potions… Maybe that’s a Ranty Friday topic? Thanks for commenting. Sorry for delay in replying!

  4. Mhm, I am a fun of the hot cloth cleansing and fairly healthy diet with a lot of oily fish and nuts on the menu. I also skip make up when I don’t go to work and I must say my skin loves it. I used to dread those make up free days but now it feel liberating to have the confidence to go out with ‘naked’ face.

    My favourite beauty writer of all times Sali Hughes did a column on acne treatments http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2011/aug/19/sali-hughes-acne-treatments

    Hope it helps and good luck!

    • I have just added a fish oil capsule, and more nuts and seeds into my diet, and am going to try and eat more oily fish too. I love it, the rest of the family don’t (except the cats) so I don’t eat it often enough, cooking for all of us. I am using a cloth and cleanser, in the evenings and water in the mornings, to see if that will help. Will go and look at that link
      Thank you! πŸ™‚

  5. I am absolutely and utterly with you on this and am suffering with the same problem! I feel your pain. I’ll keep an eye on your responses but let me know if you find anything that works! Thank you for linking to PoCoLo x

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