Can the “Caveman regimen” really lead to clear skin?

Hi I have this problem that is very annoying. I really don't know what it is. So I read about this regimen on Google called the "Caveman regimen" where you do nothing to your face, you don't use any products at all. Basically you don't wash your face with anything, not even water, and you don't put any products on it. I tried it for a really long time and I started getting a bunch of skin build up on my face it was really a lot, after a shower the steam would just show all those dead skin on my face and I stopped it and starting washing my face again and putting products but the dead skin would not go away no matter what, it's been like 9 months since I tried that. Of course there is less dead skin but it's still there even though I wash my face. I have to use my fingers going in circular motion on my face and dead skin would just come off. This happens every single day and it's getting so annoying because I really don't want to be scrubbing my face with my fingers to get these stuff off.

Thank you for your honesty. Skin fads come and go quite quickly and the Caveman Regimen was one of them! For those who haven’t heard of it, The Caveman Regimen is the anti-skincare regimen. You don’t wash your face at all, and can’t use any skin care products. You gotta think even Cavemen took a dip in a river every once in a while! Thanks to the reader who asked this question. It will help educate everyone about what happens if you don’t clean your face at all… not even with water. Spoiler: it’s not good!

Why cleanse, even if it’s just with water?

  • Dead skin cells build up on our faces, and cleansing sheds them better;
  • Cleansing removes excess oils that can combine with skin cells and  bacteria to form plugs in pores and inflammation;
  • Cleansing and exfoliation help unplug pores;
  • You have more “glow” when you cleanse your skin, because when the dead layer (stratum corneum) sheds, it allows more light reflection;
  • The right cleanser can be therapeutic and treat your unique skin issues. Examples?  A moisturizing cleanser for dry skin or a salicylic acid cleanser for acne prone skin.

An approach like the “Caveman Regimen” allows oil, dead skin cells, bacteria, yeasts and molds (always present a little) to overgrow and cause problems.

If not the “Caveman Regimen”, then what?

  • Switch to a probiotic gentle cleanser.  We’ll have this in the shop soon, but the Eminence Probiotic Cleanser is great if you can find it online elsewhere;
  • Never over-scrub or pick at your face, no matter how tempting: this can make the problem worse;
  • A gentle Clarisonic daily is fine, as is a gentle facial scrub (I personally love this one) twice a week, if you don’t have a Clarisonic;
  • Try adding a refrigerated good quality probiotic or Kombucha to your diet daily.   There is a connection between the gut and skin we don’t understand very well yet.
  • Reset your skin. Use bland, simple moisturizers and sunscreen for the next 4 weeks and let your skin rest. If you have a budget for this, I carry some that I recommend to clients on my shop here. Or, there are some great drugstore options I recommend on my article about budget skincare (scroll down the page).
  • Then, try the Skincare 101 routine I outline here for a proper regimen that will get you great results.

If at the end of the month, if you are still having problems, or you get worse for any reason, you need to see a dermatologist!

Hope this helps,  Dr. I

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

Ask me your skincare question!

Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin. I believe that consumers deserve a medically trained and unbiased skin care advocate.

  • All our content is written and researched by myself.
  • My medical office in Seattle has treated thousands of patients for 15+ years.
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One of the best investments in your skin is your daily skincare. Why? Because you can prevent many problems with blotchy skin color, lack of glow, texture, some types of acne, and fine lines with good skincare products. You can also correct some of these problems with effective skincare products. Great skincare is often more expensive because quality ingredients are expensive. Some companies spend on research/development which benefits all of us and adds to the cost. Are they worth it? In general - yes! I have handpicked some of what I consider to be the best skin care products, and offer them for sale on SkinTour's shop. This is based on my team and I's testing and research at our clinic. Many of the products are in my own regimen. What could be better than using skin care products a dermatologist uses?!