Friday, August 14, 2015

Train Oily Skin To Be Dry and Train Dry Skin To be Oily

I have had dry skin (eczema) my whole life. It sucks! But what if I could train my skin to be oily the same way that I train muscle to grow? If that is possible, what about the opposite - training oily skin to produce less oil? What if people with oily skin can decrease oil production the same way muscle strength decreases when you stop training? We train our muscles to grow by doing the opposite; breaking them down. We know that our muscles adapt as part of a survival mechanism, so why not do the same for our skin?

This idea is based on making homeostasis (the body's adaption mechanism) work to your benefit

What if the routine that people with oily skin follow causes them to get even oilier skin? And what if people with dry skin follow a routine that make their skin even dryer?

This is based on the idea that our bodies are constantly adapting to its environment and the demands that we place on it. Please note that this is just an idea and not medical or professional advice at all!

I have noticed that on online forums for people with oily skin; people are advised on what to avoid that causes more oil production. On forums for people with dry skin, people are advised on what to avoid that causes even dryer skin. What if the people with dry skin do what the people with the oily skinned should avoid, and vice versa?  

The usual routine of people with oily skin

People with oily skin tend to shower or bath twice a day because the extra oil created through their skin leads to an environment that breeds more bacteria and faster odor build-up. They generally don't moisturize their skin because they don't need to. They also use harsher soaps to feel squeaky-clean and fresh. By showering more often and using stronger soaps to get rid of all of excess the oil, their skin is stripped of its natural oils. The skin adapts by producing more oil to return to its normal state. This helps to control body odor, but they end up retaining their oily skin. Their bodies probably get used to producing even more oil to meet the daily demands placed on them.

The routine of people with dry skin

People with dry skin don't produce enough oil. This leaves the skin dry, itchy, and in extreme cases (like me on occasion) even painful and skin breaking open. In order to preserve as much of the natural oil already in the skin; they wash less often (only once a day), use gentle soaps (some without any fragrances) and moisturize after washing to replace the lost moisture. By helping the skin to retain moisture and by adding more moisture then what the skin produces on its own, the skin feels a decreased need to produce its own moisture since some oil is always kept in the skin - and more is added every day.

Are we babying our skins into doing the opposite of what we want? By seeking instant gratification, are we fighting a losing battle? 

Assumptions (for my dry skin)

From the above conclusions I assume that higher washing frequency, stronger soaps and avoiding moisturizing the skin when I can will strip the skin of its natural oils. I also assume that if I strip my skin of its natural oils, it will adapt by producing more of its natural oils. For those with oily skin, I assume that by keeping the skin more moisturized; it will decrease its oil production as there is less demand placed on it for more oil.

Changes in daily skin care

According to this idea, it could be possible that if people with oily skin limited washes to once a day, used weaker soaps and moisturized afterwards, their skin would adapt by to producing less oil over time. I also think that there is a possibility that people with dry skin could train their skin to produce more of its own oils by doing the opposite.

This would need to done in small steps over time because if I had to shower twice a day with the strongest soap I could find and try dry it out too quickly, I would definitely damage my skin (like over-training your physical body), making my condition worse.

My personal experiment

I decided to try this out and see if my idea could work on my dry skin. I usually shower or bath once a day with a light soap (and sometimes with just water if my skin is really dry or itchy on that day). I started by showering every morning with a light soap and bathing in plain water every night. I didn't use any creams, oils or moisturizes and just took fish oil pills to help my skin out (which I do from time to time anyway to protect my joints).

The results

After three weeks, my skin did feel oilier on its own and my skin was not itchy - at all. I must say that I am happy with the results so far. After some time I am going to start using a stronger soap in the mornings. Once I'm used to that, I will add light soap to my baths in the evenings as my skin learns to produce more oil on its own. Here's to hoping my next post will be complaining about oily skin!

3 simple ways for everybody to improve skin health

The following things can be done to help with problem skin, regardless of whether you have too dry or oily skin.

Exercise often

Regular exercise has so many benefits (find over 100 of them here), and one of them is healthy skin. Exercise teaches the body to regulate itself in more ways than one and keeps you looking younger - inside and out. It also keeps hormones in check, which can wreak havoc on your skin. To see how hormones are affected by strength training, for example, click here

Eat fresh fruit and vegetables

The fiber in vegetables help the body to eliminate toxins that either ends up mixed into oil in the skin or could block oil glands from working properly. The vitamin C is essential for skin maintenance. There are many, many other reasons why you should be eating fruit and vegetables every day.

Sweat it out

Sweating also helps to eliminate toxins and opens up skin glands. It releases oil from underneath the skin. Did you know that you can ease liver function by sweating out up to 30% of its toxins in a good sweat session? There are many other benefits, including improved muscle recovery. If you don't sweat enough during your exercise session (like me), steam rooms might be very beneficial.

Stay hydrated

This is probably the most frequently dispensed advice about keeping skin healthy. Water is needed for almost every function in your body, and having less of it gives your body a hard time at doing what it needs to do. Dehydration can even keep you sicker for longer when you have the flu or cold.

Who would like to give this idea a try and see if it works for you? If you try it out, please let everybody know in the comments below if it has helped you or not. STAY STRONG!

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