It’s easy to assume that the more you wash your face, the better it is for clearing up your acne. But this is actually false. In today’s issue of The New York Times, journalist Julia Scott writes about her “No-Soap, No-Shampoo, Bacteria-Rich Hygiene Experiment,” in which her acne-prone skin actually benefits from not cleansing it with harsh soaps in a period of 28 days. Scott was a guinea pig for a new product called AO+ Refreshing Cosmetic Mist, which contains billions of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria typically found in dirt and unpurified water. The idea behind this product is to introduce helpful bacteria onto the skin, as opposed to doing away with potentially good bacteria.
According to the scientists at AOBiome, the biotech startup behind AO +, the major culprit that robs the skin of its good bacteria is sodium laurel sulfate. Sulfates in general are known to strip the skin and hair of essential nutrients. It’s much better for your skin–acne-prone skin in particular, to use a sulfate-free skin cleanser. In the end, Scott went back to showering and washing her hair, but she made some big changes in her skincare regimen. She made sure all of her products were fragrance-free and didn’t contain sulfates.