Our perspective on cleansing with oil
If you decide to take a look at the internet to find ways to cleanse your face naturally you are sure to find a lot of information surrounding oil cleansing. To spare you some time and effort though we have decided to write about it here for a quick reference. For those of you that have read our introduction blog, you will be aware that both of us suffered from severe cystic acne when we were twenty years old. We started trying a lot of different natural alternatives to try and help our skin clear up. Because the root of it was so deep, and we had to balance our insides before our outsides could heal, it took a long time before anything seemed to measurably improve our skins appearance. However, once it finally did start clearing up, there was a very noticeable difference. The healing process was slow, and sometimes aggravating but in time it ended. The magic ingredient -outside of the hormone balancing herbs and increased fluid intake- seemed, for our skin, to be oil. There are many ways to use the the oil cleansing method (OCM), and many of these methods involve steaming with a hot cloth. I (Sam), personally found that the addition of a warm wash cloth actually dried out my skin a little bit too much. I eventually figured out that the more moisturized my skin was, the less prone it was to breaking out. This revelation also took place after realizing (for the third time) that my skin did not like being exfoliated more than once a week. This does happen to be quite typical for acne prone skin in general. The more gentle you are with your skin and the more hydrated it is, the better.
My personal 'Skin never looked better' facial routine is as follows
Morning and night
-Splash water on face to dampen, pat excess water off with a clean towel
-Massage dime sized amount of Oil into face and use a dry face cloth to pat off excess oil
-Spritz with Hydrosol toner
-Seal with a small amount of shea butter based moisturizer
Drink LOTS of water
This keeps my face super hydrated and clear.
Why oil cleansing is beneficial:
The beauty industry traditionally has made us believe that oil is not good for your skin, especially if you are acne prone. They market 'Oil free' this and 'Oil free' that and 'keeps you oil free'. What they don't tell you is that the oil your skin is producing is actually necessary for your skin to function at a healthy level. It protects and nourishes it. Essentially, when you use oil free and stripping cleansers, you are depriving your skin of its most important protection, and so it will actually begin to produce more oil to make up for what it has lost. In contrast, when cleansing your face with oil, not only are you supplementing your skins protective barrier, moisturizing your skin, and feeding it what it craves, you are also allowing your skin to regulate. Thus most people will find that they actually produce far less oil when using the OCM as opposed to using conventional cleansers. Many people will also find that it helps to clear up their skin.
Why oil cleansing may not have worked for you in the past:
Some people have testified that oil cleansing has actually made them break out. In my mind I can chalk this up to one of three reasons:
1: they are using oils with a high oleic:linoleic acid ratio. This profile, while good for aging skin, can be detrimental to the acne prone. Therefore it is important to use a combination of oils with a higher linoleic acid profile in the treatment of acne. Oils such as apricot seed, jojoba and avocado oils are high in oleic acids where oils like rose hip, raspberry seed and borage are linoleic. That being said, there are some oils like jojoba and castor that are high in oleic acids that are very beneficial for acne when used in combination with other oils correctly.
2: they have a sensitivity to the fruit or plant that the oil came from and react to it superficially.
3: their skin is detoxing. Realistically, especially if chemicals have been a part of your skin care routine up until recently and you have decided to make a switch, a detox is a very possible occurrence. I have no idea if I even went through detox because my skin was already so bad but I have heard of it happening. When using a new product, you should always give it at least 1-3 months of trial before declaring it a lost cause. Although, I know, this is much easier said than done when it comes to sacrificing the condition of your skin for that long. In this case my advice is you do you. If you think you can stick it out for that long and it still isn't working, try something new. But if it does end up working in the end after you weren't sure it would, then you are a trooper with a whole new skin care arsenal. If you think you are detoxing and don't think you can possibly wait out three months before scrapping whatever you are now doing in your skincare routine that you think is the cause, then don't. In the end it's all about what you can deal with comfortably while keeping your sanity and self esteem intact as much as possible. You can always ease the effects of a detox by drinking a ton of water, fresh ginger tea (for inflammation) or other herbal teas (like dandelion and burdock) to help cleanse the system faster, eating lots of greens and healthy fats like avocados and nuts as well as making sure to get sources of b-vitamin, zinc, iron, etc can be helpful as well.
Remember acne is a reflection of an internal imbalance so no matter what you do on the surface, you must achieve balance on your insides as well. Most times acne is related to hormonal imbalances and food sensitivities so those are always good places to start looking in regards to treatment, and after you have regulated your internal body the external part becomes much easier to manage.