We’re going to tell you something no big retail skincare company will tell you – that store-bought cleanser you’re using is probably contributing to your skin problems.
We’ve been taught to believe those facial cleansers; whether they are gel or foam, scrubby or sensitive; are good for our faces – that they are going to dry up the oil and clear up the acne.
Well, they will do that, but they do that a little too good. Let me explain.
A Little More About Our Skin
Everyone’s skin produces an oily substance called sebum. Some of us produce more than others, giving some people dry skin, while others suffer from really oily skin. While sebum can be annoying, it’s beneficial for your skin. In fact, healthy skin keeps itself in balance, using the sebum to moisturise itself and form a protective barrier against bacteria. But too much sebum isn’t good either. It can clog your hair follicles, trapping bacteria and causing acne to grow.
What Soap Cleansers Do
When we use cleansers that are full of harsh soaps and chemicals, we’re actually completely stripping our skin of sebum. You know that tight, squeaky clean feeling you get after you wash your face? It’s not a good thing. Our skin responds by producing more oil to protect itself, leading to more oiliness and more pimples.
In addition to cleaning too well, store-bought cleansers are often filled with chemicals and fragrance that can be irritating to your skin.
What to Use Instead: Oil!
You may have heard of the Oil Cleansing Method (OCM). To get rid of oil on your face, we recommend using oil.
Sounds counter-intuitive, but hear me out.
Oils are used to remove the bad oil on your face and remove them. Barnabas (2007) says:
“Oil dissolves oil. One of the most basic principles of chemistry is that “like dissolves like.” The best way to dissolve a non-polar solvent like sebum/oil, is by using another non-polar solvent similar in composition: Other oils. By using the right oils, you can cleanse your pores of dirt and bacteria naturally, gently and effectively, while replacing the dirty oil with beneficial ones extracted from natural botanicals, vegetables and fruit that heal, protect and nourish your skin.”1
The key is to pick the right oils for your skin.
The first oil you will need is castor oil. Castor oil is anti-inflammatory, as well as cleansing and healing. This is the main oil that will be doing the cleaning. But castor oil is very thick and can be drying, so it needs to be diluted with another, more conditioning oil. The oil you pick will depend on your skin and your needs. Here are some suggestions:
- Almond oil: This oil is light, yet still moisturising. It can help soothe and recondition your skin.
- Grapeseed oil: This oil is great for those with oily skin. It absorbs well into the skin. It’s also great for those with sensitive skin.
- Borage seed oil: Borage helps reduce inflammation and calm down inflamed skin. It’s a good oil for eczema and acne
- Avocado oil: This one is on the thicker side. Its high is essential fatty acids, as well as vitamins A, B, D, and E. It’s a good oil for those with dry or aging skin, as well as skin issues like eczema and psoriasis.
- Hemp seed oil: Hemp seed is high in antioxidants, vitamins and chlorophyll. It is a good fit for many different skin types, including those with acne, dry skin, eczema and psoriasis.
- Sunflower oil: Sinks in well and is very moisturising.
- Rosehip oil: This oil is high in essential fatty acids and is very nourishing for those who have dry skin.
- Hazelnut oil: Hazelnut is astringent, and a great choice for oily skin.
Once you’ve picked your secondary oil, you’re going to have to figure out your ratio. This may take some experimenting to find what works best for your skin. In general, start out with these ratios:
- Oily skin: Try 1 part castor oil to 3 parts secondary oil.
- Combination or normal skin: Try 1 part castor to 4 parts secondary.
- Dry skin: Try 1 part castor to 10 parts secondary.
The Oil Cleansing Method
Now for the method. Get your pre-mixed oil, a washcloth, some really warm water, and get ready!
- Pour some oil in the palm of your hand, about a teaspoon is good. There is no need to wet your face first (or even remove makeup!), just start massaging your oil blend into your skin. Go in circular movements, working the impurities out of your skin. Massage for about a minute, or more if you have the time. You can even let the oil sit on your skin; the castor oil will help break up the dirt in your pores the longer it sits.
- Take your washcloth and saturate it with really, really warm water and gently wring it out. Spread the washcloth across your face. The warmth will create steam, helping remove the dirt and impurities from your pores. Leave the washcloth on your face until it cools. You can repeat this step a couple of times if you wish.
- Once you are done steaming, use your washcloth to gently wipe off any remaining oil. You do not have to wash your face; a very thin layer of oil left over on your skin is actually beneficial.
- If you find your skin is a little dry after the oil cleansing method, put a couple drops your oil blend into your hand, and pat it into your skin. Alternatively, you can use your favorite natural moisturiser. You may also want to adjust your blend, reducing the amount of castor oil.
And that’s it! Keep in mind that some people will see glowing skin immediately. Others may have an adjustment period where their skin purges a lot of impurities resulting in an initial break. Stick with it and don’t give up. Switching to an all-natural way of cleaning your face will result in clearer, healthier skin.
Have you switched to the oil cleansing method yet? Let us know your experiences by leaving a comment below.
- Barnabas. (2007, February 26). The OIL CLEANSING METHOD (Highly Recommended!)[Online forum comment]. Retrieved from http://www.acne.org/messageboard/topic/141871-the-oil-cleansing-method-highly-recommended/