Wait wait wait; Oil and cleanse in the same sentence? Am I reading that right? How is oil supposed to cleanse my face? I know what you’re thinking, ‘I’ve tried everything to help clear up my skin ranging from harsh chemicals to antibiotics. And now you want me to try oil?’ Well this article is here to address these questions and provide you with a full in-depth intro into this natural face-cleanser that is taking the acne, eczema, and general skin-care world by storm.
And what better time to try something new? Most of us are spending most of our time in our homes due to COVID-19. Sometimes the best time to try something new is when you don’t have an audience to pester you everyday.
What is the Oil Cleansing Method and how does it work?
The Oil Cleansing Method (OCM) is a topical type of treatment that helps to combat acne and other facial detriments to the skin. You can make the treatment yourself at home with just a couple of oils. It works by pulling the oil that your skin naturally produces, called sebum, out of your pores and leaving your skin feeling smooth and hydrated. Sebum is the leading cause of acne, due to its tendency to get stuck below the skin in your pores, attracting bad bacteria that your immune system responds to by becoming inflamed and creating a pimple around the infected area. By rubbing natural, cold-pressed oils onto your skin, (such as castor, almond, jojoba, grapeseed, or olive oil to name a few of the most common) you are drawing out the excess sebum by dissolving it with the rubbing oils. The science behind it is actually quite simple. It goes back to a basic rule of chemistry in relation to solvents. The short-hand rule is that ‘like dissolves like’. More scientifically speaking, polar substances tend to dissolve other polar substances (think about water, H2O and salt, NaCl) and nonpolar substances tend to dissolve other nonpolar substances (think about sebum and other oils). Because Sebum and natural oils have a very similar chemical structure, they mix together quite easily, making it just about perfect for removing all the bacteria, dirt, makeup and everything else sebum traps under your skin.
What oils are best for this method?
It depends on what skin type you have; oily, dry, or a mix. As a biohacker myself, I gave this OCM a try a few weeks ago. I still do it every night and my skin has never been clearer; but I have made a few adjustments since I first began. When I first started, I used olive oil as my carrier oil (carrier here refers to its ability to soften up the thicker, antibacterial oil, in this case, castor oil) and it seemed to work for a couple of days, but then I found my breakouts increasing. After a bit more research I found that olive oil, although effective for some, is largely problematic for a majority of people. I then made the switch to sweet almond oil, which is great for hydrating the skin too. Since then, my skin has become much clearer and smoother. I highly recommend using castor oil if you have acne-prone skin, as it is rated as one of the best oils for combating acne. You may have to experiment a bit with some different oils until you find the one your face likes best. Also, do an initial test on a small patch of skin to check for possible allergies before rubbing it all over your face. Most people aren’t allergic but better safe than sorry. My mix involves about 20% castor oil and 80% sweet almond oil but you can use a wide variety of oils and research them further to see what might work best for you. I’ve listed some common ones below for each skin type:
Oily – Grapeseed, pumpkin seed, sunflower
Acne-prone – Jojoba, hemp, castor oil
Sensitive – Camellia (for inflamed skin)
Dry – Avocado, extra virgin olive oil, almond
How do you do this OCM?
It’s a simple process that takes less than 10 minutes.
First, wash your hands with soap and water. After drying them, pour a small amount of castor oil into the palm of your hand. Now pour a larger amount of your carrier oil into the same palm. Rub your hands together and mix the oils. Now, with a dry face, rub the oils all over, concentrating more on irritated or inflamed areas of the skin. Rub gently for at least a couple of minutes.
Second, take a soft washcloth, preferably cotton or microfiber, and hold it under hot water until its wet and steamy. Now wring it out and then hold the cloth on each side of your face for at least 30 seconds or until you feel the cloth starting to cool. This opens up the pores of your skin allowing the oil to penetrate deep into the layer of the skin where that nasty sebum is hiding. Now, hold the cloth under hot water once more and after wringing it out, very softly wipe your face from the top down, gently soaking up any excess oil. Be sure to wash the cloth with soap and water to get all that oil off before using it for your next cleanse.
Lastly, if your skin is fairly dry, use a non-comedogenic moisturizer to add some moisture to your skin after the cleanse. Depending on the types of oil your using, you shouldn’t really have to add a moisturizer to your skin after the cleanse but for peace of mind, it can’t hurt to rub on a little a few minutes afterwards.
And that’s it! You’re done! I usually do this at night to take off all that dirt and oil that’s accumulated during the day. Also, sleep is when the body rests and heals, so it seems ideal to do this right before bed.
When will I see results?
I can’t speak for everyone but I saw results in two days. Not perfectly clear but much better than before. After a week, it was easy to see that my skin was much healthier and the breakouts had all but disappeared. From what I’ve read and researched, most people see results in a week’s time or less. And those that had more severe skin conditions saw results in weeks or a couple of months. What I have heard is that when people stop doing the OCM or switch to other harsh chemical cleansers, their skin relapses and begins to breakout again; so, they usually jump back on board and prep their oil rubbing fingers for more cleanses. I used to find it as sort of a chore, but now it’s a habit I’m happy to do and actually look forward to; to the point that when I wake up in the morning, I’m already telling myself that I can’t wait until bedtime just to give myself this time to treat my skin.
All in all, you have nothing to lose by trying this method. The only side effects I’ve been able to find include skin redness or irritation, but this seems to be very rare and is usually only if the user has an allergy to the oil being used. And plus, if there are side effects, who else is going to notice besides your fellow cat and/or dog keeping your company during the quarantine?
The oils should cost less than $20 USD combined and it only takes 10 minutes at the most to do. It’s not an artificial substance or a man-made chemical that will irritate your skin further. Its all natural, its cheap, and it could be the answer to that clear, acne-free skin you’ve long been looking for.
Editor- in Chief