I have struggled with acne for as long as I can remember. I got my first pimple when I was in fifth grade. I did not think too much about it then and didn’t realize that I was in for a long and difficult ride. I am 23 now, and my skin and acne are still things that I think about daily. I have taken many medications over the course of this journey, only to realize that they were doing me more harm than good.
As I have gotten older, I have tried to opt for a more natural and simple method of skin care. I have made many lifestyle changes. Even with all of these things in place, cleansing my skin was always something that stumped me.
It’s supposed to be simple. You are supposed to go to your local drugstore and pick out an “oil- free, dermatologist recommended” face wash and get rid of all the dirt, oil, and sweat that accumulated over the course of the day and be set. Cleaning your face with these instructions is the most important part of taking care of acne. Or so I was told for ten years.
Over a year ago I discovered the oil cleansing method. Since I have tried the oil cleansing method for a couple weeks, and I have consistently noticed its positive effects, I can now officially vouch for it as something that works for me. I no longer buy a drugstore face wash. I now buy high-quality oils to make my own. It’s something that I would have never predicted if I were talking to my younger self, but going back to the oil free drug store face washes is something I will never do.
Oil cleansers don’t have surfactants such as detergents or foaming agents like sulfates which can irritate skin. Oils on the skin are also oil soluble so cleansing with an oil can help break down the excess.
Finding the best oil-cleansing recipe was a relatively long trial- and- error process. In addition to finding out which oils made me break out versus which ones seemed to improve my skin, I had to educate myself all about carrier oils (and which ones were best for the “base” of the face wash) andessential oils and which ones worked well together. It was a long, but rewarding process.
I personally have found that my skin does best with oils high in linoleic acid rather than oleic acid (which makes sense, as acne is often worse on individuals with low levels of linoleic acid and high levels of oleic acid in their sebum, noted in a study done by the American Academy of Dermatology).
I generally use a mix of 1 oz each of the 3-4 of the above carrier oils in my cleanser formula and change the recipe slightly every time I have to make a new batch to keep my skin reacting positively to it. I also typically add about ten drops of essential oil to my 4 ounces of face wash. My personal favorites to use for this are clary sage and rosemary.
Massage the oil cleanser into skin with a little water for about a minute, and rinse off thoroughly. Wipe off excess with a paper towel or clean washcloth. If you have oilier skin and acne, I recommend following up with a gentle foaming cleanser free of sulfates to remove the excess oil.
If you decide to try out the Oil Cleansing Method, be prepared to be patient. It can be time- consuming and expensive in the beginning as you may be buying oils and realizing that they don’t work for you. But, you may end up having the most positive skin- cleansing experience that you have had, just as I and so many others have. Good luck!
I would avoid coconut oil if you try oil cleansing as it is a highlycomedogenic oil.