Growing up, I was plagued by acne and skin issues that lasted all the way past my teens and into my twenties and thirties – this included pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, dark spots that didn’t go away for ages and a multitude of other skin frustrations. My face was quite oily and the majority of commercial facial skin care products targeting oily skin were produced with the purpose of over cleansing by removing dirt and oil. Unfortunately, the unintended consequence was that the skin then overproduced oil in response which caused even more clogging of the pores of trapped bacteria, dead skin cells and dirt leading to more acne and ensuring a horrible feedback loop.
As you can imagine, using these commercial products didn’t work well for me and I gave up until a couple of things happened.
First of all, I changed my diet to a paleo-esque low carb one which had the side benefit of dramatically improving my skin condition and texture. Inflammation was gone, dark spots got reduced to nothing, pimples eliminated and blackheads reduced (but not completely eliminated).
Second of all, I stopped using harsh soaps and facial cleansers on my face. What I initially did was dilute baking soda into water, rub the paste around my face, wash off with luke warm water, tone with witch-hazel toner and then moisturize with whatever oil was lying around.
However, I was concerned about upsetting the PH balance of my skin so I reduced and then gradually stopped using diluted baking soda in my cleansing routing. And water alone doesn’t really cut it for removing make up.
Then I came across a method called the oil-cleansing method.
This is a very old cleansing method going back as far as the Ancient Romans who would rub oil into their skin and removed both the oil and any dirt with a strigil.
The rationale behind the oil-cleansing is basically just that oils can break down the other pollutants, make-up, dry skin cells, and impurities that have hardened with your skins oils and gotten stuck in your pores, while still keeping your skin moisturized. The best analogy I read is like using turpentine to get oil paints off your hands – in the same way the skin needs an oil based substance to break down natural skin oils (sebum) that have gotten jammed in pores along with makeup and dirt.
The basic OCM blend is of castor oil and extra virgin olive oil. However, I don’t care much for olive oil so I replaced it with avocado oil. You can use lighter oils like jojoba or grape-seed oil or you can stick with olive oil. Don’t be afraid to experiment.
Castor oil is good for drawing dirt, bacteria and all other lovely stuff trapped in your pores while the oil works as a moisturizer.
The ratio of castor oil to avocado oil (which is what I use) depends on the condition and oiliness of your skin. My skin was not as oily as it used to be (thanks to my diet) and so I used a 50% / 50% ratio of castor oil to avocado oil mixture. If your face tends towards acne or oiliness then go with a 75% castor oil to a 25% avocado ratio. If you have dry skin then go for 25% castor oil to 75% avocado oil.
Application of the Oil Cleansing Method
1.) Massage the blended oil into your face. Take your time. Do it repeatedly.
2.) Take a clean washcloth, dampen it in warm to hot water and then cover your face with the hot damp washcloth. This steams your face so that you pores open and the castor oil can draw out all the skin impurities that are blocking your pores.
3.) I tend to repeat 1 and 2 one more time.
4.) Then after the washcloth has cooled down to room temperature, I take it off my face, rinse it in the basin and use it to dab at away any excess oil.
My hard-to-get-rid-of blackheads disappeared using this method and I stopped using foundations and tinted moisturizers as well.
Try it out for one night and see if you notice any changes. Share your results!