Let's talk skincare for a minute. This is definitely not something I've ever talked about on the blog before, which is strange because it's a huge part of my life. I've never had particularly great skin. It's always been sallow and pale, plagued with dark circles under my eyes. And spots? Oh yeah, I've got those. Photos of me as a toddler show me with giant swollen spots on my face, and puberty was absolutely no cake walk. Painful cystic acne took over my cheeks, as well as bad acne on my chin and forehead. It all cleared up around the time I turned 17 - though even three years later, I still have scarring from it - but even now I still get break outs with regularity. My nose is speckled with stubborn blackheads which I've long ago accepted as a permanent thing. I always get one very painful spot around the time of my period, and it isn't uncommon to have a new spot pop up every few days. It's not nearly as bad as the painful acne I used to have, but I still yearn for beautiful, spot-free skin. Point is: my skin definitely falls under the label of "problematic", and I've definitely tried every fancy acne blasting product on the market to no avail.
When I was 17, I began integrating natural products into my skincare regime, which I credit as the reason my acne cleared up. I began using rosewater toner after cleansing and put tea tree oil on all of my spots. In just a matter of days, I saw drastic improvements, and the best part was that my skin never became immune to the products, meaning my skin stayed clear even when I used the same products for years after. However, I still want to improve my skin. Those stubborn black heads are still going strong, and, like I said, I still break out with regularity. My skin has improved in using Lush face cleansers (their Christmas face wash, Buche de Noel, is my saviour), but nothing has beaten black heads. I had heard a bit about the oil cleansing method (OCM) and saw some comments (on Pinterest, so, you know, a reliable source) about OCM helping with black heads and under eye circles.
I decided to try the Oil Cleansing Method. I made the switch in mid-February after doing very minimal research about the OCM (first big mistake). I made a mixture of Castor Oil, Olive Oil (second big mistake), and Tea Tree Oil and began cleansing my face with it twice a day (third big mistake).
At first, I saw a definite improvement. My skin was soft and supple. The fine lines under my eyes disappeared and my T-Zone wasn't oily by mid-day. I didn't break out for several days. I raved about it to everyone. And then, after about a week and a half, the acne came back. Acne that I hadn't had for three years. However, I continued using the OCM, knowing that sometimes it takes a few weeks for skin to adjust to change. After a month of using the OCM, only to have my skin get drastically worse and painful, I decided to hop online and do some more research about it. When you Google "Oil Cleansing Method", one of the first links to pop up is an article at Crunchy Betty. Right away, I noticed that, in her list of good cleansing oils, olive oil had been crossed off. When I saw this, I scrunched up my nose and thought, "Well, oh shit..." And then, at the bottom of the article, a glaring link points you to an article about why you should not use olive oil! That night, I washed my face with Lush's Angels on Bare Skin and haven't let my oil mixture touch my face since.
However, just because olive oil didn't do good things for my skin, doesn't mean that the OCM is the wrong thing for me. I did some more research about other oils to use in the OCM, and found a helpful article at Minimalist Beauty detailing how the amount of linoleic and oleic acids in an oil is key to understanding which oils will work best for you. Olive oil is extremely high in oleic acid, an acid that acne-prone skin's sebum is composed of (meaning that putting more oleic acid on your face is very bad). From this research, I bought some new oils (Tamanu, Grapeseed, and Sunflower) from Mountain Rose Herbs. Tamanu and sunflower oils are higher in oleic acid (but still more balanced than olive oil) while grapeseed and castor oils are higher in linoleic acid (the good stuff that my skin needs more of).
Tonight I am mixing up a mixture using my new oils with plans to use this cleansing method only every other day, rather than twice a day. I'm usually a "go big or go home" type of person, but I think the OCM is something I should have eased into more. Oops! My skin suffered for it, but hopefully my research will pay off and I'll concoct a more suited potion. Have you tried the oil cleansing method or other natural skin care regimes? What was your experience with it?