Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Oil Cleansing - Where to start..

So you've heard about a new way to clean you skin that may help your acne but where do you start?

The Method

Photo credit: Taras Kalapun / Foter / CC BY
As I mentioned in my previous post the Oil Cleansing Method (OCM) is very simple -
  1. Choose an oil blend.
  2. Massage it very gently all over your face.
  3. Run the hot tap while you are doing this and wet a clean face towel once the water is hot.
  4. Lay a hot(ish) face towel over your face for 1 min to let the impurities sweat out (cover this with a hand towel so it doesnt cool too quickly)
  5. Repeat step 3 until the oily residue on your face is gone

The Oils

There are quite a few different oils that can be used for oil cleansing. For maximum benefit anything you use should be cold-pressed and preferably organic.

Here are the main oil types and their comeogenic ratings (courtesy of beneficial botanicals). Comedogenic ratings show how pore clogging the oils are with 0 being the least and 5 being the most likely to clog pores.

Castor  - Normal/Dry skin - Comedogenic Rating 1
Apricot Kernel - Dry/Aging/Normal Skin - Comedogenic Rating 2
Jojoba - All skin types especially Acne - Comedogenic Rating 1
Tamanu - All skin types - Comedogenic Rating 2
Sweet Almond - All skin types especially Oily - Comedogenic Rating 2
Grapeseed - All skin types especially Oily - Comedogenic Rating 2
Avocado - Dry/Aging skin - Comedogenic Rating 2
Olive - All skin types - - All skin types especially Oily - Comedogenic Rating 2
Coconut - All skin types especially dry - Comedogenic Rating 4
Hazelnut  - All skin types especially Oily - Comedogenic Rating 2
Sunflower  - All skin types - Comedogenic Rating 0
Evening Primrose - Mature/Dry/Sensitive skin - Comedogenic Rating 2
Hemp Seed - All skin types especially Oily - Comedogenic Rating 0

All of the oils can react in different ways with different people so always patch test the oils before blending them.


There is no magic formula for blending unfortunately, it is all very much trial and error. What oils work for some people might make other people breakout or dry their skin so please bear this in mind when experimenting. It is recommended to let the skin adjust to oil blending for a few weeks before changing the forumlas. Most people to have an initial breakout as their skin gets used to the OCM but this should settle within a few weeks.

For your first few blends its best to stick to just two or three oils. Measure oils accurately and blend small amounts initially so you can adapt it to your skin.

The majority of blends include castor oil as their base. Castor oil helps to draw impurities out of the skin but can also be quite drying. The ratios of castor to other oils is recommended as follows -

  • Oily Skin: 1/3 castor oil and 2/3 other oils
  • Combination Skin: 1/4 castor oil and 3/4 other oils
  • Dry Skin: Choose nourishing oils and a very small amount of castor oil
You don't have to use castor oil however, other good bases for your blends include -

Hazelnut oil
Olive Oil
Sunflower Oil

Choose a further one or two oils depending on your skin type (I currently use Apricot and Jojoba) and mix in a clean glass jar. Make sure you keep a record of your blend ratios so you can tweak where necessary.

Essential oils

I was keen to add essential oils to my blend to add backup to my acne battle. The following essential oils are suggested for acne prone skin -
Tea tree oil
Lavender oil
Carrot seed
If using essential oils remember to use the correct dilation in your blend and patch test before use. Start with adding only 1 or 2 so you can gauge any reaction.  

Monday, 9 March 2015

Oil Cleansing for Acne - on trial

When you've tried every lotion and potion in the store already have a clean diet and are at your wits end then you really are willing to try just about anything....even oil!

My battle with Acne is still continuing and while I am attacking it from the inside, I wanted to see if a change in how I clean my skin could help. 

The science behind Oil Cleansing is that oil dissolves oil. If you search the web there are numerous success stories praising the method and how miraculously their skin has recovered and cured their acne. There are also quite a few horror stories out there. So does it really work? 

I threw out my chemical laden cleansers and searched online to find the basics  -
  1. Choose an oil (more on this later)
  2. Massage it very gently all over your face
  3. Lay a hot(ish) face towel over your face for 1 min to let the impurities sweat out
  4. Repeat step 3 until the oily residue on your face is gone
Easy! Or so I thought...

Blend 1.
There are loads of different oil combinations but I raided the kitchen cupboards and started with 50/50 Coconut Oil/Sweet Almond Oil. Threw (literally) in some lavender and tea tree oil and away I went.
It does feel so wrong to cover your face in an oily mess but after a 2nd wipe over with a hot towel my skin felt amazing soft. A few days in and no more cysts had appeared although I seemed to have a few more little spots and redness over my nose and cheeks (places I don't normally get spots). 

Note - there is apparantly a period of adjustment for oil cleansing where both the oils draw any impurities out of the skin (which means more spots) and your skin gets used to the oils.

2 weeks on and my skin under the spots looked amazing but those eruptions were still happening and in the strangest of places. My face had also suddenly got extremely dry and flakey. Back to the drawing board.

Blend 2.
This time I decided to swap the coconut oil for olive oil and added Frankincense, Rosemary and Lemon essential oils. The dryness eased but the redness and spots continued. Encouraged by the overall look of my skin (apart from the eruptions) I researched some more. 

It turns out that finding the right blend of oils to use on your skin is very much trial and error. What works for some, won't for others, it's a very personal thing

Time to bite the bullet and order some specific cold pressed oils (I didn't stretch to organic as I wasn't sure these oils would suit my skin either) and this time I needed to be a bit more exact so I could adjust where necessary.

Blend 3. 10ml castor oil / 10 ml jojoba / 10ml apricot kernel oil / 5ml Tamanu oil. All of these oils I picked due to their cleansing and healing properties (more about these oils to follow). I also added frankincense, patchouli, carrot seed and geranium essential oils - all sounded helpful from my research.

Today - I've been with blend 3 for 2 weeks now. As with the other oils initially the spots and redness persisted. My face again went very dry which I think was down to the castor oil so I added a further 10ml of all of the other oils to dilute it. I had a cystic spot come up last week (for the first time since I started oil cleansing) but I dabbed it with ACV and it went down overnight and disappeared within a few days - unheard of for me!

Overall I'm really pleased with my skin at the moment and oil cleansing seems to be working for me. I only have a few active spots and some red blotchy marks, the blackheads have decreased and the previous scars seem to be fading - a definite improvement. Now I'm unsure whether my skin will continue to improve or if there are more spots on the horizon, time will tell and I'll keep you posted.