IN THIS ARTICLE:
WHO BENEFITS FROM OIL CLEANSING
INTRODUCTION TO OIL CLEANSING
DO YOU HAVE VERY SENSITIVE SKIN OR MORE SEVERE ACNE?
FACTORS IN ACNE
WHAT MAKES MY APPROACH TO OIL CLEANSING A LITTLE DIFFERENT?
A DEEPER LOOK INTO LONG TERM BENEFITS
IS YOUR TAP WATER (probably) DAMAGING YOUR SKIN?!
FURTHER READING AND LINKS TO MORE LEARNING
SWITCHING TO OIL CLEANSING - PLEASE READ THIS FIRST!
Those with normal to dry skin, or mature skin, and no major skin problems can easily switch with very little to be concerned about and can do so "cold turkey". I won't promise you'll never get another pimple, bump, clogged pore, or comedone, or look ten years younger but oil cleansing does help support healthy skin functions and balance skin oil production, leading to cleaner, healthier, stronger skin.
BEFORE MAKING ANY CHANGE TO YOUR ROUTINE:
Please take a closer look into skin functions, hard water, skin issues, aging skin, the history of cleansing, what is REAL SOAP, and more. This information will inform your choice of natural cleansing options and prepare you for the journey ahead.
VERY SENSITIVE, REACTIVE SKIN OR SEVERE ACNE
PROCEED WITH CAUTION!
If your skin is inflamed, blemished, irritated or highly sensitive great caution is advised when making any changes to your routine. Proceed slowly and with caution, armed with knowledge, sound advice and rational expectations. Oils can irritate your skin and potentially make problems worse. Stop oil cleansing if this happens, so you can make changes to your routine, oils, method of cleansing, etc. Many factors can be involved including the type of oil, method of application, length of time to let the cleansing oils soak in, hard water issues, and more.
Please start with just ONE gentle, high linoleic oil, be very gentle applying and removing them, do not use any Castor Oil, and NO HOT WATER. Hemp seed, grape seed and jojoba are good choices, there are others you can try as well. If after a few weeks your skin is responding well you can try increasing the amount of time the oils are left to soak in, and you can try adding other oils to your blend or trying different ones. Since each oil brings different nourishing qualities to the skin, we can increase skin nourishment by incorporating different oils. You will find more details here, and please reach out to me if you have questions.
INTRODUCTION TO OIL CLEANSING
We attribute the alchemy of oil cleansing to the principle that "Like Dissolves Like". Oils applied to the skin dissolves accumulated skin oils mixed with dirt, sunscreen, pollution and makeup so it can all be wiped and rinsed away. If you are familiar with "Oil Pulling" for a healthy mouth and clean teeth then you already know the basic idea of Oil Cleansing for your skin. Gentle, effective and nourishing for all skin types and ages - done properly with the right oils it doesn't cause acne, make you greasy, oily or breakout.
The Complete Oil Cleansing Method (OCM) comprises the "oil cleansing" step done correctly with the right oils, occasional exfoliating with oil based scrub, and correctly applying a variety of nourishing facial "treatment"oils, and reducing or eliminating the overuse of harsh chemical treatments and synthetically fragranced, emulsified facial products.
With some time the complete approach provides skin with the nourishment it needs for proper functioning. There is a natural appeal to Oil Cleansing. But many people abandon it when they do not get the immediate results they had hoped for. Confusion and frustration can arise when you first get started, but often problems arise later, after initial success!
BENEFITS OF OIL CLEANSING
Some benefits of oil cleansing and OCM can come quickly. Others take longer to manifest. They will depend on a variety of factors, including the state of your skin when you adopt this method, genetics, diet, age, and more. Factors involved in the healing and restoration of skin function are outlined below. along with an introduction to the skin benefits possible with the Oil Cleansing Method.
For the vast majority of people, oil cleansing and the OCM are absolutely worth the time, effort, experimentation and learning required to get good long term results.
Reach out to any time for consultation - don't hesitate! I am happy to offer my time and free advice.
SKIN CELL TURNOVER RATES: It takes between around 20-40+ days for the turnover to be complete. Age is a primary factor in estimating the time it takes for all the skin cells in the epidermis to replace themselves. Skin health, genetics etc also play a role. Sloughing off the uppermost layers is happening continually night and day.
No matter what you change in your skin care routine, or at what age, until all of the cells have been replaced, you can't evaluate the longer term benefits.
This does not mean that you must suffer if you begin to experience problems - large outbreaks, dry skin, bumps, or more problems than before and many factors can be involved.
THE BASICS OF HOW TO OIL CLEANSE
The steps of "oil cleansing" are simple with some variation: astringent "cleansing oils" are rubbed into dry skin with dry fingers, allowed some time to soak into pores and hair follicles. Some people will wet their fingers and massage to cleanse, others do not. The oil is wiped away and/or rinsed away, along with the day's grime.
There is no book on The Oil Cleansing Method - all steps in the process are open to interpretation. My approach to Oil Cleansing and OCM varies a bit from what other recommend. I hope you'll glean some information which will help you in your quest to adopt oil cleansing.
There is no "one size fits all" to getting good results and there is a learning curve when you get started. You'll need to embrace some trial and err such as how you cleanse and the oils you are using. Skin changes over time, and you may need to make adjustments to your routine or your oils as time goes on. Regular, gentle exfoliation will speed this process along. A few new bumps and outbreak are not unheard of when you start but you should not see a significant worsening of conditions.
WHAT MAKES MY APPROACH TO OIL CLEANSING DIFFERENT?
CASTOR OIL? If you have very oily skin and do not have sensitive skin you can get great results and deep cleaning with a blend with Castor Oil. If you have do not have very oily skin or have sensitive skin, then Castor oil does not need to be used.
Castor oil is very astringent. Even at low levels in a blend it can cause dryness and irritation, itchy dry patches, outbreaks and bumps.
A single oil or blend of oils for cleansing should have a higher proportion of linoleic acid to Oleic Acid (70/30 Linoleic:Oleic, or 80/20). This will benefit most people. Generally, If you have severe acne you'll want to avoid oils with high levels of Oleic Acid. Please proceed with great care in many situations oils on the skin can irritate and make acne worse - in general those with regular acne eruptions should apply the oils very gently and remove them immediately.
IF YOU HAVE NO MAJOR SKIN ISSUES: LET IT ALL SOAK IN. After you apply your cleansing oils and massage them in I strongly recommend allowing some time for them to soak in before removing them.
If you do not have very sensitive skin and want deep conditioning and cleansing, allow the oils to soak in for up to 20 minutes. You'll rarely come across anyone recommending this. But the chemistry of this approach is very sound and can give the best results! It's like the deep oil treatments we have been nourishing our hair with forever.
Oils are solvents and will dissolve skin oils and stuff trapped in them. But they are not fast at the task.A good contrast would be soap or alcohol which both quickly dissolve oils. If your skin reacts well to oil cleansing, try letting the oils soak in for 10-20 MINUTES. This allows time for them to completely dissolve debris and condition the skin. .
If you have a day's worth of grime to remove then your cleansing oils need time to soak in. Otherwise, you are not really getting a deep cleanse, your just removing the surface stuff. A quick oil cleanse is appropriate on on days you don't wear much makeup or sunscreen but deep cleansing and conditioning is achieved by allowing the oils to soak in before removing them. You could try my approach a few times a week, for a few weeks and see if you like this method, report back please!
An overlooked but very important benefit of the long soak method is the skin also needs some time to absorb the fatty acid nourishment contained in the seed oils, plant extracts or essential oils which could be in your oils. The skin is able to directly incorporate fatty acids from oils applied topically. Time to soak in allows them to penetrate deep where they bathe the cells of our skin in the nourishment it absolutely CRAVES!
FACTORS IN ACNE
Studies show that acne is associated with an imbalance in the ratio of lipids and fatty acids. Low linoleic acids levels in the skin impairs the skin's primary barrier, the stratum corneum. Barrier functions of the skin are dependent on sufficient amounts of linoleic acid to perform. Low linoleic acid also causes other skin oils to be over produced, oils which have a higher percentage of oleic acid can build up, clogging pores and hair follicles with harder sebum. Applied topically linoleic acid can help restore function.
Palmitic acid deficiency has also been shown to be a factor in acne. Palmitic acid helps calm and balance the skin, hold moisture deep in skin layers, protect, soothe, and heal outer skin layers. High consumption of oleic acid rich oils, found in monounsaturated fats like olive oil & avocado oil can also make acne worse. Use topically they can do the same. For those with acne issues your cleansing blends must be rich in linoleic Acid, and low in oleic acid to get good results.
Those with normal to dry skin which rarely breaks out or gets clogged have a much wider variety of oils to choose from and will be less likely to experience anything but the most satisfactory results from the OCM and the use of Oleic Rich oils for cleansing and conditioning.
A DEEPER LOOK INTO LONG TERM BENEFITS
Return to a natural state
Maintain a healthy skin pH
Restore the lipid barrier
Nourish the skin microbiome
Reduction or resolution of skin problems
With regular use of oil cleansing and reducing or eliminating the use of soaps, foaming cleansers, harsh chemical treatments, not over cleansing, and given time to heal and normalize, your skin will become better nourished, stronger and more resilient. Those who experience occasional outbreaks and clogged pores experience a reduction in these episodes and will find they are not as large, inflamed or painful, and heal faster. It will be better able to withstand UV exposure, environmental stress and pollution, and to heal and repair itself from injury. Many report a reduction in the appearance of pores and fine lines, healing of scars, softer more supple skin, and more balanced sebum production.
The healing process is different for everyone and the time needed to heal the skin varies from person to person. Results will vary, we are all on a personal journey.
RESTORING SKIN FUNCTION & SKIN pH
Indications that your skin is not functioning optimally are are, outbreaks, bumps, clogged pores, itchiness, tight, flaky dry skin, redness, inflammation, premature aging, sun-damage, or irritated, sensitive inflamed reactive skin. Skin which is deficient or out of balance in certain essential fatty acids (EFA) are especially vulnerable to acne.
Acne is an indication of impaired skin functions. Subsequently we turned to chemical treatments, over cleaning with synthetic foaming cleansers & soap,over use of emulsified facial products, over "treating" the skin ... these things can force the skin into a state of stress, or "dis-ease" making it vulnerable to penetration by acne causing bacteria.
80% - 90% of all homes in America have hard water. In some some cities the amount of dissolved minerals in the drinking water can shoot the pH up as high as 9. That is quite alkaline for our skin. The dissolved minerals make the water itself less able to rinse away soaps and cleansers, making matters worse by leaving behind residue on our skin which causes irritations, redness, itching, outbreaks and bumps. It will also contribute to premature aging and transdermal water loss leading to chronic dry skin.
MAINTAIN A HEALTHY SKIN PH. Maintaining the proper pH of our skin is of vital important. Simply over washing with any soap or detergent can disrupt the pH of the skin's acid mantle, a slightly acidic secretion which forms a thin layer on the very surface of our skin. Constantly disrupting the pH is very undesirable and can lead to skin disorders, acne, rosacea, eczema, dry skin and other serious issues. Those with skin issue should be make a concerted effort to maintain a healthy skin pH.
no matter what you are using to clean your face with, I recommend SPRITZ WITH a pure hydrosol water anytime your facial skin comes in contact with tap water.
A deeper look at pH and the skin, and the benefits of pure plant hydrosol waters can be found in my blog post HYDROSOL WATERS - AN ANCIENT SKINCARE TRADITION
Seed oils have ZERO pH. In and of themselves they will have ZERO impact on the skin's acid mantle. This aspect of oil cleansing is not widely discussed, but in my opinion it is a very important benefit of oil cleansing.
HOWEVER, Our tap water will disrupt the pH of the Acid Mantle for a period of time after bathing regardless of what you cleanse with. Foaming cleansers containing Sodium Lauryl Sulfates do more lasting damage to the acid mantle and should be avoided.
The good news? The acid mantle can recover! But it takes up to 4 or more hours to do, depending on skin health, age and other factors. Oil cleansing followed with a application of a slightly acidic toner or hydrosol water will quickly restore a healthy pH.
A deeper look at our skin microbiome can be found in my blog post NOURISHING THE SKIN'S MICROBIOME
RESTORING & NOURISHING YOUR SKIN'S MICROBIOME. Your skin flora is a vital, and until recently, an unknown component of a healthy immune system. Our skin is literally teeming with a vast universe of microbial life that scientists are just beginning to understand! The benefits of a healthy skin biome depends in part on the slightly acidic secretion called the Acid Mantle. Our microbiome works to prevent pathogenic organisms from colonizing the skin surface, either by competing for nutrients, secreting chemicals against them, or stimulating the skin's immune system. Finding ways to nourish, maintain and replenish a healthy biome by supporting the host of microbes that abound on our skin will not only revolutionize the way we live, it will probably impact our overall health and longevity.
DO YOU HAVE VERY SENSITIVE SKIN?
Those with sensitive skin take note! It is especially important that you are very gentle on your skin and take skin pH seriously. Take care not to over exfoliate.
If you don't have sunscreen or makeup on, consider washing your face that day with a cotton pad soaked in steam distilled bottled water and no oils.
Hydrosol waters will be your best choice for a toner. Since they are so pure, gentle and mild they won't irritate your skin and they will nourish and maintain proper pH. Any time your face comes in contact with tap water, pat dry then spritz with a hydrosol.
Reducing or eliminating foaming cleansers and soap, makeup and concealer, emulsified preserved facial products will reduce synthetic chemical exposure.
If you adopt OCM please do not use any Castor Oil and do not over massage the oils, just apply gently, let soak in, remove with a soft cloth and never use hot water to remove, very warm water is enough to remove the oils and debris. If your condition gets worse you will want to take a break and makes some adjustments to your oils, routine, or both.
Hopefully you get through the first few weeks without any problems and get good initial results! Over time OCM can help reduce redness, irritation, sensitives and itch as it heals. In the long run, 3 months to a year, your sensitivities should improve and may subside completely.
So there you have it! I covered a lot and touched on many different topics. You will find a closer look at these aspects of Oil Cleansing in my blog. Please feel free to share your experiences and your methods on my facebook page. And remember you can always reach out to me with questions or advice.