I’m a bit of a know-it-all about things.
Chips and salsa.
But, I will admit to being a “know-nothing-at-all” about beauty. You’d probably never expect to get skin-care advice from me, but I have been given a secret gift, and I need to share it with the greasy-faced masses.
I have extremely oily skin and planet-sized pores. I can store mid-sized sedans in them. And for as long as I can remember, I have battled adult acne that broadcasts the state of my hormonal imbalances like a neon sign. Depending on my monthly fertility drug regimen, my pituitary tumor activity, my menstrual cycle, and my level of stress, my face resembles a pizza, and more than that, it HURTS.
After I miscarried, my face went on total strike making me question even leaving the house.
I bought Clearasil and potent astringent and planned to attack my face the same way I did when I was thirteen. The results were horrifying! I looked like I’d had a bad chemical peel and felt like I’d taken a cheese grater to my cheeks. My girlfriends, Rach and Meredith, who don’t know each other, both recommended I try the oil cleansing method. Coinkydink?
Desperate to grow back my frickin’ epidermis, I took their advice. I was skeptical. Oil applied to oily skin seemed counterproductive, but they’d never led me astray before, so what the hell?
The theory (or science?) of this method is that regular facial cleansers strip the skin of natural oils, causing your glands to work in overdrive to replenish what’s been removed. The overproduction of oil clogs your pores and creates a breeding ground for blackheads and other blemishes. Oil cleansing cleans your face without stripping it. The dirty oils are removed and healthy, clean oils are replenished.
I can’t attest to this (since I’m oily), but I’ve read article after article that boasts the oil cleansing method works for all sorts of skin types (oily, dry, combination, aging, sensitive, etc.). Different skin types simply require different oils and/or different ratios of oils.
I used this article, this article, and this article to help determine what types and ratios of oils would work best for me. I mixed castor oil, extra virgin olive oil, and tea tree oil to make my first batch. Sounds so weird, doesn’t it? Castor oil is the big dog. It’s the best “dissolving” and most drying oil, making it a “must” for a girl with enough oil to pollute a pond. But even if you aren’t oily, castor is key; you just don’t use quite as much of it. Olive oil is recommended for all skin types and tea tree oil is helpful in battling acne.
The rule of oil cleansing is that you mix in thirds, however, you have to find a formula that works best for your skin. It takes a bit of trial and error to determine your “money” mix. I mix about ½ the bottle with castor oil (I’m greasy as sin, remember?), ¼ the bottle with olive oil, and then add in about 10 drops of tea tree oil. (I use a 4 ounce travel tube for my mix. It’s easy to open and prevents unnecessary mess.)
To cleanse, I massage it into my skin. I really get romantic with it, as that’s about as close as I’m getting to a spa treatment each day. Then, I let the steam from the shower (or sink) open my pores a bit. I usually drape a wash cloth over my face for about 30 seconds (another indulgent, relaxing part of my daily routine) and then I wipe that junk right off. Simple Simon. I don’t use make up removers or soaps of any kind. The oil does it all.
I usually use a moisturizer at night and do without during the day, but again, you have to experiment to see what works best for you.
It took just shy of a week for my skin to adjust to this new and bizarre form of cleansing, but almost miraculously, my face completely changed. (I was warned in advance that my face might get worse before it got better, but that didn’t seem to be the case for me.) I have now been using this method for almost two months. I’ve experimented with changes in my pituitary tumor medications, recovered from the hormone frenzy of a miscarriage, had a period, taken Clomid, changed jobs, and had an hCG injection, and my face still looks one million times better than it used to. I still have break-outs, but they are super minor and short-lived. I’m still a little greasy by the end of a work day, but far better than ever before. One thing to note, they say that if you are going to try OCM, you’ve gotta go all in. No soaping in the morning and oiling at night. You are more prone to break outs if you flip flop.)
I’d love to show you a before and after shot, but I wasn’t brave enough to photograph myself in the midst of my chemical peel-esque nightmare. And now, I’m clear-skinned, but still rather disheveled looking. You have to just take my word for it. My word is bond, yo.
If you have something that works for you, and you are already really, really ridiculously good looking (Ben Stiller, anyone?), don’t fix what isn’t broken. BUT, if you are a hot ass mess like me, I hope this might be of some help!
Now I shall go back to what I know.
Infertile dachshunds gorging on chips and salsa and dancing to Wilson Phillips.
There. I’m much more comfortable in that genre.
Oh, and thanks Meredith and Rach. You guys are so stinking smart.
If you are interested in giving the oil cleansing method a whirl, read these articles. They provide tons of helpful information.