Oils, are they beneficial? + Article Critique

Today’s post was inspired by this article: http://www.paulaschoice.com/expert-advice/oily-skin/_/the-oil-cleansing-method

ocm method

There are tons of options out there!

If you are an avid follower of the skin care world you are bound to hear about OCM or the oil cleansing method at least once. This is the practice where you use carrier oils to wash your face but does it work? Let’s explore the science behind it!

What role do oils play?

Our skin is covered in glands that produce oil; the oils are referred to as sebum and are necessary for regulating water in the skin. The layer of oil keeps too much water from getting in, as well as preventing too much water loss. It also plays an important role in preventing any bacterial or fungal infections from taking hold.

However, if overproduced sebum can also lead to problems. Aside from annoying shine and makeup meltdowns, excessive oils in the face can mix with dead skin cells and plug up our pores creating everyone’s favorite malady, acne. Excessive sebum is usually a genetic/hormonal occurrence (which is why during puberty skin usually becomes more oily), but many times the skin care products we use can actually lead to oil overload.

But wait…. the X face wash I use is supposed to be amazing!

 Remember how harsh detergents in shampoos can cause your scalp to dry out and produce oils in excess? You guessed it, the same exact thing can happen on your face. Many popular (not all) face washes are also formulated with sulfates, and many acne medications/toners are sometimes formulated with alcohols which are extremely drying. As a result, they can send a mildly oily face into overdrive by trying to normalize it’s protective oil barrier.

So how can oils fix any of that?

 The reasoning behind OCM is that, not only is it a gentler alternative, but it is also great at removing makeup and any other substances on the skin (like dissolves like). Once the skin is no longer being stripped it will normalize and stop overproducing oils. Don’t go smearing any oil you happen to find on your skin though; there are oils that are extremely comedogenic. For instance, Coconut oil and olive oil are very comedogenic and should not be used unless you have already test patched them and determined them safe to use.

Look for oils appropriate for acne prone individuals and which are similar to the sebum our skin produces, such as argan and jojoba oil. After massaging into the skin, oils should be removed with a wash cloth and warm water (not hot) in order to ensure that all the dirt, makeup, and oils are off the face.

almond oil ocm

Almond oil is slightly comedogenic, but also more moisturizing!

So should I try it?

My first question to you would be, are your cleansers free of sulfates or other harsh ingredients? If so then perhaps simply using better moisturizers mixed with oils will help with excessive production. If you find your cleansers to be problematic there are many gentle face washes available, OCM is not the only option. Always test out oils before using them, but if the correct ingredients are used OCM can lead to beautiful, balanced skin!

Part 2: Cancer causing cosmetics, fact or fiction?

Welcome to part two! Today we are discussing….


Many “green” products boast not containing these, but what are they exactly? These are found in all kinds of products, and are mainly used as anti-cracking agents or solvents (meaning that they are used to dissolve/break down other ingredients).The two most common phthalates present in cosmetics are ibutylphthalate (DBP) and dimethylphthalate (DMP). They are usually present in cosmetics in quantities of up to 10%. The reason phthalates are frowned upon is because in high quantities it causes birth defects and affects the reproductive systems of both males and females.

The National Toxicology program, back in 2000, conducted extensive testing on these ingredients and determined that reproductive risks in response to levels contained in cosmetics is negligible or nonexistent. This was due to the fact that the levels of phthalates in products were much too low compared to levels used to induce cancer in animals. Furthermore, levels of phthalates in products have been steadily declining ever since the year 2004, reducing chances of any negative effects becoming prominent.

 Lead in my lipstick?!

 Although not necessarily cancer causing, lead is disastrous when in close proximity to our bodies in large quantities. The fear mongering with lipstick was that our lips are thin an thus can readily absorb the lead contained in these cosmetics, or even worse, is ingested throughout the day.

 The FDA confirms that lead is commonly found in lipstick, as it is a part of the color additives. Lead is allowed to make up only 20 parts per million in any tube of lipstick, and all the brands that were tested by the FDA, and contained this substance, were well within this limit.

Lipstick is also very minimally ingested, when you combine this with the fact that the levels of lead found in these cosmetics are extremely low…. it is safe to conclude that there are no adverse effects that can be experienced by consumers.

 Aluminum components

 This is the active ingredient in deodorants and it  has caused tons of controversy due to the belief that it had the ability to penetrate the skin, particularly through razor nicks, and make its way to the breast tissue located nearby. Aluminum also carries estrogen like qualities, also adding to the fear that it can influence cancerous breast tissue growth.

The national cancer institute refutes these claims, many of the studies that supposedly showed connections between deodorant use and cancer were not conclusive… and several times not even taking into consideration familial history of cancer amongst women whom were studied. Furthermore, there have been studies strongly showing the opposite, that deodorant use shows no link whatsoever with cancer. In short, smear on that deodorant, it is safe to use!