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