Since the dawn of puberty, my sebaceous glands have been working overtime to keep those pimples coming to a face near you. My dermatologist would always tell me to cleanse, tone and moisturise with an oil-free moisturiser, twice a day, every day. I did that for a while (when I remembered to) but the pimples remained and I eventually stopped using toners and moisturisers altogether. I carried on washing my face with various cleansers till only recently when I discovered the Oil Cleansing Method, and I haven’t looked back.
I wash my face with oil, and although many of you will stop reading from this point, please don’t, because this actually works for me. We are constantly told that if we have oily/ acne-prone skin we should steer clear of any moisturisers containing oil. I have found this to be incorrect, simply because after using such creams, my skin only became oilier, and more pimples began to rear their ugly head (pun intended). I started doing some research and found some surprising results.
Firstly, a scientific explanation for why oil is better than water or cleansers: like dissolves like, therefore oil dissolves oil. Water does not dissolve oil, therefore cannot dissolve the oil build-up on your skin. Secondly, harsh cleansers strip your skin of its natural oils and leave your skin dry, causing your oil glands to produce more oil to combat this dryness, resulting in oilier skin. Yay.
I started the OCM eight months ago, and with a few minor adjustments, am very pleased with the results. I began with coconut oil, simply because it’s relatively affordable and has so many benefits. It’s naturally antibacterial and antifungal, and is a super moisturiser. It’s important to get the organic, cold-pressed virgin coconut oil, as it has not been heated or processed to the point where its nutritional value is compromised.
I have read that coconut oil is highly comedogenic, meaning it can block your pores, and if you have acne-prone skin like me, this can be a problem. I can honestly say that this did not happen for me; I had reduced breakouts, my skin felt and looked healthier, and was LESS OILY! Other commonly used oils are castor oil and olive oil. Again, it’s important to go for the most organic brand.
Since coming off the pill, I have experienced oilier skin, which is normal during this transition. I have therefore switched to an argan, evening primrose and tea tree oil blend, which I have found to be great! I use this argan oil, this EPO and this tea tree oil.
My argan, evening primrose and tea tree oil blend:
Using a funnel, pour 25ml argan oil, 25ml EPO (carrier oils) and 12 drops of tea tree (essential oil) into an empty bottle (preferably dark glass – which I didn’t have). Place in a dark area as light accelerates rancidity.
Both the argan oil and EPO contain high amounts of linoleic acid (LA) and Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA). They are part of the omega 6 family and are crucial for the maintenance of healthy skin. Your skin is made up of lipids, which comprise of fatty acids. So if you want more healthy lipids, give them more fatty acids! People with acne-prone skin often have low levels of LA in their surface lipids, which can cause excess sebum production. Applying oil topically can help prevent this.
The OCM is very simple. All you need is:
1. A face cloth (preferably microfiber)
2. Hot water
3. Your oil of choice
4. A spare towel (optional)
1. Pour a small amount of the oil into your hands, and gently massage it onto your skin.
2. Leave for a few minutes while you heat the water (I like to save water by boiling a kettle). With a plug in your basin, pour the hot water into your sink.
3. Now, here’s where my method differs: Using a towel to cover your head, bend over the basin with your face in the hot steam for one minute, allowing the steam to open your pores. Or you can ring the water out of the face cloth and place it over your face.
4. Use the face cloth to wipe away the excess oil.
Viola! Your skin is clean and moisturised at the same time. I’d advise you to get a few face clothes that you can regularly alternate between washes, to avoid the spread of bacteria. This is what worked for me, and will hopefully work for you.
It’s been just over 3 months since I stopped the birth control pill, and of course my skin is breaking out more than usual. I really want to keep my readers in the loop when it comes to how I have been doing post-pill, therefore I will be writing a detailed blog post about every pimple and every cramp I have experienced since my first beauty post, Seven Years On The Pill. Stay tuned!
All images by Dan Erasmus.4