The Oil Cleansing Method (OCM)
This is another post that I’ve been meaning to do FOREVER! I’ve been asked a few times about my skin care regimen and given that I recently turned 40, this seemed as good a time as any to finally “talk” about it!!
My Skin Story
First, in the interest of full disclosure, I’m going to tell you that I am completely lazy about my skin. I wash, tone, treat and moisturize in the morning. Other than that, the only thing that I do regularly is use Chapstick or whatever other lip moisturizer I happen to have in my purse. I really don’t wash my face at night because I don’t wear foundation or powder on a daily basis (hence the perpetually shiny T-zone) and I can only be bothered with grooming/filling my eyebrows and applying lip gloss every now and again. However, I know that isn’t an excuse for not washing my face at night, because air pollutants cause “dirty” skin. So, yeah, I know!! I’m sorry, I told you I’m lazy with my skin.
I also really don’t do regular facials. Once in a blue moon I’ll do an exfoliating scrub, which I’ll talk about a little later. Ultimately, I think that diet and sleep play large roles in healthy skin. Given that I generally eat well, drink lots of water and get plenty of sleep (well, that is, until I started this blog!), I think that I’ve won half the battle.
I will also say that the best my skin has ever looked was when I was following The Perricone Weight-Loss Diet: A Simple 3-Part Plan to Lose the Fat, the Wrinkles and the Years. This diet focused on good protein, healthy fats, colorful fruits and veggies and complex carbs to foster weight loss while improving the appearance of skin. Seriously y’all, I glowed when I followed the diet that largely relied on eggs, turkey, salmon, blueberries, organic apples, flaxseeds, walnuts, almonds and leafy greens. Shoot, I need to dust off my book for the next GOC!!
My Skin Care Regimen
Anyway, so, what do I do now? Well, I’ve been using a prescription facial cleanser and topical spot treatment for a decade. In my late 20s/early 30s, I started experiencing break-outs on my previously clear skin. I think that they were attributable to a lot of stress at work and a hormone imbalance caused by fibroids and a frequent cycle. I got the hormonal imbalance and cycle under control through my “lady doctor” *lol* and went to the dermatologist to address my skin issues. My biggest concern was the sebaceous cyst (you know those hard, puss-filled and painful pimples) that would inevitably develop shortly before my cycle, would never go away unless it was popped and left a scar, regardless of whether I touched it or not. Those jokers were the secondary bane of my existence (the first was the stresser at work) and resulted in a forehead and right cheek covered in scars.
When I visited the dermatologist, he gave me scripts for Clenia (the facial cleanser) and Duac (the topical solution). To those, I added my homemade astringent concoction of witch hazel and effervescent Vitamin C, which really seems to remove the dead skin cells without drying my skin, and Neutrogena Healthy Skin Lotion with SPF as my daily moisturizer. I used those morning and night for a year or so, then just started using them mostly in the morning once my skin was consistently clear.
The OCM Experiment
In the Fall of 2010, I discovered the Oil Cleansing Method via MopTopMaven. I marveled at her gorgoues skin, read her post about ditching conventional, store bought facial cleansers after struggling with acne for years, watched her video tutorial several times and decided I wanted to try the natural route.
Beautiful skin, right?!?! So, although I hadn’t had a break-out in years and had nary a scar, I thought it would be great to use all natural products to care for my skin. In addition, I thought that the OCM would probably help eliminate the fine lines I was starting to see in order to continue the legacy of “Black Don’t Crack.” But, what’s that saying? If it ain’t broke …?
So, off I went to follow MopTopMaven’s regimen of grapeseed/castor/hazelnut oils to cleanse, a green tea astringent to tone and grapeseed oil to moisturize. I also incorporated bentonite clay masks once a week and brown sugar/raw honey scrubs twice a week. I stuck with it for about two months, trying different oils and adjusting the amounts used. I waited it out to see if my skin was just “detoxing” and the oil was just bringing all the impurities to the surface to eventually promote flawless skin. But, despite my best efforts, my skin was revolting!! I was experiencing consistent and constant break-outs, pimples that would never clear and, of course, these were accompanied with new scars. Finally, in December, I had enough and returned to my trusty Clenia and Duac.
Unfortunately, despite the return to my aces and normal regimen, it took months for my skin to regain its equilibrium. I followed the OCM for about 2 1/2 months and it took my skin about 3-4 months to stop breaking out and several more months for the majority of the scars to fade.
I wish that Michelle of Radiant Brown Beauty had written this post, Say No to Oil Cleansing, when I first decided to experiment wih OCM!! Although I still might have tried it, I would have been better prepared for the potentially disastrous side effects and aborted more quickly!!
What I will say is this. During my experiment and the aftermath, I discovered some natural solutions that worked for me. I conducted some internet research and found that applying aspirin crushed and dissolved in water with a little honey reduced inflammation and helped clear my pimples more quickly when the Clenia and Duac didn’t seem to be working. I also learned that applying a raw honey and lemon mix to my scars for 15-30 minutes a day seemed to help fade them more quickly. Michelle explained the science behind those results in the comments on her “Say No” post: “[The aspirin] works … because [it] has salicylic acid in it, a common ingredient found in many acne products. The honey is great and you probably saw such success because you used raw honey which is pure and absorbs bacteria.”
And, although the oil cleansing part of MopTopMaven’s OCM regimen didn’t work well for me, the bentonite clay mask and brown sugar/raw honey scrub were keepers. Although I don’t do them often, I would like to incorporate a scrub once a week and mask every two weeks. We’ll see if I ever get there.
Although the OCM didn’t work for me personally, many seem to find great success with it. Ultimately, I am just sharing my experience so that others who are researching it can learn about the good, the bad and the ugly and decide for themselves whether oil cleansing is for them. I also hope that it’ll help others to detect the “early warning signs,” so that they can make an informed decision about whether to continue the process, adjust their mixes and/or get out while the getting is good.
Have you tried/do you practice the Oil Cleansing Method? What mixes did/do you use? How would you describe your experience (successful, mediocre, abysmal)?