Thursday, May 9, 2013

on the Oil Cleansing Method

I wanted this work, y'all, I really really did...  I gave it a fair shot, too, and twice even!  Here's my experience with the Oil Cleansing Method...

If you're not familiar with the OCM, the basic idea is this: like dissolves like... so to clean oil and gunk out of your pores, you must use oil to cleanse.  Sounds legit, right?  It makes sense to me, though it freaks some people out.  You massage oil into your skin, let it sit for a bit, and then steam/melt it off with a hot washcloth, with very little rubbing.  You can use a drop as moisturizer too, though you probably won't need it.  And that's all, you don't use any soaps or cleansers or anything.

So that's the basic idea, and now let me sum up my skin.  I would say I have combination skin, since I don't tend to get very oily on a normal day, and I can get a little dry in some areas of my face.  In general, texture isn't my problem--it's cystic acne.  Ew gross, and yes this sucks... it's when you get outbreaks of large, hard, super-painful bumps deep under the skin all along your jawline and in your cheeks and chin.  This indicates that it is caused by hormone changes, imbalances, stress, or "that time of the month."  I've dealt with this for years--and it's gotten gradually worse and worse since I got to college.

Proactiv seemed to work well, but it dried my skin out like no tomorrow, and I'm not all that keen on chemicals and harsh cleansers...  So I decided to try out the OCM.  The first time I tried it, I used straight-up extra virgin organic olive oil.  And that stuff heals you up, man!  I massaged it in every night, slept with it on, and washed it off in the morning.  I had no dryness issues, and my existing acne healed much faster than usual!  So far so good...but then, after a week of this routine, I started to break out in like normal, garden-variety acne, and got tiny bumps, which I knew were due to clogged pores.  So after about two weeks, I laid off the OCM, and went back to Proactiv, which was doing wonders.......

Until I forgot it when I went home for Spring Break.  My skin freaked out, and got worse than it's ever been.  It was quite depressing actually.  Even after I got back and reinstated the BP routine, it only got worse and worse.  I decided, once again, to scrap the harsh products and give the OCM another go.  This time, I used one part castor oil (for cleansing) to one part EVOO (for healing) to one part grapeseed oil (a good carrier oil because it's quite thin).  I massaged it in before my nightly shower, steamed and wiped it off at the end of my shower, and used a drop as moisturizer before bed.  I kept this up for two weeks, all while showing no improvement.  No, I didn't get any new cysts, but the old ones didn't heal, and refused to come to the surface.  Then the clogged pores returned, dun dun dun.... In the end, I got tired of not seeing a change, and decided to ditch it again.

I started using a mild cleanser with a mineral toner and moisturizer (it's a set) and lo and behold--my skin started getting worse!  My current strategy is to use the OCM and follow it with the cleanser to make sure it doesn't clog my pores.  It does seem to be the only thing that gets down into the cysts and makes them go away.  It's not a miracle, unfortunately, and I really wanted to to be some all-natural holy grail, but...hey, at least now I know it was doing something.  I'll probably carry on with this routine and see how it goes.

Have you tried the OCM?  Did it work for you?  What is your current routine?