The Week I Washed My Face With Oil

The Week I Washed My Face With Oil

I decided to try the Oil Cleansing Method (OCM) for a full week before I passed judgment. And the judgment is, in a word: mixed.

About My Face
I'm pushing 40, so acne is no longer my #1 concern. It's #3, behind the irritated redness on my forehead, and the clogged pores on my nose. For the record, concern #4 is the flaky patches at the corners of my mouth.

My skin is incredibly reactive. It's only THIS good because I have removed everything that contains sulfates (particularly SLS) from my life. I use SLS-free toothpaste, L'Oreal's sulfate-free shampoo, and an SLS-free liquid facial cleanser. Nevertheless, I still suffer from a chronic low-grade form of allergic dermatitis.

Compounding this problem is that I live in the woods and have livestock and haul firewood every day and stuff. Which means that my face gets genuinely dirty, like with dirt. (However, I do not wear foundation.) And this time of year I have a combination problem with chapping and drying. So I used to wash with the foaming facial cleanser, then follow up with as much Oil of Olay moisturizer as I could handle.

About My Oil Mixture
On the first day I went with a straight up 50/50 mixture of castor/olive oil. And it was way too heavy. I had to scrub my face pretty well to get all the oil off it. After that, I fiddled with a few new ingredients and proportions.

I settled on a potion that is 1 part tea tree oil, 1 part vitamin E oil, 2 parts extra virgin olive oil, and 4 parts castor oil. I might even cut out the olive oil altogether and replace it with something lighter, like grapeseed oil. There is a lot of room for fiddling with the recipe with this method.

The Results
I did the OCM every night before bed. On the first day I awoke to find three new pimples whose size startled me. But I had heard that this was a potential side-effect that might happen on the first few days, until your skin re-balanced itself.

On subsequent days I would typically find one new pimple per day. This wasn't necessarily more than I experienced before, but they seemed more aggressive than they used to. Maybe they are cycling through faster, and that's a good thing, right?

The biggest difference is that the blotchy redness on my forehead disappeared almost immediately. And it stayed gone as long as I was doing the OCM. On one night I mixed it up and went back to my old cleansing routine. The next morning my forehead had gone flushed again. This alone has convinced me not to go back to my old routine, regardless of what I do from this point forward.

Each night after doing the treatment, my skin felt wonderful. Like, glowing. Where it used to feel clean, but also dry and tight. This increased suppleness persisted through the next day, and my face even feels better after I get out of the shower.

It didn't work as well on my clogged pores as I had hoped. Honestly I feel like most of the gains are being accomplished just by steaming your face with a washcloth and gently exfoliating every night.