Everyday I find myself talking to people about oil cleansing, I really do believe it’s the key to healthy skin. Unfortunately oil has got a really bad reputation due to the mass usage of petroleum oil (mineral oil aka Vaseline) in the skin care industry. I’ll blog about mineral oil later but basically it sits on the surface of our skin and dries it out rather than moisturizes it (!) and it blocks pores so can lead to unhealthy looking skin and spots. So I guess it’s fair enough that people are scared of oil if it’s that kind of oil.
There are a few famous oil cleansers on the market by the big cosmetic brands using mineral oil, and this is often what people have tried, and hated. This is good as these oil cleansers are likely to cause problems over time rather than give healthy skin.
I am, however, talking about plant oils. A totally different kettle of fish (or should I say bag of nuts!). Plant oils not only contain many valuable nutrients for our skin, think eating fruit and veg, but they are absorbed into our skin rather than staying on the surface. Plant oils can be the key to healthy skin.
So back to oil cleansing… with plant oils.
The principle is this. At the end of each day, on our skin we have a mix of dust, pollution, make-up and the oil our skin produces. It is important to remove this dirty oil so that our skin can do it’s job of recovery and repair overnight. There are a few ways in which we can remove dirty oil from our face. 1. With a detergent (like doing the dishes) or 2. With alcohol. Both these ways are too effective at removing oil, so leave our skin dried out and exposed to potential irritants. The other problem is that if we remove all the oil from our face our skin over-reacts by producing extra oil to compensate. Our skin needs oil on it’s surface for protection. This is the vicious circle people with oily skin find themselves. So desperate to remove excess oil from their face they remove too much causing their skin to over-produce oil, and the problem continues. So the third way of removing this dirty oil from our face is with another oil…
The oil cleanser mixes with the dirty oil on your face (as oil blends with oil) then is removed with a warm damp cloth to leave the skin really refreshed and clean but not dry. And importantly not oily either. This type of cleansing is perfect for dry skin as it doesn’t dry it out, and it’s perfect for oily skin as it teaches the skin to produce less oil. In fact, I believe (plant) oil cleansing will balance out both dry and oily skin types so they become more “normal”. I’ve seen this happen time and time again!
Of course the type of plant oil is important too. If you Google “oil cleansing” you will get lots of info on the OCM or “Oil Cleansing Method” which uses a blend of olive oil and castor oil. There are lots of contrasting reviews on how well this works. I like the idea, olive oil is really rich in vitamin E and castor oil is really effective at drawing out impurities. The reality is a very sticky blend that is a very powerful cleanser so should only be used a couple times a week. Then what do you use the rest of the time? I use organic, unrefined jojoba oil (infused with chamomile and calendula flowers) in my cleansers. Jojoba oil is most similar to our skins own sebum (oil) so does not leave the skin looking and feeling oily, and I find it is best for balancing oil production and is gentle enough to be used daily.
There is another benefit to oil cleansing. As you have not dried the skin out with a detergent or alcohol cleanser, there should be no need to moisturize. By not moisturizing at night we allow our skin to “breathe”. At night, just like our bodies, the pores on our face relax and open. Allowing oxygen in and waste products out. If we smother our face in thick cream we prevent our skin from doing this effectively. If our skin cannot carry out it’s functions it will start to break down and become unhealthy. In the morning, as we have just been lying in bed, there is no need to cleanse like this again, just a simple wipe down of our face with a warm cloth or simple flower water will remove the excretions from the night.
I believe the less we do to our skin, ie. the less we interfere with products, the more effective our skin will become at doing it’s daily functions and processes and therefore the healthier it will be and the better it will look. Since I have used less products, less often, my skin has looked better and better.
Have I convinced you enough to give it a go? Let me know how you get on!
Happy cleansing for happier skin.