SELF DIAGNOSIS – I have long thought I had rosacea on my cheeks and then, for a time, thought it was eczema which I get quasi regularly. But my sister helped me figure out that I more than likely had keratosis pilaris on my cheeks. Basically it’s an excess of keratin that is trapped under the skin. Keratin is made of skin cells, fat and sebum (skin oil). So it made complete sense to me that an oil cleansing method (like dissolves like) would work…which it has. Exfoliating is critical as well in order to reduce any buildup. Additionally, ensuring that the skin is as moisturized as possible helps considerably because those patches tend towards dryness and that can make it worse
I will say that almost all of the online recommendations start with Castor Oil mixed with something else more common like olive oil or sunflower oil. I also started that way, Castor & Avocado….but I didn’t feel that it was the right combination for me and I decided to experiment with higher quality products. I found the Castor oil extremely drying and I found the Avocado too heavy…but it was a good intro to the process, definitely and I did see results in the first week, even with that basic formulation. In the second week I moved to a combo of Sweet Almond Oil and Jojoba for cleansing and Jojoba for moisturizing, both mixed with different essential oils. My current recipes are still being tweaked as I work out what is right for my skin. If you are wanting to try the Oil Cleansing Method, you definitely do not need to work in the essential oils, I just chose to give my skin a little extra boost.
Lavender: for everything. Oily, dry, flaky, sensitive, promotes hair growth, reduces hair loss, calming. If you have it, lavender helps/fixes it. Seriously. Everything.
Litsea Cubeba: mildly astringent so suitable for acne/oily, uplifting, relieves fatigue, reduces anxiety (can be drying, use in moderation)
Sandalwood 10%: moisturizing & soothing so suitable for dry skin, calming,
Basil: anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, brightens skin & hair, calming, increases blood circulation
Geranium: astringent, reduces inflammation & irritation, improves circulation, speeds healing, cicatrizing (helps scars & spots fade & vanish), promotes hair growth, reduces hair loss
Helichrysum **: antiseptic, anti-microbial, cicatrizing, anti-inflammatory, stimulates new skin tissue growth, calming, soothing to skin, fades redness, soothes dryness
** helichrysum is considered a “precious oil” and as such it is extremely expensive (ranging from $125-$350 for 5ml depending on where you look). The aromatherapy place in my local mall sells it to me by the drop, $0.68 per drop.
Witch Hazel: not an essential oil but distilled from plants; anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, decreases oil, gently astringent, reduces eye puffiness, constricts blood vessels thereby reducing redness, tightens pores, locks in moisture and very importantly to me, eases eczema!
There are a jillion essential oils out there, some brands are better than others and the cost varies. Not being an expert, I basically researched various oils and made a combination that I felt could work for my skin issues. Basically I figured, “can’t hurt”. I have a couple different anti-inflammatories and anti-bacterials, a couple that work for oily skin and a couple that are more for dry skin. Fortunately for me, my particular combinations also happen to smell quite lovely!
Truth be told, this was a little pricey to start out, I’m going to estimate approximately $75-$100. But I will also estimate that all the separate ingredients will last anywhere from 6 – 8 months or longer and in the case of the bottles/pots, they’ll basically last forever or until I break them.
- Jojoba oil, 125ml, $20
- Sweet Almond Oil, 125ml, $15
- Essential Oils, 5ml, $5-$8 (litsea, basil, geranium, sandalwood, lavender, helichrysum ($0.68/drop)
- Bentonite Clay, 2oz, $4
- Witch Hazel Distillate, 125ml, $8
- 2 4oz glass bottles w/ droppers, 1 2oz pot, 1 4oz spray bottle $10
- WHAT ELSE IS HELPING? I haven’t worn makeup since July 11th which I feel can only have helped and I’m starting to feel more confident and accepting of my makeup-free face, especially now that my skin is evening out. I use a bentonite clay mask once a week for deep detox (bentonite clay mixed with ACV until it’s spreadable, left to dry for 20-30 minutes and then rinsed off) and I very lightly brush baking soda mixed with water or my cleansing oil over my face one morning a week (as far from bentonite day as possible) to help slough off any dead or drying skin. I try very hard not to touch my face…which is much easier now that my skin is less itchy and irritated.
- THE PROCESS Every other day before bed (or every day if I’m noticing increased redness or irritation), I do a complete oil cleanse. Massage the cleansing oil into dry skin for two minutes. You need to open your pores to let the cleansing oil in to adhere with the “pore gunk” so you can get rid of it, but a hot cloth (as per most of the internet directions) against my face seemed like a bad idea. So I run a sinkful of very hot tap water, put a towel over my head and, after the first 2 minute oil massage, I steam my face for 2 minutes. Then I repeat the massage for 2 more minutes and then remove the oil gently with a warm, wet face cloth. This is followed up by a very cold face cloth right against my skin which feels SO good! Once the cold cloth is done I gently wipe on Witch Hazel with a little cotton pad and then pat on a good amount of my moisturizing oil and then go to bed. In the morning I run my wet hands over my face, pat my face dry, repeat the Witch Hazel and then pat on a teensy bit of the moisturizing oil. That’s it! As above, there
- BENEFITS So far I’ve noticed that my skin feels….more normal and even. Regular. Not oily. Not particularly dry. It looks clearer and the redness and bumps on my cheeks are steadily decreasing. I didn’t have a huge “detox” reaction which some people notice, I got around 7-10 pimples over the course of a month that I would not normally get in spots that I would not normally see them so I assume that was my detox. I noticed that by the end of the day I do not have oily patches at my temples or around my nose like I normally would, my whole face is uniform and balanced looking. I have noticed that my periods of angry-redness are much fewer and further between and the redness in my cheeks seems less and less disturbed by contact with anything. Before, I would barely brush my cheek and it would flare up and now, nothing.
WHAT SUCKS? Err…nothing? The number of washcloths that I go through? Seriously though, it’s a really simple and uncomplicated procedure with no chemicals and no obligation towards huge pharmaceutical companies that may or may not be ethically led and which spend millions on advertising to tell you that you aren’t good enough as you are, you NEED their products to live a full and enriched life (sorry, stepping off soap box).
Long post, sorry.