Oil cleansing (on it’s own or as part of a double cleanse) has become a fairly recent addition to many a skincare addicts’ regime. Adding another step into your regime can sound daunting, but as the benefits of oil cleansing can be felt immediately and get better over time, many people just won’t give this new step up. For many people, oil cleansing has been game changing.
However if you have never tried the oil cleansing method before, it might sound counter-intuitive to put a substance like oil on your face when you are actually trying to clean it, so how does it work?
At a very basic level of chemistry, like dissolves like, so oil works well at dissolving oil. (We will look into this more a bit later). The sebaceous glands in the skin naturally produce sebum, and this is what we typically describe as “oil” on our skin. Sebum is mostly made up of triglycerides, wax esters, squalene and free fatty acids. How much sebum you produce determines your skin type. For example, if you produce a lot of sebum on the face you have oily skin, if you produce a lot on your T-zone and not much elsewhere on your face you have combination skin. We need a certain amount of sebum on our skin as it actually helps to protect the skin’s barrier function, but a build up of sebum can actually clog pores and lead to breakouts and infections. Other oily products on your skin can include make up and sunscreen, and the oil will work to dissolve these too.
Typical water based cleansers will use a surfactant to make the product foam up so you can work it round the face. However, these surfactants can actually end up stripping the skin of its natural layer of sebum and can leave the skin feeling dry and damaged. Also, by stripping away all of the natural sebum, the sebaceous glands go into overdrive and end up producing more sebum to counteract the initial loss. And then you are back to square one, if not worse. Cleansing the skin with oil however does not dry skin out. The oil breaks down old make up, SPF and sebum, and conditions and nourishes the skin as it works.
But is oil cleansing really suitable for all skin types, including acne-prone skin? Well essentially yes it can be, depending on what oils are used in the formulation, and at what percentages. The oils used should always be low on the comedogenic scale, meaning they will not clog pores. The formula will require an astringent oil to cleanse the skin, but too much of an astringent oil can also dry out skin so it can be a delicate balance. Formulas that use additional oils which are close to the skin’s own sebum composition will help to balance sebum production, while remaining moisturising. Bonus properties of the oils in the formula could include antibacterial properties to prevent spots, or “anti-ageing” benefits.
To oil cleanse, use 1-2 teaspoons of oil, and work into the skin. Organic Youth do not recommend using an oil cleanser over the eye lashes, as this can lead to eye problems. We would always recommend using an ophthalmologist-approved product to remove eyeliner and mascara, either before or after oil cleansing. Some oil cleansers may include an emulsifier to help the product to mix with water, enabling it to be washed off. However, if using non-emulsifying cleansing oil, then wipe off the excess oil and dirt using a warm damp face cloth or cotton pad (re-usable if possible).
Oil cleansing can be used alone, or as the first step in the double cleansing method, where a water based cleanser is used after the oil cleansing step. This is particularly useful if you have been wearing a lot of make up or SPF, so the second cleanse gets straight to the skin (and the skin is already nicely conditioned).
Organic Youth’s Organic Cleansing Oil is suitable for all skin types. It contains 99% organic ingredients, including 0.5% organic essential oils. It contains base oils that will not clog pores, and is suitable for all skin types, including acne-prone skin. Sweet Almond, Safflower and Hazelnut oils all contain high levels of oleic acid that will cleanse the skin without stripping it of moisture. Jojoba oil is as closely matched to the skin’s natural sebum as possible to help balance the skin's own sebum production. The antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties of Frankincense and Myrrh essential oils will purify, condition and protect the skin as you cleanse.
Why not give oil cleansing a try and see how it can benefit your skin.