Lumps & Bumps

Acne.

Weren’t we promised as teens that the spots, lumps, cysts, and oil slicks would disappear as soon as we made it through puberty? Our mothers never sported great cakey mountains of cover up, or spent their mornings agonizing over blackheads in the mirror. The glamorous older girls we saw at the mall had flawless, tanned, beautiful skin.

So what’s the deal, hormones? Why, over 12 years after the onset of puberty, am I still faced with massive zits? Looking in a mirror at this moment, I have 4 giant crimson volcanoes, six medium sized lumps, three whiteheads, a nose full of blackheads, and dozens of dark/red marks from pimples of years gone by.

Gross, you’re thinking. Why don’t you wash your face once in a while, and stop bathing in that vat of pizza grease you obviously keep in your washroom.

Would you believe me if I told you that I wash, tone, moisturize and exfoliate my face like clockwork?

Over the years, I have tried virtually every product made by Clean and Clear, Neutrogena, and the skin care aisle of Walmart. I was faithful to St Ives Apricot Scrub for two years, until I noticed that the constant exfoliation was leaving tiny red bumps spread across my forehead. Proactiv was not only labour intensive, it was also pricey. I used it diligently for six months, and my face cleared up a little. But when I stopped using it, I had withdrawal breakouts, leaving my skin worse than it had been in months.

The Body Shop’s Tea Tree Oil line has been my stand-by since graduate school. I like that the products are natural, and I know that Tea Tree Oil is a good, antibacterial remedy to zap zits on the spot.

I now realize that my acne wasn’t caused by any fault of my own. I cut out dairy, I drank more water, I avoided sugars like the plague. But ultimately, it was the haywire hormones caused by my PCOS that have been wreaking havoc on my poor face.

So why this dissertation on skin care products?

Because I’m trying something new. Something that breaks every rule we have ever been taught about skin care. Something that seems so fundamentally wrong that it just. might. work.

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The Oil Cleansing Method

I’m not going to go into all of the details, because there are several other blogs out there that do a fantastic job of explaining. Check out Crunchy Betty or Nature’s Nurture for some great research-based information. But basically, the Oil Cleansing Method (OCM) operates on the theory that oil dissolves oil (remember science class?). Our skin produces oil because our skin NEEDS oil. So why do we spend so much time scrubbing and scraping and stripping the oil from our face? We should instead be gently dissolving the excess oil, dirt and impurities with other oils, and removing it with warm water.

Everything in my body was screaming at me the first time I tried this. I mixed together a teaspoon of olive oil, two teaspoons of grapeseed oil, and a teaspoon of castor oil. I added a few drops of tea tree oil, and massaged a quarter-sized puddle of the mix into my face. I cringed.  I steamed my face with a hot washcloth, and wiped the oil away. I imagined waking up with shiny, greasy, lumpy skin, and not being able to fix it.

Instead…my skin was soft. It was calm. It was still red, and my pimples didn’t disappear overnight, but honestly? My face certainly likes it better than harsh, drying chemicals. I’ve only given this a few days, and I’ll keep updating as I go.

What do you think? Has anyone else tried OCM? Results? Horror stories? Thoughts on how psychotic I am for rubbing cooking oil into my face?

16 thoughts on “Lumps & Bumps

  1. I have had the same problem with acne (mostly cystic acne) for many years. During puberty and my adolescent years, I never had issues, but when I hit my 20s, my face went crazy. It’s finally just starting to get a little better. I’ve never tried OCM…but it sounds interesting, and a bit terrifying! But when you’re feeling desperate, I think anything is worth a try! I actually wrote a post a few weeks ago about my special potion: Mylanta or Maalox, applied topically to my zits. I’m not kidding…it has really worked for me! Hope you find your cure. 🙂

  2. Hmm… I am intrigued. I have never heard of this! Every since my last birthday, my skin could definitely rival that of any teenager hanging out at the mall. I have tried everything (that is baby safe of course – despite the lack of a pregnancy to go with it!) and nothing has worked. I might have to give this a try!

  3. Hidy ho from ICLW!

    Good googly moogly I’ve never even heard of that… Nobody ever tells you you get to go through puberty again when you’re around 30 – it’s like I woke up on my birthday with all new skin problems. Stupid traitor skin.

    I am curious to see wtf happens!

  4. Hi, here from ICLW as well. I haven’t tried this but I think natural remedies are so good! Olive oil is very moisturizing. Hope it works! For the few weeks between my BFP and M/C, I felt for sure that everyone would guess I was pregnant based on my face. I’ve always had really clear skin, and suddenly I had massive zits I could *feel* growing. Ew. I guess karma is a bitch and I have that to look forward to with any subsequent pregnancy.

  5. ICLW 4. I haven’t tried ocm, but my skin is noticeably better when I use moisturizer on a regular basis morning and night. I also noticed that my skin was way drier overall after being pregnant.

  6. I actually did this method about 2 years ago, but I can’t say I stuck with it long enough to give you any really clear answers on how it worked for me. My husband that I was nuts rubbing extra-virgin olive oil all over my face every night. Anyways I hope it works for you, I have heard good things, maybe I should give it a try again.

    ICLW #41

  7. Visiting from ICLW and looking forward to reading more of your story. I am so going to try this! I have horribly annoying acne (without the PCOS) and I keep saying at my age I shouldn’t have to deal with it. Thanks for the tip!

  8. Hi there from ICLW! Holy cow, I obviously DON’T remember science class very well…ha! I really hope that this does the trick for you. Even dealing with occasional acne prior to O and AF gets me irritated. Grrr!

    ICLW#69

  9. Well I am in my second week of OCM and my first week was GREAT! I am a teacher and started back to work this week and I now am sporting 3 painful cystic bumps, 4 medium bumps, 1 white head, and 3 bumps in the making. You know, when you can feel them festering under your skin. My guess is that it doesn’t work if I’m not sitting inside air conditioning all day. I’m going back to Shea Terra products. The rose hips black soap and mask worked wonders on my skin before I went on Nuvaring. Skin was great after too, then I got pregnant and lost the pregnancy. I have been a cystic minefield ever since. TTC makes Nuvaring not an option at the moment. I, like you, had wonderful skin as a teen and I don’t understand why this is happening! I hope it works out for you!

  10. My skin isn’t to bad….but it has it’s moments. I suffer more from the hair + hormones but don’t have PCOS…according to the world of doctors I just have hair (no reason for it). I came across this link in other news. She is a PCOS suffer and has some great recipes for
    http://thestonesoup.com/blog/

  11. Hello from ICLW! I’ve tried the oil cleansing method – or a version of it. I used a carrier oil with some antibacterial oils such as tea tree on my tea zone to target blackheads. I do this after I wash my face with either a castille soap or with Trader Joe’s tea tree face wash. I then wipe it off with some tissue. I can’t say I’ve noticed drastic changes with my blackheads, but I do love the way the oil makes my skin feel. The TJ’s tea tree face wash is a good and cheap alternative to the Body Shop if you decide to go back to soap!

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