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.
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?