I’m excited to share my oil cleansing method for acne prone skin.
In last week’s blog post I did a review of Living Libations Best Skin Ever (which is one of my favourite oil cleansers), and I talked about how scared I used to be of skincare products containing oil (I was terrified oil would give me more breakouts, and make my skin oiler than it was).
And, as I said in the review, it turned out the opposite is true.
I have to say, I’m so happy I put that fear aside, and gave it a try because I absolutely love the results I’m getting from oil cleansing.
What I love most about the oil cleansing method is how well it cleanses your skin without drying it out. Cleansing with oil, gently removes everything including waterproof and full coverage makeup, dirt, debris, dead skin cells, and pore clogging sebum.
Oil cleansing will never irritate sensitive skin, never dry your skin out, can help acne breakouts heal faster, and prevents scarring and hyperpigmentation from blemishes and pimples.
It’s also great at diminishing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, keeping your skin soft, smooth, elastic and young.
I attribute my healthy glowing skin to oil cleansing, and it’s not because it makes your skin look oily or shiny, but because it keeps it moist, supple, and nourished.
Can you really wash acne prone skin with oil?
Acne prone skin needs the gentlest of cleansers because breakouts and blemishes are making your skin red, irritated and inflamed. The last thing you need is a cleanser that’s going to be drying out your skin, causing your skin to flake, crack, and become more irritated. You need a cleanser that is so gentle, yet effective at the same time.
Two cleansers I recommend for most acne prone skin are honey or oil.
Honey is good for those of you who don’t want to use oils. Honey is also especially good for younger skin, for those of you in your 20s or early 30s (good for teenagers too).
If you’re over 30 years old, or your skin gets irritated, blotchy, and uneven with dry patches – I strongly recommend oil cleansing. If you feel your skin is lacking in softness, suppleness, and need nourishment – definitely go with oil cleansing.
Oil cleansing is extremely healing, and really helps to balance uneven complexions. It’s good for any skin type, and especially good for irritated, dry, and maturing skin. I find oil cleansing is also extremely effective at balancing out combination skin too.
I have oily skin, and I have found over the years that oil cleansing has actually decreased the appearance of oil on my skin. I no longer get a mid-day heavy oil build up on my skin like I used to. I believe this is because the oil cleansing isn’t stripping or irritating my skin, and therefore my body isn’t over producing oil like it use it.
And let’s be straight here, we’re taking about using oil to wash your face. I’m not telling you to coat your face with heavy oil 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (for some of you this too works well too, but for the sake of today’s post, we’re just talking about using oil to wash your face!).
Oil cleansing method – what you need
All you need is an oil that works well with your skin, and a VERY soft washcloth or flannel.
Oils I recommend for oil cleansing acne prone skin:
- Jojoba Oil
- Hemp Seed Oil (only suitable for oily skin types)
- Grape Seed Oil
- Safflower Oil
- Sunflower Oil
Oil blends for oil cleansing:
- Living Libations Seabuckthorn Best Skin Ever
- Living Libations Sandalwood Best Skin Ever
- Leahlani Pamplemousse Tropical Enzyme Cleansing Oil
- Annmarie Skin Care Restorative Cleansing Oil
You pretty much want to use an oil that you already know works well with your skin.
If it’s your first time ever putting an oil on your face, I strongly recommend using one of the oils I listed above because they’re all non-comedogenic, and higher in linoleic acid, which is known to help balance oily, combination, and acne prone skin.
If you’ve been oil cleansing for a while, and your skin tends to be dry, or you’re looking for a richer oil, you can also use:
- Sweet Almond Oil
- Avocado Oil
(These oils are also non-comedogenic, but are a bit heavier, so they’re more suitable for dry or mature skin).
Oils I DON’T recommend for oil cleansing acne prone skin:
- Mineral Oil (or baby oil)
- Coconut Oil (pure, undiluted)
- Olive Oil
If you’re using a commercial oil blend, check the ingredients to make sure there’s no mineral oil. Like mineral oil, I’ve listed coconut oil to stay away from because it can be comedogenic (can cause breakouts). If you’ve already been using coconut oil on your skin and you’re getting great results, by all means continue. Some people’s skin responds great to coconut oil, and for other people it causes awful breakouts and clogged pores – everyone’s different. Coconut oil has become quite popular in recent times, but it is one oil that can give many people breakouts, especially if you’re using a pure coconut oil on acne prone skin. So beware!
Choosing the right washcloth or flannel
Choosing the right washcloth or flannel is just as important as choosing the right oil to wash your face, if not more important!
If you’re using the wrong washcloth, it doesn’t matter how great the oil or skincare product you are using to wash your face, you won’t be getting the results you should and you could even be making your skin worse.
For acne prone skin, it’s so important to use a soft and smooth washcloth. I can’t emphasize this enough. If your washcloth is too coarse or textured, it could be too rough on your skin which could lead to redness, irritation, and even broken skin.
My recommendation is to try many washcloths made of different fibres and weaves to see what best suites you. Personally I like to use baby washcloths (otherwise known as baby wipes), which are washcloths made for babies. These washcloths are made for sensitive baby skin, so they’re usually super soft and gentle.
I’ve got very sensitive skin and have tried MANY washcloths. Personally I prefer a terry weave which I find to be the softest, and I actually do better using a blend over a pure fiber washcloth. The washcloths I use are Grovia Cloth Wipes.
Once you find a washcloth you really like, I recommend getting a bunch of them (at least 8-12, depending how often you do laundry). It’s important to use a fresh washcloth every time you wash your face. You don’t want to be washing your face with a dirty washcloth, or a wet washcloth that has been hanging in your bathroom all day. Buying a bunch of washcloths allows you to always have a clean washcloth on hand, and enough washcloths to use in between laundry days.
How to oil cleanse acne prone skin
1- If you’re wearing eye makeup or lipstick, remove that first (with eye makeup remover or oil).
2- Take a dime size amount of oil and apply it to your dry face and neck.
3- Massage your face and neck with outward stocks for a minute or two.
4- Immerse your washcloth under warm-hot running water. The temperature of the water should be slightly hot, but not too hot (you should be able to put your hand under the running water and wring out excess water from the washcloth – if you can’t, that means the water is too hot).
5- Wring out excess water from your washcloth.
6- For an occasional extra steaming treatment, you can once in a while lay the warm washcloth over your face for 30-60 seconds (I don’t recommend this step for rosacea or dry irritated skin). Then rinse the washcloth with warm-hot water and wring out excess water.
7 – Using the warm washcloth, gently wipe the oil off your face and neck with outward strokes. Rinse the wash cloth frequently to remove the oil and impurities.
8- If you want to do a double cleanse, you would follow all these steps a second time (I recommend skipping step 6 for the second cleanse).
Dos & don’ts for oil cleansing acne prone skin
- Make sure to put the oil directly on your skin and take it off with warm damp washcloth. Some oil cleansing methods put the oil on the washcloth and then wash the face with the cloth. For acne prone skin, you need a deep gentle cleanse and the oil to penetrate your skin. It’s much better to massage the oil directly into your skin (which is a much gentler, and and will thoroughly cleanse your skin).
- Never fill your sink basin with water and use that water to wash your face. That water gets dirty fast. Better to rinse your washcloth under fresh running water.
- Do get into the habit of giving yourself a facial massage when you’ve applied the oil to your face. This can help reduce puffiness, increase circulation, and keeps your skin supple and elastic.
- When removing the oil from your face with the damp wash cloth, do so very gently and lightly. If you apply too much pressure with the washcloth, it can be too rough on your skin and cause redness and irritation.
- Never dry your freshly washed face with a used bathroom towel, always allow your face to air dry.
- You might notice that your skin is already moisturized by the oil and you don’t need a lotion or moisturizer. If so, skip the products (the less you put on your skin, the easier it will be for your breakouts and acne to heal).
Do you wash your face with oil? If so, I would love to hear your results, and what oil and washcloths you like to use?! Please post in the comments below.