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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Beauty Myth #1

Myth #1 Oil is Bad for Your Skin
AKA The Oil Cleansing Method and Why it's not Crazy

If you asked a modern day woman to slather herself in oil then scrape it away as a cleansing method she'd probably think you were crazy. Until a year ago I would have agreed. But it turns out that there may be some more science behind this than you think.

Nowadays we walk down the beauty aisle at the store and see row upon row of face washes and lotions and skin creams that say "oil-free" on the label. Slowly, as we see more and more of these items on a daily basis, we begin to assume that this must mean that oil is bad for you.  Why else would they offer that claim as if it was important?

But this is a relatively new idea; as new as the 1980's.

Ancient Romans would cover their bodies in olive oil or animal fat then scrape it clean with a strigil.

Soap was actually an animal by-product made from a mixture of lye and animal fat, usually lanolin which comes from sheep.

It's only in the past 30 years or so that we've switched over from fat based cleansers to oil-free cleansers.

Here's some vintage advertisements from the 1970's showing how mineral oil is effective as a makeup remover, tanning agent, and moisturizer.




See how these advertisements all show young, beautiful women who are tan and soft and the picture of health? They are both seductive and innocent, conveying their youth and beauty to the viewer. These women use mineral oil and they love it. Well these ads are from the 1970's and a lot has changed since then.

Here are some more modern ads






If you walk down the face wash or moisturizer aisle you'll see more oil free products than not.

Oil of Olay dropped the oil part in 1999 and is now just Olay. 




When I searched Olay's website for the term oil-free I returned 182 results.

So it's no wonder that many people think that oil is bad for your skin. If it wasn't then why are there so many oil free products on the market?

Some people believe that oil is bad for your skin. They believe that it clogs pores and causes acne. And for the most part that's just not true.

Your body produces oil via its sebaceous glands as a way to provide an occlusive water-proof coating that protects the skin from the environment. Oil keeps our skin soft by trapping water in the cells, and it also partially blocks water absorption so that our skin doesn't absorb too much. If you've ever been swimming in a pool and gotten wrinkly toes or fingers then you know what I'm talking about.


Acne happens when the pore is blocked or clogged by dirt, bacteria, makeup, etc... and when the sebaceous gland can't release oil it swells. If it swells too much it can burst. This inflammation and its release of oils and bacteria irritate the surrounding tissue. Your immune system works hard to isolate it and fight it, causing a pimple. Some acne can also be hormonally driven because our hormones affect our oil production (too much is just as bad as too little), and can make our skin more susceptible to acne causing bacteria. Teenagers are more prone to acne because they produce more oil, whereas older women tend to be drier.


The problem that occurs with oil-free cleansers is that they can be very harsh by stripping away your body's natural moisture barrier and making your skin vulnerable to the elements. If your skin lacks its natural oils it's more prone to bacterial growth. 

And if you strip your skin of its natural oils then your body produces even more in order to compensate.

But if you put your oil-free cleansers away and give the oil cleansing method a try you just might find that your skin regulates its oil production and acne is reduced or eliminated.

How does this work?

First you need to know that different oils do different things. Some oils really will clog pores, and some won't. Some are more moisturizing than others and are better for drier skin. Here's a list of oils and their comedogenic index.  Read More Here

0 - 1 - Non clogging to Low Risk
Castor Oil
Hemp Seed Oil
Mineral Oil
Petrolatum
Safflower Oil
Shea Butter
Sunflower Oil

2- Moderately Low Risk
Almond Oil
Apricot Kernel Oil
Avocado Oil
Evening Primrose Oil
Grape Seed Oil
Hazelnut Oil
Olive Oil
Peanut Oil
Sandalwood Seed Oil
Sesame Oil

3 - Moderate Risk
Corn Oil
Cotton Seed Oil
Mink Oil
Soybean Oil

4-5 - Moderate-High or High Risk
Coconut Butter
Cocoa Butter
Coconut Oil / Cream (virgin, organic, cold pressed ones may be less comedogenic)
Acetylated Lanolin


My Routine

Price: $3.85 / oz, $11.55 / 4oz, or $18.05 / 8oz
Ingredients: organic olive oil, sweet almond oil, hazelnut oil, Peg-7 Olivate, Alkyl Benzote, and Rosemary Oil Extract
How: Wet face with warm water, pour dime sized amount into palm, rub with finger to emulsify, apply to face, rub face in small circles for 30 seconds, rinse with warm water
Notes: This feels great to use. It rinses off a bit but I think it still needs to be removed manually with a cotton pad or microfiber cloth. I feel moisturized and softer after using it.

Price: $9.50 for 165 pads
How: wipe face beginning with T-zone then moving to drier areas
Notes: These pads feel amazing. I think they're the softest thing I've ever felt and they absorb a lot. One is plenty for my whole face.

Price: $5.30 / 0.13oz or $16.90 / 0.5oz
Ingredients: Lemongrass hydrosol, distilled water, azeloyle gylcine, niacin amide, lactic acid, organic coconut cream, superoxide dismutase, cellulose gum, geogard
How: Dab onto blemishes or blemish prone skin (for me that's the sides of my nose and my chin)
Notes: This stuff not only reduces breakout time but it also heals acne scars and fades hyper pigmentation 

Garden of Wisdom Eye Majik Cream with CoQ-10
Price: $11.15 / 3 grams or $22.90 / 10 grams
Ingredients: Distilled water, oat beta glucans, sunflower seed oil, pomegranate seed oil, poleax nf, fermented pomegranate, matrixyl 3000, panthenol dl, galactoarabinan, lanosterol esters, stearic acid, sodium healuronate, CoQ-10, optiphen, vitamin 
How: with ring finger apply small amount with a patting motion on the orbital bone around the eye
Notes: I've noticed an improvement in crows feet and a lightening of under eye circles but I still have minor crepe wrinkles on the bottom eye lids.

Garden of Wisdom Majik Coconut Revival Cream
$5.25 / 0.5 oz, $21.90 / 2.5 oz
Ingredients: Coconut water, coconut milk, coconut cream, sugramulse, tamanu oil, shea butter, coconut endosperm, glycerin, leucidal sf, cosmical CQ
How: Apply nickel sized amount to entire face and neck
Notes: This feels like it's not moisturizing enough when I put it on but after 10 minutes it sinks in beautifully. My T-zone has a reduction in oiliness and my forehead is moisturized.

$5.95 / 4mL tube
Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Gingko Biloba Leaf Extract (and) Olea europaea (Olive) Leaf Extract (and) Aspalathus linearis (Rooibos) Leaf Extract (and) Camellia sinesis (White Tea) Leaf Extract (and) Camellia sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, MSM, Cranberry Seed Oil, Hydrolyzed Oats, Castor Oil, Gluconoactone, and Sodium Benzoate, Carbomer, Saccharomyces/silicon Ferment & Saccharomyces/Magnesium Ferment & Saccharomyces/Copper Ferment & Saccharomyces/Iron Ferment & Saccharomyces/Zinc Ferment, Niacinamide (and) Sodium Starch Octenyl Succinate (and) Calcium Pantothenate (and) Maltodextrin (and) Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (and) Tocopheryl Acetate (and) Pyridoxine HCl (and) Silica, Caffeine
How: apply small amount to q-tip and coat eyelashes 1-2 times a day
Notes: My eyelashes are longer and I don't need as many coats of mascara

The Verdict: Busted!

I wish I had a before picture to show you all just how much my acne scars have faded. I've been doing the Oil Cleansing Method for several months now and I really like it. My skin used to be combination with a dry and peeling forehead and a super oily nose. Most of my acne was on my chin or behind my nostrils. Now I rarely break out and when I do it's gone within 2 or 3 days instead of a week or two. It took a little trial and error to find an oil that worked for my skin, but now I can't ever go back to an oil-free cleanser. My T-zone is less oily and my forehead no longer feels tight and dry as soon as I step out of the shower.

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