To give some background: I have struggled with level 3 acne since I was about 13 years old, I'm 19 now. I've been on everything, harsh topical treatments, birth control, even as extreme as Accutane. I am an esthetician, and having acne is embarrassing enough, but even more so when you want to help others with their skin. I am great at dealing with others, but for some reason i always had trouble getting my skin right.
After hearing about OCM a few years ago, it struck my interest and I kind of kept it in the back of my mind. I studied through college and now that I'm graduated and my acne is becoming more painful and deep, I decided to do some research. After reading a tonne of horror stories from people who are using castor oil as their astringent in their blend of oils, I'm not surprised at all. Castor oil is extremely drying and irritating and can actually end up causing a lot of long term and irreversible damage to your skin. I see a lot of people complain about having a lot more redness in their skin than they used to, castor oil is a heating oil and is actually quite toxic, and can cause irreversible damage to your capillaries and break them. Therefore I would NOT RECOMMEND CASTOR OIL AS YOUR ASTRINGENT OIL FOR OIL CLEANSING.
Instead of castor oil, I use a sweet almond oil as my astringent oil, and mix it with the same amount of jojoba oil. That's it. Sweet almond oil is great because it cleans very well, is great for acne (so is jojoba!) and it moisturizes while it cleanses. Sometimes I will mix a drop or 2 of tea tree in if I'm not wearing any makeup. I soak it off with a hot towel and all that, you know, and usually apply a serum, and sometimes just a drop or 2 more of jojoba oil just for fun, but not always.
I recommend anyone curious about oil cleansing try sweet almond oil first! I am positive they will have great results like I am having. My face has really really cleared up, it looks even and glowing and radiant, just like a 19 year old's skin should look :)
I have dry/oily sensitive acne prone skin and I have noticed a big difference. I use castor olive tea tree and vitamin e oils. I do the massage the sit time 2 min each. I then cleanse my face with African black soap and witch hazel as an astringent. I only do it at night 3 a week. I do an asprin mask one a week and once a week I also mix gelatin and milk. I also do steam and mud mask and exfoliation once a month. I use a clarisonic 4x a week. That's my routine it helped unclog my pores keep them clean got rid of acne I have softer even skin and my hyperpigmentation has lightened.
I started reading natural beauty blogs, and felt resolved to educate myself on the chemicals around me and in the products I use. It was therefore natural that I switched to OCM. I bought a bunch of oils and essential oils, and my initial mix of grapeseed oil, castor oil and some EOs worked really well. I've been acne prone my whole life, but my skin prior to OCM was pretty good and I thought I had finally outgrown my acne phase. My skin never looked better during the initial OCM phase - it felt hydrated, and was soft to touch, which was a first for me. I made some for my friends and parents to try, and was eager to hear reviews from them.
When I ran out of grapeseed oil, I started using olive oil, or some other mixture which I've now forgotten. About one month into OCM, my skin started taking a turn for the worse. The subsequent weeks (or was it months? I really stuck it out) were the worst my skin has ever been, and that's saying a lot. I stuck it out, thinking my skin was 'purging'. (I've since debunked that belief and will not subscribe to that theory!)
So I tried it faithfully for about four months I think, before grudgingly returning to normal foam/bar cleansers. I suspect acne prone skin should not be massaged regularly, as the sebum glands are already active, so massaging the skin only activates them more. Maybe one day I'll try it again. For now, I'm staying far away from OCM.
I wanted this to work for me so badly. I even took the "purging" period into consideration and trudged on for two weeks. It. Was. Horrible. I have always had good skin and would regularly get complimented on how nice it was (before OCM). My only problem was blackheads on my nose. They weren't tremendous but I did want to completely get rid of them, as the OCM sounded promising. My face never broke out except for an occasional pimple I would get when it was that time of month. After using OCM..... to say the least, my face has never looked worse. It dried my face out. I had terrible dry flakes (probably my fault because I might've had a little too much castor oil). I had cystic acne, pimples, whiteheads, and MORE blackheads covering my face. The original blackheads I had grew larger. I had zits everywhere (forehead, nose, chin, cheeks, jaw line, and neck). I have NEVER had more than maybe two or three pimples at a time, which was rare for me. This was so bad, my parents basically told me to stop using it for fear of acne scarring and they even offered to buy Proactiv to help me. I stopped using it and have switched back to my old HG cleanser. This method works wonders for some but not for me at all. FOR REFERENCE, I used 25% castor oil to 75% sunflower oil and only cleansed at night.
I tried jojoba oil and olive oil long ago, and got a face full of zits for my trouble. Recently I tried hemp seed oil on half of my face for about a month, which worked really well at first, but began breaking me out a few weeks in.
Six months later, and I can still play the "guess which side of my face was subjected to the OCM game?" with friends and family. Because the OCM side of my face is still covered in zits/awful hyper-pigmentation!
Good for keeping skin moisturized horrible for acne prone skin
A bit of background first: My skin has always been combination/oily, acne-prone, and prone to clogged pores. Back when I spent a lot of time on the Skincare Board, I tried oil cleansing, but not of the "oil cleansing method" variety: just straight-up massaging in the oil, wiping off, and then following with a cleanser. I tried this with both mineral oil (shudder) and coconut oil. Both had bad results, so I swore off oil cleansing altogether.
After years of reading about the WONDERS of the actual Oil Cleansing Method, I finally gave in and gave it a shot. At the time I used this, my skin was actually quite clear. I had some pesky clogged pores/blackheads that had been there for years and that I more or less considered permanent, but no active acne at all. I used a 50/50 mixture of castor oil (Home Health Cold Pressed & Cold Processed Castor Oil; I do not recommend the kind you find in the laxative aisle) and grapeseed oil (Trader Joe's Grapeseed Oil from the cooking aisle).
Here was my method: I would take a substantial amount of the oil mixture and apply it with clean, dry hands to my dry face. I would massage it around for a few minutes with my fingers. Then I would take a clean washcloth, soak it in hot water, wring it out, and place it on my face for several seconds until it cooled. I would repeat the cloth process 2-3 times. Then, finally, I would use the cloth to wipe off the oil, rinsing the cloth in hot running water in between wipes. When I had wiped it all off, I followed with my regular cleanser.
A few observations: Yes, I did notice it taking clogs out of my pores. I would actually feel and see the little granules coming out of my skin. Much like using a pore strip, it was both gross and fascinating. When I had washed my skin, I would instantly see "smaller"/clearer pores. It was incredible. My skin would be pink/red from the heat and rubbing, but it always went away by the next morning, so I was okay with that. My skin began to take on a lovely glow, and with every use, more and more clogs came out. Parts of my skin that had been bumpy and clogged for years were suddenly smooth to the touch. This stage lasted for about a month. I was thrilled.
Then came the repercussions. The redness in my skin started taking longer and longer to go away, and the healthy glow began to dull. I figured I was just being a little too rough and started rubbing a bit less, using cooler water, wiping more gently. My skin grew dehydrated and began to flake. I adjusted my oil mixture to no avail. Although I continued to remove clogs with each cleansing, I was also starting to get active, inflamed acne again. So while I had fewer blackheads/milia, I was getting more zits. It didn't make sense. I figured maybe I was experiencing the fabled "purging," so I pressed onward. It didn't get better, and my skin progressively became more dull, more irritable (even my "safe" products began to irritate it), and more dehydrated. More pimples arrived. My pores continued to become clearer, and yet the rest of my skin suffered so much that I actually didn't look better, but worse.
I began to reduce how many times per week I did this (I was doing it nightly). Cutting down to 3 times a week helped, but didn't solve the problems completely. Finally, I went through a very rough week personally, and out of time constraints/stress, skipped the OCM for the entire week. My besieged skin looked better. I then decided to cut it cold turkey for another week, and it kept looking better.
It's now been 3 weeks since I stopped, and my skin looks much better, but is still not as calm or clear as it was before I started this. Sadly, yes, many of my clogged pores have returned. For some reason, even though every other aspect of my skin suffered on this long-term, it really did keep my pores clear. However, if I only looked worse overall, what is the point? I'd rather take a few clogged pores than constant redness, dehydration/flakey skin, and a dull, zitty complexion.
I have no idea why I had so much success at first and then such failure later. Usually, if a skin care product/method is not going to work for me, it's apparent from the very beginning. Regardless, I have given up on the oil cleansing method. I am sad to see my clogged pores returning, but as my skin is still on the mend from everything else, it's simply not worth it.
Proceed with caution. Patch-test first, and do so for a GOOD LONG TIME before doing this all over your face.
I started the OCM after reading the buzz about it--but I started it very cautiously after reading all the horror stories.
The Oil Cleansing Method (OCM) isn't for everyone, but with a lot of caution, can be an excellent facial/makeup removing procedure.
What I did:
1. No Castor Oil. Apparently this works fabulously for some people, but seriously, castor oil is so gooey and thick I honestly don't know if I could get it all off my face, especially if I was in a hurry. I tried Castor Oil once and my face broke whiteheads out in little patches of my skin.
2. Light Oils. Kind of the same thing as the preceding point, but I don't use olive oil, as it is heavy, or coconut. Some oils break out people more than others. Not sure, but EVOO seems to have a history of it. (Check out Crunchy Betty's blog post on the OCM) Personally I use Apricot or Peach Kernel oil, and it works just great.
3. Essential Oils: This seriously helps. I put maybe 3 drops of lavender and frankincense essential oil in my little bottle of oil and it just feels fabulous and my face is all glowy.
4. Not Too Often. At least, at first. Try it a couple times a week and carefully monitor your skin. Everyone reacts differently, make sure your skin is happy.
In conclusion, I love it. It hasn't cleared up all acne spontaneously (I find masks do that quicker), but it gives my skin a subtle, gorgeous glow. It's especially great for winter, when my skin is a bit parched. The best part is exfoliation, seriously, when I have all the oil on my face, and exfoliate, it doesn't irritate my skin at all. That had been a slight problem when I used one of those Clarisonicy brushes. I do the OCM in conjunction with turmeric and clay masks, and it really helps replenish my skin's natural oils.
Note: I didn't have any 'purging' or 'toxins pulled up on the surface of my skin' scenarios. I know that everyone's skin is different, but I am wary of 'purging' being positive, if purging is even what's going on. If you start breaking out, having weird bumps, etc., I *highly* advise to stop and make sure you aren't allergic to an oil or at least let your skin recoup. Be careful, listen to your body.
My experience with OCM was horrible. I have combination skin, which was quite clear however i had these tiny bumps on my forehead, and I also wanted to go towards more natural skin care. So I tried it and after a month realized natural does equate to being good for your skin.
I do not recommend this at all if you have combo/oily skin because the oil dissolves oil rule is bogus. the oil dissolves the oil yes, but then it just remains in your pores, even if you use the warm washcloth to take it off. What a horrible idea. I used it in all of february daily, it is now end may and I am still recovering from my 1 month of OCM with Jojoba/Lavender oil. It clogged my pores on my whole face, and I am left with this really strange congestion on my skin. I have never had such deep clogged pores before, and like I mentioned - I used it for a month so the "purging" period was not the case (purging usually happens in the very inital phase). I am currently using epiduo (tactuo) and had a facial, and am being extremely gentle, and finally seeing some improvement.
First, some facts about my skin: mostly dry, some propensity for blackheads around my nose, KP bumps on cheeks/jawline, fair complexion, easily sunburnt & super sensitive.
What works for me: 2 parts EVOO to 1 part castor oil, as a nighttime makeup remover. I apply it to a dry face, massage it in for ~1 minute, then steam with a hot wet washcloth 2x, until the washcloth gets cool. Then I use the same washcloth to scrub my nose and cheeks and wipe off excess oil. I don't think I need an additional lotion afterward, but I use a night cream anyway. In the morning, I just splash with water and I'm good to put my makeup on.
I've been doing this for over a year and my skin has never been softer or brighter (maybe as a child!!) I don't have pimples and my eyelashes are actually softer now too. I never had a "purging" period, and I can't claim this is a miracle or anything but my skin really has taken well to it. Plus it's so much cheaper than buying 5 different face cleansers/toners/moisturizers. If you have a similar skin type to mine, it might be worth a shot!