By Cynthia DeWitte
You may be surprised to know that there is an inexpensive, gentle and completely non-toxic method to cleanse your skin naturally. It is called the Oil Cleansing Method or OCM for short. If you have never heard of OCM, this might seem really odd, but it’s actually a logical way to clean your face without irritation. Cleansing your skin with oil works with your skin rather than against it. Most people think it is necessary to use soap to clean the skin, but soap is alkaline and our skin is supposed to have a slight acid ph to keep the acid mantle intact. Oil is also known as a fatty acid, so it works with the ph of the skin, rather than drying it out.
The thing that got me started on OCM is a desire for a natural cleanser that would benefit my skin. Most products that are made for cleaning our skin are chemical concoctions that penetrate the skin and can cause hormone disruptions and toxin buildup among other complications. We may have problems that we don’t have any idea are coming from our cleansers and other personal care products.
I’m trying to cut out as much toxic load as possible and stick to natural products that work with my body for optimal health and well-being. The OCM fits right into that plan, as it is natural skin care at a basic level.
The acid mantle is the protective covering for our skin. It is made up of sebum (a type of oil produced by the skin) and sweat. This acts as a protective layer, sometimes called the acid mantle, because it is slightly acidic. This acid mantle is hostile to alkaline loving bacteria and microbes, that are harmful to our bodies, but it is a home to acid loving probiotics that help protect us from infections.
Our skin needs to have oil to be healthy. We are often told that we need to get rid of the oil, but that isn’t quite right. The truth is we need to control the oil by maintaining a proper balance to keep the skin healthy. This can often be accomplished by cleansing the skin with oil.
The oil cleansing method is an extremely simple, inexpensive and non-toxic solution to clean the skin. The OCM is gentle and effective. It even works on acne prone skin. In many cases, OCM will correct the over-production of sebum by properly balancing the skin ph, unclogging pores and calming acne, which is why it can sometimes cure acne. There are a lot of factors that go into clearing up acne. In some cases OCM may be a cure. In other cases, it may only be a piece to the puzzle.
At first the acne may appear to get worse while the blackheads and dirt in clogged pores are being cleaned out, but within a month, it will usually make a noticeable difference in reducing the inflammation of acne.
Not all oils work for cleaning the skin and different skin types require different types of oil. The main oil that people use for oil cleansing is castor oil, but I personally have not tried that yet. My oil is a blend of sweet almond oil and avocado oil with some carrot seed, tea tree and lavender essential oils. For my teens, I have used sweet almond oil and jojoba oil, but am switching to a blend of castor oil to see if that works better for blemishes.
The oil cleaning method works on the principle that like dissolves like. If you have a container of oil and you pour more oil into it, it completely mixes. This is what happens on your face. The new oil mixes with the oil already in the skin and combines to break dirt and oil up and clean it out of the pores.
To use the oil cleansing method, start with dry skin. It’s important not to get your face or hands wet before adding the oil. Cover your skin liberally with oil. Not so it’s dripping, but so that it leaves a layer of oil on your face. Gently rub it in, let it sit while you brush your teeth, then rub again; always gently and not pulling down on the skin. As the oil works into the skin and combines with the oil already in your skin, the dirt and dead skin will be released into the oil. If the oil has soaked into the skin or dried, squirt some more oil into your hand and gently rub it around your face. Leave it on for a minute or two, then gently rub it around some more.
To remove the oil, take a very warm washcloth, not warm enough to burn, and wipe your face off. Do this several times while thoroughly rinsing and wringing the washcloth each time. The warm washcloth will draw all of the oil off of your face and your face will be clean and soft, but not oily or greasy.
Cleaning your skin with oil should be done before bed. In the morning, simply wash your face with a warm, damp washcloth. You don’t want to over-cleanse your skin and disrupt the acid mantle. It is important to maintain the proper ph balance of your skin.
Gently rub it in when you put it on, then leave a layer of oil on the skin for a few minutes. As mentioned above, putting the oil on before brushing your teeth will give the oil plenty of time to work in.
Some people like to do this in the shower, but it is important to put it on a couple of minutes before getting into the shower to let the oils combine, so it will dissolve the dirt and oil in the pores. Again, you can put it on before brushing your teeth, then get into the shower.
OCM is also terrific for removing all your makeup. It takes everything off easily, including mascara.
Like any eye makeup remover, some oils can sting your eyes, so you have to find what works for you.
I have seen instructions that include massaging your face for long periods with the oil usually along with steaming your face by leaving a very warm wash cloth on the skin until it begins to cool. This may be helpful for those with acne, but most people are not going to spend 20 minutes a day washing their faces. From what I have read, this does help some people, so it may be worth it for someone who is trying to clear up a serious skin problem. Once it is clear, it should be necessary to continue with such a regime daily. Again, it is important to look at diet when working to clear up skin. Cut back on grains, eliminate processed foods, add lots of vegetables and drink plenty of water. Dairy has also been known to contribute to acne, so removing dairy might help too.
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