Oil Cleansing for Acne-Prone Skin: Is It Acne Friendly?
If you’re acne-prone you might have been taught oil is the sworn enemy — so you might steer clear of anything oil-based. While it’s true that some acne is caused by trapped excess sebum, not all oil is bad.
Some argue oil cleansing is great for acne-prone skin. The idea behind this is oil dissolves oil. So using the oil cleanser method (OCM) may be able to address excess oil problems without over-stripping your face.
Let’s dive into the ins and outs of oil cleansing for the acne-prone.
What is oil cleansing?
The basic idea behind oil cleansing is “like dissolves like.” So, using oil as a cleanser is said to suspend and remove excess oil (along with dead skin cells and dirt).
This idea of oil cleansing, aka double cleansing, hails from Korean skincare. Many American skincare brands have begun formulating cleansing oils and balms as this cleansing method grows in popularity.
How to oil cleanse
Using oil in a skincare routine has a few different applications. Many people use oil to dissolve makeup before cleansing with a more traditional wash. This is what is called “double cleansing” and is considered one way to use the oil cleansing method.
Here are the two common methods of using oil cleansing:
Basic oil cleansing step-by-step:
Begin by putting ½ teaspoon of jojoba oil or castor oil into the palm of your hand.
Warm-up this oil in your hands and then massage it onto a dry face for 1-2 minutes. Use your fingertips to lift any dead skin cells or makeup.
Use a clean washcloth and dampen it with warm water. Then gently wipe away the excess oil.
Rinse with warm water if you find this necessary.
Pat dry. Your skin should feel clean and moisturized afterward.
Oil cleansing with residue removal step-by-step:
Follow the basic oil cleansing step by step
But after wiping down with a cloth, use a gentle cleanser to remove any oil residue.
Use a simple, gentle cleanser as not to scrub away the nourishment of the oil.
Choosing the wrong oil could very well be the downfall of this method. Be sure to choose mindfully and if you’re buying a brand name product look for products that say “non-comedogenic,” or “does not clog pores.”
You can DIY an oil cleansing blend, or you can purchase formulated oil cleansers or balms. Some formulated oil cleansers include mild surfactants so those are heftier on the “cleansing” part.
Be aware of oil cleansers that use coconut oil (also listed as cocos nucifera oil) as this common skincare oil may contribute to clogged pores and comedonal acne.
Give it a fair shot and try it for at least a 28-day skin cycle
Not all that glitters is gold. (But hey, it might be!)
Try the oil cleansing method for one skin cycle (around 28 days) to determine if this method is right for you. Nothing is an instant hit or miss as our skin needs time to adjust to reap any benefits.
When in doubt, use an anti-acne treatment
If you’re concerned about acne and how you can best take care of it, you might want to consider prescription retinoids to help keep your pores squeaky clean. Prescription retinoids like tretinoin can works as a comedolytic, blocking pore clogging from happening, or cleaning up what’s already in those pores.