I Wash My Face With Oil & Other Weird Things

On December 30th I wrote a blog about my goals for being more than just not sick.  I announced my intentions to use 2013 to become optimally well.  One of my top five goals for getting there includes eliminating poisonous products from my beauty routine.  I showed you the results of using the No Poo Method to cleanse my hair.  It has been really successful.  I love it and plan to continue this method indefinitely.  Another area that I have been working on, since early December, is how I cleanse my face.I have struggled for the last six years with acne.  There are lots of reasons for my serious adult acne, not least of which was a severely damaged GI system due to Celiac.  If you do not think your GI system effects your skin quality, think again.  And of course, there is the actual food I put into that GI system.  After I adopted AIP, my skin cleared significantly, but I still had some lingering, cyclic acne.  Since the acne flared and calmed with my monthly cycles, I definitely suspected hormonal issues, but I decided to start by getting the poisons off my face.I first started by finding new gluten-free facial care products last summer.  That helped things improve some.  I noticed a difference right away, but I was still struggling to get all the acne cleared up.  Plus, the "all natural" products were gluten-free, but still full of other chemicals.

In early December I discovered the Oil Cleansing Method.  It is a facial cleansing method using OIL as the cleanser.  I know, I know . . . WTH?  Why in the world would you use oil to clear up acne-prone skin?  That's crazy talk!  It's actually not that crazy.  If you remember from your high school chemistry class, "like dissolves like."  (Funny enough, when I was reminded of this rule while learning about the oil cleansing method I actually had this moment where I remembered my h.s. chem teacher reciting it to us.  Oh, memories.)  In other words, if the thing you want to clean-up (in this case, facial oil with trapped dirt) has a molecule structure that is similar to the product you want to use to do the cleaning (in this case, oil), the cleaner will dissolve the facial oil.  Wa-La!

There are tons of women out there using this method.  Give it a google.  Each woman has her own oil formula.  My formula is a blend of one part castor oil (which is very drying, so my sensitive skin can't handle alot), one part jojoba oil (which is very, very close to our own skin oil, called sebum), and eight parts olive oil.  I massage a small amount of the oil mixture into my face and neck, then steam with a clean cloth, repeat the steaming, and then wipe (not scrub) the oil off.  It feels very luxurious and takes a full face of makeup off with no problem at all.

I alternate this method with plain baking soda (when I want a gentle facial scrub) and lye soap (when I don't have the time for the oil cleansing method).  Lye is a strong alkali and when mixed with lard, it makes a great and gentle skin cleanser.  I also sometimes put on a mask of fermented cod liver oil and raw honey.  Yep, I'm for real, fermented fish guts mixed with honey . . . I slap it right on my face.  Trust me, your skin will glow.

So how does my skin look.  Well, the results have been mixed.  My skin definitely does look healthier after using these methods, but I still have some trouble.  Remember those hormones I mentioned?  My liver has trouble clearing toxins from my body.  This is because (as I recently discovered with the help of my functional medicine doctor), I have two copies of a gene mutation that results in my liver not being able to process as quickly as other peoples.  One thing females need to clear from their bodies through their livers is excess estrogen.  Guess what?  Too much estrogen lingering around can cause cyclic acne.  My skin is glowing using these methods, but due to a pokey liver I have some flares monthly.

My skin before I started.  Scaring is one of my biggest challenges.
Recent photo.  Full disclosure:  I didn't do a good job taking an after picture in the same light, same angle.  If you look though, you can see I still have some blemishes/scaring on my cheek and neck.  I am wearing a sheer mineral powder in this photo (which was taken by my awesome friend, Lindsay, she makes me look pretty w/ her amazing photog skillz).  I don't have perfect skin yet, but my new cleansing methods are helping alot.

Here's the big take aways of this mostly-successful experiment for me:

1)  It doesn't matter one lick if you use the most amazing cleansing routine in the world, if you're not eating a clean diet or if you have additional health issues that need to be healed (with a slow, kind, natural approach for your body), then your skin will still suffer.  For me, this means I've got the food down pat, I've got the healing program well under way and now, in addition to this cleansing method, I will need to learn about ways to help support my liver in order to fully clear my skin.

2)  Once again, I am empowered to tell the beauty industry to step off.  I don't need their poisonous, expensive products to make me look beautiful.  What I am internally is shining stronger each day I say no to beauty industry lies.

Give it a shot readers!!  Tell me about your self-experiments in facial cleansing.  What's working?  What do you love?

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12 thoughts on “I Wash My Face With Oil & Other Weird Things

  1. I continue to do the oil cleansing method, along with the no-poo and continue to have acne due to high estrogen-to-progesterone dominance. I'd like to know more about the liver detox methods as it might help me too.
    Thanks!! Great story! It gives me hope.

    1. Hi Cerebrus189! Thanks for reading, I'm glad you like the stories. I haven't actually started any liver detox methods, but there are tons of ideas out there. Give it & google & let me know if you find stuff that is super helpful.

  2. Monica

    I use coconut oil to oil cleanse. Seems to work well for my dry skin. I've started using argan oil to moisturize. I have celiac and hashimotos, live in Maryland and was wondering if you would mind sharing the name of your functional medicine doctor. If you have the mthfr defect, this site has a lot of great info: mthfr.net. Thanks for your blog...I really enjoy it!

    1. Hi Monica! Thanks so much for reading & the tip about the MTHFR. I have only just begun to learn about it. Do you have an email address? I can send you some info & I'd love to chat w/ another Celiac. Do you also have the MTHFR mutation?

    2. Monica

      Thanks for your reply! My email address is pintomonica0 at gmail dot com. I haven't been tested for the mutation yet, but my sister and parents all have it. My sister who also has celiac and hashimotos has found that getting B12 shots and the correct form of B vitamins for this mutation have helped.

    3. Danielle

      I have the MTHFR gene mutation, and my doctor has me take Designs for Health L-5-MTHF supplement (1 every night). I can't even begin to say how much it has improved my mood and sense of well-being. I take huge amounts of vitamin B (my blood work always shows I am in excess!), but nothing helped like that supplement. 🙂

    4. Sarah

      I also have Hashimoto's and Celiac. My pharmacy messed up my Armour presciption this summer (doubled the dose!) and I was overmedicated iwthout knowing. My dr. told me it overworked my liver, which cause severe acne, which is usually not a problem for me. I've been using the oil cleaning method since August and I think it has helped a bit, along with a liver supplement from the doc (Opti-Liver, sold at Whole Foods). I'm in Maryland as well and would love to know the name of the functional medicine doctor. I need help!!

  3. Anonymous

    Since going paleo, my skin completely cleared! I hadde trouble with acne on my back and neck, also in my face and on the chest. It is incredible, but it's just gone. I am so grateful. If I slip, and eat to much sweets the acne is back immediately, always starting in my neck. I have always had very sensitive skin, dry and red/blemished in the winter months. This is also gone. I don't use a day/nightcream any longer. Just a few drops jojobaoil mixed with a little water in the palm of my hand is good enough morning and evening. I also use the OCM. Skincare is so much easier and cheaper after going paleo, and my skin looks fantastick!

  4. Nic

    Great article! I'll read your no poo method after this.

    I will try the oil method with the jojoba. Coconut oil is too much for my face (but my legs like it!)

    To help with liver detox, what I've found work for me is herbal teas. I started seeing a herbalist and she recommended dandelion root (I started with the leaves as they are less strong). She said this is more gentle than milk thistle. For me, slow but steady gentle detox works. I use actual dandelion root and leaves to make the infusion rather than shop bought tea bags - I find that works better on a therapeutic level.

    Good luck.


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