By Charlynn Avery
It might sound contrary to conventional skin care advice, but an oil cleansing method is one of the best ways to improve the look and feel of your skin. This routine gently exfoliates your skin, without using abrasive or synthetic ingredients. All skin types can benefit from this practice, which will give you a healthy, radiant glow. In my experience, you will notice an immediate improvement in the appearance of your skin.
Natural oils act as emollients and maintain the soft, smooth and youthful appearance of your skin. They also are nutrient dense, absorb readily, and (when used appropriately) don’t attract bacteria to the skin. Gentle massage and steam also are part of an oil cleansing method – it is not just about the oil.
Many people are concerned that using straight oil on their face will clog pores or create breakouts. Breakouts and acne are often the result of dead skin cell build up, hormonal imbalance, or oil sitting on your face and attracting bacteria. This can be resolved with exfoliation and moisturizing the skin properly. Many oils can be used and combined, but knowing your skin type is crucial to using this method appropriately.
To start, let’s look at what oil is best for your skin type. Any skin type can benefit from these oils; however, each has its own unique combination of essential fatty acids and nutrients that make it special.
Which oil to use for your skin type:
- Dry skin: Macadamia or avocado oil
- Sensitive skin: Baobab oil
- Oily/combination skin: Tamanu or rosehip oil
- Normal skin: Argan oil
(Note: Combining these oils with a heavier base, like coconut or castor oil, is an option. Coconut oil will provide more moisture to dry skin.)
Once you’ve determined which oil to use, all you need is a washcloth and warm water. Try this routine at night before bed.
How to do an oil cleansing:
- Soak a washcloth in warm water. Gently pat your face to lightly moisten the skin.
- Place about a quarter-size amount of oil in the palm of your hand. Using the tips of your fingers, begin massaging the oil into your skin in small circles. The pressure should be firm and deep enough to work the muscles of the face. You want to make sure to penetrate the pores of your skin with the oil. You will notice a slight flush to your skin when you do this correctly.
- Once your skin is thoroughly oiled, soak the washcloth in the warm water again. Cover your face with the warm cloth and let it steam the skin – keep it there until it cools. Gently wipe the skin and repeat Step 3 a few more times. Don’t scrub your skin at this point. The key is making sure there is no longer an oily feel to the surface of your skin. Your face should feel soft, smooth and clean.
- (Optional) If your skin feels dry after this practice, apply a small amount of oil as a moisturizer.
Have you tried an oil cleansing method?
About the author: Charlynn Avery, aromatherapist and educator for Aura Cacia, is on a quest to change the way we look at health and healing in the U.S. She has spent her career practicing and teaching in the arena of holistic health and wellness as a licensed massage therapist, and currently holds additional certifications in Holistic Nutrition, Thai Massage and Life Coaching. Although she loves natural healing, she loves spending time in nature even more. An avid traveler both for work and pleasure, she can often be found getting her U.S. National Park Passport stamped or reading a good book in an airport.