Most of us struggle with making our skin do what we want. It’s too oily and then it is too dry. One day it is lovely and smooth, then the next it appears small red mountains have appeared all over it. I have for many years struggled with cystic acne. Three hardass courses of Accutane over five years seemed to have done the trick, and for the first time in my post-puberty life I was enjoying smooth spot free skin. But that was until summer hit.
My face started to look like an oil slick. “Congestion,” as my beauty therapist calls it, started to appear on my temples and on my cheeks. My normal regime of the Cetaphil Sensitive Wash and then Cetaphil Moisturizer wasn’t cutting the mustard anymore. I had heard about the Oil Cleansing Method (known all over the internet as OCM) and wondered whether that might help sort me out. The basic idea is that you rub a mixture of castor oil and another oil to clean the gross oxidised oils from your face and replace it with moisturising oils that will make you glow. You have many options for the oil you mix with the castor oil. I used jojoba, apparently very good for acne prone skin, but other options are olive, sunflower, sweet almond, grape seed and avocado, just to name a few. This made sense to me, in theory, and I had nothing to lose. It was either this or the super-expensive Dermalogica range my beauty therapist was trying to push on me, so I decided to give the OCM a shot.
First step was to buy the oils. I went to my local health food store where they sold castor oil and jojoba oil that was distributed by a local company. “Good for my skin and the local economy!” I thought. Sometimes I am a sap. I took them home that night and mixed equal amounts of castor and jojoba oil. This is the dosage recommended for normal skinned people by the website that appears to be very popular with people who use OCM. My skin leans towards oily, but I thought this was a good place to start. I then proceeded to rub it into my face for about 5 minutes, in small circular motions. The websites recommend at two minutes, but since this was my first time, I thought I’d give it a good go. Little hard plugs did come out of my skin, like they said it would. I rinsed a face cloth with very hot tap water and put that over my face for 15-30 seconds so my face could steam. I then rinsed the excess oil off. My skin felt nice if slightly gooey and I felt quite virtuous. No extra moisturising needed at that stage. The next morning, I just wiped my face with a little bit of witch hazel extract and carried on with my day.
I repeated this for the next week. During this time Mr. Cesy said, “Your skin isn’t looking too bad!” and it was looking OK. Not much had come out but it hadn’t gotten any worse at this stage either. Then was the test that I knew was coming – Christmas. In addition to summer heat, we have travel, sugary and fatty food and a lot of booze. The first three nights we were away, I was incredibly good with continuing the regimen. Then we went to my parents’ house, and all desire to wash my face vanished after several shots of some bizarre-tasting South African hooch, so for each of the three nights we were there, I failed to wash my face. Unsurprisingly, my skin started to break out. I thought to myself it would be OK once we got back home and I was back into the swing of things.
We arrived back home and I got back into the regime. But at this stage, the zits only got larger and they would not heal. I have not had zits in a very long time and I was distraught to see them back again. The rest of my skin looked quite inflamed too. Congestion in my chin appeared that had never been there before. It became quite painful. I swore to myself I’d give it two more weeks. The websites told me it would take some time. I had all this castor and jojoba oil I needed to use, and I was on holiday at the moment, no one would have to see my hideous face.
I lasted two more days. I could not handle the zits which were coming through fast and thick. My skin was not happy with me at all. So the oils are now under the bathroom sink, waiting for me to work out what to do with them. I went and bought a face wash with some hard core chemicals in it (so full of alcohol there is a flammable warning on it!), and my face is much happier. The zits have already shrunk and are on their way to healing. The congestion is still there, so I will have to do something about that at some stage. As I’ve told Mr. Cesy, I don’t know how I thought some oil would clear my face when it took some hardcore drugs to get rid of the zits in the first place.
So for me, the OCM was a huge bust. It appears it has done wonders for many, but for me it didn’t work. It appears that a 50/50 mix of castor and jojoba was too strong. I’ve now been informed that a ratio of 10:90 of castor oil to jojoba oil, or 25:75 would have been a better idea. For me though, after 12 years of being a zitty person, I wasn’t going to put up with something that gives me zits and makes all my skin inflamed. My own body can do that well enough by itself.
So any ideas what I can do with half a bottle each of castor oil and jojoba oil?
For those not put off by my experience, this was the best OCM resource I found: Nitty Gritty on the Oil Cleansing Method, however it was the one that recommended the high castor oil ratio. I’d recommend starting out with the lower ratio and building up, hopefully that would avoid painful breakouts for you.