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Oil Me Up, an In Depth Look at OCM - PART I

For a while now I've been trying to pinpoint a flawless face routine. For years I went crazy looking for simple, oil-free products--like most people the idea of ADDING oil to my face seemed crazy, like fighting a fire with oxygen pumps. Over the last year I've been hearing a lot about celebrities (even ones with fair Highlands skin like mine) adding oil to their skincare regiment religiously and how their skin  just loved the moisture. I had always been afraid to moisturize but I started using an oil-free gel moisturizer. About a year later I decided to take care of my lack of UV protection and set out to find a face product with SPF that didn't make me break out (I am very sensitive to sunscreen all over my body, not just my face). Trying all of these different products seemed to wear out my skin a bit and I next decided to tackle my pores. I found a new product that focused on minimizing pores but it was very expensive. When I looked at the ingredients, I found that the main ingredient was pumpkin seed oil. Finally, after being quite late to the party, this lead me to the "Oil Cleansing Method", or "OCM" for short.

I've never been to a dermatologist for my face... I THINK I have combination skin. I've never liked dairy and I don't eat junk food, and I've been blessed with acne-free skin. The last flaw between me and perfection are my pores. The OCM battles all different skin issues from heavy acne to pore minimization and for all skin types. This seems too perfect to be true, right? The cache is that you need to figure out which oil or combination of oils is right for you--something that many natural beauty blogs have written about extensively. While I didn't have a hard time finding the perfect concoction of oil for my skin, I'd like to clarify what I've learned about the method as every blog I looked at when I was doing my own research seemed to say something different.

To start, the philosophy of the OCM is that cleansing with oil-free and synthetic products is harsh on your skin and aggravate (and even damage) it. Secondly, it relies on the solubility rule "like dissolves like", meaning that it takes oil to dissolve the oil gunk on your face and in your pores. That's the basics. Next, the kinds of oils one uses for this are called carrier oils. If you are already involved with DIY skincare you may be familiar with them as they are the oils you mix with essential oils to use in products. There are many different carrier oils, some examples are jojoba, coconut, olive, and pumpkin seed. What makes them particularly different in this context is the ratio of omega fatty acids ("oleic acid" omega 9 and "linoleic acid" omega 6). Both exist naturally in our sebum (the are skin produces naturally). When we produce too much oleic acid by ratio, our sebum is thick and may cause breakouts and blackheads by clogging pores. When we produce too much linoleic acid by ratio, our skin dries out because the sebum is not thick enough to seal in moisture. By controlling which oil or oils you cleanse your face with, you are balancing out the shortcomings of your sebum. Below is a list of *some* carrier oils you may consider using, from "Most Oleic Acid" potent to "Most Linoleic Acid" potent.

Most Oleic Acid
Hazelnut Oil
Shea Nut Oil
Avocado Oil
Sweet Almond Oil
Olive Oil

Most Linoleic Acid
Safflower Oil
Hemp Seed Oil
Grapeseed Oil
Soybean Oil

Some well balanced oils heavier on oleic acid are argan oil, flaxseed oil, jojoba oil, and coconut oil. Some well balanced oils heavier on linoleic acid are sesame oil and castor oil.

I have heard many stories of people reinventing their skin with coconut oil or castor oil. Neither have worked for me as coconut oil gives me little pimples (people have told me it may be because of a certain triglyceride in the oil) and castor oil is too drying for my skin, causing it to overproduce oil in compensation. That being said, many of my friends with dry skin love coconut oil on their skin and many of my acne-prone friends swear by castor oil.

The oil combination that works like a charm for me is one part hemp oil, one part jojoba oil.

I encourage you to experiment with different oils and then different combinations, and would strongly suggest using organic products to feed your skin and truly reap the benefits of the OCM.

I will elaborate on how I cleanse and the rest of my face routine in Oil Me Up Pt2.

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