Wash Your Face with Oil

Did You Know You Could Wash Your Face with Oil?

This is part of our “Ask NuVista Plastic Surgery” series.  Valerie, our office manager and aesthetician, answers your questions about beauty topics.  Ask her a question by leaving a comment in the space to the right of this post, or leave her a comment on facebook.

For a long time, oils were considered skin’s pore-clogging nemesis, but the tide of opinion is changing. Experts say that all skin types can benefit from washing your face with oil, even oily and blemish-prone skin.  I know the very thought of washing your face with oil may make you cringe!  “But don’t I try and wash oil OFF my face?  Don’t I check labels for oils that will clog my pores?  You are telling me to put oil ON my face?  Are you CRAZY?”

Well I might be crazy, but that has nothing to do with washing my face.

Why Would I Wash My Face with Oil?

Oil dissolves oil. We learned that basic principle in high school science class. The right oils will cleanse pores of dirt and bacteria, and help heal and balance skin. What usually happens is that we tend to abuse our skin.  We try and wash the natural oils off our face with cleanser. If we have blemish prone skin the cleansers we pick tend to be especially harsh.  Then we use products to dry out our acne. Then we live in Utah where the environment sucks the moisture from our skin. What is our skin to do but to moisturize itself by producing more and more oil?  The more we cleanse, the more oil we produce, and so the more we cleanse.  If our skin is already dry, it gets red and rough and we pile on products that often have harmful ingredients. Washing your face with oil that is good quality can bring this unhealthy cycle back into balance.

Look for cleansing oil products with natural, plant-based oils. You can try a high-quality almond oil, coconut oil, apricot kernel oil, grapeseed oil, or sunflower oil from the grocery store. Olive oil is also a popular choice.  These oils are very effective make up removers so there is no need for a separate product.

Castor oil is great at removing dirt and build up in skin pores.  But it can be very drying for the skin.  Imagine that, oil can dry the skin!  So castor oil is mixed with another oil to balance moisture.  The ratio of castor oil to another oil, like sunflower oil, will depend on what your skin needs and so it will take a little bit of trial and error.  As little as 20% castor oil may be enough. Many people have reported that washing their face with the right balance of castor to other oil has solved skin problems from rosacea to chronic, cystic acne.

How Do I Wash my Face with Oil?

Simply massage the oil or oil mixture on your face.  Take the time really enjoy this moment.  Really let the oil sink into the skin and clean the pores.  Maybe let it cleanse a little stress away too.  Then wipe with a soft washcloth dunked in really warm water.  Avoid harsh scrubbing. Avoid water that is too hot. Just be sure to gently wipe away the oil thoroughly to prevent residual build up and keep pores clear.  Some people like to leave the wet, warm wash cloth over their skin for a few minutes before wiping away the oil and dirt. Your skin will feel amazing!  If your skin ever feels tight after wiping away all the cleansing oil, simply rub a small amount of your oil mixture over your skin.

Shelling out a small fortune for face wash may not be the most prudent purchase. Look for one with simple, natural ingredients and save your dough for products that will actually stay on your skin and offer longer-term benefits, like serums.

What’s My Favorite?

I’m a big fan of straight coconut oil.  I find that it washes off easily and cleanly.  And I love it as an allover body moisturizer in the shower.  Use it like you use a scrub—rub the oil between your hands to warm it up and liquefy it.  Then smooth the oil over your skin and rinse off with warm water.  Generally we use such hot water in the shower that we strip the skin of the essential, natural oil that it needs.  Using coconut oil in the shower helps restore that lost moisture.  What is left on my hands makes a perfect daily facial moisturizer as I leave the shower.

That being said, every person’s skin will react differently to different oil.  So before you go out and buy the Costco sized coconut oil, test it out.  Try using coconut oil to cleanse your face. If it doesn’t feel right or your skin doesn’t react well, try different oil. The benefits of washing your face with oil are so worth a little experimentation.  Maybe only wash your face with oil a couple of times a week, maybe every day.  Find out what is right for you and get some balance back into your skin.