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The Shocking Truth About Oil Cleansers

by Toney
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Oil cleanser? Those two words seem like a huge oxymoron. And if you have oily skin, that phrase may even strike fear into your heart. It seems like a paradox – but can oil cleansers really work to clean your face and clean it better than a soap-based cleanser?

It’s a Trending Topic

Deep-cleansing oil products understandably spooked acne sufferers when they first came onto the scene in the 1960s. A well-known Japanese skincare line was the first to introduce oil cleansing face washes for oily skin types. Of course, the beauty world was rocked – but now we know it’s okay to embrace the oil. Today, the cleansing oil craze is in full swing for all types of skin, including those showing signs of aging. (Make your own oil cleanser with this easy, DIY recipe.)

Even acne prone skin types can cleanse with oil-based products. What is so surprising is how much better they work.

Are You Loyal to Oil?

Effective oil-based cleansers do exist. But how is this possible? Can oil really help to balance combination skin, reduce breakouts and help to reduce signs of fine lines? Yes!

How it works for breakouts

Most people think that acne is caused by an overproduction of oil. The reality is, your skin naturally produces oil (also known as sebum) deep within pores, offering protection from dehydration and environmental pollutants. However, when that protective layer of moisture is removed by the use of over-drying washes, including bar soap and regular cream cleansers, sebum production plummets – leaving your skin dry, unprotected, and more prone to acne. Additionally, sebum provides antibacterial and antifungal properties to protect your skin from debris that can cause acne.

Why We Think Oil-Based Products are Bad

Retaining your skin’s natural oils is key to clear, youthful skin—especially when you want to fight wrinkles. However, many people grew up leery of oil in skincare products. Why? Because most companies used mineral oil in their facial cleansers, soaps, and body washes. Mineral oil is a petroleum-based ingredient found in many personal skin care washes because it is inexpensive, however, when compared to botanically-sourced oils, mineral oil is far inferior.

Mineral oil is a type of oil known to sit on top of the skin, rather than being absorbed by it. Because it simply sits on the skin, it has a tendency to lock bacteria, makeup, debris, and lingering sebum inside pores, only worsening skin blights. Not only that, if you use mineral oil-based cleansers you will almost certainly wind up with shiny, greasy-looking skin!

Are Oil Cleansers Right for Me?

Wondering how an oil cleanser could work into your current skincare regimen? Here are three things you need to know.

It Won’t Hurt You

Oil can be an intimidating substance, especially for those with sensitive skin types. That’s because for years, skincare companies have used low-grade oils in their formulations to cut costs and spare their bottom line. These cheap filler oils include pore-clogging mineral oil. So today, most people are terrified to apply oil directly to their face because they are worried about causing acne, or inflammation. But, it’s ok! With the right cleansing oil, like olive oil, or jojoba you will not further damage healthy skin, regardless of what you’ve experienced in the past.

Oil Cleansing is Natural

The largest organ of your body is your skin. It has the big job of removing waste products, and toxins via the pores. Therefore, it’s important to always remove lingering dirt, grime and makeup, so your pores can do their job. When using the oil cleansing method, you can clean the skin without stripping away the natural oils, and sebum needed to prevent over-drying. This can only be achieved with a natural oil, or oil cleanser, as they are able to clean the skin without removing necessary moisture.

You Need More Oil

Oil is the LAST thing you want to hear about when struggling with oily skin, which is why it seems so weird to use an oil cleanser for acne. However, an oil cleanser is exactly what you need – whoever you are! That’s because many plant-derived oils mimic the sebum that is produced in your skin, instead of stripping all of the moisture out. This sends your acne prone skin the message, “No more sebum needed!” to help prevent oily skin that causes breakouts.  Plus, by keeping your skin moisturized is key in reducing the appearance of fine lines.

What types of oil should I look for in the ingredients?

Here are just a few: Jojoba, coconut oil, grapeseed oil, hempseed oil, tamanu, and essential oils of juniper, tea tree, lavender, clary sage, and rosemary.

The Bottom Line

Before the invention of soap in the 19th-century, the ancient Romans practiced oil cleansing for the body. As they visited traditional baths known as caldarium, oil was used to cleanse the skin and remove dirt and grime from their skin. Today, some of the top beauty brands are making oil-based cleansers with plant-based oils to mimic the natural sebum production of the skin. Skincare has come a long way from cold creams and Noxzema! So, now (no matter your skin type) there is an oil based cleanser for you.

Just remember: Not all oils are created equal. When shopping for a cleansing oil, stick with a natural face cleanser made with botanical oils (instead of mineral oil). Forget cleansers that contain moisture-stripping ingredients like sulfates and surfactants. You can keep your skin hydrated and balanced by being loyal to oil.

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