Sunday, March 1, 2015

{the better OCM} Oil Cleansing Method

Writing out my skin-care regime (again!) in response to a lot of recent requests!

For nearly 2 years, I've been following a skin-cleansing method called the Oil Cleansing Method, or OCM.

After more than a decade of struggling with deep, painful, cystic-type acne, finding something that actually worked was a God-send.

It doesn't matter how much self-confidence you have, the way you look matters to some degree. And while I had become used to this acne struggle throughout junior high, high school, and college, I was always on the look out for something to help. I would tell myself, my mom, and my doctors the same thing. I never expected to have perfect skin. But if I could find a way to manage my acne or decrease it in someway, I'd be happy.

As you can read in my previous post, I tried everything. Topical gels and creams, oral medications, birth control, Proactiv, hormone testing, every different cleansing system you could find at Walmart....even Accutane.

The topical stuff just dried out my skin.
The oral meds didn't seem to make much of a difference.
Birth control gave me mood swings and I questioned it's impact on my future fertility.
Proactiv ended up giving me their money-back guarantee.
Hormone tests all came back normal.
Cleansing systems never really did anything but dry out my skin.
Accutane seemed to help....for awhile. But there's something funky about a medication that effectively shuts off your body's natural oil production. Also, the pregnancy warning was freaky.

I had mostly given up hope. I wondered if my acne would follow me all the way to the nursing home. My purple scarring had become severe enough that I refused to leave the house without makeup.

Then, on Pinterest (where else?), I read about the OCM. 

The thought process behind using oil to wash your face begins with the concept is that oil dissolves oil. By using "purifying" and "cleansing" products on your skin, the dirt, oil, and grime isn't being removed from your skin. Also, using drying washes can cause your skin to produce more oil. The skin is self-cleaning, but when we strip it of oil, the natural reaction is for it to produce MORE oil. Using oil to "wash" your skin helps restore it's natural healthiness, and over time can even out it's composition.

I tried the OCM for awhile with a Castor Oil/EVOO combo....aaaand hated how my skin never felt clean. This combo left a film on my face and my makeup seemed to just slide off.

Then I was told about Coconut Oil and tried that with the same original method described in my first post.

And it worked! My acne cleared up (once it became used to the oil) and my skin, while still occasionally oily, is basically "normal". I needed to implement the use of a baking soda + lemon juice scrub to take care of bumpy oil build-up on my nose, but that wasn't too much of a hassle.

Fresh-faced! 2+ years with OCM!
I was still using the original OCM until I went on a work trip about a year ago. For some reason, I modified my face-washing method for a few days.

That's what changed everything. Just over those couple of days, I saw a change in how much easier it was to wash my face, and I felt like my skin was reacting better too!

So, here's my modified process, which I've been using for just about a year!

At night:
1. Scoop out some coconut oil with a spoon (not fingers, to avoid bacteria growth), and massage all over face...ON TOP of makeup. Rub into eye area, too.
2. With a DRY washcloth, wipe oil off of face. All makeup should be removed through this step. 
3. When oil has been wiped off, splash very warm water on face. With the other side of your DRY washcloth, wipe/massage face in small circles until all water is removed. Don't be shy with rubbing hard, especially in bumpy/blackhead-prone areas. (for me, T-zone area)
4. Go to bed! That's it!

In the morning: 
1. Do nothing. Just shower, apply makeup, etc. as usual. 
2. If skin feels too dry, massage a little oil on dry/tight areas.

I've found that this modified method:

1. Goes a lot quicker. No longer do I need to "steam" my face with a washcloth.

2. Removes the need for my aforementioned every-other-day baking soda scrub. The dry washcloth scrubs my skin enough to keep it niiiice and smooth :) The scrub worked, but the lemon juice burned if I did have a breakout. And the scrub left my face a little dried out, resulting in increased oil production the next day.

3. Removes my makeup more completely. I hated realizing that by steaming my face with the other method, I was basically steaming an oil/makeup mix into my pores.

I've shared this method with others and coconut oil seems to work best with people who have super oily skin. Some friends with naturally drier skin have found that coconut oil dries their skin out too much, Argan Oil might be a better option. I've tried EVOO, castor oil, jojoba oil, etc. but coconut works best for me. Depending on your skin composition, you might need to try a couple different oils, but the method itself can work with any type.

I should say here that the OCM might not work for your skin. Maybe you try it and hate it or your skin gets worse...please don't curse your jar of coconut oil because of me!

But, if you're curious about a natural way to care for your skin, or if you're struggled to find anything to help clear up your acne, my suggestion is to try it out! My attitude going in was that my skin couldn't get any worse, so what did I have to lose?!

A couple last tips:

1. For anyone with especially severe acne, when starting this method off, please be gentle with your skin. You don't want to scrub too hard, but if/when your skin ends up clearing up, then you can move on to being more aggressive with your dry washcloth exfoliation.

2. The oil might stain your washcloths, especially if you're removing a good amount of makeup. So, take that into consideration...white, expensive washcloths might not be the best for using in this method :)

3. Use a new washcloth every. single. night. Re-using washcloths can lead to bacteria growth, just like sticking your fingers in the coconut jar.

The OCM, specifically this revised OCM method, has changed my skin forever. I hope this might help you to improve your skin as well!!!

The best skin of my life!!!
Please don't hesitate to comment or email me with questions!!


  1. You're beautiful and your skin is flawless! I'm envious :) I may need to give this a serious go... Did you go through any type of adjustment period? I can't imagine not putting on any type of spot treatment (or all-face acne treatment lotion, to be honest!).

    1. Aww you're too sweet!! :) My skin took a little time to adjust...I think it's similar to eating healthier: your body rebels at first, but will be much healthier in the long run. Mostly, I needed to adjust to the practice of not washing my face in the morning. I had become so conditioned to the idea that "clean" = "alcohol-fresh stinging feeling"...but over time, you get used to it. I believe that when I first tried this method, my face broke out a bit, but it subsided and now that my skin is healthy, it thrives with this method.

      I hope it works for you too! Let me know how it goes!!

  2. There's no way you used to have acne issues - your skin looks so clear and no scarring!

    I struggled with cystic acne, mostly on my chin, in college and beyond. I tried different things and then just gave up. Well - giving up did it. It got so much better when I did NOTHING - I think I was trying so many different things, I was just killing my skin. I've since added a moisturizer from Arbonne and I'm in loooooove. Winter dry skin was causing some break outs (probably from increasing oil production due to dryness), and I haven't had anything since I started using that (knocks on wood, crosses fingers, etc.).

    1. I totally did!! I've been trying to find a pic of my "before" such luck yet. The components in Coconut Oil specifically reverses scarring, so my skin has no evidence of that anymore!

      I think there's something to be said for how our body cna take care of itself if we allow it time to breathe...I've heard Arbonne is amazing, though I'm of the mindset that now I've found something that works, I'm sticking to it! :)

  3. Coconut oil is my favorite thing in the WORLD. It works for so many things!

    The Starving Inspired

  4. I love how happy you look in the last photo! I had acne, but it's gone now after using all the regular store-bought stuff. My biggest problem is balancing out the random dry spots from winter and bracing myself for summer sweatiness!


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