Oil Cleansing Method: What is it and How Does it Work?

Oil Cleansing Method: What is it and How Does it Work?

Skincare significantly benefits our health and reinforces the dermal layer we rely on. Without our skin, we would be exposed to the elements, and our internal organs would be vulnerable. Unfortunately, being the first line of defense means our skin takes many punishments throughout our lives that can damage it. Most damage is superficial since our bodies have a natural repair function, but sometimes, superficial damage affects our appearance. An unfortunate correlation between physical appearance and self-esteem makes cosmetic skincare important to a large portion of the population.

One of the main forms of skincare that people employ is cleansing the skin to avoid bacterial infection and acne breakouts. Avoiding dirty skin is an extremely important part of skincare, but there are more advanced skincare routines that use specialized products and techniques to maximize the effects of the routine. The problem is that there are so many routines and techniques it can be difficult to identify which ones are valid and which are ineffective. 

One of the more interesting techniques is the oil cleansing method, which has been met with skepticism given the negative connotation associated with oil insofar as skincare is concerned. Therefore, it might be wise to figure out the oil cleansing method and if it works as a skincare routine.

What is the Oil Cleansing Method?

As the name implies, the oil cleansing method is a skin cleansing routine that uses oil to remove contaminants from the dermis. When people hear the word "oil" in relation to skin, they tend to immediately follow it with "is bad" since oily skin is known to cause blemishes. As a result, virtually all mainstream skincare guides advise careful monitoring of oil exposure to the skin. This restriction is especially important for people with abnormally high sebum (skin oil) production. The oil skin cleansing method purports that certain oils, when applied to the skin, help clean it and maintain its appearance.

Before you grab the nearest bottle of oil, there is a catch that must be considered. The oils used in this cleansing method are nourishing oils, meaning only some oils work for this process. Oils made from coconuts, carrots, argan, etc., are among the oils best suited for cleansing. These, along with a few others, have been proven to provide beneficial effects for the health and appearance of humans. Some of these oils rehydrate, while others purge bacteria, but the effects depend on the source.

Woman Holding a Nourishing Oil

The oil cleansing process promotes healthy skin hydration by allowing these nourishing oils to soak into it. From there, they allegedly revitalize the skin without irritating it as traditional cleansers would. These effects are extremely important for those looking to restore and preserve the appearance of their skin. Unfortunately, these claims are meaningless unless we understand how oil cleansing works. Otherwise, we cannot determine if oil cleansing works or if it is a baseless concept.

How Does the Oil Cleansing Method Work?

Knowing if it works is an important first step when we attempt to introduce a new method to an otherwise established routine. Otherwise, we risk wasting resources on products and routines that are pointless. Given the skepticism surrounding the oil cleansing method, it should be no surprise that a little reassurance goes a long way for those who are reticent to try this method. 

We mentioned earlier that the oil cleansing method focuses on nourishing oils from specific plants and legumes. These oils have well-documented benefits that make them powerful tools for one's health when balanced with a proper diet. However, they also possess certain traits that make them effective for tending and revitalizing our skin.

These benefits drove curious minds to devise a topical treatment employing these oils to enhance the health and quality of the skin. The oil cleansing method follows the chemical principle "like dissolves like." This means that a substance can dissolve a substance from the same chemical background. Therefore, the nourishing oils used in this cleansing method can dissolve the sebum our skin naturally generates and reduces its impact on our skin's health. Essentially, the oil cleansing method works by having nourishing oils applied to the skin that will:

  • Dissolve excess sebum produced by the glands in our skin.
  • Clean clogged pores and rid them of bacteria that promote blackhead and whitehead acne.
  • Remove dead skin, pollutants, and residual makeup.

Performing an oil cleanse is simple, but multiple methods can be employed to administer it. Fortunately, there is a basic method that virtually anyone can implement in their routine.

A Nourishing Oil

The instructions for this basic cleanse process are as follows:

  1. Put 1 to 2 teaspoons of the oil of your choice in the palm of your hand, though you might need to look into specific oils if you have dry skin.
  2. Apply the oil directly to your face, using your fingertips to gently massage it in for several seconds but no longer than a minute. This massaging period helps clear any residual makeup or pollutants that might block the pores.
  3. Wet a washcloth with warm water (you want it damp, not soaked) and use it to wash the oil off your face gently. Being gentle with this stage is important, or you risk irritating your skin and compromising the cleanse. Alternatively, you can rinse your face rather than using a washcloth if you want to leave trace amounts of oil in the skin.
  4. Use a towel to pat your face dry, and apply any moisturizer you use in your daily routine.

This cleansing process is the simplest version, but it is an effective method for using oil to clear your skin of impurities. Additionally, you must ensure the oils you use are not kitchen-grade, or the entire process could backfire. This means the bottle of olive oil in your pantry is likely insufficient for this cleanse's purposes. You want high-quality oils comprised of natural ingredients and little to no additives. 

Aside from that, the entire process is pretty simple and should be easy to execute if you have the proper supplies. Of course, this leaves an extremely important question to answer before shopping. 

Does Oil Cleansing Work?

Knowing the proper process does not necessarily mean oil cleansing will work as intended since any cosmetic treatment requires evidence of effectiveness. The need for evidence doubles when dealing with a skincare routine that requires you to employ a substance that usually causes skin blemishes. That said, if you frequently apply makeup, oil is likely already a part of your skincare routine. 

Most makeup removers have oil in their ingredients to help maintain healthy skin and minimize irritability when clearing the skin. While the oil in makeup remover is likely different from the oils recommended in oil cleansers, the presence of oil means the concept of oil cleansing is semi-valid.

One of the main reasons oil cleansing has gained traction is because of a 2018 study that discovered certain bacteria that benefit our complexion. Certain species of bacteria provide a natural defense against acne and infections that might adversely affect our skin. Traditional soaps and detergents usually destroy all bacteria, including the beneficial species, and eliminate a layer of protection we need to maintain healthy skin. 

Conversely, oils preserve the natural lipid layer where these bacteria thrive and promote colonization. Nourishing oils also dissolve the sebum concentrations where harmful bacteria thrive, allowing the beneficial bacteria to overcome the harmful species.

Woman Performing an Oil Cleanse

Unfortunately, the research supporting oil cleanses and beneficial bacterial colonization are minimal and require further study. Nevertheless, supplementary studies have found limited evidence suggesting further benefits of oil cleanses on our complexion. One of these studies occurred in 2010 and consisted of 28 university students whose complexions made them seem older than they were. The study found that oil cleanses helped restore the youth in their complexions.

Another study from 2017 was conducted on 60 subjects consisting of children and adults. The subjects in the test group were given bath oil every other day for a month. This study concluded that the subjects in the test group enjoyed superior skin barrier function and experienced relief from dry skin. This was proven more effective than certain oil-free cleansers on the market, but this study and the 2010 experiment require additional research before they can be considered fact.

In summation, oil cleanses appear to have limited functionality in clearing the skin of harmful contaminants. This, combined with its apparent effect in promoting beneficial bacteria, oil cleanses might be a worthwhile addition to your skincare routine. That said, the research behind oil cleanses is still fairly new, and the researchers have admitted that further study is essential to advancing the practice. Fortunately, oil cleanses are only one aspect of skincare, and other substances can promote healthy skin and improve your appearance.

Other Important Skincare Tools

Oil cleansers can be extremely effective; however, the research only proves certain benefits. With the number of issues that can adversely affect our skin, other substances could be equally important to our routine. For example, no evidence supports oil cleanses as an anti-inflammatory, which could allow certain injuries and environmental factors to harm our complexion if additional substances are not used. 

Fortunately, several natural substances can help reduce inflammation and be used in conjunction with healthy oils. One of the main substances that helps reduce inflammation is Aloe vera, which has a longstanding reputation for treating one of the world's most common inflammatory skin injuries.

Woman Holding Aloe Vera

Aloe vera's benefits are generally associated with treating sunburns, but it has been found to help treat other skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. Additionally, Aloe vera provides excellent hydration for the skin and offers antimicrobial benefits that help reduce harmful bacteria. Combining Aloe vera with your standard skincare routine can help revitalize your skin by cleansing and hydrating it. Aloe vera also synergizes with several other substances, including carrot oil, to generate multiple skincare benefits.

The old expression "variety is the spice of life" is an important part of skincare routines since multiple substances, when used properly, can work together to yield positive results. The problem is that not every skincare product can be used together, but natural substances like Aloe vera and plant oils usually synergize very well together. The trick is finding a cleanser that employs substances like Aloe vera and pairs it with oils and other natural ingredients that can combine without risk.

Finding the Right Blend

Oil cleanses are an interesting development in modern skincare routines, especially since they force us to reconsider something once considered a fact. The most shocking detail is that preliminary research suggests oil cleansing has merit as a skincare technique. This is not to say you should start slathering the olive oil in your kitchen on your face, but that certain natural oils can be repurposed to promote healthier skin. 

While most people recommend coconut or castor oil, you must consider the needs of your skin type since some people are more sensitive than others. Unfortunately, oil cleanses are still being researched, and current data suggests these cleanses are insufficient as the sole skincare routine in your life. Sometimes, the better decision is to use substances with a better track record and more evidence behind them.

Teami Superfood Cleanser

We at Teami wholeheartedly believe that natural substances are the best tools for skincare, which is why we have devoted ourselves to a natural product line. While oil cleanses are still being evaluated, we can offer alternative products with a history of providing skincare benefits. We suggest trying our Gentle Superfood Liquid Cleanser if you need a cleanser. 

This product combines the benefits of Aloe vera and matcha to promote healthier skin and maintain a youthful appearance. Our cleanser also features carrot oil, so you can still reap the benefits natural oils provide. We encourage you to visit our website and check out our products yourself. After all, finding the right blend is a Teami effort.

Do you have any questions about the oil cleansing method, our Gentle Superfood Liquid Cleanser, or anything similar? If you do, be sure to let us know! We'd love to help you out however we can!

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