Guide to Using Oils in Your Skin Care

Oils have always got a bad rap when it comes to acne. Especially skin care for acne. If you have acne you are always advised to look for products that are oil free. Oil free moisturizers and oil free face washes have always been held in high esteem by acne sufferers. Since it is assumed that acne is caused by excess oil, oil has never been a big part of any skin care routine meant for acne prone skin.

In this post however I’m going to show you how you can use oils in your skin care even when you have acne.

skin care

Why is it that people with acne are often asked to stay away from using oil on their faces? This is because it is generally assumed that acne is caused by excess oil. This is not really true. There are people who have oily skin who do not have acne. There are also people with dry skin who have severe acne. Acne is caused by a buildup of sebum i.e oil in the pore, when the pore is blocked by dead skin. This sebum is secreted by the sebaceous glands in the skin. It is nothing to do with any oil or anything that is applied on the surface of the skin.

My journey with using oil in my skin care started with OCM or Oil Cleansing Method. I found that my face wash was leaving my face dry, itchy and red. It was not helping my acne at all. I figured out I would try OCM one day and if it created problems I would stop. After a week of no problems, I continued to do this on a regular basis and actually ditched my regular face wash. Today it has been 3 years of no face wash and my skin has never looked better. I even started using coconut oil as a moisturizer and I still have no breakouts that have been caused by it.

What Oils to Use

There are 2 types of oils to consider. One is an essential oil and the other is a carrier oil. Essential oils are very strong and should never be applied directly on the skin. They should always be mixed with a carrier oil.

Best essential oil for acne prone skin are tea tree and lavender. Carrier oils are oils like olive oil, coconut oil, jojoba, rosehip oil, avocado oil, sweet almond oil, evening primrose oil and castor oil. All these can be used directly on your skin without a problem.

Why You Should Try Using Oils

Oils are very versatile and can be used as moisturizers, cleansers and makeup removers. You can use the same oil if you want to, for all 3 things. That one bottle of oil can double up as a lot of things. Oils make for great moisturizers. In winter if your favorite moisturizer does not seem to do anything for you, oil can make a great substitute. It will actually soothe dry and itchy patches.

Oils also make for great deep cleansers for your skin and this is a great thing if you have acne prone skin or clogged pores. Oil can actually remove the sebum plugs that block your pores. Essential oils like tea tree oil can help heal acne while rosehip oil can help with scars.

Do Not Try This if
  • You have active acne that are broken or inflamed
  • You have cuts or open wounds on your face
How You Can Use It

Using oil in your skin care for the first time can be scary. More so if you have acne and have always been told to go oil free. Here are some tips to help you incorporate oil into your skin care. When you start out, start with carrier oils like olive, avocado or coconut oil. Initially use it only in the evening. If you live in a hot, humid climate it is better that you only use oil in the evenings.

  • Start out by using a drop of oil in your face mask. Rosehip oil will do wonders for scars while coconut or avocado will soothe red inflamed acne.
  • If you are using a face wash mix a drop of oil with it.
  • To use as a moisturizer mix a drop of oil with plain water or rose water and apply to damp skin.
  • Add a drop to your preferred moisturizer.
  • Add 2-3 drops of oil to a coin sized amount in your body lotion.
  • To remove makeup use a cotton ball soaked in oil and then use your normal face wash

Do this once in 4-5 days so you give your skin time to get used to it and see if you have any adverse reactions. Basically this time period gives you time to observe how your skin is reacting to the oil.

Once you are fine with this you can move on to Oil Cleansing Method and incorporate oil in your daily skin care. You can even make your own oil blends with essential oils that are suitable for your skin type and its problems.

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Why I Think Acne Face Maps are Not Helpful At All

Many times while on Pinterest I come across Face Maps that say something like “What your acne is trying to tell you”. Basically it’s an outline of a face which tells you what pimples on various parts of your face mean. So pimples between eyes means that maybe your liver is not functioning well. On your cheeks may mean respiratory or metabolism issues. Basically the whole face is mapped out and linked to various body parts and function.

These maps tend to be shared a lot.  I am pretty sure most of them are shared by people who do not have acne. These people of course are trying to be helpful and hoping that it helps someone who actually has acne. As someone who has had acne on every single part of my face I can testify that if these face maps were true, my health should have been in serious jeopardy. But in all honesty my physical health was great. Just that I was not mentally as great as I was battling acne. Acne takes a toll more on a person’s mental health than physical.

While doing some reading up, as research for this post I came across one article about face maps that said if you have acne between your eyes you should cut down on junk food. I mean really? Come on. Everyone, acne or no acne, should be cutting down on junk food. And the sad truth is some people with acne may not even eat junk food.

If anyone with acne is on the internet trying to find a cure and comes across these face maps, they are going to think that they have a problem with every part of their body. How do you resolve a liver or a metabolism problem?

Don’t let these face maps fool you into thinking that certain parts of your body are not functioning well. Some even go to the extent of saying impaired kidney function which can lead people who have acne down dangerous paths. So pay no heed to these face maps. They don’t mean anything. They are also are not helpful as they never tell you what to do about a problem.

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Is Skin Purging an Actual Thing?

I’m sure you’ve heard the term skin purging. If you have acne and are using a new product for it, within a few days you might start breaking out a little more. This period when your skin actually starts getting worse is referred to as the skin purging period. So is it a real thing and how long does it last?

Skin renews itself every 28 days, i.e old cells die off and are replaced by new, healthy cells. This is known as cell turnover. Acne forms deep within your skin. So the hair follicle gets inflamed and the pore gets blocked. Eventually the inflammation makes its way to the surface of the skin and this is when you breakout. However this “breakout” has been in the lower layers of your skin for a few days before it slowly shows itself.

The reason purging happens is because some of the ingredients in the product may speed up cell turnover. When cell turnover speeds up, blocked pores that would have taken 7-8 days days to make themselves visible suddenly do it in 2-3 days. You get clusters of new pimples. However these new pimples should heal quicker as well. Since skin normally takes around 28 days to renew itself you should really see results after a month if the product is actually working for you.

I once used an “Isotretinoin” cream for a year. It was prescribed to me by my dermatologist. Each time I told her it was not working she said I was purging or it was the time of my month. Don’t be stupid like me. Keep an eye on your face and if you feel something is not right stop.

Here are a few things you should keep in mind when using a new product to know if you are purging or the product is not working and instead making you break out.

  1. Purging should last maximum for a month. If you do not see any improvement after a month it is time to stop using the product.
  2. You should not be breaking out in places you don’t normally break out. This means the new product is causing breakouts rather than purging.
  3. Please use only one new product at a time so you know which one is working. Give each product a chance and don’t hinder things by throwing another product into the mix.
  4. If your new breakouts look much different than your normal breakouts please stop using the product. For example if you normally do not have cystic acne but start getting it after using a new product, please stop.

So yes skin purging is an actual thing. But all said and done please use your judgement wisely when it comes to your face. Whatever anyone says, let your feelings have the final say in the health of your skin. A few days of not using a product will not do any harm to your face. You can always restart a product but cannot undo damage to your face.

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Choosing a Skin Clinic for Scar Treatments

Acne comes with 2 problems. One is the acne itself and second is the scars it leaves behind. Depending on the type and severity of the acne, the scars left behind will be different. Again depending on the type of scars and your skin type, some of them may fade with time, some with home treatments and some may not.

The treatments available today for scarring of any kind is mind boggling. We are all on the lookout for perfect skin. They range from simple treatments like facials for acne scars to complex things like laser treatments. If you decide to opt for treatments for acne scars, I thought I would put together a guide that would help you make the right choice.  Since it is your face, the most visible part of your body, and you are going to be investing money, here are some points that would help you out. I have visited 3 clinics for acne and scar removal. While I had no luck with the treatments for acne, I did get some good results when it came to my acne scars.

Here are some of the  treatments that are normally used for acne scarring. All these treatments have down time, that means, a period of time when your skin will be sore or looked bruised or swollen. It normally goes down within 24 hours, so do plan for some time where you might not want to go out. Even if you do wear sunscreen it is better you let your face heal at home at least for the first 24 hours.

Chemical Peels : This is technique in which a chemical solution is applied to the skin so that the outer layer peels off and new smoother skin is regenerated. It is a form of exfoliation except that it is done under the supervision of a dermatologist. There are 3 types of chemical peels – superficial, medium and deep. For acne scars, usually superficial and medium peels are recommended. Your skin will be sensitive after a peel so make sure you do not have any outdoor plans for at least 24 hours. You will also be asked to use a good sunscreen while going out into the sun. Chemical peels should not be performed when you have cuts or open wounds.

Microdermabrasion : This is an extreme form of exfoliation where the doctor uses a high speed wheel or brush to remove the outer layer of the skin so as to improve the appearance of the skin. This procedure is generally only effective for flat discolored scars and does not work for deep scars like indented scars. Your skin will look pink for about 24 hours after the procedure.

Subcision : This is a procedure that is used for indented scars. Since the healing scar tissue has attached itself to the lower skin layers, a needle is used to detach it. This is normally done under local anesthesia. A anesthetic cream will be applied on your face and left for 30 – 45 minutes. This cream is then gently wiped off and the dermatologist will perform the procedure. It may be slightly painful.

Dermal Fillers : These are used for ice pick, boxcar, indented and rolling scars. Fillers are injected under the skin to lift the scar and give a smooth appearance to the skin. An anesthetic cream will be applied to alleviate any discomfort. After the procedure your skin will look bruised for a day or 2. You may feel a slight discomfort and will be given an ice pack to apply.

Derma Rollers : This is a cylindrical tube like structure with hundreds of tiny needles. These are rolled over your skin to injure it in a controlled manner. An anesthetic cream will be applied to your face to numb it and reduce discomfort. The idea is to trick the skin into repairing itself and stimulating collagen production, which then helps heal acne scars by regenerating new smooth skin. There will be minimal bleeding. Today you can buy Derma Rollers over the internet to be used at home. However, personally I would not recommend this and strongly suggest you get it done by a qualified doctor. Derma Rollers should also not be used on skin that has active acne.

Lasers : These work by using short pulses of light to destroy the upper layers of skin. The skin’s natural healing process then generates new and smooth looking skin. Generally 4-6 sittings of laser are needed depending on the severity of your scars.

At your first consultation the dermatologist will recommend a combination of the above treatments. These however may change during the course of your treatment depending on how your skin reacts.

Here are some do’s and don’t about choosing a skin clinic.

Do shop around for a skin clinic

If you have decided to get treatment for your scars, you are going to be investing a lot of money into it. So take the time to choose a good clinic. Visit various clinics. Pay the initial consultation fee and talk to the consulting dermatologist. Never ever decide on any treatment without talking to them. It is normal that you have a consultation with a dermatologist first and then they will discuss a treatment plan with you. He/She should be patient enough to answer your questions. If you have active acne she or he should insist that your acne should heal first.

If the doctor claims that you will have 100% improvement please be on alert. Most treatments have a 60-80 % improvement. Don’t be discouraged by these number. It is a lot of improvement.

Do not make a commitment until you have visited 2-3 skin clinics. Once you have talked to the dermatologist, visit their website and check out their reviews. If you can reach out to some of the people who have had procedures at the clinic, even better.

Do talk to other clients at the skin clinic

When you visit the clinic, do talk to the other clients waiting there. Ask them what their experience has been and if they are happy with their results. Do take a look at their skin but do it discreetly and don’t stare. Ask them how long it took before they saw results and what treatments they have had.

Don’t buy packages

Most skin clinics offer package deals where if you pay upfront for 6-8 treatments, say 6-8 sessions of laser, you pay less. The problem with this is if you are not happy with the results you are already committed to them. Pay a little extra but pay as you go.

Don’t hesitate to stop at any time

If for some reason the treatments do not seem to be working or you are not happy with the results or just plain uncomfortable do not hesitate to stop at any time. You should see some result in 6-8 weeks at the least. For example there was a dermatologist I went to whose patients used to groan in pain as she did painful laser treatments without anesthetic. This is a big no no. If the dermatologist wants to save time and money by not taking the time to apply an anesthetic cream she is not doing a very good job.

If you have visited any clinic and have any points to add do tell me in the comments below. I would really appreciate it and I read every comment.

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How to Get Clear Skin by Just Leaving It Alone

Have you ever had an ache somewhere on your body, but then you forgot about it and it just went away? I am sure most of us have experienced this. However, when it comes to aches and pains we are comfortable leaving them alone. Acne though, is a whole different game. Acne is such that it brings out the worst in us. We see it every time we look into the mirror. All we want is to get it to go on its merry way as soon as possible. So what do we do? We go to war with the acne. We spend so much time fighting with our skin that eventually it starts to fight back.

Here are 3 things that if you stop doing your skin will start to heal and clear up.

Using To0 Many Products

The first instinct is to fight acne with ointments like benzoyl peroxide (BP) and those available in your local drugstore. If your acne heals with BP or anything else, great. If it does not respond, do not increase the amount of product thinking that will help. In my experience if the acne did not respond to less product, it is certainly not going to respond to more of it. What you will end up with is dry, red and irritated skin. And the acne will still be there!! If you are using a product for 6 weeks and see no improvement it’s time to stop. Ideally you should see an improvement in acne in 2-3 weeks. If it does not work stop using the product.

Do not get worried that if you do not use any product you will wake up with more acne. Give your skin a chance to do its thing and heal itself.

Touching Your Face

In addition to using too many products for acne we tend to touch our faces way too often. You feel the need to touch your acne to see if it’s healing or not. One after another we examine our whole faces. A few minutes later, the whole cycle gets repeated again. This tends to be a vicious cycle as this leads to more acne which then leads to more touching. In addition touching acne will infect them further and this leads to more acne forming around and even under acne. Touching acne also leads to scarring. So keep your hands off your face.

Squeezing and Picking

Another bad habit, which in my opinion is way worse than just touching and using too many products is picking and squeezing your acne. Just saying it creeps me out now though I was guilty of doing it a long long time back. Guess what happened after that? A bad bad attack of cystic acne which needed cryotherapy and lead to indented scars. If you think your acne is bad now and pick it or squeeze it, trust me on this, bad things will follow. Resist the urge and let it go.

If you have tried everything else for your acne and see no result it’s time to leave your face alone and see if that makes an improvement. This means no products (those meant for acne), no touching and certainly no picking and squeezing. You can wash your face as normal. Plain water is often best if you are not using makeup or sunscreen. Ditching the face wash too will be even better. Leaving your face alone may be the best thing you do for it.

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