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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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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Why Diet is the First Step to Clear Skin

For years I never knew that my acne could have anything to do with my diet. I had acne on my face but I did not feel sick or unhealthy. So I pretty much assumed it was just a skin problem, one that would heal when ointments or medicated creams were applied to it. However, none of these medicated creams and ointments could heal my acne and give me clear skin. Even if someone had told me at that time that diet and acne are connected, I would have had no idea where to start.

However do think about it, if you eat in excess you will gain weight. If you drink in excess you will have a hangover the next day. You will get a tummy upset if you eat food that has gone bad. People with allergies have reactions – ranging from mild to severe – when they eat or drink something they are allergic to. Yeah, I know that there will be people who will do any or all of these things are have nothing bad happen to them, but they are the exception. My point here is what we eat affects us directly or indirectly.

In the case of acne the reaction is not immediate and not direct. It may take years of bad eating habits to get acne. Since the effect is never immediate or direct, it may seem like diet has nothing to do with acne. In the case of a tummy upset you can be pretty sure and pinpoint exactly what it is you have eaten. This is never the case with acne.

Take for instance the islanders of Kitava island, which is off the coast of Papua New Guinea. Not one case of acne was found in the 1200 islanders above the age of 10 who were examined. Their diet is completely unprocessed and natural and consists largely of tubers, fish, fruit and coconut.

Acne is an inflammation. It is a sign that the inflammation levels in the body are high. In order to help you understand it better, look at inflammation as you would an empty glass. When we are born this glass is empty. As we grow older this glass fills little by little. As we eat processed foods this glass starts filling. Stress and our environment can add to this glass. Once the glass is full it is going to spill out and start causing problems. One of these problems is acne. Note that some people may not have acne but some other problem like eczema or maybe chronic colds or some other health issue. Excess inflammation, even if it does not cause acne, is never good for anyone and can manifest itself in a lot of ways.

Now we do not have any control over the environment we live in but we do have control over diet and stress. Eating a good, healthy and anti-inflammatory diet will help bring the inflammation down. But just as it took years to build up, it will take time to come down as well.

Sugar, dairy, processed and packaged foods, antibiotics are some of the things that increase inflammation. Fruits, vegetables, spices, herbs are foods that will help bring your inflammation levels down. Once your inflammation levels start going down your acne will start to clear. Dietary changes will be the biggest change you can make to start clearing up your skin. Done properly and consistently you will see a change within a short amount of time. In addition regular exercise also helps relax your body and bring down inflammation levels.

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