All You Need To Know About The Oil Cleansing Method For Acne


Last Updated: 12th October 2016

Your skin is the reflection of your internal health. Beautiful and glowing skin is a result of a healthy diet, proper care, and hydration. If you’re not blessed with a clear skin and suffer from acne. Don’t worry! Let me introduce you to oil cleansing method – the solution to your problem. Many acne sufferers consider this method as their Holy Grail.

In this article, you’ll find in-depth and useful information about the various aspects of OCM. Keep reading to see why oils should be an integral part of your skin care routine— and which ones could work best for you.


According to Science Daily acne is an inflammatory disease of the skin caused by changes in the pilosebaceous units. These are the skin structures related to sebaceous glands and consist of a hair follicle.

This condition occurs commonly in puberty, especially among the Western population. Genetic predisposition can be a root factor for developing acne.

The sebaceous glands secrete excess oils which combine with naturally occurring dead cells. This action leads to the blockage of hair follicles.

Science tells us that a faulty keratinization process in the skin causes abnormal shedding of skin, lining the pores.

The Oil secretions build up underneath the blocked pore which sets the stage for the skin bacteria Propionibacterium acnes to multiply uncontrollably. As a result, the skin gets inflamed, and a lesion pops up.

Types Of Acne

The American Academy of Dermatology gives us a clear picture of the types of acne.

  • Blackheads – if a blocked pore stays open it looks kind of black and is called a blackhead.
  • Whiteheads – If the blocked pore closes the top looks whiter which gets the term whitehead.
  • Papules – in some cases the pores gets irritated and their walls break which causes bigger pimples called papules.
  • Pustules – a yellowish liquid pus fills them, but they are same like papules.
  • Nodules and cysts – they go deeper into the skin and can hurt you. The nodules are hard. Cysts are softer and have pus.

Causes Of Acne


Usually, the acne symptoms are increased when the male hormone levels (androgen) increase. Androgen levels increase when humans become an adolescent, which leads to the growth of oil glands. This action causes the glands to produce more oil. The levels of growth hormone and the IGF-1 may also affect acne.

Studies say that acne could be genetic. Medications that contain lithium and androgen may cause acne. During pregnancy, the hormone levels can change which may trigger acne. Greasy cosmetics may also cause acne.

According to a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a diet high in glycemic index foods and dairy products can cause acne. It would be wise on your part to minimize these foods if you suffer from acne.

Oil in Skincare

Skin, the largest organ in your body, needs oil to function properly. The skin produces oil naturally. The natural oils help to lubricate, protect, heal and moisturize the skin. If you learn to work along with your skin, the result will be a clear, glowing and soft skin.

The mainstream skincare products strip the natural oils out of your skin. Each time you strip the oil away, the skin overcompensates by creating more oil. The commercial products are highly scented, which may irritate your skin even further if you have sensitive skin.

On the other hand enriching, your skin with oils has a plethora of benefits. Oils are lipophilic. They can penetrate deep into the skin trapping water while keeping the toxins out of your skin. They help to fortify and strengthen your natural skin barrier.

The antioxidants present in some facial oils enhance their anti-aging properties. Oils like pumpkin seed and mandarin are rich in antioxidants and your skin easily absorbs them. They give an immediate plumping effect and creates a perfect canvas for your makeup.

Jojoba, Camelia, and Macadamia oils are effective in pulling out the fats and grime from the pores. Thus making the pores appear smaller. Many oils have anti-inflammatory properties. Some good examples are yangu and Argan oils they are ideal for skin irritations. Geranium oil is very helpful in reducing redness from rosacea.

Tea tree oil is great for banishing zits. “Using jojoba oil in moderation can reduce oil production, making a great addition to your topical acne regimens, which can be drying,” says Dr. Rebecca Tung chair of the Division of Dermatology at the Loyola University of Chicago.

Oils are the ideal antidote for dry skin. Coconut oil is a great moisturizer you can apply a small amount to your driest areas. If you have sensitive skin, then almond oil is your best bet because it is packed with hydrating Omega -3 fatty acids.

Essential Oils For Acne

Some of the essential oils have the ability to reduce the feelings of stress and anxiety, balance hormone levels and fight insomnia and promote skin health.

The essential oils tackle the root of the problem and are gentle on the skin, kills the bacteria, soothes and protects the skin from irritation.

Tea Tree Oil

It has antimicrobial and antifungal properties. Research studies say that tea tree oil products reduce lesion numbers in patients with acne. A 2007 study suggests that this oil is very effective in treating mild to moderate acne vulgaris. You can use 2-3 drops of tea tree oil along with the other oils used in OCM to Treat Acne.

Lavender Oil

It has antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. Studies say stress and acne are connected. Researchers say that an increase in acne may be due to higher levels of sebum production in times of stress. Lavender oil produces a relaxing effect when inhaled and thus reduces stress. You can use 2-3 drops of lavender to your cleansing oils.

Clary Sage

An ester called linalyl acetate present in Clary Sage reduces skin inflammation. This ester works as a natural remedy for acne and skin irritations. Clary sage curbs the growth and spread of bacteria. It reduces stress and anxiety and supports hormonal balance. You can dilute 1-3 drops of this oil with other carrier oils and use in OCM.

Juniper Berry

It is one of the popular natural remedies and has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. Juniper berry essential oil, when mixed with carrier oils, is very effective against acne according to a 2005 research study. Use 2-3 drops of this oil along with other oils used in OCM to speed up the positive results.

These essential oils are safe, using 2-3 drops should do the trick. If you have sensitive skin, then lavender may suit you because it is a gentle essential oil.

What Is Oil Cleansing Method?

In ancient cultures, oil was used to cleanse the body. The Romans rubbed oil into their skin as a part of a visit to the baths and removed oil and any dirt with a strigil.

Cleaning your face using oils is called the oil cleansing method. You can simply abbreviate it as OCM. OCM is a boon to acne sufferers. It is very effective against blackheads, whiteheads, cystic acne and clogged pores and overall oil reduction.

According to Wellness Mama, the basic idea of oil cleansing is to use natural oils to cleanse the skin and naturally balance the skin’s natural oils. The oil used to massage your skin dissolves the oil that has hardened with the impurities that are stuck in your pores. The steam will open up the pores and gives easy access for the removal of oil. If you want to lubricate your skin you can apply the smallest amount of the same oil over damp skin.

As you’d have known, the basic principal in chemistry is ‘like dissolves like.’ Sebum/oil being a non-polar solvent gets dissolved by using another non-polar solvent similar in composition. OCM is based on this concept.

Formulas And Recipes For OCM

You can use these as a guide but make changes until you find your magic proportion. If you find that the oil blend is too drying, add more hydrating oils. If the blend is too greasy, add more astringent oils or therapeutic grade oils like tea tree or rosemary.


  • Oily skin – 1: 3 ratio. Add one part astringent oil to 3 parts of conditioning oil. Grapeseed, watermelon, hazelnut, safflower, jojoba, rice bran and peach kernel oils work well for oily skin.
  • Combination skin – 1: 4 ratio. Add 1 part of astringent oil to 4 parts of conditioning oil. For sensitive/combination skin grapeseed, apricot kernel, jojoba, fractionated coconut oil, watermelon, sweet almond, calendula, camellia, sea buckthorn and emu oils works best.
  • Dry skin – 1: 10 ratio. 1 part astringent oil to 10 parts conditioning oil. For dry skin, extra virgin olive oil, corn, macadamia, sunflower, wheat germ, coconut, Camellia, shea, sweet almond and emu oils work best.


Standard recipe – 1: 3 – 1: 10 Ratio of castor oil to olive oil.

Combination skin 1 part hazelnut oil: 1 part sweet almond oil: 2 parts avocado oil.

Acne prone skin – 1 part Borage seed oil: 2 parts grapeseed oil: 1 part hazelnut oil: 1 part hemp seed oil.

The Process Of Oil Cleansing Method

According to, you can do this method in the evening before going to bed. When you wake up in the morning, it is enough if you just wipe your face with warm wash cloth. This gentle method cleanses as well as balances the skin’s oil production.

Things needed

  • A soft washcloth
  • Hot running water
  • Oil blend.


  • Pour a generous amount of oil about the size of a quarter into your palm. Warm the oil by rubbing your hands together. Gently massage it over your face.
  • Massaging has a lot of beauty benefits. It relieves tension and thereby reduces wrinkles. It increases circulation. More blood flow increases collagen production and acts as a natural facelift. Massaging allows the oil blend to get easily absorbed into the skin. It makes you look younger and nourished.
  • Massaging will remove makeup, dirt, sunscreen and other impurities. It also removes stubborn waterproof mascara and concealer.
  • Use slow and firm motions and concentrate on the problem areas. This action helps blackheads and other impurities to get dissolved. Steaming removes them completely.
  • While you massage your face, sit down, relax and let your mind wander off thinking something pleasant. This process will release the stress that your body is harboring. If you add a couple of drops of essential oils, the pleasing aroma will work wonders for your stress.
  • Depending upon the skin type allow the oil to soak into your skin. Once you are satisfied, take the washcloth and soak it in steamy water. The hot water will further soften your pores and removes the oil.
  • Cover your face with the hot washcloth. Let it be there till it gets cooled. Your pores will open up and release oil. Wipe the oil gently and rinse the washcloth in hot running water.
  • Hold your washcloth to your face again and allow it to cool. Wipe off the impurities. Repeat this process two or three more times. Do not scrub your face.

The hot washcloth will wipe away the oil, and you need not worry that the oil will stick to your skin. The castor oil which is the main cleansing agent gets easily removed with warm water.

If you use other oils, make sure you gently remove all the oil residue with washcloth giving room for your skin to breathe freely.

If you want to moisturize, take a tiny drop of the oil blend, rub it between your palms and pat it onto your damp skin.

Do this deep cleansing method regularly but not too frequently because this can dry out your skin. The results won’t appear overnight. You have to do a few massages to achieve your goal of making your skin acne-free.

You can notice a huge difference in your skin after the first deep cleansing massage. But do remember along with this oil cleansing method a healthy diet, plenty of water and exercise will help you to get a clear skin free of acne.

Oils That Work Best On Acne Prone Skin

According to Lauren Wayne founder of the blog hobo mama, organic jojoba oil and cold pressed and cold processed castor oil are a perfect fit for acne prone skin. Jojoba oil is an exact match for your skin’s natural sebum. It is very gentle and will not clog the pores.

Sometimes jojoba oil may not work for you because according to Purified Skincare jojoba oil and rosehip seed oil have been a hit or miss for acne-prone types. Some find both these oils work very well and for others it may cause more outbreaks. You should follow the trial and error method until you get the perfect combination for your skin.

A good ratio, to begin with, is 75% jojoba oil and 25% castor oil. You can gradually increase the castor oil if your skin does not show any reaction. Always make sure its percentage level suits your skin. Other than the oils mentioned above you can use

  • Grapeseed oil
  • Rice bran oil
  • Watermelon oil
  • Hazelnut oil
  • Peach kernel oil
  • Apricot seed oil
  • Sweet almond oil
  • Walnut oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Manuka essential oil
  • Tea tree oil
  • Lavender oil
  • Tamanu oil
  • Argan oil
  • Pomegranate seed oil
  • Neem oil (avoid neem oil if you’re pregnant or attempting to be)
  • Sea buckthorn oilT
  • urmeric oil especially for oily acne skin.

For amazing results start trying OCM the first week. Check the response of your skin. Be careful not to use this method on consecutive days. Make sure to remove any oil residue after cleansing because this is the most common reason many acne sufferers have problems with OCM.

You can make modifications for better results. Use lighter and more astringent oils.

When massaging oils into your, skin be careful not to irritate the blemishes where there is open skin. You should be very careful with the water temperature because if it’s very hot, it will cause inflammation.

Many experts time and again stress this point. If you have acne-prone skin, be sure to remove the oil residue after oil cleansing method.

Properties Of Oils Used For Acne Prone Skin

Castor oil deeply penetrates the skin and deep cleanses the pores. It draws out the bacteria, dead skin cells, and excess oil. It works well if you’re suffering from blackheads and other blockages.

Borage seed oil – Borage oil comes from the seed of Borago officinalis. It contains high amounts of gamma-linoleic acid which reduces inflammation. It stimulates skin growth, promotes blood flow, maintains hormonal balance and helps fight stress.

Hemp seed oil – It contains about 60% linoleic acid that helps regulate sebum. Sebum usually lubricates the skin without clogging the pores. When our diets lack enough linoleic acid the sebum becomes sticky and hardens in the pores. The hardened sebum then becomes a whitehead, blackhead or acne lesion. Hemp seed oil also relieves inflammation and redness.

Grapeseed oil- The linoleic acid found in grapeseed oil protects the elastin and collagen found in skin cell membranes. According to HEALTHbeat, a Harvard Medical School Publication linoleic acid serves as an emollient and fills in the spaces between skin cells. Emollients can help to clear acne prone skin.

Hazelnut oil – It contains astringent qualities. Astringent oils help to clear acne and temporarily shrink pores. Hazelnut oil helps to balance skin’s natural oil production, reducing shine and breakouts.

Top Tips To Ease Into Your Oil Cleansing Routine

For many people OCM will be a trial and error, if you are one such person then keep it in a controlled environment as much as possible. Travelling and diet changes can also be messing up with your skin. So take all these factors into consideration when you start following oil cleansing method.

OCM involves a lot of patience and paying attention to your skin. You should be willing to put in your time and effort into the oil cleansing method. Be known that you won’t get it right the first time, you have to work out a combination that is perfect for your skin.

Try including essential oils in your oil cleansing routine. Some essential oils are great for treating acne, and they remove bacteria and free radicals and restore a healthy complexion.

You can start off oil cleansing method once a week and then make changes as you see fit. You should not ignore other natural face packs that enhance your beauty.

Dryness is pretty common with oil cleansing method especially if you are using castor oil. Emollients seal in moisture when you leave them on but in OCM you completely remove the residue, so you need to moisturize your skin to keep it soft and supple.

Choose your brands of oils wisely and make sure they are cold pressed, extra virgin or raw products so you’re getting the purest forms available.

Common Experiences Associated With OCM

You can see the results after your first cleanse or start to see results after two weeks.

During the cleaning process, you may find tiny sand-like particles they are the hardened sebum and dirt trapped in your pores.

If you have oily skin, your skin can become less oily after OCM.

Dry skin becomes softer and less flaky after OCM.

Your skin tone may become less blotchy.

Your skin may become softer and smoother.

Your complexion becomes brighter and more vibrant.

You can experience purging of the skin because oils and dirt from underneath the skin will be expelled to the surface after OCM.

If you experience any allergic reactions, you can try other gentle oils.


Acne is an embarrassing problem, but you should not lose hope. Eat a healthy diet, include more of probiotic foods, and zinc rich foods, fiber-rich foods, vitamin A rich foods and clean, lean protein. Hydrate yourself by drinking plenty of water. Follow your skin care regimen religiously and in a matter of time healthy clear skin can be yours.

Adapting the oil cleansing method as a routine will greatly affect your skin care regimen and can prevent acne from coming back. Remember that it’s not enough to get rid of acne, it’s important to follow through and maintain the health and glow of your skin.


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