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It almost seems antithetical to even suggest using oils to cleanse the skin, especially for those individuals with naturally oily skin or who have acne. However, that is exactly what many dermatologists and cosmetologists are suggesting. According to cosmetic dermatologic surgeon, Dr. Ariel Ostad, cleansing oil uses the “good oils” in your skin to remove the “bad oils.”

How do cleansing oils work? Dr. Diane Walder, a Miami-based costmetic dermatologist explains that when the cleansing oils are worked into the skin, they bind to surface impurities like dirt that are stuck in your pores, pulling it out and allowing you to comfortability rinse it away, leaving your skin clean, soft and hydrated.

And for those that suffer from acne outbreaks, here is what acne.org has to say about cleaning oils:

“Fact: Oil dissolves oil. One of the most basic principles of chemistry is that “like dissolves like.” The best way to dissolve a non-polar solvent like sebum/oil, is by using another non-polar solvent similar in composition: Other oils. By using the right oils, you can cleanse your pores of dirt and bacteria naturally, gently and effectively, while replacing the dirty oil with beneficial ones extracted from natural botanicals, vegetables and fruit that heal, protect and nourish your skin. When done properly and consistently, the OCM can clear the skin from issues like oily skin, dry skin, sensitive skin, blackheads, whiteheads and other problems caused by mild to moderate acne–while leaving your skin healthy, balanced and properly moisturized.”

So, now that you know the benefits, what type of cleansing oils should you use and how do you apply them? There are many cleansing oils on the market or you can choose to make your own if you so desire. There are formulations designed for specific skin concerns such as anti-aging, dryness, acne, etc. So, cleansing oils can be used for all skin types.

Whatever formulation though, most cleansing oils contain botanical oils (olive, sunflower, sesame, safflower, almond), extracts from green tea, jasmine or others and vitamins. If you have oily skin, look for formulations that have botanical amino acids in them. This will remove the excess sebum. Individuals with dry skin can use most oil formulations, while those with sensitive skin should use a formula with olive oil in it in order to void skin irritation. For those with average or combination skin, use a formula with safflower oil. If you suffer from acne outbreaks, Dr. Walder recommends using a cleanser with non-pore clogging ingredients such as glycerin or silicone.

To apply cleansing oils, pour a small amount into your hand, about the size of a quarter. Massage the oil into your face using a circular motion. Important note. Do not wet the skin prior to apply the oil. Rub the oil into your face for about two minutes. That should be enough time for the oil to soak your skin. If you like, you can leave the oil on for about 10 minutes.

Once you’re ready to remove, take a washcloth and place it under hot water until it is completely soaked. Wiring it out and place the hot cloth on your face. The steam from the hot washcloth will remove the oils and impurities from your skin, Leave the washcloth on for about a minute or so. Use the washcloth to remove any excess.

One last thing, if you are just starting the use oils, there is an adjustment period of about a week or two. If you experience minor breakouts during this period, don’t worry, it is part of the adjustment phase. Once you’re through the adjustment period, you should experience the benefits of using the cleansing oils.