CINCINNATI—A new trend in skin care called the "oil cleansing method” (OCM) is making the Internet circuit.
The scientific-sounding theory behind OCM is the "like dissolves like” premise—that because the face produces oil, then applying natural oils to the face should clean facial skin better than soap and water.
Sure, it might sound scientific—and even logical—but a skin expert at the University of Cincinnati (UC) says the method could exacerbate pre-existing skin conditions such as acne.
"Oil is not something dangerous to use on your face, but if you are prone to breakouts it’s something I would avoid,” says Emily Moosbrugger, MD, a UC Health dermatologist, who adds that oil can potentially clog pores, not clean them.
Of course, a few cosmetic manufacturers are already capitalizing on the OCM trend, but it’s being touted more by word of mouth and online recipes, with the 2:1 mixture of castor oil and some other type of vegetable-based oil such as olive oil.
Although the majority of patients have an existing skin problem when they see a dermatologist, Moosbrugger says she advises face washing for the general population in the same way she does patients with problem skin:
"When we tell people how to wash their faces, we typically tell them to avoid harsh cleansers with alcohol, some of the anti-bacterial soaps and heavily perfumed soaps. We do recommend mild, water-based cleansers, but we do not recommend oil cleansing.”
And that other theory about the more water you drink the healthier your skin will look?
"Drinking extra water doesn’t probably make a dramatic difference in your skin, only if you are dehydrated,” says Moosbrugger.
Actually, she says, moisturizing is the key to keeping skin healthy—especially in cold weather. The type of moisturizers she recommends are thicker cream-based moisturizers (instead of watery lotions) for winter months.