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The Oil Cleansing Method – Before and After


I’ve written this post and haven’t had the balls to hit “post” for over a week.  It’s so…so…embarrassing!  What I won’t do for you guys….

In junior high and high school, I had gorgeous porcelain skin.  Nary a blemish in sight.  It was lovely.  Then, I went off to college in Eastern Washington, and my face went batshit crazy.  It wasn’t what we were eating, but rather the water I was using.  My skin got better when I came back to this side of the state, and then we moved to California, and once again, I was a total pizza face.  My skin doesn’t like hard water apparently!

Getting pregnant made me look like a 15-year-old.  Ugh, it was so bad and so humiliating.  I, however, didn’t care enough to put much makeup on since I was spending all my spare time puking in garbage cans and in the shampoo aisle at the West Hollywood Target.  Whoopsie.

Over the years, I’ve tried everything – the pill, Retin-A, something that I can’t remember the name of, but it ends in “myosin”, Proactiv (yes, please charge me $30 for my skin to peel off and make it bleed!), and even Accutane.

About a year ago I started the oil cleansing method.  Tried it for a few weeks, liked it.  Then got lazy and stopped doing it.  I started up again about six weeks ago, and am sticking with it this time; I’m loving the results!!!

What Oils Are Best For the Oil Cleansing Method? It differs for everyone, but generally, most people find success with a mix of jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, and castor oil.

I previously used a mix of castor oil and sweet almond oil, but have since switched to just using sweet almond oil. It is gentle, doesn’t clog pores, and moisturizes very well. Using a quarter-size squirt of sweet almond oil, massage it in your hands until warm.  Then massage it all over your face and keep massaging it for about a minute or so.

Wet a washcloth with pretty hot water and apply it to your face for about 30 seconds.  Rinse the rag, and do it a few more times.  Then splash your face with cool water, dry off, and call it done.  Well of course after you’ve blown your nose and all.  I’ve already established that I’m a snotty person when water gets on my face! The whole process is done in under 5 minutes.

I know my skin care routine is now the exact opposite of everything that beauty companies tell us.  I doubt you’ll find too many products that say “oil added”!  But, hey, this works for me and it’s cheap and super gentle. And just because I love love love you guys, I’m showing you awful before and after pictures.  Just a warning – if you don’t like the face of middle school kids, you’ll probably want to just click the little “x” right now and close the screen.

Even after all these years, I still suffer from hyper-pigmentation from previous acne episodes.  I’m super lucky in that I’m VERY pale and my skin scars easily.  Yay for me!

Oil Cleansing Method Before and After

Forehead, week 1

Chin, week 1

That is a towel bar behind me.  Not weird military should pad things.

Forehead, week 2

Chin, week 2 (like George Constanza would say, “the sea was angry that day my friend”)

Forehead, week 3

Chin, week 3

Forehead, week 4 (photo by Jack, 4) (Also, for full disclosure, he took this photo at the end of the day.  I was wearing a bit of makeup, I had applied it 13 hours before the photo, and I sweated most of it off playing superheroes).

Chin, week 4 (another photo by Jack) Oh sweet…a first thing in the morning photo with no makeup, dirty hair, and stank breath?  You’re welcome readers!!!

You’ll notice per the photos, that the second week of this method made my skin rebel like the people of Alederaan (what Star Wars joke and acne?  NERD!), but it eventually relaxed a bit and started correcting itself.

One thing I noticed after about two weeks of this is that my make up went on super smoothly. People started asking if I got a new brand of makeup, or if I was tanning (HA!!!!!) because my skin had a “glow”.  My scars take forever to fade, but I’m pretty happy with my skin right now and don’t mind this routine at all.  I think of it as my mini spa session each night.

I’m a sweaty sleeper (seriously, could I make myself sound LESS attractive during post?), so I have to wash my face in the shower each morning. I’m currently using Kiehl’s Blue Herbal Acne Cleanser.

Fun fact, in March 2017, I decided to stop using the Oil Cleansing Method and just switch to the Kiehl’s acne treatment. After a full month, I switched back to the Oil Cleansing Method. My skin had broken out under the acne treatment, and it was so dry. I had to use three times as many products to try to combat the dryness.

Oil Cleansing Method After Five Years:

Yes, I use oil on my face to treat my adult acne. Shhhhh, it’s our secret.

So the next time you think “geez, Sarah doesn’t seem to “get real” with us often”, please refer yourself back to the post where I showed you my grease ball face.

PS, the first person who comments “if you give up wheat and dairy your skin will clear up” gets a kick right in the clam.  I gave up both while breastfeeding, and my skin didn’t clear up a bit.  It was just as grumpy as I was!


I originally wrote this post on the Oil Cleansing Method back in May 2012. It was updated in May 2017 to reflect some changes I have made. The original photo files were from my previous blog platform, and therefore are extremely grainy. I apologize for their quality, but they cannot be updated at this point.

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124 comments on “The Oil Cleansing Method – Before and After”

  1. Our water does the same thing to my complexion- thanks for the tip. When my sister and I were in junior high and high school and started to break out, my mom would inform us that she had never had acne (not even one pimple) her entire life. Everytime I see her I still secretly hope she has a breakout.

  2. Thanks for this post! So happy that you were brave enough to post it! I appreciate the help with the natural skin care products and stuff!

    I always wondered why my skin decided to rebel at age 24-25. I developed lots of blackheads and deep painful boils near my ears. I also developed circumoral rozacea, which on bad days is just red and on really bad days is very red and painful! Went to the dermatologist and got 3 different creams and 1 antibiotic that didn’t work and even made it worse. I tried changing my diet and it didn’t help either. Finally I found a cream called Calming cream from Beauti Control that helps with the pain. (Definitely not an all natural product!) The redness is usually covered up with concealer. Now that I am reading your post, I believe I am having all these skin problems because I am probably drying my skin out WAY too much trying to treat it. Which in turn is overproducing my own oils causing all these blemishes. I am definitely trying your OCM and will stick with it hopefully until after my skin rebels. I already started using coconut oil as a moisturizer a few days ago. Woke up today with the redness still, but the pain isn’t there…..yet! Keeping my fingers crossed!

    • You’re exactly right. My skin was crying for some oil and protection and I just kept drying it the heck out!

      So great about the coconut oil. I hope it continues for you!

    • Doing a “cleanse” or detox in addition to the OC may also help. The painful boils may be toxins just trying to get out.

  3. i just might give this a whirl! i recently started using dr. bronner’s tea tree oil castille soap on my face and loving it so far. coconut oil as a moisturizer really calms and softens my skin, but i hadn’t thought of using oil as a cleanser!
    only a week ago i started using a tiny bit of tea tree oil (dries acne, antibacterial) with rose hip oil (lots of natural vitamin E and A). i’d read that the rose hip oil is a gentle and natural retin A which heals skin quickly–and it has been awesome so far! just exfoliate more often bc it speeds the turnover of skin cells. i’ve been doing a gentle exfoliation each day, and more vigorously about twice a week.
    last new favorite thing is mixing witch hazel with a few drops of tea tree oil and use as a toner. this has nixed 95% of my many blackheads! start with very little tea tree oil and work up from there as your skin gets used to it. it can be a bit abrasive if you go overboard too soon.
    thanks for sharing, and good luck!

    • I just bought some vitamin e oil, and will give it a shot!

      I can’t use tea tree oil for anything. I used to use it to clean our toilets, and then I spent so much time with my head in the toilet while pregnant. The smell just makes me want to puke now!

  4. I didn’t read all the comments so please don’t kick me in the clam for asking. 😀 Are you taking a serious good probiotic? OR consuming LOTS of fermented foods? It will go a long way in preventing that kind of adult acne.

  5. Sarah, I think this is my favorite oil cleansing method post I’ve ever read! I too have been dabbling with it here and there, but keep stopping. I have a draft sitting on my site for months now, and keep telling myself that I won’t post it until I’ve done OCM for at least 2-3 weeks straight so that I could honestly pass on the information to my readers. Reading your post not only gave me a much needed chuckle, but it’s given me the push I needed to just get back to that darn OCM again so I can stop complaining about my face and finally get that post published.

    Thanks for your wittiness and humour in an otherwise annoying and mundane topic 🙂

    • Oh I know that feeling. I had lots of “starts” and “stops” with this method, but I think I’m on it now. Good luck with your journey and let me know when you write that post!

  6. I have the exact same kind of skin. The best thing that I have found (by accident) has been taking Alfalfa supplements everyday. I ordered the T-Tapp skin brushing system (which btw is wonderful) and it came with organic Alfalfa supplements. I wasn’t going to try it because I hate taking pills but figured I paid for it I may as well take it. It took about a month for things to clear up but my skin has never looked better. I oil cleanse about once a week just because I love how soft it makes my skin but other than that I just wash with a mild cleanser each day.

    • I’ve never heard of that! Will definitely have to look in to it.

    • a Zinc supplement will help with the healing process for the inflammation and can also help some people with their oil production by lowering it. Not everyone sees results with the oil production decreasing. but it definitely helps heal the inflammation from the inside out. As well as vit C. check into those options as well.

  7. Even though I have had almost perfect skin with zero acne, the occassional pimple in my youth, drove me to a frenzy. I would eventually have a bluish scar. Vitamin E capsules helped tremendously. As I skidded into menopause, I suddenly had large pores and it looked like little dots all over my nose, even an hour after washing my face. Oil of Olay Age Defying cream helped to close the pores. My skin seems finer, like a little child’s skin. “Youthful”skin was not the goal;closing pores on my nose and chin was the goal.

    Oil for acne–surprising. Cooking oil helps my dry hands! I only put it on the backs of my hands and fingers.

    I am going to tell my grandson about the oil for acne.

  8. Thanks for this post! I developed acne about 2 years ago when I was 37! Until then, crystal clear beautiful skin. I’v seen a dermatologist but would like to get off the medication. I’m definitely going to give this a try.

  9. This post came at exactly the right time. Unfortunately I have had bad skin since puberty, and since puberty hit in the 4th grade, I’ve had bad skin for the majority of my life. My dermatologist recently prescribed an antibiotic to help with the acne, which worked great except the fact that it: (1) made me nauseous to the point of having to pull over the car on my way to work to puke my brains out, and (2) over time killed my digestive system and forced me to take extreme levels of probiotics to even things out. Needless to say, I’ve officially stopped taking the antibiotics (after trying three different kinds) and I had given up and was content at having horrible skin for the rest of my life. Since every cleanser/gel/lotion/toner I have tried, both cheap and expensive, have failed to really do anything except lighten my wallet, hell, I might as well try oil! If this works I will be eternally grateful.

  10. P.S… here is a link to the videos.

    or you can just Google, skin cancer and hemp oil.