Sunday, January 13, 2013

OCM + Sensitive Skin = Does it work?

Kose Softymo Deep Cleansing Oil picture
I used a Japanese cleansing oil back in 2010

Let me tell you my OCM experience. Having a sensitive skin all my life, I was constantly looking for better, gentler (and of course more economical) ways to care for it.

Back in 2010, I was already using a Japanese cleansing oil (Kose Softymo Deep Cleansing Oil).

I really liked the Softymo cleansing oil. My skin improved a lot ever since I started using it, I got no more acnes except around that time of the month. However, the Softymo cleansing oil was getting hard to find and the price was pretty expensive, around US$ 25-30 per 230 ml bottle.

Then, in 2011 I found out about the OCM.

The Oil Cleansing Method

Have you heard about it?

(If you're already familiar with OCM, skip the colored box below)
The OCM, an abbreviation for Oil Cleansing Method, has been raved by so many women seeking for a natural way of face cleansing. It's a way of cleansing the face with oil (uh-huh girl, oil). A bit counterintuitive, I guess?

Basically, it involves literally slathering your face (and neck, optional) with the oil of your choice, gently massaging it around for 2-10 minutes to dissolve dirt, makeups, and gunks until you feel little grains coming out of your pores, which is then followed by steaming and wiping the face with a hot towel a few times until the oil is all gone. That's it.
Cleansing your face with oil? ©

One terrifying thing about OCM is the 'purging' stage, which is often incorrectly believed as the period when your skin get rid of the impurities and toxins it contains. During the 'purging', your skin will erupt for a short while and then gets better. It's actually the skin's natural defense system trying to restore balance, or in other words, your skin is adjusting itself to the new treatment.

(For more on OCM, visit this post by Crunchy Betty. It has everything you need to know about OCM, including why it works, how to do it properly, which oils to use, the pros and cons, etc.)

(Also check out various OCM reviews from women of multiple age groups on Makeupalley.)
oil bottle picture
Oil bottle

The idea of OCM appeals so much to me, since it's all natural plus I can save money on face care. Also reading the positive reviews of glowing face, dewy skin, shrunk pores, acne all gone, and looking younger...I couldn't wait to try.

The Failed Attempts

Unfortunately, OCM doesn't seem to work for everyone. To some, it's a holy grail for a flawless face. However, to the rest, I gather from many reviews that two things can happen:
  1. It stops working. At first it works for you, your skin never been better. But after weeks/months of heavenly skin, you suddenly get the worst break out of your life. Then it just gets worse each day if you continue the OCM, or
  2. The 'purging' goes on and on and on without an end.
The latter happened to me.

I'm an OCD person, so I had always made sure to execute the method correctly each time, making sure there's no oil residue. But the next day after my first OCM, my whole face was ANGRY.

Nasty whiteheads crowded my forehead and chin, and my cheeks were infested with torturous army of cystic acnes (which I've never had before!), also painful dry patches here and there. At first I thought it was the adjusting 'purging' stage, but it got much worse each day and went on and on for more than a month.
Face breaking out
Asia Group Images |
I didn't give up and gave OCM several more tries, before finally stopping because I can't bear the severe break out pain anymore. I did make sure my face healed in between tries (which took a long time). But the horrible thing just repeated again and again. Here are the oils I have tried and how my skin reacted :

• EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)  -- had the worst reaction
• Sweet almond oil -- worst cystic acnes
• Grape seed oil -- dried me the most
• Rice bran oil -- lowest cleansing ability
• Virgin coconut oil -- had the least problem

However, I didn't mix the oil with castor oil as usually recommended, I just used them straight individually. I was cautious to use castor oil since I read several times that it tends to dry the skin. Throughout those times, I kept thinking that I just haven't found the correct oil yet that my skin agrees with.

But then I also found out that too much heat is a sensitive skin's enemy. So perhaps the daily hot steaming could also be the reason why my face hates OCM so much. On top of that, I'm not a fan of the towel wipe after steaming to remove the oil. No matter how soft the towel (I also tried it with a soft sponge) or how gently I did it, my face was always irritated afterwards.

A Diferent Way To Do OCM

Four months ago, I came across this OCM Youtube video that saved my face.

The lady demonstrates an alternative way to do OCM. She uses EVOO, but instead of steaming her face after massaging the oil, she washes the oil off using a towel with a pure coconut oil bar soap (I'll cover about natural soap in another post).

This gave me another courage to give OCM another try.

OCM My Way

Inspired by that lady's method, I finally came up with a much gentler way to do OCM that works for me. In my case, I use virgin coconut oil and olive castile bar soap. Here is how I do it:
  1. Rinse my face lightly with luke-warm water, 
  2. Slather face with the oil, I use around 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon depends on how dirty it is, 
  3. Massage it around gently to dissolve the dirt, makeups, and grimes for about 2-3 minutes, 
  4. Lather the soap of your choice between the palms, then massage it over my face to dissolve the now dirty oil, 
  5. Rinse until clean with warm water, followed by several splashes of tepid water, 
  6. (OptionalMoisturize lightly with a moisturizer of your choice. For me, I use 2-4 drops of rice bran oil. 
And that's it!

This alternative OCM works great for me and my face loves it. However, unlike the lady, I omit the towel use because my face is easily irritated. I've been doing this daily in the evening ever since. With this method, I can do it more than once a day. The original OCM shouldn't be done more than once a day.

My skin has improved so much, it is moist and soft and I have no more cystic acnes, zits, whiteheads, or dryness from this method (except a zit here and there on those days where I have been eating crappy stuffs or lacking of sleep).

So, yes, based on my experience, OCM could work for sensitive skin with a little tweak in the technique. How? Replace the towel steaming & wiping with gentle natural soap wash. 

If you have never had success on OCM before, give it a try! I hope it works for you.

Have you tried OCM before? Did it work for you? I'd love to hear your stories!

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks SO much for this! I tried OCM with almond + castor and a few drops of lavender essential oil and two days in my skin FREAKED out. I got whiteheads and red spots all over. I stopped and then the spots turned into cystic acne.
    I got apricot oil and used that with castor oil - half the redness and inflammation was gone with one use. I'm worried that full on OCM will irritate my uber sensitive skin so i'm definitely going to try this on other days.