Monday, February 6, 2012

Marinade Your Face for Better Skin and Finances

what is this mysterious yellow liquid??
I hope you're not shelling out for all sorts of Olay, Aveeno, or (insert popular brand here) products. Quick, grab what you put on your face everyday. If you can't recognize a lot of the stuff on the ingredients list you might want to throw it away.

I'm not joking, and this isn't just a money matter.

Visit Skin Deep and look up the toxicity ratings for the products you regularly use. I used to be a Clean and Clear Morning Burst devotee. . .On a 1-10 scale of how harmful it is, it is proclaimed an 8. Yikes.

There are cheaper, healthier ways to take care of your skin. Personally, I threw my cleansers away, and started using the oil cleansing method (OCM) last spring. I've never looked back.

Keeping Your Complexion Healthy and Frugal

Okay, I know it sounds bizarre—putting oil on your face to clean it?—but it really works. When you use a store-bought cleanser loaded up with chemicals and detergents, it strips your skin of its natural oils. And then your skin over-compensates and produces even more oil. Yuck. And then you cleanse it some more and continue the cycle.

If you quit using soap and chemicals on your face and keep your skin clean and hydrated, it will be better able to regulate its oil production. And you can save money by 1) Not buying a myriad of expensive products, each one designed to treat the problems the last one caused, and 2) Not (I conjecture) paying as many medical bills down the line when the toxins in those products catch up with you.

When you cleanse your face with oil--remember your high school chemistry solubility rules now--like dissolves like. The oil you put on your face gets all chummy with the oil and dirt that's already there (this is also why oil works so well as a make-up remover,) and draws it up out of your skin. Gently, though: that's the key. And cleansing with oil, you're putting good, beneficial oils back in right away so your skin doesn't go on a crazy oil-making binge. 

Most people use a mixture of castor oil and extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), more castor oil if your skin is oily, or more EVOO if your skin is dry. You can add a couple drops of tea tree oil for an extra acne-fighting punch if you want. I use straight olive oil purely because I've been too lazy frugal to buy castor oil, and I have never had a problem--but I would still recommend making the castor oil investment: it's known for its cleansing oomph.

Here's How:
  1. At the end of the day, wash your hands and gently rub oil into your skin. I keep my oil in a recycled cleanser pump bottle—if you were really feeling healthy, you could make sure your container, if plastic, is BPA free. And, of course, organic oils are to be preferred.
  2. Rinse a clean washcloth in the hottest water you can comfortably stand—you don't want to scald yourself, but it should be pretty hot. Drape it over your face and let it cool. The steam will open your pores for some deep-cleaning.
  3. Rinse the washcloth again and gently but thoroughly rinse your face with warm water.
  4. Occasionally, I splash with some cold water or Apple Cider Vinegar (1 quart of Bragg's is raw, organic, and 2 for $6 at King Soopers as I write. I've only used half a bottle in the year I've been doing this.) DO dilute it, though, or rinse it off as it's pretty acidic.
  5. If your skin is feeling a little dry, just rub in a little more oil. Rub it in thoroughly, though, and with squeaky clean hands or you do risk clogged pores.
  6. In the morning, I just rinse my face with cool water and apply make-up as usual.
Using the oil cleansing method has cost me mere pennies a day, and has made my skin less dry, less oily (yes, I was one of those patchy types), and less prone to breakouts. I'm not a dermatologist, so don't take my word as law or sue me if it doesn't work, but from personal experience and what I've read, this seems like a pretty good idea.
A few more frugal ideas for your complexion:
  • Drink more water. (Okay, obvious, but how could I avoid saying it?)
  • If you do experience break-outs, think about your diet. If I skip my daily emergen-C for any length of time, my skin suffers. When I get back into the habit it very noticeably clears up. Vitamins are good for your skin; do you get enough?
  • Consider toxins, too. It is perfectly possible and likely that you could be detoxing through your skin. Preservatives in meat--especially lunch meats, chemicals in your laundry detergent or shampoo, pesticides on produce, junk like fluoride in your tap water. . .It's hard to get away from all of the toxins in American life, but with a little research you can make informed decisions and lessen your exposure. 
Even if you don't become a hardcore fan of the OCM, I do recommend you find out the toxicity ratings of your products—SkinDeep—and find out if there are healthier products you could be using.

OCM: This crazy cool idea isn't just one of mine. When I was researching it last year, my main sources were Crunchy Betty and Simple Mom. Crunchy Betty, in particular, is a great source for healthy home and beauty treatments. I appreciate her posts because she always seems to have done her own research instead of merely quoting popular opinion.

Have you tried OCM? What did you think?