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TGIF y’all! I get asked a lot by patients about cleansing with oil. What’s the deal with oil cleansers? I’ve got the skinny!

How oil cleansers work

It’s a scientific fact that oil cuts oil. Cleansing oil mixes with the existing oils on the skin (oils from sebum, makeup and SPF), and pulls the oil away like a magnet. They are excellent as a first cleanse if you wear heavier makeup for daytime.

Not all oils as cleansers are created equal

That being said, not just any oil will do as a cleanser. Coconut oilfor example, is the most comedogenic oil that exists on the planet. It does not belong anywhere near the skin unless you have compromised skin (such as from a burn- but also beware, don’t apply coconut oil immediately to a burn, as it can trap heat in the skin!) or super dry skin for medical reasons such as undergoing chemotherapy. It’s an excellent hair oil!

If you prefer to use an all natural oil cleanser, Olive Oil is a much better option. Olive oil rinses off of the skin’s surface much more easily, and you also get the benefit of the Omega Fatty acids on the skin (which is excellent for post-menopausal skin!)

Avoid if you have acne

If you suffer from acne, avoid using oil cleansers and make sure that all of the products you use are oil-free. This is a controversial topic but I’m going to give you my clinical opinion: Always oil free for acne. Always!

How-to and my recs

 The best way to use an oil cleanser is to apply on dry skin and massage in. Next, add water to emulsify it, and massage in again. Remove with a warm, wet washcloth. Cleanse with a foaming gel cleanser (for all skin types) or milky cleanser (for dry skin) after. Here are my absolute favorites!

Precleanse by Dermalogica- the original oil cleanser!

Eminence Stone Crop Cleansing Oil

Caudalie Makeup Removing Cleansing Oil

Epicuren Discovery Silk Radiance 3-in-1 Cleansing Oil


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