I’ve been using DHC’s deep cleansing oil off an on now for a few years, but it’s been an ambivalent relationship — and that’s why the bottle is still not empty. I’ve had oily, acne prone skin since puberty, so putting oil on my face feels like the worst thing ever. Clearasil and Neutrogena ads and labels on acne treatments tout “oil free,” and it just seems logical not to add extra oil to oily skin. I always got such satisfaction from that squeaky-clean banish-the-oil feeling. But then there’s also the well known adage: oil and water do not mix, which suggests that water-based products might not be the right tools for removing oil from your face.
That’s the argument that DHC makes in their product literature: oil bonds with oil and breaks it up so it can be more easily removed. I don’t always 100 percent trust product literature (no offense). But when DHC gifted me another bottle of their cleansing oil, I thought it was time to do some independent research on the science behind cleansing oil before I continued with my on-again off-again relationship.
I emailed Mike Sakillaris, a a chemical engineer who specializes in fluid mechanics at Dow (he also helped me with this Gizmodo article, he is the bomb as the kids say). Lo and behold, his response supported DHC’s claims.
The cleansing oil blends with skin oils and any other grease and dirt and dissolves them, since like dissolves like, Sakillaris said. Remove that nastiness by placing a hot, wet cloth over the face until it cools. “DO NOT rub the skin as this will irritate and harm the skin,” he said. He suggests repeating the hot towel bit twice more, which could become a bit time consuming, but also potentially worth the cleaner and more youthful skin that Sakillaris says will emerge.
He also reiterated something dermatologists have told me in the past, to which I would nod and smile and file under “not actually true because I somehow know more about how skin works than a skin doctor.” Soap and water facial cleansers remove *all* of the oil from your face. So not only does your skin overproduce oil to play catch up, but it is also exposed to damage and potentially infection while it remains vulnerable and oil-less.
So I’m embracing oil cleansing, and feeling pretty good about it, especially now that I’m over 40 and stripping all of the oil from my skin seems like a worse idea than ever. I’ve been using DHC’s deep cleansing oil, which is $26. Shu Umera has a variety of cleansing oils, L’Occitane has one, and here is a DIY recipe. BellaSugar agrees that cleansing oils work, and they are in the midst of trying out the DIY recipe for a month. Can’t wait to read the results! How do you feel about putting oil on your face?