I wanted to share a reader’s question with you today along with the advice I gave her. I have definitely struggled with my skin over the years. I was completely shocked when I realized that I didn’t have to spend a fortune ($100+ a month or month and a half) on natural skin care products, nor do an extensive skin care regimen. I have slowly weaned myself off of long morning and night skin care regimes using simple oils and other DIY skin treatments, yet it took time to get here.
My skin really changed when I started using only oils high in linoleic acid, and I share my results with this after one year here. My skin isn’t perfect, but beyond what I ever thought was imaginable. Even with the success I’ve had there are factors that are sometimes out of our control. The weekend my website went down this past October, I had a stress induced breakout that created new hyperpigmentation. It is now almost gone, but the healing process can still be annoying at times. The site going down for so long was traumatic enough, and the break out was a great reminder of the power of stress and emotions.
My formula for good skin is eating whole foods (no processed foods), drinking lots of water, exercise, minimal stress, chemical-free skin care and makeup, an extremely simple skin care regimen, balanced hormones, an annual detox at least, along with positive thoughts and emotions.
My Reader’s Question
I’m overwhelmed and feeling beyond lost with oil cleansing. I found your site a couple weeks ago, and have been reading each and every one of your posts trying to figure out my incredibly difficult skin. You are an amazing resource and your knowledge is unbelievable.
I initially started oil cleansing mid October after buying an e-book about natural skincare. I stopped using my Dr. Bonner’s castile soap and Retin-A in hope of fixing my breakouts with oil cleansing. Since I started I have tried cleansing with coconut oil, then found your website and switched to grape seed with microfiber clothes without much success, and now recently ordered a bottle of pumpkin seed oil and started using it yesterday.
I just don’t know if this is right for my skin. It’s gotten consistently worse. I just wanted to ask you a few questions to ease my anxiety over this. I feel like because my skin is used to being exfoliated with Retin-A and my Clarisonic (that I no longer use) I have a build up of sebum that seems as though its falling out of my pores constantly. Is this normal? Also, I work out in the mornings and use a little bit of mineral make up to conceal my blemishes. I oil cleanse after my work out and then again at night. Is this too much for my skin?
I’ve been exfoliating a couple times a week with baking soda and then following with an apple cider vinegar (diluted) and calendula hydrosol from Mountain Rose Herbs. I also use hydrosols of chamomile and calendula to mist my face sometimes after cleansing. I sometimes do an Aztec healing mask with raw honey/acv and some steaming with chamomile tea bags throughout the week. I also spot treat with clove oil/pumpkin seed oil now and used to use tamanu until I found out about linoleic oils.
I feel like I’m becoming so obsessed with my skin issues that its taking over my mind. Your blog has inspired me and given me hope. But I feel lost. Is there any advice you can offer? Is it possible pumpkin seed oil could be too drying for my skin and causing more sebum?
I eat very clean, organic and local. I changed to a paleo/primal (diet) after having gut issues and removed all grains. I don’t know what else I can do. My acne is not severe but it is definitely persistent and terrible around when my cycle starts. If you get a moment and could offer any advice at all I would SO SO much appreciate it. Thank you for all of your knowledge.
Thank you so much for the nice compliment! The first thing that comes to my mind is that you are doing too much to your skin. Also if you recently changed you diet to heal gut issues, continue eating healthy whole foods and be patient. I recently read that the best diet for your body is the one that makes you feel amazing. I completely agree. Your skin will continue to heal as your gut heals. It takes time. Skin health and digestive health are completely intertwined.
If you think about all of the years your digestive system may have been out of balance, expecting immediate improvement within a month or two isn’t realistic. It is so important to be calm and nurturing to your body as it heals. It can take six months to a year to see a complete transformation after a healthy dietary change while using simple natural skin care. Organic whole foods heal the body and I believe our bodies default mode is good health.
When you feed your body the best organic fuel for your bodies specific needs, the body has the right nutrients to do its healing job.
As for skin care if you can be makeup-free for a day or two, stop your skin care regimen all together. Rinse your face with water on those days and call it done. You will find that time off mentally and emotionally refreshing especially if you stay out of the mirror. It will also give your skin a much needed break. I found this very helpful when I was obsessing over my skin’s appearance. Stressing doesn’t help anyway!
I have found that with skin care, as well as most other things too, that less is more. The whole “five step skin care system” is a wonderful marketing for companies to make money. You don’t need as many products when you are not stripping your skin with harsh cleansers in the first place or using harsh acne products to fight your skin.
Also it is possible to over exfoliate you skin.
Using baking soda especially isn’t a good option for exfoliating or skin care in general because it is extremely alkaline. Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap is also extremely alkaline for skin. Using both extremely alkaline and acidic products cause major havoc on the skin’s acid mantle. The skin’s acid mantle has the main function of protecting and balancing the skin. It is important to allow the skin to fully heal and for the acid mantle of the skin to become strong again and intact. Drying cleansers, harsh exfoliants, strong acid peels, soap, etc. create a lot of skin imbalances.
Simple Skin Care…
A simpler skin care regimen for your acne prone skin would be oil cleansing twice a day using a high linoleic oil along with a microfiber cloth to gently exfoliate the skin each time. You can read exactly how I oil cleanse here. Wash your microfiber cloth after every use with soap and water and change your cloth every 1-2 days. If you enjoy using hydrosols go for it, then moisturize with your high linoleic oil.
Once a week do an herbal facial steam. If you want to also do another treatment, follow your weekly herbal facial steam with a gentle exfoliation with just plain oats (colloidal oatmeal) or a clay and apple cider vinegar mask. Mixing apple cider vinegar with (Aztec Healing Clay) bentonite clay creates the perfect pH for your skin. As your skin heals you will be able to get away with doing less with your skin care regimen over time.
Using Retin-A or other harsh skin exfoliants/chemical peels/acne topicals treat the skin as the enemy as if it is unable to heal itself. Gentle exfoliation is important which is why I use a microfiber cloth. I also have no idea why I don’t hear about dermatologists suggesting dietary changes before offering drying harsh acne treatments or oral prescriptions to treat acne. Treating acne isn’t helpful, healing the body from the inside out is.
Be patient because you are on the right track! I think it is so great that you have begun to do your own research to find the best way for you to heal your body. As your body heals so will your skin.
I hope this helps and best wishes!
(Image by Dawn Michelle)