Sunday, April 7, 2013
Oil Cleansing Experiment-Day 1
I'd like to say this experiment was an act of bravery...but in reality its an act of frustration and desperation. I've had acne since 7th grade. Before that, I remember being really proud of my skin because somehow even though I never washed it, it remained smooth and clear, much to my older sisters irritation. It was just waiting for my hormones to kick in and then all hell broke loose. Well, I guess thats being a little dramatic, it really didn't start off as being all that bad. In fact I think my mother was more worried about it than I was. I doubt I would have thought much of it besides being slightly worried it would turn into something worse like my brother had, and that might be why my mom almost immediately had my start taking tetracycline and Retin-A. They didn't work. The Retin-A came and went through the years but the tetracycline was given up on completely after awhile. After those things I tried just about every promising product that came along. Proactive was expensive and useless but there are so many people that it works for I've given it more than one try. I went on a special diet to no avail. I went to a dermatologist that gave us a discount if I agreed to do a before and after picture for their advertisements. This one seemed to help to begin with, and there were a few progress pictures taken but eventually, like everything else I've tried, it stopped working and the final after picture was never taken. There's been so many different cleansing programs that I've tried I can't even remember them all, but after everything was tried and failed, and it only seemed to get worse and completely ignore any treatment, I finally went to a doctor that agreed to let me go on Accutane. This is pretty strong stuff, and I knew it, but by that time I was in high school and my appearance did matter to me and I was finally to the desperation that has never really gone away. Every time I went in for a check up I had to have a pregnancy test and got lectured about what would happen if I got pregnant and was shown horrible pictures. Every time I picked up my prescription I had to wait for the pharmacist to have time to come out and give me the same lecture because they are required too. I had to sign a waiver saying I wouldn't get pregnant and if I did I wouldn't hold them liable (though I was told it was unlikely any baby would survive). I wasn't worried about that because I knew it wouldn't happen but looking back now it seems like it should have scared me a little more to be taking something that strong. However, it worked, and I was thrilled. The only side affects I seemed to have was really bad bloody noses and dry skin and mouth. My skin cleared up for the most part though of course I still had scars. By the time I was out graduating high school I could quit taking it. So, I was a little worried it would come back. I knew it would stay in my system for a long time and slowly the levels would go down until it was eventually gone, but it would take awhile. Here's what happened. As it went out of my system the acne slowly started coming back. Not as bad as before, so I wasn't too upset about it, but definitely there. Long story short and probably thousands of dollars later, here I am with adult acne that, while different than the pre-Accutane acne, is almost as bad if not worse at times. I actually think its hormone related and will probably never go away unless I want to spent a lot of money on tests and hormone therapy (another conversation altogether), but it doesn't really stop me from trying. The thing is, there are so many people out there making money off of people like me. Desperate, tired of trying things, will put pretty much anything on their face no matter what the cost. And the cost is high, monetarily, and in the damage it does to the skin. Not to mention the emotional cost when it fails and you realize you just fell for yet another scam. I guess here I should say there are good products out there and companies that really did get started to help people like me. Unfortunately those products are incredibly expensive and some can't even be purchased unless you go to a dermatologist or specialty store, and unless I start playing and then win the lottery I can't use those products on a regular basis.
The things that seem to work the best for me is exfoliation, and regular washing. I have tried washing less thinking maybe that was part of the problem but I just ended up with worse breakouts that took longer to heal. We recently got an Ulta in our area so I started trying out some of the nicer products they had. I'm probably their favorite customer now...but I stopped liking my trips there and now I wish they'd never shown up and have resolved to only buy makeup and hair products there from now on. So I decided if my skin is going to refuse to get better why waste all this money on it. I started looking at home made skin cleansers. I found a few promising recipe's but the one that intrigued me the most was the oil cleansing method. Most of them mix Castor oil with another oil and somehow that is suppose to dissolve the oil on your face, break down plugs in your pores, and give you healthy self-healing skin. At first, of course, I thought it sounded a little ridiculous since I've spent a lot of money keeping oil off of my face, but after reading a few articles and blogs it started to sound like it was at least worth a try. After looking a little longer I found some people who had had some bad experiences with it. This wasn't just failure. This was really bad deep cystic acne breaking out all over their skin. I can't even explain to you unless you've had it how horrible that particular form of acne is to have. I have a few minor areas with it and would do just about anything to get rid of it. They last for what seems like forever and they can be very painful, especially if their is a lot of them. So it started to worry me a little. I have it bad enough, I certainly don't need it to get any worse. However, with some encouragement from my health conscious sister, I decided I would give it a try (carefully). My plan is to only do it two nights a week as more of a treatment than a nightly washing routine. I'll alternate it with a natural face wash that I found that claims not to disrupt the acid mantle of the skin. After awhile if all goes well I might try increasing how often I do it, but this is where I'm going to start. I can't help but hope it will be the one thing that will clear up my skin, but I'd be happy with it keeping the breakouts to a minimum and making the actual quality of my skin look more healthy.
Last night I tried it for the first time. I mixed equal parts castor oil and jojoba oil with a drop of tea tree oil and a few drops of rose hip oil. It smelled ok, the rose hip oil smells, well, I'm sure you know what it smells like, not wonderful, but not bad either. I rubbed it into my skin for a few minutes then as directed put a hot wash cloth on my skin to dissolve the oil and wipe it off. This took a few tries. More than I expected. I had the water pretty hot and left it on for what seemed like a pretty long time, but in the end it didn't really feel like I had gotten it all the way off. I decided i'd leave it since I didn't think it was a good idea to start scrubbing on my face with the washcloth. It did remove all my makeup but since I only use mineral powder with a little cover up in the worst spots I don't know if thats really saying much. This morning I used the natural wash that I bought to alternate with and that took off the residual oil and what had built up on my face over night (which is generally a lot and last night was no exception). I noticed that the white head breakout that had been happening on my neck seemed better by maybe 70%. So that made me happy since it sort of looked like a rash it was so bad. It didn't really seem to help blackheads which is sort of what I was expecting from reading other peoples experiences. So like I said I'm going to keep it to more of a treatment than a constant thing and hopefully that will keep anything awful from happening. I'll use the natural cleanser for a few nights and then do the oil again and see how it goes. The other things I'm using are an exfoliation brush (but only with the cleanser not the oil) and a blue light (which seems to keep the inflammation down and tighten my pores a little). I will also be trying to make my own charcoal masks again (I've done it before and liked it but sort of stopped because of the mess it makes). Today my skin seems a little oiler than normal. I don't know if thats my imagination because I'm expecting it or if its really cleared out pores releasing built up oil like is suppose to happen. So here I am back to this not being brave. Taking Accutane was an act of desperation and so is this. A healthier risk to be sure but still desperation, and if it fails I'll be right back to where I end up after everything I try. Hopefully, at least, not worse off...