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Oil Cleansing Method (OCM)


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Oil Cleansing Method (OCM)

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Oil Cleansing Method (OCM)

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Reviewed on May 19, 2017

I have tried OCM for three days, developed the most terrible irritation and breakouts I have ever encountered in my life (had relatively clear skin before, except some breakouts because of makeup) and here is my review on it:

(I have Master's degree in Biochemistry. If you don't agree with something I'm going to say or provide, you can leave a comment below and we can figure out it together. Also, English is not my first language, so I can make mistakes. Sorry.)

Many people use oils (ideally cold pressed organic 100% pure) as a replacement of skincare. Yes, such words as organic, all natural, full of vitamins and minerals sound really good and people leading organic lifestyle propagate the usage of those.

You know, there are oils that can clog your pores. They do so by increasing follicular hyperkeratosis—an increased production of keratin in hair follicles. Over time, this leads to clogged follicles and comedones. Thus, oils with the low comedogenic score are safe to use. This is nothing I’m going to talk here about.

So, what are these beloved avocado, rosehip seed, grape seed, hemp seed, olive, safflower, coconut, etc oils?

Well, 60% of each are fatty acids. Among these, in the vast majority of cases, 95% are linoleic and oleic acids.

Thus, oils are concentrated chemical solutions.

Linoleic acid (18:2) is scaled by NFPA 704 as level 2 hazard to health (0-4), meaning intense or continued but not chronic exposure could cause temporary incapacitation or possible residual injury (e.g. diethyl ether, ammonium phosphate). The next point on the scale is this one: 3 - short exposure could cause serious temporary or moderate residual injury (e.g. liquid hydrogen, carbon monoxide, calcium hypochlorite).

Oleic acids (18:1) is scaled 1 by HMIS: - exposure would cause irritation with only minor residual injury (e.g. acetone, sodium bromate).

Safety data sheets in chemical/biochemical labs state:

Adverse Human Health: Material may be irritating to the mucous membranes and upper respiratory tract

Effects and Symptoms: May be harmful by inhalation, ingestion, or skin absorption. May cause eye, skin, or respiratory system irritation.

Indeed, 1 of 2 people is sensitive to even organic cold pressed natural oils and develop the worst irritation and breakouts they have ever had in their lives even because low or non-comedogenic oils.


Answers hide in the nature of fatty acids and how they act when applied topically.

Studies show that even micromolar concentrations of palmitic (C16, saturated acid) and oleic acids incorporate into the sarcoplasmic reticulum membrane (an inner cell organelle, surrounded by lipid bilayer) and reduce the content of phospholipids in the membrane. (Leo G et all, 1983)

A consequence of enhanced skin permeability and/or toxicity with fatty acids is increased transdermal water loss (lauric, oleic acids). The intercellular lipids (permeate through the whole membrane) have an important function in maintaining the barrier to water permeation through the skin and for holding water in the skin, removing of intercellular lipids produced chapped and scaly skin. Maximum permeation enhancement was observed for fatty acids of 9 to 12 carbon atoms and for fatty alcohols of 10 to 12 carbons. Among saturated fatty acid, the maximum enhancement was shown by lauric acid (C12). (M. Loden at all, 2000)

Remember, when tests say the maximum or elevated score they don’t say other substances scored 0, as permeation ability was shown for many other fatty acids, as myristoleic, palmitoleic, linoleic, oleic, lauric and many others.

Let’s be clear. The skin permeation effect of fatty acids indeed depends on the chain length and saturation. But the thing is oils do not contain very short fatty acids or contain only trace amounts of those (chains of very very short fatty acids are too short to incorporate into the lipid bilayer, therefore didn’t show irritation reactions). Also, it’s not the deal with a specific membrane, as all of them have the same basis.

In an irritation test in nude mice, 10% oleic acid caused severe irritation. Oleic acid was also evaluated in guinea pigs, with 5% producing significant epidermal damage. Various fatty acids have been examined in humans by applying for 3 h under occlusion using concentrations 0. 16 M. Oleic acid resulted in an elevated score and visible erythema and edema. (M. Loden, 2000)

Another study shows linoleic acid produced significant irritation on human skin (Michael A et al, 1975).

Also, prior studies on the relative irritancy of free fatty acids revealed the saturated C8 to C14 fatty acids and a C18 unsaturated fatty acid to be the most irritating. Another study says that among saturated free fatty acids from C3 to C18, and unsaturated C18 free fatty acids that were applied daily under occlusive patch tests to human skin until detectable erythema appeared, the most irritating fatty acids were C8 through C12. Of the unsaturated fatty acids tested, only linoleic acid produced irritation ( it was the only tested, though).

Also, notice that different tests evaluated different fatty acids and therefore one can say the most irritating was this acid/only this acid showed irritation, while an another test names different acid due to different samples included. Studies say they applied oils until the detectable erythema occurred, thus erythema occurred in all applied saturated fatty acids. Among these, they evaluated the most irritating samples.


All people say oils are good natural carriers of vitamins and minerals to the skin. Oh yes, they are very good carriers, as they disrupt lipid bilayer (membrane that surrounds our cells) incorporating in it and therefore make it easier for other substances to penetrate through it.

But our skin is not designed as frogs skin, which consume near 10% of oxigen within it. Our skin is a barrier, nourished by minerals, vitamins and fatty acids, etc. supplied by blood, thus there is no need to disrupt the natural barrier in order to deliver minerals and vitamins topically.

But even people that develop skin irritation and breakouts can safely consume different types of oils. Even mice like food flavoured with oil more. What’s the secret behind it? The thing is our digestive tract has a layer of mucus that protects it, also it regenerates really fast and digest all sort of organic compounds starting from our mouth.


Let’s look at one example. There is a compound called PTC (phenyltiocarbamide). It has extremely bitter taste. Evolution gifted us an ability to detect bitter tastes bacuse at the most cases bitter means toxic. So, when you can distunguish many bitter substances, you have better chances of survival.

But turns out that we vary in the ability to taste PTC and among different nations and populations only certain amount of people can taste it (from 16% to 40%). But it doesn’t mean for those who can’t distunguish the taste, it’s beneficial and they can eat it without councequences.

The same is with topical irritation. Not everyone develope the reaction, but it doesn’t mean it’s beneficial for those (we are not talking about allergies here, just irritation!)

Most people experience some sort of reaction after some time of continuous application, as irritation may be induced by repeat disturbance of barrier function.

Maybe you also wonder how oils helped some people to battle acne(especially oil cleansing method) It turns out, they aren’t sensible to the mechanism in which fatty acids act. Okay, fatty acids act the same on their skin, they just don’t develop a visible reaction to it. Thus, fatty acids could dissolve makeup traces that can irritate their skin, or dissolve natural sebum that clogs pores and not to cause irritation by itself.


by Lidia.REN on 05/19/2017 18:39
WHY DO PEOPLE BELIEVE USING OILS TOPICALLY IS GOOD FOR SKIN? 1. People are leaded by the fact that linoleic acid is a natural component of human sebum. Let’s investigate. Triglycerides and fatty acids, taken together, account for the predominant proportion (57.5%), followed by wax esters (26%) and squalene (12%). The least abundant lipid in sebum is cholesterol, which with its esters, accounts for the 4.5% of total lipids. (Greene RS et all, 1970) Linoleic acid (18:1) and oleic (18:2) are only less than 15% (there are also different linear monounsaturated acids with 18 carbons) of all fatty acids (they are 57.5% of sebum), thus less than 9 % of sebum are linoleic and oleic acids (B. Boughton et all,1959) It’s not healthy smearing concentrated fatty acids on your skin, even though it’s produced by sebaceous glands in some quantity naturally. Most people imagine human sebum as a blend of fat and some small amount of water. It’s not like this at all. Think about this: we can obtain not only oils from seeds but cyanide too. It will be 100% natural and organic, but would you smear it all over your skin? (the toxicity isn’t relative, but It’s just an example that not everything obtained from plants are good for health). Indeed, human sebum is a unique substance, that can maintain itself when supplied with essential by blood (by the food we eat). It is unique in particular, the pathways leading to the formation of lipids, which are typically sebaceous, such as branched fatty acids and fatty acids with unshared unsaturation positions: features unique to sebum are the branched chain fatty acids and lipids with the particular pattern of unsaturation. Δ6 desaturase enzyme (fatty acid desaturase-2) catalyzes a “sebaceous-type” reaction of desaturation that leads to particular compounds, unique to humanΔ6 desaturase preferentially converts palmitic acid (16:0) to sapienic acid (16:1, Δ6), which is unique to the human sebum and represents ca. 25% of the total fatty acids. Elongation of sapienic acid by 2-carbon unit and further unsaturation leads to the formation of sebaleic acid (18:2, Δ5,8), which is also peculiar of human sebum. (Ge L. et al, 2007). We cannot deliver fatty acids that are synthesised only by human cells topically. 2. People that don’t develop any kind of visible bad reaction experience very soft, “hydrated” skin. Of course, skin is soft after continuous application of oils, as they disrupt elastic membranes and make skin very supple in that way. There is one Polish saying “co bagato, to niezdrawo”, meaning when there is too much of something it’s not healthy. Even though vegetable, seed, nut oils are all natural this doesn’t mean they can replace human sebum and can be used safely on the skin. We have a need in linoleic acid, but mainly in our food or some severe conditions that demand the topical application of oils (can be helpful for people that don’t develop visible irritation).
by Lidia.REN on 05/19/2017 18:47
also, I have to note that the irritation because of oil application can last for a long time and develop into a chronical form...
by Plant_nerd on 06/24/2017 04:32
Thank you for sharing so much information and citing your sources, I have a Biology degree, so I can understand all the hard work you put into this paper. 🙏🏻 Thank you
Not for me
Reviewed on May 14, 2017

I'll start off by saying I have normal skin, I found out about oil cleansing on YouTube and thought I'd give it a try, and long story short, it didn't work. I used coconut oil and I know there's tons of different oils to use but that's what I used. It didn't really make my skin worse but it also didn't make it better. The only thing it did is make my skin a little bit smoother and softer afterwards. Although every person is different, it may work for you and it may not.

Insufficient cleansing - more whiteheads and acne as a result
Reviewed on March 31, 2017

I tried for 2.5 months, but gave up on it now after only getting more and more whiteheads and an occasional cyst. I tried a mix of castor oil, sunflower seed oil and the last month with a little Argan oil in the mixture. I massaged it in for 10 min every night, and cleaned of with fresh new washcloth and warm water. It did get a little grit off my skin, but I could still feel a lot of grit being stuck in my pores and not coming out. I just purchased acne.org regimen and hope for better results... and hope I later on can skip the BP During pregnancy and nursing. Ocm didn't work for me and I really had high hopes that it would :-(

destroyed my face - CAUSED IMPETIGO
Reviewed on February 3, 2014

Ive tried this twice now, both times ended in DISASTER. The first two weeks of this, my skin looks fantastic. I was bragging about the results of OCM to people. the first time I did this 2 years ago, it was great then all of a sudden my skin started to breakout on the side of my face (from temple down to middle of cheek). I had NEVER broken out in this area before, its always been forehead and around mouth, jaw. It went from great, to possibly as bad or worse then it was before i started. I ended developing a staph infection (impetigo) on my face cause there was such a bad breakout from it. I took several antibiotic rounds before it cleared and it took a whole year to get rid of the redness from the lasting scars it gave me. I don't know WTH I was thinking but I kept hearing oh you just did it wrong, it works a miracle yada yada so I did it again two months ago. This is a good 2.5 years since the last time. guess what, Looked great for first week and then before I knew it in a month I had HUNDREDS of tiny clogged bumps under the skin (along my jaw which was clear for years before this) that all came up. It was such a bad breakout that once again I developed impetigo and I'm on antibiotics again!!!! URGH I feel like an idiot for trying this a second time. It may work for some but my skin absolutely HATES oil clearly. will never ever do it again and put myself through what Ive gone through. how on earth does that even make sense to rub oil on your face when your pores are living breathing and always open to trap what goes on it? they need oxygen not products let alone OIL (bacteria breed in oil it's their food for goodness sake). absolute lunacy for my skin. furious and frustrated, sometimes "new trends" are not the big end all solution pffff.

by pat123go on 04/09/2017 08:22
Damn going through what you're going through right now. It's embarrassing and I'm breaking out on my chin insanely with a bunch of white heads. Idk if should jump on the regimen right away or not.
by sam3007 on 07/25/2017 02:59
Hi, I used coconut oil as a moisturizer. An year later, I got hundreds of under the skin bumps and clogged pores on my forehead. A few months later I have acne on the sides of my forehead and temple area. Another few months and I have an entire cluster of acne on both temples and sides of forehead. By acne I mean really bad Cystic acne, that too at 27 and I had never gotten anything like this. The isolated clusters looked hedious and moreover the acne seem to spread really easily. Can you plz tell me if you had a similar experience and how did you get rid of this.
Hempseed Oil is Amazing!
Reviewed on December 12, 2016

I have been on the Regimen for years, it is the first thing that kept my skin mostly breakout free, ever. ( thank you Dan) I am 51 and thought I would grow out of acne years ago. I found too much of the jojoba oil would break me out, so I looked for other oils. Olive, coconut, shea butter,all were terrible. Then I tried hemp oil and it was magic. I finally dared to give up the Regimen and try using only Hempseed oil. I could not believe it, works even better than the Regimen. It is green and I don't like the smell, but it is not too bad. I think it works because it is 0 on the comedogenic scale and it is a high linoleic acid oil. After this was working well, I read about pumpkin seed oil and tried that. No go. Pimples after 2 days. The Hempseed oil cleared them up in a couple of days. Can't believe it took almost 40 years to find such a simple solution to a lifelong problem.

Worst thing that ever happened to me!
Reviewed on December 2, 2016

I read positive things about the OCM and since I always tend to break up a bit during the summer (looking back this is nothing), I decided to try it. After 10 days into it (I used jojoba & castor oil) I noticed that I started to break out. I immediately stopped the OCM. Now, 6 weeks later I have cystic acne all over my chin that keeps getting worse by the day and is slowly expanding to my cheeks and neck. I have never had acne like this before; never more than maybe 2-3 pimples at a time, mostly none at all. I already went to see a derm and she told me that it's not a good idea to put oil on your face when you're acne prone. She prescribed some topicals I have now been using for 2 weeks, but cannot see an improvement. I cannot believe I did this to myself and am afraid my skin will never fully recover. I wish I had never come across it. Don't try it, it's not worth it. I'm desperate and all out of ideas...

by smiles23 on 01/22/2017 21:28
Hi there, I feel your pain same thing happened to me. I was stupid enough to have done this twice over a 3 year period, hoping the second time I "did it right". Left me with severe acne and impetigo. awful, just awful.
by NotCleanAndNotClear on 01/28/2017 12:38
@smiles23 - thanks! Around Christmas I started using BP at night (no moisturizer on top) and it started getting better immediately. 4 weeks into it I am only left with marks (maybe some scars?) and dryness from the BP. I also took a round of antibiotics before, but that did nothing. I hope you feel better soon!
by Deniseipoo on 03/02/2017 08:10
Can I ask what is bp?
by sam3007 on 07/25/2017 03:25
1. @deniseipoo - I think BP is Benzoyl Peroxide 2. @NOTCLEANANDNOTCLEAR - I have two questions and would be grateful if you could answer them . How did you finally get rid of this problem . Did it ever come back with the same intensity without u applying any oil on your face I have the exact same problem of acne in clusters after I used coconut oil. It ruined my skin big time. I have it on both sides of my forehead. I tried everything including oral antibiotics and Nothing helped but for some reason BP helped immediately.
Works like a dream, but you HAVE TO do it right
Reviewed on October 23, 2016

I started the oil cleansing method in '13 when I was laid off from my job and could no longer afford my meds for cystic acne. I read the article about OCM by CrunchyBetty and decided that it could never work the way she suggested so I tweaked it and still used benzoyl peroxide. It did not work at all to clear my acne. But one thing I found fascinating is that it did not make it worse either.

I stayed on this regimen and just lived with my acne being the way it was for about 6 months. I finally stumbled across the article again and read the whole thing this time. I discovered I was making a lot of mistakes.

You have to use high quality Castor oil as a base and another non comedogenic oil. Olive and Coconut oil WILL NOT work. Do not add essential oils either. Especially not tea tree. It strips your face of oils. I know this all sounds counter intuitive, but its true.

I use a mixture of cold pressed organic Castor oil and Grape seed oil. I have two small bottles of the oils in my bathroom closet. I mix a small amount together in my hand. I usually do 75% castor oil and 25% grape seed oil. If my skin is dry that day I add more grapeseed oil. I swirl it around on my face in upward circular motions for about 1 minute and then wash it off with a warm wet washcloth. The washcloth part takes the longest. Keep rinsing the towel and wiping your face for about 2 minutes.

At this point, I use oxy pads with 2% salicylic acid. Its really important that if you're going to use acne meds that you refrain from using any that strip your skin of oil. The oxy pads I use are alcohol based and have no sulfates. They are usually the cheapest kind with the least amount of ingredients.

The makeup you use is really important too. I used to wear the cakiest foundation while on Ocm at the beginning and it still worked but I still got some painful acne every once in awhile. Then I heard about medical grade BB cream. This stuff is used for burn victims and people who have had cosmetic surgery to help heal and restore the skin. My skin was so damaged from decades of acne and after two years its almost completely clear. I use Missha BB cream which is available through Amazon. Not all BB cream is medical grade though. Do your research.

Three years later I am completely free of acne and almost clear of scars! If you're wondering if the transition period is worth it, it definitely is. If you are scared to go off meds, you can start by washing your face with oil and still use your topical meds. I just really don't recommend benzoyl peroxide. I know for a fact that clindamycin and differin gel will work with this method as they have no oil stripping agents. When you feel brave enough you can try going without the meds, but always talk to your doctor about these things. I only started this because I had no other option.

Some things to consider about ocm:

•you cannot use soap or surfactants on your face ever or it will not work. Research the products you use.

•there is a transition period of about 2-3 weeks and it could get worse before it gets better (my skin just felt itchy-but my acne did not get worse-everyone is different

•Its worth mentioning again- DO NOT use olive or coconut oil. They WILL give you more acne

•Use castor oil and another non-comedogenic oil (grape seed, sunflower, jojoba, almond) and figure out what works for you.

•Having a backup remedy for acne helps too- I used brewers yeast for a month or two and it helped clear me up. I've read that turmeric can help too

•Clean your face twice a day

•Google CrunchyBetty OCM and read her articles about OCM. Stick to it religiously

I hope I've helped!

Good luck!

OCM removed loads of my whiteheads in a week
Reviewed on October 20, 2016

I have been using OCM with sunflower oil and olive oil (no castor oil) and it was worked wonders for my whiteheads. I will be experimenting with castor oil soon. I definitely recommend this cleansing method.

Work wonders for me
Reviewed on October 14, 2016

I may have gotten lucky, because the first oil I tried was olive and it hit the spot!

About myself: I am 36, my skin was always far from flawless, but with certain skin care products I was able to keep it at about 75% flawless for the most part of my adult years. It looked nearly flawless during my pregnancy in 2011 though. Since those blessed times I've switched different skin care products and just couldn't seem to find my skin's soulmate. My skin was just okay, thankfully there's nothing that Bare Minerals can't cover, right? Well, this past spring I got hit hard with rosacea (it used to surface but not often), dry flaky skin, painful breakouts that would not go away and if I tempered with them I'd get scars that would not diminish and would stay for weeks!! My skin was red all over, with dark purple-ish bumps. It was dry and itchy, reacting to everything I've used before with no problem, I'd apply a moisturizer and it would hurt... The whole thing seemed like a never ending nightmare! Until I gave the Oil Cleansing Method a try.

Again, I think I got lucky because the first oil I tried was the right kind for me. I used olive oil every night for about two weeks before mixing castor oil in and I learned that I can only use one drop of castor oil per 2 Tbs of olive oil. Anything more than that causes a pimple or two. In the mean time, I tried other oils just because I am curious and love trying new things and also because of the hype surrounding the OCM all over the internet. I tried avocado - too thin for me, my skin feels dry after OCM. I tried hemp seed oil - caused allergic reaction, as I'd start massaging it in I'd feel little bumps appear out of nowhere and I'd stop and try hemp oil in a day or two, same thing would happen and I quit it after a few tries. I tried jojoba oil and don't get me started on how it wrecked havoc on my poor face! My face turned bright red as I cleansed it with jojoba oil! Similar thing happened with sweet almond, sesame and apricot oil. Olive oil is the only oil that I tried which brightens my skin, cleans my pores, diminishes fine lines little by little, reduces redness and castor oil makes my skin look and feel hydrated. So, when I wash my olive/castor mix off my face, my skin is bright, plump and clear of redness and blemishes. I am extremely happy that I finally can look at myself in the mirror without nearly having a heart attack haha and I am happy I started off with the oil that worked for me.

The only con is that olive oil is a little heavy and my OCM takes about 20 min every night but hey, beauty requires sacrifices ;)

Just starting out the oil cleansing method
Reviewed on June 16, 2016

I'm asian and have sensitive/ oily skin. I have occasional hormonal acne on the chin and the sides of my face and I found out about the oil cleansing method and have only started this method for about a month now. From the reviews that I have read, people usually use castor oil and In the beginning I started with just Grapeseed oil cos its supposed to be good for oily and acne skin and I couldn't find castor oil in my country, I have ordered it online and Im just waiting for it to arrive. All the reviews that I have read has said that in the earlier stages the method will cause your skin to breakout and after a while your skin will get better. I'm starting to get worried cos I have been breaking out a lot more than usual, I have breakouts on the forehead now and more of the sides of my face. These breakouts are not that bad, they're just little red spots and it makes my skin grainy and rough. I have switched my oil to sunflower oil cos I read its a high linoleic oil and it is not comedogenic. I've been reworking with the sunflower oil for about a few days now and my skin still hasn't gotten better. I dont know what I should do? Should I continue with the method or just stop? Cos people's reviews have been saying that to just stick it out for a few months. Help! I need advice!

by sadface18 on 07/01/2017 23:39
Did you stick to it? Did it help??