Back when I posted about my Amish Beard, more than a few people caught the whole "I think I've finally got my acne under control" thing. They asked for details and an explanation and HOOOOW?, but I was all "Man, that makes for some boring blogging." I emailed a few people and talked to a few on twitter about how I finally got things under control and was going to leave it at that.
But then I remembered that I've never really cared if it's boring up in here. Ahoy! Bring on the boring post about controlling acne! (Feel free to skip this if it isn't your thing. I promise I won't be offended. Much.)
So. Thing the first is that I strongly believe that what works for one person doesn't work for another. I have friends who can wash their faces with the crappiest soap on earth and have absolutely glowing complexions. Meanwhile, I can go through an elaborate production with over-priced products and still end up with -meh-. It seems that -meh- is actually as good as it's going to get for me (I've even tried going dairy-free and gluten-free to see if food allergies were part of the problem, which was a pretty radical experiment for someone who thinks pizza is a food group). I'm embracing -meh- because -meh- is a heck of a lot better than what I had even just a year ago.
Anyway, now that we have that "sorry if this doesn't work for you" disclaimer out there, I'll say that salicylic acid is the devil as far as I'm concerned. If my face so much as enters a room where it is, MAJOR breakout. It's because of that fact that I made a discovery that has probably been the main reason things are much better lately. I was standing in the face junk aisle at Target trying to figure out which toner I wanted to buy. Olay Oil Minimizing Toner has been my favorite for a while now because it seems to find dirt that other products don't. As I perused its ingredients and compared to other products to make sure no salicylic acid was trying to sneak into my life if I tried something new, I noticed a little something that made me stop and think.
Hydrogenized castor oil.
There's castor oil in Olay Oil Minimizing Toner. I thought it seemed weird that there would be oil in a product that is supposed to get rid of oil, so I took to Google to try to find an explanation. After all, it seemed like that product actually did find dirt on my face when I had already washed it with a zillion other things.
That Google search led to a reminder of middle school chemistry. Water repels oil. Oil attracts oil. Remember that? With that reminder in my head, it suddenly didn't make sense to wash my face with water. It's just pushing the gunk INTO my pores, right?
A little bit more Googling happened and I eventually discovered the Oil Cleansing Method. Basically, you mix castor oil with some other oils and you wash your face with them. AND IT WORKS. For real. I've been doing it for over a year and while it hasn't completely cured my adult acne, it definitely is better. DEFINITELY. If you want to hear me wax poetically about how much it has improved the blackhead and oversized pore situation, ask me. I'll happily sing a song, do a dance, and tell you all about it. For hours.
The tricky part of the Oil Cleansing Method is that you have to experiment and experiment and experiment until you find the right oils and quantities for you. I'm currently at 50% castor oil, 25% grapeseed oil, 20% jojoba, and 5% tea tree oil. That blend seems to be working for me. Other blends caused cystic acne (Fun! NOT.) or dried my face out too much, but a little more trial and error led me down the path of improvement.
There is a ton of information online about OCM, so I'll just say check here and here and here for posts from other people who have had great success with it. I'm over a year into being dedicated to it and some of those people have been doing it even longer, so it's really not a fad.
I do the OCM thing four nights per week right now. I use the Olay Oil Minimizing Toner along with Olay Regenerist Detoxifying Facial Scrub on my off days. That's mostly a lazy thing. OCM takes a few minutes and sometimes I just want to go to bed, so I cheat. I also use benzoyl peroxide on the rare occasions that I end up with a breakout. The last factor is that I use Retin-A every night, but that prescription actually came about because it is supposed to help clear up the old acne scars. I'm not sure if it really makes a difference with the acne or not since the recent two months I wasn't using it were so stress-filled that I couldn't tell you if it was helping or hurting or what.
Long of the short, the Oil Cleansing Method is the main factor that seems to have fixed things. It took a while to figure out how to make it work for me, but it was totally worth the effort.
That concludes the longest, most boring post I've ever written. Don't you dare disagree with that because I'd rather not read through my archives and discover just how many boring posts I have. (HINT: All of them.)
Wait! Here's a random photo that has nothing to do with anything. It just seems appropriate to make this post even longer than it already was.
WAIT! One more thing. I only needed a couple more words to go over 1000 words in this post, so here they are. Do I get a cookie?