Cleansing, redefined.

SUPER IMPORTANT: If you’re not familiar with the principles of Paleo/Primal/Real Food Nutrition, you must understand that they are the foundation of any body care routine. My recommendations are meant to build upon the foundations of healthy eating as defined on my “What is Primal/Paleo?” page. No amount of oil cleansing can fix a nutritional deficiency, and nutritional deficiencies set the stage for acne, skin problems, hormonal imbalances, and – yes – stinky pits and bad hair. The quality and sources of our food – the only fuel we have – determines how well every single bodily process works.

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Update:You don’t have to work as hard at this regimen as it seems. One day per week of by-the-book cleansing (as explained below) is excellent, but the rest of the time you can do a few different things: You can massage coconut oil into your skin, then briefly steam with a warm washcloth and wipe off (once to remove makeup if necessary, then again to cleanse). You can allow the castor-oil blend to sit on your skin while you shower for built-in steaming, then wipe off. Moisturize with coconut oil for an extra anti-bacterial boost. Or, as reader Susie reminded me, a simple lye soap is a wonderful multi-purpose tool for those days when you need to speed up the routine!

See my post on Whole-Body Paleo here

And my “Body Care” page here.

In my Primal journey I’ve been led to re-evaluate so many of my personal-care practices.

First, nutrition. As my wise sister says, “food is the top personal care product you can get.” So true. Eating a diet of appropriately fed meats, grass-fed animal fats and fat from coconut oil and other healthful sources, along with lots of veggies, has improved everything from my disposition to my skin and dental health.

Next, my surroundings. While I’m a bit of a bleach addict (I can’t explain it – I just love the smell) I’ve played around with the idea of cleaning my home with beneficial bacteria – yup, probiotics like those found at SCD Probiotics. Why fight constantly re-colonizing “bad” bacteria when you can crowd them out with the good stuff and maintain that positive environment?

Last, the way I treat my skin has changed. Although I’m a SatFat-Phile, I found Dr. Loren Cordain’s e-book The Dietary Cure for Acne to be well worth the price.

But what truly sent me over the skin-clearing edge was tossing all the harsh/gentle/foaming/non-foaming/astringent/non-comodegenic CRUD I’d been smearing on my face for years in hopes it would treat a symptom (acne) rather than addressing the root cause (hormonal and bodily imbalances – as I did in this post). Switching to the Oil Cleansing Method, along with using Jojoba and Coconut oils exclusively to moisturize, truly made my skin better and more clear than it’s ever been. And I no longer put ingredients I can’t pronounce on my skin every day.

More on the Oil Cleansing Method can be found here, and I describe my personal regimen below. While it’s a more time-consuming process, it seems to balance incredibly effectively (much like proper nutrition).

First, my three basic oils: Castor for cleansing, and grapeseed as a skin-nourishing counter-balance to the intense cleansing ability of the castor. (I chose Grapeseed this time because I don’t want to cook with it but I had a nearly full jar. I also like Sunflower Seed oil.) I use the jojoba and coconut oils for moisturizing.

Castor oil has a long history in wound treatment and holistic medicine, and even Ayurvedic tradition. It’s incredibly potent, considered a topically-applied anti-inflammatory, and NOT EVER EVER EVER for cooking. Unless you’re not planning on hanging on to your meal for too long. (That’s a motility joke.)

I add 1 part Castor oil to 2 parts grapeseed oil for the cleansing mixture. In the evenings I apply a generous amount of the mixture to dry skin, massage for a few minutes, then apply a very warm washcloth to my face to steam the pores open, holding the hot cloth on my skin for a few minutes. As I learned in 7th Grade Biology (or as the interwebs tell me that I should’ve learned), “Like dissolves Like” – so does the cleansing oil dissolve the oily gunk stuck in my pores.

After the first stint with the hot washcloth, I massage the oil in again, steam again, then gently wipe any remaining oil off. If I’m feeling extra-thorough, I’ll repeat to be sure all residual oil is lifted. I pat my skin dry, then add a thin layer of Jojoba or Coconut oil.

Jojoba oil is actually a wax ester, and is extremely close in structure to the skin’s natural sebum. It creates the perfect balance – your skin won’t over-or under-produce oil when it’s nourished with jojoba. Coconut oil is great for more intensive moisture, and the Lauric Acid is thought to have a great affinity for the hair and skin. Both have anti-microbial properties and keep “bad” bacteria from thriving.

You can find all these oils at Whole Foods. The first week using the OCM I saw a nice little breakout – a detox, perhaps – but I stuck with it. After a week my skin began to steadily improve, and after a few months my skin looked amazing – better than the results of years of dermatological intervention.

In the morning I simply splash water on my face or add a teaspoon of baking soda to a dash of water and VERY gently sweep the baking soda across my skin for a gentle exfoliant.

I’ve been so happy with this routine, but I love to hear other experiences and suggestions – any favorites I should know about? Any beauty secrets I can steal, then repackage and pass off as my own? (Just kidding. Kind of.)

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68 Responses to “Cleansing, redefined.”

  1. Wow, I’m so tempted to try this, especially living in the Midwest (you know how that is) where my skin is so dry and cracked, even on my face at times.

    I’ve been seriously re-evaluating all the crap I put on my face to “help” it, which I think actually makes it worse.

    I recently got side-swept bangs and though I love them, the products I use to tame them have left my forehead a mess, even though I try and wash the product off a couple times a day with just a wet cloth. so I bought an exfoliant and a moisturizer with salycilic acid to help the breakouts and I started breaking out in OTHER places. I’ve always had good skin and now it seems like I’ve started a bad cycle.

    Do you think the oil regimen would help that?

  2. Oh, also: do you use hair products? How do you deal with the gunk coming in contact with your face?

    • Try it! My skin would get so scaly and lizard-like in the winter living in the midwest. I even bought a humidifier for my bedroom (which was somewhat helpful too). This definitely might take some getting used to, but I have very few problems with excessive dryness anymore. My skin is much more balanced, which seems to keep even minor breakouts from becoming Dante’s Peak – which they always did before. I also had little skin bumps all over my cheeks and forehead, which took FOREVER to clear…but they cleared, and I’d pretty much given up on them until I started using the OCM. They’d been there since the 8th grade. I do have to say that I was on an oral antibiotic for months, as well as a benzoyl peroxide cream AND a retinoid for awhile and didn’t achieve the natural balance through those drugs that I’ve found via the OCM (although I do covet the supposed anti-aging properties of prescription retinoids! Are those Paleo???)

      I have sideswept bangs too! I try to pin them back half the time, but my hair is naturally straight and fine (read:limp) so I don’t put much product on it at all. It just makes it more limp. My bangs are most easily styled if I start STRAIGHT out of the shower with soaking wet bangs and blow dry in the exact direction I want them to stay. When I want to smooth my hair a bit, I’ll put a tiny dab of coconut oil on there. I’ve been toying around with this http://prenatalcoach.com/no-poo-natural-alternative-shampoo/ a few times each week to try and wean my hair off normal shampoo. I hate my hair’s texture with this regimen, but it has started getting a little better. I do really love my shampoo from the Gluten-Free savonnerie but it’s expensive and you can’t really buy in bulk.

      • Hi! I am wondering about carbs, even real food carbs like sweet potato and such being a contributor to acne? I am already paleo but thinking I am a little more sensitive than some folks. I just wanted to ask your opinion about that and also let you know about Living Libations. Nadine Artemis lives in Canada and she makes organic, totally pure skin care, dental care, oils, etc etc…..it is a little expensive but definitely worth trying and having on hand for extra special care. Her shampoo is great and does not strip the hair. She makes a “Maiden Fern” blushing balm for lips and cheeks and her Best Skin Ever is amazing. Her products changed my life! Now, on to the finishing touches with tailoring my diet. She has many you tube videos to learn about her products. I am loving the podcasts!!!! Thanks Cave Girl..

      • Very cool! I will check that company out. I always love new suggestions. THANK YOU for listening to the podcast! It’s really fun to do, so it makes me happy that you enjoy it!
        Not so sure about “healthy” carbs and acne. I don’t think that sweet potatoes would register as inflammatory at all, although the skin of the sweet potato might. A diet that’s too high in carbohydrate and too low in fat was a problem for me (even with “good carbs.”) That said, if something is allergenic for you it COULD cause problems. You could play with this as an elimination plan…If it were me, I’d probably try supplementing with zinc and pre-formed Vitamin A/D/K2 (as in a cod liver oil/butter oil blend from greenpasture.org). Vitamin A and Zinc are both “skin friendly,” and many folks are zinc-deficient.

  3. I am a moisturizer/sun block LOVER! I moisturize everyday and find my skin stays breakout free when I do. I definitely am going to try jojoba oil for my new moisturizer.

    I love the Alba products for hair. They are all natural and smell so yummy. I tend to have dry hair so I don’t use their conditioner (it didn’t have the moisture power of the chemical stuff).

  4. This is a perfectly timed post. I’ve struggled with my oily skin forever and honestly think all the crud I put on it to *help* doesn’t help at all. Recently discovered paleo and am hoping it helps some. But ditching the old methods and turning to these oils might also help.

    Thanks for the info. I think I’ll try this out sometime soon. 🙂

    • You’re singin my song, Michelle! So glad this post resonated. Even working the OCM into your routine a few times each week might make a big difference; if that’s too time-consuming, simply switching to jojoba oil as a moisturizer reduced so much of my skin sensitivity! Let me know how it goes!

  5. Do you do this every day? I have been doing the OCM, but the website I pulled it from said only to do it every 3 days, and well, I may or may not look like a teenage boy. Awesome for Christmas family photos. Also, coconut oil makes an amazing make up remover.

    • I do it daily, unless I’ve had too much wine! I think at the beginning it’s good to work it in a few days per week, but once you’ve got a handle on your skin and the right ratios of oils you can do it every day…what I tend to play with is the time spent. I may steam/massage four or five times in a row three days a week while only doing a quick massage/steam the other 4. Make sense? Clear as a mud masque?

  6. I love the smell of bleach, too! Weird, huh?

  7. This is very interesting. I have oily skin. Well, maybe the very edges of my cheeks are normal but there’s no part of my face that could be considered dry and I wouldn’t even say combination, I’d just say oily. The idea of rubbing more oil onto my face is a little weird, but it seems worth a try. Almost no product has ever irritated my skin (when I was a teenager, I got all the way up to the liquid nitro version of Retin-A before my skin got irritated). Anyway, for my skin type what combo of oils would you recommend?

    Thanks!

    • My quick answer would be use a higher proportion of castor oil – closer to 40 or even 50%. Your skin may feel extra tight after that, and there are a few approaches from there: If your skin feels TOO tight, you may want to dial back the castor. If you can put a bit of jojoba on (my favorite moisturizer) after cleansing and feel ok, you may want to roll with that. The most important thing to remember is definitely STICK WITH IT! You may see a sudden break-out, or even some increased oil production in the short-term. I’d say if your skin isn’t more calm and balanced after a few weeks, that’s a good time to re-evaluate.

      Also – cocoa pink (my favorite body care line) makes an oil cleanser that’s dedicated for oily skin. It’s approximately the same thing, but with some added oils. It may be worth a try! http://cocoapink.net/touchyoilcleanser.aspx

      • Thanks! I love the idea of a pre-made cleanser. I’m lazy and didn’t feel like seeking out the oils and an appropriate container and mixing them myself. I think I’ll try this cocoa pink stuff first.

      • I just received my CP oil cleanser in the mail, and it’s great – HOWEVER – it’s tiny! Just a lil tiny thing. Seems it WOULD be more cost-effective to make my own…

  8. I recently listened to your pod cast on the Food Lovers’ blog. I got really excited hearing about your skin care regiment. I have acne and chicken skin (Keratosis Pilaris) on my arms. This works wonders! I’ve already seen improvements and I’ve only been doing it for a week. Thank you so much for sharing!

    • This is so cool, Grace! Have you been using the OCM on your arms?

    • Hey Grace, I’ve been doing a little experiment to see how a Cod Liver Oil/Butter oil blend from Green Pastures helps my skin…it works wonders. Tastes bleh, but apparently KP is a sign of Vitamin A deficiency. Seems like a high-quality CLO is directly able to help KP. I will report more on this after a few weeks, but if you’re interested in giving this a try look at Green Pastures
      http://www.greenpasture.org/public/Products/ButterCodLiverBlend/index.cfm

      Important to get the high quality stuff, because it’s processed to maintain the vitamin D levels for an appropriate A to D ratio, which the cheaper brands don’t do. This has been more beneficial to me than fish oil. Possibly because CLO also contains EPA & DHA.

      • Sounds nasty! No one ever said being beautiful was easy. : ) Do you take this instead of your fish oil? My fish oil contains EPA & DHA, but it’s not 5000mg per tsp. Keep me updated…I may have to switch.

        Never knew this was a Vitamin A deficiency. That’s great to know!

      • I decided to back off on the fish oil a bit after reading Chris Kresser’s post: http://thehealthyskeptic.org/when-it-comes-to-fish-oil-more-is-not-better

        Husband & I do lots of pastured meats & ghee and have eliminated the industrial O-6 oils, so we backed off on the FO pills (it was so hard to take them, so we were looking for a reason to quit!) We like to think we maintain our ratio via the food we eat, but I will occasionally take some if I have some particularly Neo food or a corn-fed steak!

  9. Hello,

    I was wondering if you had an update regarding your OCM use. Your article really piqued my interest. I did some further digging and found a number of forums where people also had positive reviews, but I couldn’t find anyone who had stuck to it for more than a few weeks.

    Are you still using OCM? If so, can you let us know if it’s still working the same/better/worse?

    Thanks!

    -Helen S.

    • Hi Helen! I’d actually been using the OCM consistently for at least a year when I wrote this post. Maybe two…time has gotten away from me 🙂 But I’d never written about it before. Some days, like the days I don’t wear makeup (which NEVER happened before I started the OCM – I always wore makeup), I just do a quick rub/steam then go to bed. Other days (heavy makeup or workout days) I’ll work through the routine several times. It is by far my favorite way to cleanse my face. Not saying I haven’t skipped it a few times here and there out of laziness, but I usually pay the price.

      When the seasons change, I will sometimes change the proportions of castor to carrier oil. I add more carrier oil if my skin feels too tight after cleansing. When my skin feels particularly dry, I’ll use coconut oil to moisturize. The rest of the time I’ll use jojoba.

      AndreAnna, who writes Life As A Plate (www.LifeAsAPlate.com) and commented above, has been using this routine consistently for a long time as well, and she loves it!

      Does this help?

  10. I just read your blog post and I’m fascinated. I have two questions: First, my job has me working out/running/lifting/etc. at least every day, if not a few times a day (I’m a college coach). So far, I’ve just been using a regular face soap after workouts to get the sweat and dirt off, but I’m not too happy with that method. What do you recommend I do during the day for just quick cleaning? Second, what about suntan lotion? I want to protect my skin during the summer but often the suntan lotions create breakouts. Any ideas?
    Thanks so much!

    • First, let me say you sound like a total badass 🙂 Second, I think you’d be OK with just a swipe of baking soda to exfoliate OR simply massaging some coconut oil into your skin and wiping with a warm towel (soak towel/washcloth in very warm water, wring out, cover face for a few moments to allow pores to open, then wipe oil off).

      Suntan lotion: I’m working on a post! Please check back in a few days! I’m not withholding information, I just want to be sure I’m 100% informed before I start making recommendations. It’s probably best just to cover up with clothing, but that’s never comfortable in the warmest climates. I’ve already burned this year…ugh.

      • Thanks so much! I’ve been doing your cleaning regimen for a few days now and I love it already! Looking forward to your suntan lotion info. . .

  11. Day three into the OCM and I’ve been getting compliments about my complexion all over the place. Let me tell you- NEVER in my life has anyone ever complimented my skin. EVER. I was on heavy-duty Accutane as a late teenager, every damn antibiotic you can think of, and finally gave up and used 2.5% BP for the past 5+ years with “meh” results. The last 3 days have changed my life. Thanks for opening my eyes and my pores!!!

    • This is WONDERFUL! I always felt the same about BP, and when I told my dermatologist, she put me on a BP/Antibiotic COMBO…only, I wasn’t aware it was an antibiotic! I slathered my face with it every day for years. Ugh.

      Keep in touch!

  12. Hey there! I just found this post & I’m super interested in giving it a go. I don’t really have skin care issues, especially when I’m eating clean, but I just hate forking over the cash for such ‘fancy’ skin care products! I see there was already a question abt sunscreen but it still seems unanswered. I live on an island so sunscreen is a daily issue for me. Not so much for my whole body, but certainly on my face. What’s a gal to do for sunscreen? PS, is it totally weird that I mainly want to try this skin care/hair regime so I can freak out my non paleo/primal friends???

    • Nope, not weird at all! I got a text from my friend Hayley of Primal Palate (primal-palate.com) and she said that her family was very concerned about her statement that she was going “No ‘Poo” because they thought she meant something – ahem – different and thought she’d REALLY gone crazy!

  13. Hi 🙂 I started the OCM + No Poo at the same time (about 3-4 weeks ago)… No Poo is going great, but curious when you typically start seeing results from OCM? Face seems like it’s going more berzerk than ever….curious how long this ‘detox’ period lasts? Or maybe I’m doing it wrong…? Thanks!!

    • I’m glad to hear that No ‘Poo is going well! RE: The OCM…I have heard some different thoughts on this – for some, they just had a “feeling” that the OCM was right for them, so they suck with it for many weeks. For me, I felt like my skin’s oiliness was becoming very balanced almost right away so I felt confident sticking it out through a few breakouts. Other people realized it wasn’t right for them and went back to their old routines, but kept moisturizing with oils like coconut and jojoba. I do a quick massage of coconut oil over my skin and wipe with a warm cloth to be sure my makeup is totally off before starting the OCM, and then I’ve been ending with a thin layer of coconut oil lately as well. Are you having any gut feelings about what may (or may not) be going on?

  14. Did I read somewhere that you also made a vodka toner… delicious as well as cleansing.

  15. Thanks for your reply – I’ll need to definitely buckle down on the Paleo….very loosely paleo at the moment. Since my last post, though, the majority of the eruptions have settled down and flattened out…so that’s good news 🙂 I also added more coconut oil into the routine, which may be helping the situation. I can’t imagine a chemically laden wash or moisturizer working better than something natural, so I’m going to stick with it for a while. Also re: the no-poo … I am constantly amazed at how shiny my hair is without ANY product. My bf noticed within the first week that my hair felt better — the texture completely changed. Thanks for everything! xx

  16. Thank you so much for this post! I have been loving the OCM and think it’s really making a difference. I noticed that you said you stopped taking oral hormones as well. I’ve been considering doing this but have heard about a lot of side effects (including acne, mood swings, weight gain, etc.). I think I’m going to go off of them because I’m tired of it but was wondering if you could shed any light on what goes on after stopping long term birth control use (almost 5 years for me). Thanks for everything you do!

  17. I just tried this for the first time last night, and oh my wow! My skin is so soft this morning, the horrible bags under my eyes that have been greeting me every morning are barely there, along with these annoying red spots under my eyes. So happy that I no longer needs to waste hundreds of dollars on expensive skincare that does nothing. Thank you so much for putting this out there, my skin will forever be indebted to you. 😀

  18. Hi! I’m very interested in trying OCM. I am a long-time acne sufferer, but (kind of weird) I don’t have oily skin. I realize that nutrition is the biggest issue, but would you recommend the OCM to compliment paleo diet if I have “normal” skin? Thanks!!!

    • Absolutely! You just may find that a different ratio/balance of oils works better for you. Often folks with oilier skin like a higher percentage of castor oil, but you may end up using less!

      The single most helpful thing for my skin problems was diet…anything to quell inflammation (meaning I don’t indulge in nuts or grain-fed meats often, to help keep my O3:O6 ratio in balance). I also take a Cod Liver Oil/Butter Oil blend from greenpasture.org, which has helped. Second to all that is the OCM!

      Good luck, and if you try it, keep in touch!

      • I am allergic to dairy, so I wouldn’t be able to take the butter oil, but I will also try to take Cod Liver Oil with my other fish oil. I’m pretty sure my issues are a lack of O3 and excess O6. Thanks for the advice!

  19. I have to say I am very intrigued by this. I had horrible acne as a teen and used Acutane to clear my skin up. I am now 31, and for the past year or so my skin has started to return to it’s more oily state, and I am not pleased. I have also begun breaking out more. Nothing major, but annoying none the less. I think I’m going to go buy these products tomorrow and try out this regime.
    PS- I LOVE your blog!

  20. Hi Liz. What about sunscreen? I live in New Zealand with little ozone and we’ve been taught to always wear sunscreen.

    • It’s such a tough subject. My research indicates that most sunscreens (yep, even “Broad Spectrum” ones) can only protect against UVB rays and NOT UVA, which are the rays associated with malignant cancer. So sun seekers can get lulled into spending too much time in the sun because they’re blocking “burning” (UVB) rays, thinking they’re OK simply because they’re not burning, but they’re still being exposed to UVA rays – sometimes all day long! I personally ALWAYS try to cover up after I get moderate exposure, covering up before burning! Although that doesn’t always work in my favor…I’ve burned a few times this year. Ouch.

  21. I’ve recently made the switch from chemical-laden skin goo to a more natural alternative, rhassoul clay. It comes as a dry powder that you mix with water (and oil if you like) into a paste. So far great results using it as a face/body wash, my skin feels clean but without that ‘tight’ feeling modern cleansers leave me with.
    The place I buy it from also recommends using it as a hair wash, but I found with my overly long hair it created a big static uncontrollable mess.
    Have you tried this method?
    I’m intrigued by the oil method though, and might give it a go to see if the results are an improvement on the clay.

  22. I use sugar mixed with vegetable glycerin for a scrub, usually every couple of days. Works great on the face and body – and you can use it on your lips. I tend to have very chapped lips, so this is a plus for me. On the off days, I usually use an olive oil, old-fashioned soap. To moisturize, I use a mix of grapeseed oil, apple cider vinegar, and water. My oily, blackhead prone skin glows and is so soft! I love it. I’ll try the OCM for the cleanser instead of the soap. Thanks for sharing.

  23. Thanks SO much for all the info!

    I have struggled with acne for several years now and have used every product under the sun! I’m currently using 2.5-5% glycolic acid AND 10% BPO.. (yikes, I know). I’ve been on this same skin regime for almost 6 years now and am scared to try something new.. even though my skin still breaks out! Yes, you can call me crazy…

    I’ve been paleo for about 3 years now and I love it! However, nutrition has not been enough to completely clear my skin. I am all about natural stuff, so I’d really love to give OCM and coconut oil a go.

    A couple of questions, if you have the time:

    #1. Do you recommend apple cider vinegar as a toner?

    #2. Is there any way you can write out just a brief outline of what your daily regime looks like? morning, afternoon, and night? I’m just curious as to when I do OCM and how often I use coconut oil. Do I sleep in anything? Do I have anything on during the day? (ok.. I know that was like 15 questions in one…)

    #3. Is the cod liver thingamajig a pill? If so, how much should I take?

    Girlfriend, thank you so much for your help. I REALLY appreciate it. Acne has done it’s fair share to me, physically and mentally, and I’m ready to punch it in the face.

    Sincerely,
    Sage Burgener

    • Sage – I don’t have bad acne by any means. But, I do use organic apple cider vinegar as a toner. The few breakouts I get have stopped, and my blackheads are down. Don’t know if it’s the toner, sugar scrub, or moisturizer, but it’s working. I’ve been told that the vinegar toner balances the acid level of the skin. Good luck.

      Mandie

    • Sage – you got it. Give me a few days and I’ll get back with you 🙂 I COMPLETELY understand your situation! Been there – and I love face-punching this stuff.

  24. I read through the thread of questions/answers but couldn’t find anything about what you use to mix the castor oil and grapeseed oil. Do you pre-mix it and keep it in a plastic bottle to apply each night? Do you apply it with a cotton ball or something else?
    Also, I can’t remember if it was mentioned already or not, but do you use a separate cleanser to remove your make up or will it come off when you apply the oil and do the warm steam/wipe/repeat a few times? Thanks..

    • Hi Emily! To mix the oils, I will take the separate bottles when they’re full, open them, and simply pour a puddle of castor oil in one hand, then a smaller puddle of the other oil, then mush my hands together and apply to my face.

      Once the bottles have some extra room in them, I may add the other oil to the castor oil bottle to create a pre-made mix. I just shake and pour into my palm!

      Of course, when I use coconut oil instead of the oil blend (I do occasionally), I just take a hunk of coconut oil and massage into my skin.

      When I wear a lot of makeup, I take it off with a norwex cloth: http://www.norwex.com/category.php?lng=7&ctg=3&cnt=223

      But you can take it off with the oil cleansing as well. I’d just do one massage/wipe to get the makeup off, then proceed with the usual routine.

  25. This is really useful info. Thanks so much. My son has always had acne and was kept somewhat under control with prescription topical creams. He is now 18, and I would say in the last 8 mos. or so is face looks like it has just exploded in acne. I feel so bad for him and the topicals re not working anymore. The dermotologist put him on a low-dose antibiotic, however she says he may have to go on Acutane. I am so against this, but at the same time feel for my son and how he just wants it taken care of. I am going to give this a try and hope for the best! Thanks again for posting all this:)

    • Try as hard as you can to keep him off accutane. I truly believe that it will soon be taken off the market. It’s incredibly damaging. If you’d like to look at doing some nutritional counseling and detective work, I have been working with a few folks dealing with acne via my professional alter-ego 😉 (I’m a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner). Feel free to contact me here: http://ancestralwellness.com/contact/

      Otherwise, just do your best to get him on a VERY anti-inflammatory diet, push that cod liver/butter oil from greenpasture.org, and ask about topical prescriptions like Acanya, Clindamycin, Tretinoin, Aczone, and sulfur-based treatments. I know these are the things we want to get AWAY from, but compared to accutane, it’s much less dangerous and less systemically harmful. (Even oral/topical antibiotics can help. Just get a good probiotic going just in case.)

      • I will order the cod liver oil and start him on that…any suggestions for a probiotic? The oral he is on is Clindamyacin and he has 2 topicals ..one is retina A..not sure of the other. Yes, and I will do my best with his diet…he is the king of the dollar drive-thru and I am doing my best to educate him on foods. Thanks again for your advice and I will definitely keep you in mind for the nutritional counseling if this does not reap results!

      • Make sure you order the cod liver/butter oil BLEND! That’s where the magic is. With the probiotic, I actually really like Mark Sisson’s supplement: http://primalblueprint.com/products/Primal-Flora.html

        I love getting my “good bacteria” from food (Kraut, kombucha, kefir) but that’s not always possible…PLUS the kraut and kefir and kombucha from Whole Foods is partially pasteurized so you don’t get as much of the “probiotic punch!” Best of luck!

  26. Can.Not.Wait. to try this for myself. I have dealt with acne my whole life and have just accepted it as part of life for me. I’m thrilled as I learn more and more about how to get the crap outta here – both with food and pcp’s! One question though – do you buy all-natural makeup? If so, where from? Would love to know your thoughts!

    • Joanna, makeup is a TOUGH one! NO makeup is perfect, but I tend to like Jane Iredale – simply for the way my skin reacts to it. I haven’t entirely eliminated ALL the “crap” – but when it comes to work and such, I just feel like I WANT to put on an extra-good face 🙂 thus, makeup! For the wickedly gluten-sensitive who need to ensure their cosmetics are 100% gluten free, I know Arbonne fits the bill. I’m also currently evaluating a brand called Caren Minerals. I’ll let you know when I know more!

      • Thank you SO much – make up is a tough one and it gets increasingly frustrating as you begin reading all the labels. I already looked up Jane Iredale and can’t wait to place my first order! Looking forward to hearing about your experience with Caren Minerals. 🙂

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