There’s a current craze surrounding the use of oil for different health practices. In Ayurveda, the craze is thousands of years old! There is a long tradition of using medicated oil to support and maintain health. The current trend and ancient wisdom agree that washing your face with oil is more beneficial than using water, but this advice often receives quizzical looks. With a little explanation about why oil can be the best cleanser for your skin, even the skeptical are persuaded.
The sebaceous glands in our skin produce an oily, waxy substance called sebum. Sebum is our skin’s natural hydration and protection. A healthy amount is like a barrier, protecting our skin from environmental factors and infection. Vata skin types can be prone to underproduction, which leaves the skin feeling dry and vulnerable. On the opposite end of the spectrum, overproduction can leave a residue on the skin, ultimately leading to clogged pores, acne, and other kinds of skin conditions. Kapha skin types lean more in this direction, whereas pittas often see a combo of both. If we try to counter the dirt and residue with water, we risk washing away the healthy layer of sebum with it. This results in the dry getting drier and surprisingly, the oily becoming oilier.
As you wash repeatedly with water to erase your acne or your propensity to oily skin, your body wises up.
The natural oils start to be stripped away and your skin produces more and more in an effort to keep the hydration and protection it needs.
Enter oil. Oil is more skilled at cleansing and balancing the hydration of your skin than water, and it is a closer match to your skin’s natural outer layer. It has a soft quality that can help to draw out impurities, making it much easier to unclog pores. As it helps to pull away dirt, makeup, and pollutants, it also attracts any excess oil. The outcome? Clean, soft, hydrated skin. All the bad stuff gets washed away, but the natural hydration of the skin is maintained. For some, this could even mean reducing the amount of creams, oils, and moisturizers used after cleansing.
Convinced you should make the switch? Start by selecting an oil appropriate for you, taking into consideration the season, your predominant dosha, and of course, the state of your skin. If you aren’t sure where to start, try jojoba. Jojoba oil is most like your skin’s sebum and neutral enough (not too light, heavy, warm, or cool) for all doshas, seasons, and skin types. The cleansing ritual begins by placing a warm, wet washcloth over your face to help open your pores and release impurities. Then, gently massage a small amount of oil into your skin. Rinse the oil by lightly pressing a warm, wet washcloth onto your face. Dab dry with a clean towel and observe your fresh face and glowing skin!