Please Don’t DIY Your Cleansing Oil

Woman caring of her beautiful skin on the face

Making something with your own hands feels good and gives you an appreciation for the craftsmanship involved in making other products. But in some cases, it’s bet to leave it to the pros. There are a couple of misguided DIY tips being shared on social media sites that, for the sake of our skin, you shouldn’t be trying at home. At the top of our DIY don’ts list: cleansing oil.

Dermatologists are seeing patients with deep cystic acne from using DIY cleansing oils. Even people with no history of acne have experienced eruptions from this DIY project. There are many DIYers who swear by homemade cleansing oils and are probably up in arms right now, but this is not a method that works for everyone.

DIY cleansing oils don’t clean the skin: Nine out of 10 commercial cleansing oils contain surfactants to help whisk the dirt away during rinsing. DIY cleansing oils don’t. From the chemical perspective, this keeps the oil from cleaning pore-clogging debris off the skin. Here’s why: A surfactant has an oil-loving tail connected to a water-loving head (hydrophilic). The tails of the surfactants are instantly attracted to dirt, dead skin and sebum, surrounding it and creating a “micelle” (picture a beach ball with peach fuzz). The tails form a circle around the dirt, dead skin and sebum, leaving the water-loving heads on the outside. Being true to their hydrophilic nature, the heads connect with the water during rinsing (that’s when the cleansing oil turns white) and are swept away down the drain dragging the tails and pore-clogging materials along with them.

DIY cleansing oils cannot simply be rinsed away: As most of us learned in elementary school, oil and water don’t mix. Wiping your face with a warm towel is more effective than rinsing alone, but only the surface oil is being removed – nothing is binding with the dirt and debris in the pores to get them clean. The proper method involves placing a very hot towel on the face until it cools down, gently wiping the face with the towel, and then repeating (several times if necessary). Though many people can tolerate this treatment, there are many with problem skin that cannot.  Do yourself a favor and consult with your dermatologist before delving into this DIY trend.

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