If you think using "good oils" to remove "bad oils" sounds counterintuitive, you're not alone. But that's the theory behind the oil cleansing trend. Oil cleansing relies on vegetable, seed or nut oils. Their essential fatty acids counterbalance the natural oils that cause breakouts without drying out your skin, says Dr. Julie Martin, a dermatologist at Ochsner Medical Center.
Oil cleansing practitioners typically apply a blend of antioxidant-rich oils including castor, coconut, hemp, olive, rosehip or other oils to skin, massage it in and wipe it off with a hot, wet towel. The result is glowing, nourished skin. Martin cautions that oil cleansing methods can backfire and leave a residue that results in more clogged pores, potentially leading to acne.
"The best way to go about trying these at-home methods is to try a small area of skin first — on a less-prominent portion on the face, such as along the jawline — to see how skin responds," she says. "That way, if someone is going to have an irritant reaction, it is minimized."
Martin suggests talking to a dermatologist before trying oil cleansing. It's a good idea to alternate the regimen with a gentle face wash like one by DermAware. "Don't dive right into it, and give your skin a little bit of a break," she says.
The mainstream products shown here employ the oil cleansing technique.