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How I Got Rid of Cystic Acne with Oil Cleansing

When you have hormonal cystic acne, you don’t want to do anything to upset your skin. Because the acne nodules that develop can last for weeks and are hard to get rid of. So the concept of washing your face with oil is terrifying! But I am so glad that I tried oil cleansing to heal my cystic acne.

brown glass bottle of oil on bathroom shelf

I’ve been dealing with cystic acne for years. Partially because of hormonal imbalances that sent my skin into teenager mode. And, apparently, because my body makes some sort of testosterone (not the well known version) that makes me have cystic acne attacks.

At the height of all of my hormonal cystic acne breakouts, I was desperate. I tried acne washes. I tried soap. Acne spot treatments never worked. And my organic facials were getting to be too expensive (but they worked fabulously!)

So I grudgingly decided to try oil cleansing. I was NOT expecting positive results. Yet I’m hear to tell you that it works – at least for me!

How to Heal Cystic Acne

I am SO thankful that I took that leap of faith.

First – a background about using oil to ‘wash’ your face. Because it’s scary, and you’re going to want some encouragement!

My friend Jolene Hart, founder of Beauty is Wellness and author of Eat Pretty, wrote an article about using oil cleansers in Organic Spa magazine years ago, talking about how oil dissolves oil so it’s actually a great cleanser. Jolene knows her stuff, and has had horrible adult acne, too. So if she was recommending oil cleansing, then I was sure it was okay.

DIY Oil Cleanser

So I researched online and found a bunch of DIY recipes for oil cleansing face washes using olive oil. Bad idea.

Using straight olive oil on my face only led to more breakouts. I was horrified. But I’m not alone. Here’s some of the biggest reasons why the Oil Cleansing Method might not be working for you.

I thought that oil cleansing didn’t work since I made my own face wash and it gave me more adult cystic acne breakouts.

So I stopped trying and went on to other methods of cleaning my face. And none of them worked.

Organic Facials to Get Rid of Cystic Acne

I did start getting organic facials, with a technician that was very knowledgeable about organic skin care and only used the most natural products.

The organic facials really seemed to work well for me. Apparently I had some pretty deep infections in my pores that needed to clear up. It took time to get all of the debris out of my pores. And I tended to have reactions to some of the facial products, even ones that were all natural and organic.

After eight months, I was still having issues and my face was starting to become a little dry. Lisa and I were trying to find a suitable cleanser for me without any ingredients that I was allergic to.

Trying Oil Cleansing – Again

So, here I was, with flaming and painful adult cystic acne (from a reaction to a new cleanser that I had tried) that just WOULDN’T GO AWAY, and I was getting ready to head to Europe. It just so happened that I had a sample box of Badger Face Care, including Badger Seabuckthorn Face Cleansing Oil, at home.

The box of goodies was tempting me to cleanse my skin with something that I didn’t feel entirely comfortable doing. But I didn’t have enough time to buy something else to try.

So I used the oil cleanser. (I list all of my favorite face cleansing oils below.)

And I’m glad!

I’ll never forget that first time of washing my skin with Badger Seabuckthorn Face Cleansing Oil. I was in a hotel room in Frankfurt, Germany – jet lagged and exhausted. I wasn’t looking too hot, if you know what I mean.

Then I washed my face and my skin instantly started to glow. Within minutes, I noticed my skin felt fuller, firmer and more radiant. I’m not kidding.

Even I stood back surprised. I looked at my skin and wondered if I was imagining it because I was so jet lagged.

I thought it was just a short-term reaction, but it wasn’t. As I traveled through Germany, switching hotels every night, spending most of the days outdoors in the bitter weather and catching a cold, my skin continued to radiate health.

The Easiest Cystic Acne Natural Treatment?

Surely this was a freak occurrence, I thought. I was determined to give it one month, to go through a hormonal cystic acne cycle.

And I did.

But my skin still continued to look better with fewer breakouts.

In 5 weeks, my skin had about 80-90% fewer breakouts than normal, I’d guess.

My face did have small whiteheads and blackheads that rose to the surface on their own. However, I read that this is actually normal as your pores get really cleaned out for the oil. They were tiny and easily manageable.

In that time, I developed only one hormonal cystic acne bump.

My friend Brittany over at The Pistachio Project also had similar results with the Oil Cleansing Method (and she created a recipe for making your own face cleansing oil).

(And here’s an interesting video with a visual representation of what happens to your skin by washing your face with oil to get rid of cystic acne. The video below is someone else’s results with oil cleansing for adult cystic acne, not mine.)

A Scientist’s Thoughts About Getting Rid of Cystic Acne

Jaime McGuigan, a Holistic Chemist for the W.S. Badger Company, said that my response was typical.

“Any time you make a major change in your skin-care routine you can expect to see some break-outs, a period of time referred to as an “initial breakout period” or a “purging stage.” The concept behind the Oil Cleansing Method (OCM) is that like dissolves like which means that the new oil will dissolve and replace the old oil that is deep inside your pores.

As this old oil loosens, particularly in heavily congested areas of your skin, you will often see break-outs as a response. It can take up to a month for your skin to adjust to your new skin care routine but once the old oil has been thoroughly cleaned from your pores this response should subside,” McGuigan said.

An Esthetician’s Thoughts on Oil Cleansing Method

The final test was to go back to get a facial. Lisa knows my skin from a professional perspective, so if she noticed a difference, then that would settle it.

And she did.

She said my skin looked really good and that even the scars were fading. I said that I was using Seabuckthorn Badger Face Cleansing Oil.

She agreed that people don’t want to hear it, but acne does love oil, meaning that it will clear up because oil attracts oil and will lift it out.

She also agreed that the high Vitamin C of the Seabuckthorn was helping to reduce the scarring. (This DIY turmeric face soap can also help with lightening scars and dark spots, too.)

When it came time for extractions, there weren’t very many to do. Again, she remarked on how much my skin had improved.

Best Face Wash for Cystic Acne

I used the Seabuckthorn line of Badger Face Care Products for quite a while and I’m happy that I did.

For me, it has made a huge difference, and actually brought back some joy. It was horrible seeing those acne bumps on my skin for years and not knowing how to get rid of them. I forgot that skin could actually be this smooth. My acne scars are fading, and will hopefully continue to do so.

Over time, I have gone on to try other oil cleansing face washes for cystic acne. I love Badger products and use them when I can. But I’ve also been introduced to other natural and organic products, too, that I try out and review.

facial oil for getting rid of cystic acne

Here are my personal favorites as the best face wash for cystic acne (When shopping, be careful to always look for “face cleansing oil” rather than “face oil.” They are two different products. The links below will take you to the correct face washes for adult cystic acne:

How Oil Based Cleansers Cleared Up My Cystic Acne

More Non-Toxic and Clean Beauty Tips

I love this natural remedy to get rid of adult cystic acne. It’s just one of many natural beauty remedies that I show throughout the year. You might also like this soothing skin balm that can soothe irritated and wind burn skin easily using all natural ingredients.

Make your own eye cream with this DIY anti-aging eye balm recipe.

This homemade chocolate mint lip balm not only is super easy to make, but it tastes delicious, too!


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Saturday 4th of November 2017

Hi! Thanks for writing this great article. I just have a question: so do you use the Face Oil after cleaning your face with the Cleansing Oil? Could you clarify the steps you take in your face cleansing regime? Thank you so much!

Kimberly Button

Saturday 4th of November 2017

Hi! Yes, you clean your face first with the Cleansing Oil. Then, for moisturizing, you would apply Face Oil afterwards. You might just want to try one at a time though to see how you respond to either one.