Mama Musings: Pregnancy Skin Care and the Oil Cleansing Method

In keeping with the running theme of Everything About This Second Pregnancy is Entirely Different from My First One, I have been beset with the facial complexion of a pubescent teenager this go ’round. Friends, this is no pregnancy glow.  It has been…unpleasant.

I  can often feel a breakout coming on hours before it happens. I will feel an unusually intense wave of fatigue, nausea, and irritability, and voila: a fine hyper-sensitive rash of teeny whiteheads will appear! Everywhere! Like magic! Hormone magic! My face is tender to the touch for days afterwards, almost like a sunburn. My kind-hearted husband gently assures me that it’s “not that bad,” but he has to say things like that, right?

 I’ve enjoyed decent skin most of my adulthood–a few errant blemishes every now and then, but mostly clear and manageable skin. I’ve never been a huge wearer of make-up; I don’t particularly like the feel of it on my face. When I feel the need to wear make-up, a simple tinted moisturizer, a scant swipe of blush, tinted lip balm and a quick curl of the eyelashes are about as much as I do. (I use gentle, plant-derived, fair-trade, mostly sustainably-produced make-up products from both Aveda and The Body Shop.) My skin care regimen has also been similarly simple: a foaming face wash (Avalon Organics and Alba Botanical face washes have been my past faves) followed by a light moisturizer with SPF.

Except, the “gentle” washes I had been using made my pregnant, newly sensitive skin feel further inflamed and achy. I dreaded washing my face. My face would feel unbearably dry and taut after cleansing, and within hours it’d be slicked with oil. I know I am at the mercy of my hormones right now, but I longed for some way to clean and soothe my tender skin–something gentle, simple, and chemical-free.

And that’s when I remembered the Oil Cleansing Method, and I began washing my tender, inflamed skin with a mixture of two oils. I’d first read about the oil cleansing method over at Crunchy Betty and quickly readied my supplies after feeling inspired by her post. I use a 1:3 ratio of castor oil and jojoba oil.  I mix the oils right in the palm of my hand, though most folks mix their oils ahead of time and store them in a bottle for convenient use. I massage the oils into my dry, unwashed skin for a good minute or two, and then steam my face for a few seconds with a hot washcloth. After gently wiping the oil from my face with the hot washcloth, I work just a very tiny amount of silky jojoba back onto my skin for extra moisture.

I know what you’re thinking–Whaaa? Oil? On mah face? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose?  But it works. And amazingly. My skin feels so soft and clean and healthy afterwards. There is no stinging, no uncomfortable tautness. And my achy inflamed skin rebounds much more quickly when I do experience a breakout. It kind of feels like a miracle, like I discovered the coolest secret ever. It’s been such a savior for my pregnancy-related skin troubles.

Both links above explain this facial care in easy-to-digest detail, offering suggestions for ratios and specific oils that might best meet your skin’s specific needs. It’s a cost-effective way to care for your skin, for sure. My bottle of castor oil ($6.87 for 16oz) will probably last a year or more. My jojoba oil was a little more expensive ($9 for 4oz), but it, too, goes a long way.  There are carrier oils that are super spendy (like avocado oil, for example), but most are easily affordable. If you add essential oils to your mixture, the cost can also creep up, but I have been quite satisfied with my two simple oils so far.

Best of all, to me, is that the oil-cleansing method is such a gentle, chemical-free way to tend to my skin. Most of us in the natural parenting community are continually looking for ways to minimize and eliminate harsh chemicals in our households, and this definitely is another way to work towards that goal. I love, love, love that my new skin care routine involves only two very natural ingredients. It doesn’t get any more pure, basic and natural than that.

What’s your skin care approach? Have you ever heard of the oil cleansing method? Ever tried it or wanted to try it?

Rhianna is the mushy-hearted mama of 21 month old Arlo. She wishes her skin was as perfect and stunning as his. Her husband still thinks she’s kooky for washing her face with oil, but she’ll convert him yet. They reside in St. Louis. 


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8 thoughts on “Mama Musings: Pregnancy Skin Care and the Oil Cleansing Method”

  1. I’ve been using OCM off and on for about a year now, and I love the way my face looks and feels when I am “on”. I also used the “no ‘poo” method (baking soda for washing, ACV for conditioning) for cleaning my hair until pregnancy hormones and vitamins made it start growing exponentially fast and financially I couldn’t keep up with the haircuts. I will be getting it cut short again soon, in a couple of days actually, and will go back to no ‘poo.

    1. Hi, Jennifer! I have always been intrigued and curious “no poo,” definitely one of those things on my Will Try One of These Days list! I have read lots of good stuff about it.

  2. Oh, man, I’ll admit to turning a little green with envy at the description of your pre-pg skin. I started breaking out at 12 and have not stopped at almost 30. It’s just as bad now as it was in high school. It’s just a part of my IF/PCOS– hormone imbalance. There is OBE medication (a BP med, actually) that helps, but it’s a no-go when TTC, pg or breastfeeding, so I’ve been off of it now almost four years (just SO GLAD I was taking it when I got married). The idea of having normal adult skin and going makeup-free, in public, ON PURPOSE blows my mind. My skin is the #1 thing holding me back from having any self-confidence.

    I tried OCM before. I liked doing it, but like everything else (dietary changes, topical meds, long-term antibiotics, fancy expensive skincare

    1. (whoops! Continued)

      … products, regular facials, etc, it didn’t do a whole lot. My best bet is rinsing my face with just water and patting it dry, then moisturizing if needed. Not any better or worse than anything else.

      BUT I will say that I did like the OCM and how soft my skin was after, even I’d it didn’t lessen my breakouts. It smelled nice, too. I might try it again this winter for the noisturizing effect. But I’ll probably have to wait until I’m totally done having & BFing kids to take that medicine again, and the. Until after menopause for the hormone issue to resolve itself 😦

  3. The pores are clearly enlarged, particularly on your nose, chin, and brow. The first step in taking care of oily skin is to take a crucial examine your present skin-care program. Using products with drying or irritating ingredients might seem like a good idea because they make the skin feel less oily, at least initially, but in the end using such ingredients is a negative idea.

  4. My skin was tremendously dry during both pregnancies, and I used the Made From Earth Aloe Body Lotion on my entire body after showering. No stretchmarks after two babies, and no itching of the dry skin and stretching belly.

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