Why oil cleanse?

Why oil cleanse?

What is oil cleansing, and what makes it so effective?

Oil is considered a more gentle way to cleanse without stripping the skin of moisture, while also being an effective way to remove makeup and mascara. Other cleansers, such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid cleansers are harsh on our microbiome and additionally remove sebum, our natural moisturizer, leaving skin feeling taut, dry, and sometimes irritated.

Should people with certain types of skin, i.e. oily/acne-prone, dry, etc., avoid oil cleansing? Will it work for everyone?

There is a common misconception that if you have oily skin or acne, then you shouldn't use oil-containing products. Advertising has perpetuated the notion that comedogenic (acne-causing) products are synonymous with oil-containing and, conversely, that non-comedogenic products are necessarily oil-free. Using products containing oils are NOT in fact a contraindication to oily skin or acne-prone subjects, if they are the RIGHT kind of oils. You can learn more about this here.

Any best practices people should know about? Will any oil work? Is there any particular technique?

Not all oils are the same, and this is the critical distinction that needs to be made. However, this key point remains incredibly unclear and confusing for consumers. Certain oils, like mineral oil, are in fact known to be comedogenic. Oils with the right composition however, that effectively mimic human sebum, can down-regulate host sebum production, calm down the skin with their potent antioxidant capacity, and pacify the bacteria living on our skin that would otherwise feed off sebum, leading to inflammatory byproducts.

Symbiome’s oils are compositionally similar to human sebum and rich in essential fatty acids like linoleic acid, which is why they are ideal in cleansers and moisturizers as they can down-regulate host sebum production.

When using oil cleansers, it may be best to apply first to dry skin to start to break up waterproof or heavy makeup before emulsifying and rinsing with warm water.

How often should people oil cleanse? Can it replace all the steps in standard skincare, i.e. cleanser, toner, serum, standard facial oil, etc.?

Using multiple products and complex regimens can over-expose our skin to chemicals that can be irritating, drying, and can cause the development of skin sensitivities. Our goal is to eliminate what is not essential and to minimize our exposure to unnecessary products. There are four pillars of minimalist skincare — cleanser, moisturizer, anti-aging, and sunscreen — all these elements perform a specific function and are essential to maintaining healthy skin.

As for frequency, for any person who applies makeup and sunscreen or who is acne-prone, two washes a day — morning and evening — are recommended to prevent buildup of residue, pollutants, oxidative compounds, sweat, sebum, and dirt on the skin. Toners tend to strip the skin of natural moisturizers and can be harsh on the skin microbiome.

What makes oil cleansing different from using a facial oil after using standard cleansers? How does oil cleansing help the skin’s microbiome?

Oil cleansers are gentle on the microbiome and this is a major distinction between standard cleansers that both strip natural sebum as well as being highly antibacterial. This reduces the diversity of bacteria on the skin, removing us further from our native and thriving microbiome, which historically produced many of the essential vitamins that we now need to supplement in topical products.

The oils in the cleansers serve as prebiotics for many of the healthy bacteria on the skin, further supporting healthy microbiome diversity.

Standard cleansers containing salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide kill bacteria and decrease biodiversity. Using a post-cleansing oil helps to further moisturize the skin and maintains our skin barrier integrity.

Is it normal to break out after starting an oil cleansing routine? Is this a sign of detoxification, maybe?

Any time you try a new skincare regimen, it takes time for your skin to adjust and you may experience breakouts as both your skin and your microbiome adjust to a new pH, moisture content, and changes in oil production. As long as this improves within a few weeks, then you can continue to use the product as your skin has adjusted and acclimated. If, however, breakouts continue to worsen over time, then you should stop the product. 

What makes The Renewal different?

Symbiome’s The Renewal Cleanser has been extensively studied, through compositional analysis, human repeat patch testing trials, and clinical safety studies. It contains minimal ingredients (seven) delivered in their most bioactive form to maximally benefit skin health. The unique blend of three fermented oils is rich in linoleic acid, a key essential fatty acid necessary to maintain normal epidermal barrier function, sebaceous gland (oil gland) maturation, moisturization/lubrication, in addition to containing potent antioxidants.

Anything else people should know about The Renewal or oil cleansing in general?

The Renewal really speaks to Symbiome’s ‘less is more’ commitment as it can help skip a step, reducing the total number of products and ingredients used in one’s skincare regimen.

The Renewal is a unique two-phase (oil and milk) cleanser, which is gentle on your skin and microbiome, while also being extremely hydrating and nourishing.


More skincare questions? Our Skin Health Concierge is here to assist you. Schedule a consultation