Natural Skin Care (Alternative to OCM) - Mothering Forums
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Natural Body Care > Natural Skin Care (Alternative to OCM)
Ann-Marita's Avatar Ann-Marita 05:36 AM 03-07-2006
I have been using a natural skin care “system” (homemade) for many many years. I still get comments on my skin (I’m 46). I’ve been meaning to post this on a separate thread, so here goes. Sorry, it ended up being long. But worth the read if it works for your skin.

This is a very nice alternative to the OCM (oil cleansing method), with many of the good results - blackheads disappear, skin is smooth and soft - but with less time, and without the oiliness or washcloth.

Oat flour is the basic ingredient, and I’ll get into the variations below. But I’m going to talk about oat flour first because it is appropriate for all skin types, especially sensitive or dry skin, or skin that is really broken out. It acts as a very gentle exfoliant.

You wet your face with hot water. Then put some of the oat flour in one palm and use the fingertips of the other hand to dip into the flour and rub it on your face. Pay particular attention to problem areas. Rinse with hot water, and repeat. Then rinse well. After some experience using this (and after adjusting my recipe to my skin type), I am able to skip the repeat part except for when my skin needs it.

I have used straight oat flour on my eyelid area with good results - soft smooth skin, just like the rest of my face. But I would never use anything stronger on the eye area. Well, I won’t ever again. Dang, that hurt. Grit in the eye, ouch.

I keep my powder in a recycled shaker spice bottle (with a screw-on lid over the shaker holes, to keep water out). I keep a larger quantity mixed up and ready to go in a glass jar in the kitchen, and refill the smaller spice jar as needed.

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OK, now how to vary the basic recipe to meet your skin’s needs…

For dry skin (or anytime you want an extra boost of emollients), add a few drops of oil to the powder in your palm, mix it in a bit, then apply to your face. Rinse well. I remember that safflower oil in particular was recommended - relatively light and the right pH (more on this later).

Oat bran adds a bit more “oomph” to the basic powder. Exfoliates very nicely. Good for skin that needs a bit “more” than the basic oat flour, skin with a dull appearance, or normal/dry skin that experiences a little too much oil right before your period.

Salt is good for blackheads. It also has anti-biotic properties, useful for skin that breaks out. It’s also a “rougher” scrub, but it dissolves, so the amount of time that you can scrub with it is automatically limited. Good for oily skin.

Salt is, IMO, a better scrub ingredient than sugar for a couple of reasons. It’s a simpler chemical structure (sodium chloride, versus carbon chains), and the grains are of a more uniform size/shape. And that whole “salt has anti-biotic properties” thing. Sea salt contains minerals, which some department store brands of skin care charge big bucks for. And I’m just certain that if I make my mix with sugar, at some point there will be a sweet, sticky mess in my bathroom, ha ha. I don’t want to attract ants.

Corn meal is another good scrub ingredient. However, it doesn’t dissolve like salt. That’s good for stubborn blackheads or for an occasional deep cleansing. But you also have to make sure you don’t over-rub.

Oat flour makes a good base so the gritty stuff isn’t overpowering - kind of softens the mix.

My skin is oily, tends to have blackheads around the nose, and used to break out some (rarely does any more). After playing around with the ingredients (for years!), I settled on the following recipe:

2 parts organic oat flour
1 part sea salt
1 part organic corn meal

Please play around and find the right ratio for your own skin. If you think your skin would benefit from the grittier stuff (oily skin, blackheads, dull appearance, etc), try working up to it. Start with mostly oat flour, and increase the amount of grit (oat bran, salt, or corn meal) a little at a time.

I’ve also been known to include dried ground herbs or a little EO in the mix (which tended to clump), either as an attempt to use herbs that are good for the skin, or to make it smell more interesting. But I always come back to my basic stuff.

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That’s the first half of the system. Here’s the other half: dilute vinegar rinse. Yep, just like hair. Only I put it on a cotton ball and stroke over my skin.

Your skin’s pH is slightly acidic - seems like it is 6 to 6.5. (I can’t find my reference book.) It’s healthiest if it’s at or near that pH. Ever heard of the “acid mantle”? That’s the mixture of sebum (oil) and perspiration and probably other stuff that the skin produces. The acid mantle helps your skin be its best by keeping it at its natural pH, and forming a thin protective barrier.

When you rinse your skin in with a dilute vinegar rinse, you are helping re-establish that protective acid mantle, after having just washed it off.

For my oily skin, I used a 1:7 ratio (one part vinegar to seven parts water) for many years - the same dilution as the final rinse I used on my hair. I’ve switched my hair rinse to 1:9, because my hair is more normal now than when I was younger. I would think (where IS that book?!) that less-oily skin, like less-oily hair, would responds best to a more dilute solution (1:12 is what the book recommends for dry hair). And the stronger, more acidic ratios help discourage over-production of oil. I’m sorry - I don’t have the skin ratios memorized like I do for hair.

Mamas, I know there were more options, especially for dry skin, in my main reference book, but I just can’t find it. I know good quality (or homemade) mayonnaise has many desirable qualities as a moisturizer, including a slightly acidic pH and natural ingredients. And I have used it in the winter on a trip where my skin dried out. But I know there are more. I’ll post them just as soon as that book shows up.

By the way, the book I used as my main reference is called “Totally Natural Beauty” by Nona Aguillar, if you want to look it up.

Oh, I just remembered a few more of the “recipes”. Plain yogurt is wonderful to restore the acid mantle. It’s supposed to combat blackheads and act as a slight moisturizer. (I always had better results from my powder recipe with regard to blackheads.)

And for oily skin (or skin that is oily occasionally) wine makes a good astringent toner. It’s acidic and the alcohol content battles excess oil. Put some on a cotton ball and stroke over your face and neck.

A few drops of safflower oil is excellent as a moisturizer. I never could bring myself to put this on my oily face. But I DID use it as a body oil, especially while I was pregnant.

And fresh strawberries, mashed to a pulp, make a fine mask. The fruit acids (similar to alpha hydroxy) really brighten the complexion. Just mash, apply, leave on for a while and rinse.

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One last idea to pass on. Steam facials. This is my “special” treatment for my face, if I have a special occasion coming up, or if I‘m having a breakout. I wash using a “softer” powder (not my usual daily scrub), rinse in hot water, then steam for several minutes. Repeat the wash-rinse-steam a few times. Follow with an acid rinse the last time to restore the acid balance and help close the pores.

The moist heat opens up the pores. That’s good! Then the scrub can really help the blackheads or other impurities roll away. The steam also encourages circulation - good for breakouts, and really just good for your skin’s health. However, this will tend to leave my skin a bit too pink, so I do it the day BEFORE the big event.

Steam facials are a time-honored way to help skin be its best. My grandmother would put rosehips in the water for her facials. Or was it rose petals, I can’t remember. I would think that rosehips (since they are high in vitamin C) would make the steam slightly acidic (good), and maybe astringent. And I know roses are known for their skin softening and moisturizing qualities.

Anyway, I hope some of you find information here that leads you to a skin care solution for you.

emma_goldman's Avatar emma_goldman 06:04 AM 03-07-2006
suscribing! love it.
AutumnMama's Avatar AutumnMama 06:49 AM 03-07-2006
:

Thanks so much for taking the time to write all that out!
eden/averymum's Avatar eden/averymum 05:07 PM 03-07-2006
thank you thank you! love it! I am going to get up all this stuff in the coming week and try out your regimen!
allaboutcloth's Avatar allaboutcloth 06:07 PM 03-07-2006
Wow... thanks so much Ann-Marita! I just steamed my face and did the OCM and was looking at all those darn blackhead and thinking... this isn't helping. I'm going to give my skin a lil breather and try the flour. So nice of you to take the time to type that all out for us. I really appreciate it
Earth Angel's Avatar Earth Angel 07:07 PM 03-07-2006
Ana Martia....YOU ROCK!!!!!

Can I grind my own oats into oat flour or is it part oats and part flour??

Thank you so much for taking the time to post this. Skin care has never been one of my strong suits cause either the products are FILLED with natsy ingredients, or, I can't afford them. I can afford oat flour, salt and corn meal and I actually know what is in them
earthenware's Avatar earthenware 07:11 PM 03-07-2006
Thank you so much, that's just awesome! I've been using a daily baking soda scrub for a few years now and love what it does for my skin but somehow I think that what you are doing here would be better. Same exfoliation concept but I love how well thought out everything is (re: pH, etc). Thanks!
Ann-Marita's Avatar Ann-Marita 08:27 PM 03-07-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by Earth Angel
Can I grind my own oats into oat flour or is it part oats and part flour??
Sure, you can grind it! In the book (which was written in the 70's), the author says to put oats in a blender and process until they are powdery. I don't think oat flour was readily available back then. By the time I found it, I could just run down to Whole Foods and buy the pre-ground oat "powder" (aka oat flour). (Although the flour is probably a finer grind than what a home blender could achieve.)

Also, I think jojoba oil is supposed to be the oil that is closest to human sebum, so you might use that instead of the safflower oil (for dry skin). I'd think the author hadn't heard of jojoba oil at the time the book was written.
quelindo's Avatar quelindo 10:32 PM 03-07-2006
Thanks for taking the time to write this out! I've been using the OCM method with fairly good results, but I still have blackheads most of the time. I'm going to give this a try and see what happens.
perl's Avatar perl 04:04 PM 03-08-2006
Thanks so much for taking the time to share all this great info! I've given OCM a pretty valiant attempt but the results have been less than stellar. It was actually getting to the point where I was considering going back to my old nasty chemical irritating products, but now I have this! I am so excited to try it. Thanks again for posting, A-M!
perl's Avatar perl 02:26 PM 03-09-2006
I tried the oat flour scrub last night and it was sooooo nice! Very non-irritating and it smelled heavenly - I smelled like a giant muffin or something. Mmmmm. And the toner was nice, too. I added a drop of TTO so it didn't smell quite so vinegar-y. So far, so good!
jeyer's Avatar jeyer 06:30 PM 03-09-2006
Thanks, Ann-Marita! I just might try this.

One question: what kind of vinegar do you use?
AngelBee's Avatar AngelBee 06:50 PM 03-09-2006
Thank you for this info!
Ann-Marita's Avatar Ann-Marita 12:43 AM 03-10-2006
You're welcome, everyone! I hope it works for some of you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeyer
Thanks, Ann-Marita! I just might try this.

One question: what kind of vinegar do you use?
I currently use white vinegar, but for years I used apple cider vinegar. I'm really lazy with this - I just use the same vinegar solution I make for our hair, and squirt some on a cotton ball.

The vinegar I use has "5% acidity" listed on the label. There is stronger vinegar out there, but I never use it.
eco_mama's Avatar eco_mama 01:36 AM 03-10-2006
Wow, thanks for all that!! You rock!

I've tried so many things w/ little results. I would think something was working for a couple days and then my face would just stay the same. Dry and blackheads on my mainly my nose and chin. I ALWAYS have them there. No matter what. I could squeeze them all day long but lo and behold 3 days later they're back. Ugh, sucks. ANYWAYS, I'm really excited about your method! I'm about to write down the ingredients/directions and start ASAP! I'll keep you all posted...

Thanks again Ann!!
amcal's Avatar amcal 01:55 AM 03-10-2006
Wow! Wow! Wow!!!! I can't tell you how much I appreciate your posting this. I've been doing it for the past couple days and I'm just so thrilled with the results.

EcoMama - I have the exact same problem - blackheads all over my nose and chin, dry elsewhere and some things would work for a while and then it would stop working and in the case of OCM, my skin was worse than when I started.

Right now, I'm dealing with tons of acne and it just really stinks! I actually caved and went on antibiotics for a month - but in my defense I was getting cysts and the doc said it looked like a raging bacterial infection so we're trying the abx for a month only just to get it under control.

Anyway, like I said, I've been doing this for a couple days and I'm really just thrilled with the results. Acne is drying up, blackheads are much smaller and my skin feels so soft!

I did do 2 parts ground oats, 1 part cornmeal and 1 part salt. It was too scrubby for me so I put the whole thing in the blender and now it's perfect.

I have a question about the vinegar - do you make it up ahead of time and keep it in a bottle or do you make it as you use it? I'm worried about things growing in it if I make it up ahead of time or maybe the vinegar acts as a preservative???

Anyway, I just can't thank you enough!!!!
lotus.blossom's Avatar lotus.blossom 01:22 PM 03-10-2006
Thanks for sharing. Since I've been pregnant I've been just rinsing my face with plain water and using a bit of witchhazel toner. I just can't bear to use those nasty products! But I have an old bag of oat flour sitting in the back of my cupboard that I've not wanted to use because I'm afraid its gone stale. Perfect for using on my face!

Question: I have heard that using milk is good for the face too. Is that mentioned anywhere in your book? I just can't stand the smell of vinegar right now...way too much for my pregnant nose!
amcal's Avatar amcal 03:42 AM 03-12-2006
I just wanted to give this a little bump and report that I'm so thrilled with this method! I've been doing for several days and the difference is amazing. The pores on my nose are no longer black!!! and, they seem to be shrinking I just started my period and I haven't had a single new breakout since starting with this method. In fact, I was at the dermotologist this week and was diagnosed with cystic acne But, it all appears to be healing quite well and I've not had another pimple since I started this method - even with AF starting today!!! Thank you so much for sharing this info!
jenoline's Avatar jenoline 05:35 PM 03-12-2006
Ann-Marita - could we get your original post added to the recipes sticky at the top of this forum?
Ann-Marita's Avatar Ann-Marita 01:35 PM 03-13-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by amcal
I have a question about the vinegar - do you make it up ahead of time and keep it in a bottle or do you make it as you use it? I'm worried about things growing in it if I make it up ahead of time or maybe the vinegar acts as a preservative???
I make it up ahead of time, and have it in a squeeze bottle in the bathroom. We use this same solution on our hair and my face (although 10 yr old dd uses it occasionally when she wants to feel like she's doing grown-up skin care). So, it doesn't really stick around for very long before it gets used.

But I would think that the vinegar acts as a (mild) preservative. I mean, if we've gone on vacation and have some left over, I'll throw it out and start fresh. But normally, it doesn't seem like anything ever happens to it.

(Vinegar IS used to preserve stuff - like pickles - but usually it's much stronger than the rinse solution.)
Ann-Marita's Avatar Ann-Marita 01:39 PM 03-13-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by lotus.blossom
Question: I have heard that using milk is good for the face too. Is that mentioned anywhere in your book? I just can't stand the smell of vinegar right now...way too much for my pregnant nose!
It seems like milk IS mentioned in the book, only I can't find my book. It's been misplaced for months. (I MUST clean the study from hell.)

Lemon juice is about the same pH as vinegar, so you could certainly use a lemon juice solution instead. It seems like lemon juice was supposed to do something special - astringent, probably; maybe even out skin tone or bleach freckles? I can't remember.
Ann-Marita's Avatar Ann-Marita 01:40 PM 03-13-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by jenoline
Ann-Marita - could we get your original post added to the recipes sticky at the top of this forum?
How do I do that? Just copy and paste to a reply for the recipes thread?
Collin'sMama's Avatar Collin'sMama 06:15 PM 03-13-2006
How do you remove makeup?? And where would you buy sea salt??

Thanks!
RAF's Avatar RAF 06:27 PM 03-13-2006
Hello,

I have been using the OCM for a while now, and it has actually helped me alot, but I would still like to try the scrub in addition to the OCM. I would like to know if it is okay to use a different flour other than oat, because I am allergic. I can use brown rice flour, amaranth flour and millet flour without trouble. Do you think these would work as well as oat flour for the facial scrub recipe? Thanks for any suggestions.
Ann-Marita's Avatar Ann-Marita 07:55 PM 03-13-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by Collin'sMama
How do you remove makeup?? And where would you buy sea salt??

Thanks!
This method seems to get make-up off really well. Except for waterproof mascara - I use a little safflower oil right before bed on the rare occasions I wear mascara (usually part of stage make-up).

You could use regular salt, if you want. That's what I started off using, and used for many years. I get sea salt at Whole Foods or other natural food stores.
Ann-Marita's Avatar Ann-Marita 08:01 PM 03-13-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by RAF
Hello,

I have been using the OCM for a while now, and it has actually helped me alot, but I would still like to try the scrub in addition to the OCM. I would like to know if it is okay to use a different flour other than oat, because I am allergic. I can use brown rice flour, amaranth flour and millet flour without trouble. Do you think these would work as well as oat flour for the facial scrub recipe? Thanks for any suggestions.
I don't have any concrete knowledge of whether those would work, and the book(s) I have didn't mention any of them either. (I used mainly one book to base my personal method on, but with input from a few other books, too.)

I know oats are good for soothing skin (at least skin that's not allergic to oats). I think (purely my theory, nothing to really back this up) that it's the soluable fiber that makes it so nice on the skin. Do any of those other flours have soluable fiber?

Try them and tell us what you think!
jenoline's Avatar jenoline 04:32 PM 03-14-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann-Marita
How do I do that? Just copy and paste to a reply for the recipes thread?
I think so. Not positive b/c I've never done it, but I'm pretty sure that's all you have to do.
mrsuribe's Avatar mrsuribe 04:06 AM 03-27-2006
Thank you for all the info! I've been looking for a more natural skin care routine!
lauriem33's Avatar lauriem33 11:28 PM 03-27-2006
Thanks so much for this info. I must try it also.
dynamicdoula's Avatar dynamicdoula 11:40 PM 03-27-2006
Ann Marita,

Please start a spa. Make a reservation for me and I will bring all my girlfriends.

Thank you, and have a beautiful day!
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