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How to Wash Your Face with Olive Oil

For years, we've been taught that oil is the enemy. As a teenager, a shiny forehead was the worst beauty faux pas! And skin marketing companies haven't helped. They want us to believe that in order to obtain a clear, radiant complexion, we must rid the skin of oil completely.

But dermatologists disagree. While they don't recommend applying a cotton ball with olive oil directly to your face, many are increasingly recommending cleansers packed with lipids, especially if you have dry skin. Read on to discover the risks and rewards of washing your face with an oil-based cleansing method—and whether the practice is right for you.

How oil cleansing works

Think back to your high school chemistry class and you may recall the lesson: "like dissolves like." This means that materials with a similar chemical structure can dissolve each other. Given this principle, it makes sense that an oil-based cleanser can actually help fight oil on your face.

"Oil-based cleansers work differently than foaming cleansers, which contain detergent-like surfactants that dissolve oil and dirt and pull lipids from the skin cells," says Leslie Baumann, a Miami-based dermatologist. Oils, on the other hand, leave your skin's natural oils intact. And that's a good thing since oil actually helps keep your skin healthy—it protects, heals, and moisturizes your skin, keeping it clear and glowing.