OleHenriksen Cured My Acne…And I Have No Idea How

You and me both, kid! Photo by Lisa May @LDMay on Twitter

When I was in high school, there was a commercial – for Olay, I think – in which the actress complained about having acne and wrinkles at the same time. I remember watching it with one of my Sisters of the Traveling Chocolate and laughing, because like that would ever happen.

Not so funny when you’re 40 and it’s true!

I don’t mind the wrinkles so much. I figure I’ve earned those, especially the one on my forehead that’s from decades of raising my eyebrows at people. But oil and breakouts are things we’re told we’ll grow out of, and it’s pretty annoying when that’s not true. I have tried a LOT of skin care brands over the years without success – they’ve either dried my sensitive skin to the point of peeling, or done absolutely nothing to contain the oil slick on my T zone.

Enter OleHenriksen. Sephora sent me a sample of their Counter Balance Hydrator when I ordered something else (that didn’t work) and it really did seem to mattify my skin, so I ordered the matching cleanser and toner. Within a week, I had a brand-new face – clear, soft, and shine-free.

*cue choirs of heavenly angels*

Being me, I got pretty curious about why these products worked when nothing else did, so I started looking up the science behind some of the ingredients – green tea, eucalyptus, algae, moss, neem seed oil, AHAs. After several hours of googling, here’s what I discovered:

  • The internet is a TERRIBLE source of information on herbal medicine. Oh, there’s information out there, but the vast majority of websites I perused were extremely sketchy. I found misunderstandings of basic chemistry and biology, rampant plagiarism without reference to studies or source material, and a whole lot of “experts” with dubious credentials but a whole lot of products to sell.
  • Reliable sources of information, like the World Health Organization and the National Institute of Health, didn’t seem to have entries on the ingredients I was looking for.

 

As a result of my research, I am a good deal more concerned that people are making health decisions based on really questionable information… and absolutely no wiser when it comes to my skin care miracle. So instead of data, I offer you anecdotal evidence, the weakest kind there is:

This worked for me. Your mileage may vary.

What about you? Have you also struggled to balance unruly skin? Or struggled to find trustworthy information on herbal medicines? I’d love to hear your stories.

 

2 comments on “OleHenriksen Cured My Acne…And I Have No Idea How

  1. Kasia

    Again, I’ve stumbled upon something while working on your website renovation that made me want to comment. So, neem oil is a miracle substance. I first learned about it in the context of horticulture, as it is beloved by gardeners as a natural and biological anti-fungal and insecticide. I ordered a bottle from Amazon when I discovered that powdery mildew had infected my Columbine. I ended up ripping the Columbine out because I was worried about the infection spreading to other plants in that area of the garden, so I didn’t have the patience to follow through with the neem oil treatment. But the following year, my peony plant became infected with powdery mildew and this time ripping it out wasn’t an option, so I got one of those DIY pressure spray barrels and mixed up a batch of neem oil solution from a recipe I found online, which is a solution of neem oil, dish soap (so the solution sticks to the plants), and water. 2 weeks after spraying daily, the powdery mildew was completely gone from my peony. The infection was quite severe already when I began treatment, so I had to keep spraying every so often to keep it at bay. The solution works best as prevention rather than cure. This year, I am also using the neem oil solution for pest control. My back garden is full of lilies (my favourite flowers that happen to grow very well as perennials in northern climates) and for the first time ever, I have lily beetles. Neem oil will repel the adults and kill the eggs/larvae. I have to make sure I spray every other day, but so far it seems to be working.

    During my pregnancy, I contracted a really nasty case of athlete’s foot. I treated it numerous times with OTC anti-fungal ointments to absolutely no avail. It would improve for awhile, but always return. I was going nuts. So I thought, I’m going to try rubbing neem oil on my feet. It worked wonders for killing fungus on my plants, so why not on my skin? I mixed up an ointment of 50% neem oil, 50% coconut oil and rubbed it on my feet once a day. I shit you not, three days later the infection was gone.

    Neem oil also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, which I would imagine helps with acne.

    My own struggle with adult onset acne was helped greatly by taking high-dose Vitamin D3 supplements (3000 IU per day). Since D3 inhibits sebum production, it helps control oil, which can prevent pores getting clogged in the first place. The only drawback is that because it inhibits sebum, my scalp can get crazy dry and flaky if I don’t take a break from the regimen. So I stop taking it in the summer time when I spend a lot of time in the sun and don’t need the supplement to keep my Vitamin D levels up. This winter I am going to experiment with dosage to see how low I can go to still get the benefits to my skin, and whether I can balance the dry scalp.

  2. L. E. Carmichael

    This is SO interesting – thanks so much for sharing! I knew there must be good info out there somewhere, but my willingness to wade through the internet in search of reliable answers was pretty limited the day I worked on this post.

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