Acne Treatments - Oil Pulling

Oil pulling to clear your skin |

I had never even heard of this technique until I stumbled onto earth clinic's site. I was looking for some holistic acne remedies and discovered oil pulling. The idea behind oil pulling is that by gargling oil in your mouth, you pull out toxins from your body and clear your skin (one benefit amongst the numerous touted health benefits of oil pulling).

How to Oil Pull for Acne

What you do is gurgle with a tablespoon of light, cold-pressed oil the first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. You can oil pull in the evening too, but it's best to do it when you haven't had anything to eat for at least 4 hours.

Organic sunflower, sesame, and olive oil are all recommended oils. I tried olive oil but could not tolerate the taste. Sesame oil is a little better (not the dark sesame oil you can find at Asian grocery stores) because of its nutty flavor.

With the oil in your mouth, proceed to suck and pull it through your teeth. The oil moves back and forth from the front of your teeth to behind your teeth and into the back of your mouth. Essentially, the oil pulling motion is what you would do if you had something stuck between your teeth and used water to try to flush it out, only with your lips tightly sealed to contain the oil. Another way to think of it is to imagine swishing the oil around your mouth to give your teeth and gums a deep massage.

While you are oil pulling, do not swallow or spit out the oil. Be prepared - the thick texture can take some time getting used to!

You "oil pull" for approximately 15 minutes until the oil goes from thick to thin and watery. You then spit everything out and brush your teeth. I also like to scrape my tongue with a tongue scraper.

It's important to not swallow the post-pulled oil because apparently the oil pulling process pulls all sorts of toxins and nasty stuff out of your body through your tongue and into the oil. When you spit out the oil, it will be foamy and white and the foaminess and whiteness of it is supposedly all the bacteria and toxins the oil pulling has just gotten out of your body.

Really, Toxins?

Honestly, I believe the whiteness and frothiness of the oil comes from squishing the oil around in your mouth while it's being mixed with saliva. If you think about it, if you have oil, water, or some other salad dressing ingredients that you shake in a jar, it'll temporarily emulsify and do the same thing. I don't really think the whiteness or the frothiness of the pulled oil comes from actual bacteria and toxins, but rather simply from the mixing of oil, air, and saliva.

Some people claim that if you look at the oil pulling contents under a microscope you'll see all this "live bacteria" but, um, allow me to re-live my teenage years by saying, DUH! We all have bacteria in our mouths anyway. If you took a cotton swab of the inside of your mouth, you'd still see live bacteria. It doesn't take oil pulling to do that.

Nonetheless, oil pulling is supposed to be great for clearing your sinuses, tightening up any loose teeth, and improving acne. I oil pulled for about a week and I've got to tell you, it is a really disgusting experience. I had to hold my breath whenever I was doing it because the texture of the oil is nasty (it feels like oil curdling in your mouth) and plain oil does not taste good. I have since developed an aversion to olive oil. And to think I used to like dipping my bread in it!

Needless to say, oil pulling did not do a darn thing for my acne. However, it's probably doing something because lots of people on earth clinic claim that it works. If you want real proof, thatoneguyonline on YouTube conducted a two week experiment with oil pulling. Again, no results whatsoever.

UPDATE: I decided to give oil-pulling another go for its dental benefits. I was experiencing some sensitivity in one of my molars and was unable to schedule an appointment with my regular dentist. Because of my previous bad experience with using olive oil to oil pull for acne, I tried sesame oil this time around. I must eat my own words and say, there really is something to oil pulling when it comes to the health of your teeth. After oil pulling for a week, the sensitivity in my tooth went away! And I didn't even have to go to a dentist for it. So I conclude that oil pulling is a great way to keep your gums and teeth healthy. However, I stand by my original statement that it does not do much for acne (my tooth feels better, but my skin does not look any better). I would definitely recommend it for people who want to improve their oral health though!

Last updated: April 2, 2013

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