When you have oily and acne-prone skin, it is common to be on a constant research mode, seeking skincare solutions to reduce the frequency of acne breakouts. However, sometimes it’s more than acne as oily skin is also prone to other skin conditions such as blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples. Hence, the search for solutions is an age-long one, and health experts have developed a series of solutions to help. This article explores the Oil pulling process and the positive effect on oily, acne-prone skin.
What is Acne?
Scientifically referred to as Acne vulgaris, acne is a skin condition caused by the clogging of hair follicles by natural oil and dead skin cells. It primarily affects parts of the body with a high concentration of oil glands. These body parts include the face, chest, and back (1).
Acne is largely genetically induced, with over 80% of the cases directly linked to hereditary factors. However, poor hygiene, minerals & nutrients deficiency, excessive smoking of cigarettes, and other related factors can expose a person’s skin to this undesirable health condition.
Beauty and health experts have developed countless possible remedies to take care of it. One of these age-long remedies is the Oil Pulling practice. However, before going into the details of this age-long practice, we need to explore common techniques that may reduce the risk of acne breakouts.
Common Practices to Reduce Acne Breakouts
Some common practices that have proven to be effective include:
1. Stress Management and Adequate Rest:
Physical and emotional stress has been directly linked to countless health conditions, including acne. To reduce the risk of acne and facilitate its treatment, you may be required to avoid stress in all its forms. Also, a minimum of 6-8 hours of sleep daily is recommended.
2. Smoking and Consumption of Alcohol:
Excessive smoking narrows the blood vessels that supply blood to the epidermis. This means smoking decreases blood flow to the skin. In addition, excessive alcohol and cigarette consumption may make your skin pale, dry, and vulnerable to acne attacks.
3. Be Gentle with Your Skin:
This is the first rule of caring for the skin. Certain practices may contribute to acne breakout and reduce the effectiveness of a mitigating effort. Such practices include the constant use of strong antiseptic soaps, regular hot baths, careless shaving, and the wrong cosmetic products. Being gentle with your skin protects your skin.
4. Practice Better Hygiene:
Whether oily, dry or sensitive skin, practicing good hygiene will help protect the skin from undesirable conditions like acne breakouts. To improve skin hygiene, a daily skincare routine should be practiced.
Daily Skincare Routine
These skincare routines will significantly reduce the risk of acne and keep the body generally healthy (2). These routines include
This is the first step. It should be done using a carefully selected product that will not leave the skin tight after use.
2. Apply a Moisturizer:
This may be using a light serum or occasionally using an over-the-counter moisturizer or an all-natural face mask. It should be applied immediately after drying the skin.
3. Apply Sunscreen:
You may perceive this as being luxuriant, yet; it is simply an essential skincare routine. In addition, applying sunscreen to your skin before stepping out of the door on a sunny day may protect you from the blistering sun rays, which otherwise may expose your skin to further acne breakouts.
4. Stay Away from Direct Sunlight:
Wrinkles, age spots, and increased risk of acne breakouts may be inevitable if your skin is constantly exposed to the sun. So use sunscreens meticulously on exposed skin, wear protective clothing pieces and use dark eyeglasses. And if you can avoid being out there in the sun completely, then avoid it.
5. Eat Healthy Meals:
Making intentional efforts to have healthy meals will protect your body and offer numerous benefits. For example, it fortifies your immune system, replenishes dead cells, and generally keeps your body fit. Studies have also revealed that eating a healthy diet rich in zinc, complex carbohydrates, antioxidants, and omega 3 fatty acids may help prevent and treat acne. In addition, sufficient consumption of freshwater fish, eggs, spinach, mustard seed, wild rice, nuts, fruits, etc., may protect the skin from acne.
These practices are encouraged for the prevention and treatment of acne. However, due to the persistent nature of acne breakouts, these routines are supplements to extensive measures such as the use of chemical dermatological products, face masks, and oil pulling.
What is Oil Pulling
Oil pulling is an alternative medical practice that involves using edible oils like sesame oil, sunflower oil, olive oil, and coconut oil to rinse the mouth thoroughly (3). It is a process that takes as long as 20 minutes and involves the swishing and swirling of any of these oils around the mouth before spitting it out. It is an age-long practice effective for teeth whitening and treating headaches, diabetes mellitus, asthma, and skin acne.
The Oil Pulling Process
1. This procedure is usually carried out in the morning; you need to do it before eating anything whatsoever.
2. First, you rinse your mouth with clean water; this is done to get rid of any collected substance.
3. Using a string of dental floss, remove any plaque between your teeth.
4. For the oil pulling, take one or two tablespoons of coconut oil or any other preferred natural oil and pour it into your mouth (avoid swallowing).
5. Swish the oil in your mouth consistently but carefully for 20 minutes.
6. Spit the oil out (at the point it may taste sour in your mouth).
7. Rinse your mouth with water and proceed to your daily dental care routine.
Benefits of Oil Pulling
General benefits believed to be associated with oil pulling include:
1. It Fights Halitosis:
Halitosis, also referred to as bad breath, results from poor oral hygiene, infection, and bacteria buildup. Coconut oil, which is extensively used for the procedure, contains lauric acid, which fights harmful bacteria that cause mouth odor. Research supports that oil pulling could eliminate mouth odor significantly (4).
2. Cavity Protection:
Most of the factors that cause bad breath greatly contribute to tooth decay. Poor oral hygiene, bacteria buildup, and plagues between teeth (all contribute to cavity decay) cannot be found in a frequent oil-pulled mouth. Oil pulling may help in cavity protection by reducing the number and activity of harmful bacteria in the mouth (5).
3. It Heals Tooth Sensitivity and Reduces Inflammation:
Because if it’s efficient in removing deposits from the teeth and destroying the harmful bacteria that make the teeth overly sensitive, oil pulling may contribute to healing tooth sensitivity. Coconut oil is an anti-inflammatory agent; hence oil pulling with this natural product will help reduce inflammation in any part of the buccal cavity- mouth.
4. It Protects the Body From Bacteria:
Rinsing the mouth with natural oils, which are antibacterial elements, may protect the digestive tract and entire body from bacteria and toxins that pass through the mouth (6).
The Effect of Oil Pulling on Acne Breakouts
The big question of this narrative is, ” is there any link between oil pulling and acne?” While there is no direct link between oil pulling and acne, research has proven a significant relationship between the skin and the gut. This is known as the skin-gut axis relationship. It is because of this relationship gastrointestinal illnesses show a visible impact on a patient’s skin. The bacteria, undigested proteins, and toxins from the intestine may enter the bloodstream and readily reach the patient’s skin. Persons with leaking gut syndrome (a digestive condition that affects the lining of the intestines) are most susceptible to this condition (7).
Oil pulling is believed to be an effective treatment to protect the gut and body from bacteria and toxins, because of the antibacterial properties of the natural oils used (8).
The process is believed to significantly save the liver and kidney from the excessive stress of toxins. Otherwise, they may pass uninterrupted to these vital organs, stress them, contaminate the blood, and influence acne bumps on the skin.
This likely protection of the body from toxins is a major contribution of the oil pulling method. To date, research is yet to confirm a direct link between oil pulling and acne. However, it is believed to have worked for women that practiced it, and the United States food and drug administration (FDA) has confirmed that there is no harm associated with its usage.
Disadvantages of Oil Pulling
1. The limited research on oil pulling and evidence to support the benefits is regarded as a shortcoming. This is because a 20-minute exercise and the resources used may all be a waste.
2. Also, you may be allergic to the natural oils used for this procedure.
3. Possible allergic reactions include nausea, vomiting, and anaphylaxis (an emergency that causes difficulty in breathing) after oil pulling.
The impact of the swishing and swirling of natural oils around the mouth to increase, prevent or treat acne is a mechanism that is yet to be confirmed by research. This procedure known as oil pulling is done with natural oils like sunflower, olive, or coconut oil. All these oils have antibacterial properties and rich antioxidant content. Using any of these oils to rinse the mouth before spitting it out may protect your gut and body from acne-causing bacteria and toxins.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
When did oil pulling start?
According to the National center for biotechnology information (NCBI), oil pulling originated 3000-5000 years ago in India.
Is oil pulling a scientifically researched and proven process?
No. There is no in-depth research to provide the necessary evidence that oil pulling improves oral health, whitens teeth, or improves other health conditions like asthma and acne.
Can oil pulling be done every day?
Yes, it can be done daily. However, care should be taken to ensure that the oil used is not swallowed.
Can oil pulling replace brushing?
No, oil pulling can’t replace brushing. Instead, oil pulling increases the need for brushing as the mouth tastes sour after an exercise.
Should I oil pull for 20 minutes?
20 minutes is the required time for maximum results. However, it might not be convenient for a starter to move the mouth for that long because of the discomfort associated with the constant swirling of the oil. So starting with 5-10 minutes may be a good idea.
Which oil is best for oil pulling?
The initiators of oil pulling used sunflower oil which is still used today. Sesame oil, coconut oil, and olive oil can all be used for the process.
Does oil pulling help with weight loss?
The lauric acid content of coconut oil (extensively used for oil pulling) contributes to weight loss.
What are the foods to avoid for the prevention and treatment of acne?
Some foods have been recorded to contribute to the risk of acne bumps. Foods with high sugar content and dairy products should be avoided while fresh fruits, freshwater fish, and vegetables should be consumed.
- “Acne” – mayoclinic.org
- “A Guide to Taking Care of Your Skin” – healthline.com
- “Oil pulling” – en.wikipedia.org
- “Effect of oil pulling on halitosis and microorganisms causing halitosis: a randomized controlled pilot trial” – pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “The Effect of Coconut Oil pulling on Streptococcus mutans Count in Saliva in Comparison with Chlorhexidine Mouthwash” – pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “Benefits of oil pulling with coconut oil” – medicalnewstoday.com
- “What to know about leaky gut syndrome” – medicalnewstoday.com
- “Oil pulling for maintaining oral hygiene – A review” – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov