10 Oil Pulling Benefits for Skin and Hair: Is It Really Effective?

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There are a lot of gimmicks out there when it comes to attaining clear, youthful skin.

There’s the vampire facial, which involves getting your blood drawn and injected back into your face.

And there are all sorts of crazy lotions and potions that people slather on their skin, hoping to achieve that perfect, dewy complexion.

But there’s one method of skin care that’s gained a lot of popularity in recent years, and it’s a lot more low-key than getting your blood sucked out by leeches: oil pulling.

a young girl doing the oil pulling using coconut oil in a mustard colored background

Oil pulling is an ancient practice that’s said to have all sorts of benefits, including improving oral health, reducing inflammation, and yes, even giving you glowing skin.

But does it really work? Let’s take a closer look.

What Is Oil Pulling?

Oil pulling is a very old practice in Ayurvedic medicine. 

It is usually done with sesame or coconut oil, and the oil is swished around the mouth for 20 minutes before being spit out. This practice is generally done in the morning so the toxins can be drawn out during the day.

Because of this, oil pulling is said to improve oral health and reduce inflammation.

While no scientific evidence supports these claims, some people swear by the practice. Still, take these claims with a grain of salt. 

What Happens When You Oil Pull?

A few studies show that oil pulling has therapeutic effects on overall health.

Coconut oil contains lauric acid, a fatty acid that has antimicrobial properties.

A process called saponification happens when the lauric acid in coconut oil meets with saliva, and this process is said to reduce plaque and gingivitis.

Sesame oil is another common oil used in oil pulling. This oil also contains lauric acid, as well as vitamin E, which is an antioxidant that can help reduce inflammation.

Furthermore, oil pulling sets off salivary enzymes, which cleanse the blood of toxins like chemical substances, bacteria, and environmental pollutants so that they can be removed from the body via the tongue.

This makes sense, considering that the mouth is the gateway to the body, and what goes in can affect overall health.

a close-up image of a girl gargling coconut oil for oil pulling benefits for skin

10 Benefits of Oil Pulling for Skin and Hair

Supporters of oil pulling claim that the act of swishing oil in your mouth for 20 minutes can do wonders for the skin.

If you are interested in trying oil pulling for yourself, here are some oiling-pulling benefits you can expect:

1. Fights Acne

Acne can allegedly be improved with oil pulling.

The theory is that the toxins accumulated in the bloodstream are what’s causing these skin problems in the first place.

Oil pulling is said to remove these toxins and, as a result, improves the appearance of the skin. 

And since it removes toxins by eliminating bacteria in the digestive system, it also aids in preventing breakouts.

2. Combats Other Skin Conditions

Eczema and psoriasis can be a bane, but some people say that oil pulling has helped them get rid of these stubborn skin conditions.

Some people say that oil pulling can help with skin problems because it removes the toxins that are thought to cause or contribute to them.

3. Improves Blood Flow to the Face

When we swish oil in our mouths, it helps increase the blood flow to our faces. The facial nerves are also stimulated, which can help improve our complexion.

Oil pulling is said to be especially beneficial for people who suffer from migraines and tension headaches. The increased blood flow can help reduce the pain and inflammation associated with these conditions.

4. Increases Skin Elasticity

Our skin naturally becomes less elastic as we age. Oil pulling can help increase skin elasticity because of the lauric acid and vitamin E in the oils, making your skin look younger and more radiant. 

When we have enough elasticity in our skin, its glow naturally comes back. 

5. Regulates Moisture in Skin

When our face is moisturized, it not only looks healthy but feels smooth to the touch. 

But too much moisture in the skin also produces breakouts, whiteheads, and blackheads. Meanwhile, too little moisture makes the skin flake and become prone to signs of aging.

The toxins that oil pulling flushes out trigger oxidative stress inside your body, which is responsible for excessive oil production.

This means keeping these toxins away regulates sebum production, keeping your skin barrier balanced.

6. Makes the Skin Look Younger

When we hydrate the skin and eliminate toxins, it can help to reduce the appearance of wrinkles.

Since wrinkles are caused by a breakdown of collagen, the increased moisture and elasticity from oil pulling can plump up the skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines.

7. Prevents Rashes and Blemishes

Whether you have sensitive skin or not, rashes can be a pain. Oil pulling is said to prevent rashes because of its detoxification process and ability to balance skin moisture.

It can also help eliminate toxins that cause inflammation and irritation.

8. Gives the Hair a Healthy Shine

a young girl is swinging her healthy and shiny long hair

Our hair can also benefit from the regular elimination of toxins. Healthy hair is shiny hair and less prone to breakage!

No more bad hair days!

9. Promotes Hair Growth and Thickness

Hair growth and thickness can also be improved with oil pulling. This is because it helps remove toxins from the scalp that can clog the hair follicles and impede hair growth.

If you have thinning hair, oil pulling can help reactivate your hair follicles and to promote new hair growth.

10. Aids Sleep to Help With Skin Renewal

A digestive system that is not working properly can cause many problems, including insomnia. And when we don’t have enough sleep, it can show on our skin.

Oil pulling can help to alleviate insomnia by removing toxins before they get to the digestive system, thereby promoting better sleep.

Getting a full night’s sleep doesn’t only help us feel rested; it also gives our skin time to rejuvenate, leading to newer skin cells and a more youthful appearance!

Side Effects of Oil Pulling

The practice of oil pulling is generally considered safe. However, if you’re not used to swishing oil around your mouth for 20 minutes, you may experience some side effects.

These include:

  • Jaw pain
  • Headache
  • Nausea

You may also experience stomach pain and diarrhea if you swallow the oil.

To avoid these side effects, start with a shorter duration of time (5 to 10 minutes) and gradually increase it to 20 minutes. It’s also essential to use a food-grade oil that’s organic and unrefined.

Which Oil Should I Use?

Tradition dictates sesame oil, but any cold-pressed, organic, and unrefined oil will do.

Coconut oil is popular as it has antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties. A study showed that using coconut oil for oil pulling significantly reduced S. mutans count, a type of bacteria linked to gum disease, tooth decay, or cavities.

You can also use olive oil, sunflower oil, and avocado oil.

5 Things to Remember Before You Start Oil Pulling

Now that you know what oil pulling is and what benefits it can have for your skin, here are a few things to remember before you start:

  • Do it in the morning: The best time to do oil pulling is in the morning before you eat or drink anything. An empty stomach is best, so the oil can do its job without interference.
  • Use a high-quality oil: The best options are cold-pressed, organic, unrefined oils. Avoid using refined or processed oils as they can contain chemicals and other toxins.
  • Do not brush before: Brushing your teeth beforehand can reduce the effectiveness of oil pulling.
  • Spit the oil: Do not swallow the oil! When you’re finished swishing, spit it out into the trash. Ingesting the oil can make you sick.
  • Rinse your mouth: After spitting out the oil, rinse your mouth with warm water and brush your teeth as usual.

Oil pulling for clearer skin is a simple and effective way to detoxify the body. 

It’s important to remember that oil pulling is not a replacement for traditional medical care. If you have any concerns about your health, be sure to consult with your doctor.

a woman getting ready to do oil pulling using a spoon

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are you ready to start oil pulling for clearer skin? We’ve got you covered with everything you need to know in this comprehensive guide.

Still have questions? Check out our FAQs below.

How Much Oil Should I Use?

One to two tablespoons of oil is enough. If necessary, you can start with one tablespoon and increase it to two tablespoons.

Can I Oil Pull Every Day?

Yes, you can oil pull every day. Many people do it in the morning as part of their daily routine.

There is no harm in oil pulling every day, but you may want to do it every other day or a few times a week if you’re just starting.

When Will I Start Seeing Results?

There is no clear answer, as everyone is different. Some people see results within a few days or weeks, while others may not see any changes for months.

If you’re consistent with oil pulling and use high-quality oil, you will likely see results sooner.

Oil Pulling Is Definitely Worth a Try

The amazing benefits of oil pulling make it a practice worth trying. Aside from helping detoxify the body and improve oral health, it can also provide clearer skin.

Compared to other intense detoxification methods, oil pulling is relatively gentle and can be done in the comfort of your own home. 

Why not give it a try today and see for yourself? Oil pulling may just be the answer to all your skin woes.

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Authors

  • Stephanie Martin

    Stephanie Martin blends her beauty industry background with expertise in communications to lead in the fashion and beauty world. As a fashion and beauty editor, she is known for engaging and informative articles. Her lifelong passion for fashion, makeup, and hair shines through her work, earning her widespread respect among readers and clients. Stephanie's style, a mix of classic and contemporary, makes her a dynamic and influential figure in the industry, inspiring others with her knowledgeable and approachable insights.

  • Amanda Meehan

    Amanda Meehan, a licensed esthetician and massage therapist, brings holistic beauty to the forefront. Trained at the Aveda Institute Denver and the Center for Natural Wellness School of Massage Therapy, her accolades include the High Honors and Beauty Is As Beauty Does awards. Beyond skincare, she's a certified Reiki Master and yoga instructor.

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