Oil Pulling for Acne: An Effective Remedy or a Waste of Time?  

Oil Pulling for Acne: An Effective Remedy or a Waste of Time?  

If you’ve suffered from acne for a long time, then you’re probably no stranger to unorthodox treatment options. All our lives, we’ve been bombarded with information about the newest trends in skin care, ranging from facial blood masks to snail slime. This is why we’re sometimes skeptical about trying new treatment options, no matter how easy and quick they might seem.

If those treatment options take longer to have an effect, then all the more reason to bypass them. We’re impatient for fast results and skip from one trend to the next like a bee in a flower field. However, sometimes the hassle is worth it. We might even end up happy that we’ve branched out and left our comfort zones.

You might’ve come across the term oil pulling before, probably in a different context than skin care. No, it has nothing to do with cooking or baking but a lot to do with mouth and gut health. But how diverse are the benefits of oil pulling exactly? And could it possibly work as a natural acne treatment option?

If you want clearer skin, oil pulling might be an option to consider. And here's why.

What Еxactly is Oil Pulling?

Oil pulling is a method of mouth washing. You swish vegetable oil (such as olive oil, safflower oil, or coconut oil) in your mouth for 20-30 minutes before spitting it out. People have reportedly been using this oil cleanser to treat numerous health conditions for centuries.

It helps eliminate harmful toxins from the oral cavity and improves dental health. But it's not just oral health that can benefit. Since people associate acne with excess toxins in the skin and body, it’s no wonder that many believe you can use this technique as an acne treatment.

Oil Pulling as an Acne Treatment

You might be wondering how a method for cleansing your mouth and gums can have anything to do with acne. Since this method works by removing toxins and bacteria from your body, it’s reasonable to assume that regular practice might rid skin of toxins and prove to be an effective acne treatment.

In addition, acne is highly associated with gut health issues. And although gut health is an incredibly complicated topic, we can safely conclude that poor gut health is often caused by an imbalance of gut bacteria.

Oil pulling works by eliminating the most harmful bacteria from your mouth before they even get the chance to enter your body. That’s why it can be an incredible tool for combating acne naturally. Not to mention, this oil cleansing technique is very easy to put into practice. All you need is high-quality, cold-pressed vegetable oil and a few minutes to spare in the morning.

What Do the Studies Say?

Research suggests oil pulling shouldn’t be easily disregarded as another pseudoscientific method. Numerous studies have shown that this method can be beneficial for some health conditions, alleviating some cancer symptoms.

It helps to treat the symptoms of the condition, lessen the severity of the diseases and avoid the side effects resulting from the medicine. And not to mention, these natural oils are easy to get your hands on. From olive oil to coconut oil and sesame oil, there is a range you can use.

Oil Cleansing Guide: How to Oil Pull to Treat Acne

This method is simple and easy. Anyone who suffers from acne should try it out for at least a couple of weeks. All you need is some organic cold-pressed vegetable oil.

Rinse your mouth with a cold glass of water before you start. Take a tablespoon of the oil you’ve chosen and swish it around your mouth for 20 to 30 minutes. If you get tired at any point during the process, take a break and return to it when you feel like it. After swishing, spit out the oil in your toilet or the trash can, as spitting the oil in the sink can cause plumbing issues.

Rinse the area around your mouth thoroughly, so no oil is left on your skin. Brush your teeth only after you’ve finished, and rinse your mouth with warm water to get rid of the oil's aftertaste. It’s very important to remember that you should never swallow the oil, as it contains harmful bacteria and toxins taken out of your body.

Believe it or not, that's all you need to do to implement this miracle method into your skincare routine. It's easy, relatively quick - and it’s bang for your buck.

Rinse the area around your mouth thoroughly, so no oil is left on your skin. Brush your teeth only after you’ve finished, and rinse your mouth with warm water to get rid of the oil's aftertaste. It’s very important to remember that you should never swallow the oil, as it contains harmful bacteria and toxins taken out of your body.

Believe it or not, that's all you need to do to implement this miracle method into your skincare routine. It's easy, relatively quick - and it’s bang for your buck.

What Kind of Oil Should You Use?

There's no correct answer to this question. The truth is, you can use any kind of vegetable oil, so long as it’s cold-pressed and organic. However, some oils are admittedly superior to others, such as sesame oil and coconut oil.

People seem to prefer coconut oil because of its taste, although it can be harder to swish around the mouth. It contains antioxidants, and its anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties give you additional benefits. Some studies suggest that the lauric acid it contains can help kill the bacteria that cause tooth decay.

You can also combine multiple oils at once. Experiment with them and see what works best for you. If you don’t want to make a mess of it, rotate between using a couple of different oils separately for optimal benefits.

How Often Should You Use This Method?

Oil pulling can be done at any time of the day, depending on how much time you have. If you’re after the detox benefits that come with it, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Oil pulling in the morning removes toxins and improves overall health.

When it comes to how many times a day you should oil pull, don't overdo it! Try it once a day. If you want to oil pull more than that, do it at night before you sleep. Remember to brush your teeth thoroughly afterward to eliminate that oily texture and taste.

Oil Pulling Benefits for Acne

Oil pulling provides many health benefits, which is why those with acne-prone skin often implement it in their daily skin care routines. We’ve already mentioned its ability to remove harmful toxins and bacteria from the body, but can you use oil pulling for acne?

It makes sense that its detoxifying and antimicrobial nature can have a positive effect on us. The body can function much better when it’s free of unwanted toxins and pesticides. In addition, oil pulling helps boost the immune system. Prolonged skin problems are often a result of a weakened immune system, so this method can help provide a clean and clear complexion.

Moreover, it keeps the skin moisturized, glowing, and nourished. Overly dry skin is more susceptible to fine lines and wrinkles, so it’s safe to say that this method can also have an anti-aging effect.

As mentioned earlier, another thing that links acne and oil pulling is gut health. Acne is often a result of a poor balance of the bacteria in our gut or an untreated condition. Numerous studies have shown a link between poor gut health and skin issues, so we should all take it seriously.

By eliminating ‘bad’ bacteria from your mouth, oil pulling stops them from getting down into your digestive system. This means the ‘good’ bacteria can do their job properly, and your digestion will improve. And in turn, you'll notice less discomfort, and your body will become less inflamed.

Exercising your jaw while swishing oil will improve the blood flow to your face, making your skin smoother and tighter and giving you a healthier complexion.

See? Adding oil pulling to your beauty regimen can only help.

Additional Benefits of Oil Pulling

If those weren’t enough to convince you to give this miracle method a go, here are a few other benefits of oil pulling.

According to many studies, oil pulling can prevent you from getting a gum disease called gingivitis, which has very painful symptoms like swollen and sensitive gums. Cleansing the teeth and gums with oil removes the harmful plaque that can result in this disease.

Oral oil pulling helps eliminate the bacteria responsible for cavities. Cavities can be very annoying and expensive, but the good news is that you can prevent them by oil pulling. You'll start noticing changes in your oral cavity after a few weeks.

If you have a problem with bad breath, don’t despair! Luckily, oil pulling can help you get rid of the bad bacteria that are causing bad breath. Using mouthwash can also help, but since it contains alcohol, it can reduce the amount of saliva you produce and dry out your mouth. So if you want to avoid that, try this natural treatment!

Another benefit of oil pulling is its ability to kill the Candida bacteria in the mouth and treat the infection known as oral thrush.

Can Oil Pulling Cause Breakouts?

Even though oil pulling can’t directly contribute to acne, there's a way it can make you break out and lead to unfavorable skin. If the oil has direct contact with your skin before or after oil pulling, there is a possibility it will worsen your acne.

To avoid this, don’t let the oil touch your skin, and always wash your face with a good cleanser afterward, especially if you're using comedogenic oils, such as avocado oil, extra virgin olive oil, marula oil, and coconut oil.

Alternatively, you could use non-comedogenic oil cleansing products like sunflower oil.

Should You Brush your Teeth Before or After Oil Pulling?

The short and sweet answer is: after! You don’t need to brush your teeth before oil pulling, but always brush your teeth after so the toxins are removed from your mouth.

How Long Does it Take to See Results?

Like any other natural treatment, it will take some time to see noticeable benefits of oil pulling for acne and other problems.

People who have tried it claim they saw improvements in morning breath within the first week, and those who stuck with it for long enough (or did the 30-day challenge – more on that below) claim that they noticed a significant improvement in teeth whitening and strength within the first couple of weeks.

30-day Oil Pulling Challenge

The only thing you’ll need for this challenge is good quality oil and a little chunk of time in the morning. Repeat the procedure every day for 30 days straight. Write down any changes you notice each week. 

If you need extra motivation, try out this fun challenge, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results. 


A challenge is an exciting way to introduce this practice into your daily skincare routine. It'll make you feel accomplished, and the positive results you’ll notice will keep you going for longer than the initial 30 days.




Mistakes to Avoid

Here are a few common mistakes you should avoid when trying this method.

Firstly, make sure the oil of your choice is cold-pressed and organic. It shouldn't contain any artificial colors or sweeteners, alcohol, or preservatives. It might be tempting to try out the oils that are already in your household, but not all of them work in the same way. Even though some might be perfectly healthy for consumption, they might not be good for pulling out those nasty toxins you want to zap. 

Certain oils are simply superior to others. Sesame seed, peppermint, coconut, and sunflower oil work best for this purpose. And why waste your time with those that are subpar?

Another common mistake is swishing the oil for too long in the mouth or not long enough. People new to oil pulling are often impatient, which is why they cut the amount of time they swish the oil. Others might just despise the taste of it. The solution is to introduce the procedure into your routine gradually. Start by pulling for a few minutes a day, and then slowly increase the number of minutes as time passes.

The optimal swishing time is between 20 to 30 minutes. Anything over half an hour can be equally useless as it can cause irritation in your gums and mouth and make your jaw tense and painful.

Disposing of the oil correctly also matters. Oil can clog your sink, so the best place to spit it out is either the toilet or the trash can. Avoid swallowing the oil at all costs. It contains all the nasty stuff you want out of your body, so get rid of it!

Don’t forget to rinse after oil pulling. This will make sure that you’ve removed all the excess oil and toxins from the mouth.

Possible Side Effects

Although there is enough scientific data to support the benefits of oil pulling, there's also enough research indicating a few possible side effects.

As we've mentioned before, those who suffer from sensitive skin need to pay extra attention and avoid direct skin contact with the oil, especially after it’s been swished around.

If you happen to swallow the oil instead of spitting it out, you might get an upset stomach and diarrhea. So make sure to get rid of all the oil in your mouth.

In addition, those who used this method in the morning reportedly experienced nausea and vomiting. This can also be because of swallowing some of the oil.

While we’re on the subject, people have also reported an upset stomach resulting in cramps. However, this is likely due to an allergy or another unrelated health condition.

Dry mouth and dehydration can also occur as a result. Since the saliva gets mixed up with the oil during the process, you also spit it up along with the oil, which can cause your mouth to become extremely dry. It’s also worth mentioning that oil pulling can make you cough out mucus, which, in turn, will make you feel dehydrated. If this occurs, don’t drink large amounts of water at once.

Some people reported a blocked nose while doing this method. You can easily avoid this by blowing your nose before starting the process.

Another common side effect is jaw stiffness. Swishing the oil around can cause the jaw muscles to stretch, creating stiffness and, in some cases, even pain.

Last but certainly not least, oil pulling can lead to lipoid pneumonia. If you don’t swish it correctly, you might inhale some of the oil, and its toxins and harmful bacteria can enter your lungs and cause lipoid pneumonia. Make sure you learn the correct technique before trying it out.


If you’re allergic to a certain type of oil, never use it for oil pulling because it can cause an allergic reaction or contact dermatitis. Furthermore, children under five mustn’t try this method since they’re at greater risk of side effects and are more likely to swallow the oil at the end.

Combine this Method with the Number 1 Acne Treatment

Those with oily skin and acne will benefit from using other methods on top of oil pulling for acne, such as trying skincare products to remove dead skin cells and unclog pores. Misumi's Complete Clear 3-Step System will remove excess sebum, eliminating oil plugs. It'll fight acne-causing bacteria and help you achieve the glowing skin you've always wanted.

Try it now!

The Verdict

People all over the world swear by oil pulling. If you want to try it out, implement it into your regular morning routine. Be patient with it since results can take a while. Oil pulling is proven to have some amazing benefits not just for oral health but also for acne and the digestive system. It can eliminate toxins and also heal and improve the symptoms of some health conditions.

Remember, acne is a complicated skin condition and requires an all-around approach. For any treatment to work, you should make sure that you have your diet, exercise routine, sleeping pattern, and stress under control.

If you find that oil pulling doesn’t give you results as quickly as you wanted or that the acne isn’t going away, visit a dermatologist. Natural remedies can be amazing, but they don’t work for everybody.

Happy pulling!


BAD SCIENCE: Oil pulling

Effect of oil pulling in promoting oro dental hygiene

Oil pulling and importance of traditional medicine in oral health maintenance

Effect of coconut oil in plaque related gingivitis

[Impact of the impaired intestinal microflora on the course of acne vulgaris]

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