• Wed, Oct 9 2013

Oil Pulling: 2 Big Reasons You Should Be Gargling Your Coconut Oil

Oily beauty superstars: argan, coconut and olive.

Oily beauty superstars: argan, coconut and olive.

After the low fat craze of the ’90s, extra virgin olive oil emerged as a kind of mythical force for good–first to promote physical health, soon after as a beauty cure-all. Now, everything from drug store shampoos to fancy eye creams to lipsticks taut it as an ingredient. We even hear about certain celebrities bathing in it for ageless skin.

Then, in the last couple years, coconut oil became the fat everybody’s not afraid of. It went from being the hippie beauty aid of choice to spawning 1,000 posts on beauty blogs praising its outlandish magical qualities–put it in your hair! use it as a makeup remover! moisturize everywhere! It was enough to make us go out and buy a jar, which now occasionally ends up in sauteed greens but not much else. We’ll probably die ugly.

But now, apparently, we learn of another reason to buy the jar: gargling. Yes, you should also be gargling your coconut oil.

Why’s that, you say?

For a number of reasons. Huffington Post talked to “nutritionist and naturopathic doctor” Bruce Fife (who runs the sort of website familiar to people who know what a naturopathic doctor is) about the beauty benefits of gargling oil and they break down like so:

1) Tooth whitening and gum health: “Coconut oil possesses natural antibiotic and anti-viral properties that brighten dull or yellowed teeth and enhance the cleansing action.” Additionally it’s good for breath and kills all manner of bacteria.

2) It’s good for skin… and slays acne, allegedly. “Removing bacteria and toxins from the body eliminates a great deal of stress that results in improved energy levels.” Stress, of course, being a major cause of acne. They go on: Because oil pulling involves “pulling” germs and toxins in the mouth that often leak into the bloodstream, affecting the entire body, Dr. Fife believes that it can improve skin health and appearance.

We get skeptical of anything promising acne-fighting powers (or using the word “toxins,” for that matter), but the basic premise makes sense: bacteria out, acne out.

So, tell us: we know there’s a million reasons to use coconut oil for beauty, but have you ever gargled with it? Seen results? Or are you already onto the next natural beauty cure-all (apple cider vinegar, duh)?

(HuffPost Style)

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  • http://www.ambiencechaser.com/ Elizabeth Licata

    I just tried it. OMG, so gross. No idea if it did anything, but I’ll cross my fingers.

  • http://blisstree.com/ Carrie Murphy

    I did it for a few week, and my boyfriend did, too. We both liked it and found it made our mouths feel cleaner and our teeth a little whiter. We didn’t keep up with it, though.

  • Julia Sonenshein

    How are you supposed to do that without vomiting? Is vomiting the point?

  • Holly

    I only use coconut oil (the good stuff. Unrefined, blah blah something else that is important, blah) for cooking. It is better with high heat than olive oil is. Olive oil is best for eating on salads and in dips and such. Anyhow, I have tried oil pulling with coconut oil and…safflower oil maybe? I found it to be pretty relaxing once I could actually get myself to do it for more than 4 minutes. I don’t know about acne or anything like that, but when I have a tooth ache, it absolutely helps. I do think my teeth seem whiter. And they shouldn’t be, because I’ve been drinking a ridiculous amount of coffee lately.

    • Holly

      Also, coconut oil is solid until it gets under 75-ish degrees. So when you put it in your mouth, it’s not like pouring olive oil or vegetable oil in there. It’s more like…weird butter? And you don’t gargle it so much as pull it back and forth in your mouth and push it through your teeth.

    • Anne Marie Hawkins

      It’s about the mouth texture of schmaltz. I only know this because I was once pranked by my older cousins, who told me that the little jar in my grandma’s freezer was full of ice cream, not chicken fat.

  • Anne Marie Hawkins

    I do this occasionally. The hard part is dealing with it while it’s still in that gross solid state. Once it’s melty it’s fine. It tastes nice and leaves my mouth feeling very clean, and it usually helps de-stink my breath if I’ve had something like garlic or tuna.
    But it’s definitely not the magical sinusitis cure I was promised.

  • anna

    I did it, and my sore throat has been gone all day! I smeared some on my face too and my dry itchy face rash is gone! But I seem to have a pimple developing (probably from clogging my pores with oil, duh, Anna.)
    Now I’m reading about it and apparently it can take months for your skin to recover if you break out from it. Freaking out. Any anecdotes??

  • Ray

    I just recently found about about oil pulling. It’s odd, I already use coconut oil in cooking and in DIY haircare, never really thought to gargle with it, tho. I’ll have to give it shot. Honestly, it doesn’t sound overly pleasant :) http://makeyourhairgrowfaster.net/