I must preface my remarks with the information that I am not medically qualified, and i am not advising anyone to do anything. I am all in favour of people in general taking control and responsibility for their own health.
About 50% of the adult population suffers from keratosis pilaris to some extent. Also know as chickenskin, it looks like permanent goosebumps, sometimes red, sometimes not. There is a whole collection of relation conditions, which all have their own impressive latin name.
Some people will hardly think of this as a condition, and others are severely depressed by it. Of course, the severity and the impact that it makes upon your life are affected by how important your appearance is, where your tolerance for imperfections lies, etc. I have it, as do two of my children, one of whom has it pretty badly.
Anyoldhoo, having found the support forum and message board for KP, I discovered a discussion about oil pulling, which is apparently as well-known technique in various parts of the world. Put simply, it consists of using pure oil, like sunflower, sesame (untoasted) or coconut, and first thing in the morning, taking about a tablespoon, swilling it around the mouth for 20 minutes and then spitting it out.
People on the forum have reported mixed results from the method. Some claim to have seen a reduction in their KP, others report side effects such as a reduction in neck pain, or whitening of the teeth.
Few people seem able to explain how it can help. One postulates that it may remove toxins from the system somehow, because some toxins are fat soluble while others are water soluble... others that it kills bacteria. However, I am always in favour of things that don't harm but may help health, and so I decided to give it a try for myself, and record the results here.
I have often wondered what benefit the Roman got from covering themselves in oil and having a slave scrape it off again. Maybe this is an internal version of that....
I do not have sunflower, untoasted sesame oil or coconut oil, and I wondered why people didn't use olive oil. Having tried it this morning I think I know the answer. Extra Virgin cold pressed olive oil has a strong, bitter, flavour, which may be tasty in salad dressings, but is quite hard to deal with when the undiluted oil is swishing around the mouth.
It was quite thick, too, even after I had swished it around for 20 minutes. It seemed to be doing something, because my tongue and gums were tingling quite strongly, although I was pulling it through my teeth quite slowly and gently. Tomorrow I will find a less flavoured oil.
At the end, I spat out the oil, and swilled my mouth out with salt water, which I also spat out. I then brushed my teeth. They do look whiter to me. There was something about the activity which woke me up and made me feel more alert... but maybe that was just the knowledge that I needed to observe the effects.
I have sunflower oil, but it isn't cold pressed or organic. It's very easy to use for the oil pulling, hardly any flavour, not thick, but my mouth didn't tingle as it did yesterday with the olive oil. I managed 20 minutes, rinsed and brushed my teeth.
My tongue is less coated, my gums look pinker and my teeth whiter - though that could be expected I suppose, from the unaccustomed workout they are getting first thing. This is making me think about what I put into my mouth during the day... and making me more alert too.
Decided to go back to olive oil. Although it tastes much more strongly than the bog standard sunflower, it also seemed to be more... hmmm hard to describe... seemed to have more active ingredient I suppose. Managed only 16 minutes before I started to gag and had to spit it out.
Gums and teeth continue to improve. It certainly wakes you up in the morning! Concentrating on a mouthful of oil is an unusual method for waking I I grant you....
My tongue is definitely a lot less coated, and my skin seems smoother. I do think that simply the attention that you pay to yourself in the course of doing this may be effective... also that the pinkness of the gums may be responsible for the apparent increased whiteness of the teeth.