'That's crazy!': The incredible oil-cleansing hack for cleaning gunk and grime out of your pores

woman oil cleansing
Have a spare 15 minutes on your hands? It's time to get oily. Photo credit: Getty.

Skincare enthusiasts are going wild over a TikTok video showing a gentle yet effective way of clearing gunk and grime out of your pores. 

TikTok user Adrika, who goes by the handle 'Opulent Jade', has racked up over 3 million views from excited beauty fans on her video entitled: "if you have blackheads, you need to see this". 

In the clip, she shows a photo of usually-enlarged pores, explaining she had accepted that was just her skin type. 

"I saw a video from an esthetician on Youtube and she talked about how oil cleansing for 15 to 20 minutes can get out little oil plugs [in the skin]," explains Adrika. 

"I thought 'no way in hell is that going to work on me'."

The TikTok user then gently cleanses with her favourite oil-cleanser for the full length of 15 minutes, before showing how her hand is covered in black sebum plugs extracted from her pores. 

"That's crazy," she exclaims. 

The video has racked up over 500,000 likes, with viewers unable to believe the results. 

"Now I have to go buy an oil cleanser tomorrow before every single store sells out because of this video," writes one user.

"Legit, my acne disappeared after trying this with olive oil," testifies another.

The technique, otherwise known as "gritting", is named for the dark specs that come out of the skin during treatment. It's previously been debated online in the Reddit skincare community, with some people swearing by specialised and often expensive oil cleansers while others saying olive or coconut oils work fine. 

Adrika's video pointed many viewers to the YouTube tutorial by US esthetician Nayamka Roberts-Smith who explains that simply subbing your face with a specific oil for a length of time can do the job that other expensive products can't. 

"Oil dissolves oil. Oil cleanser attracts lipids in your pores and on the surface of your skin to wash it away," explains Roberts-Smith in the video. 

"If you have acne-prone skin, oil cleansing is going to loosen congestion in your skin in a really gentle, non-inflammatory way." 

Roberts-Smith says you can purchase a specific oil cleanser for the job, or else use a household oil out of your kitchen cupboard. 

For oily skin she recommends using an oil high in linoleic acid like hempseed, rosehip, sunflower or grapeseed oil. For dyer skin, she says an oil high in oleic acid like avocado oil, police oil, argan oil or sesame oil will be better. 

Roberts-Smith says while she regularly oil cleanses for 60 seconds each night, for a long oil cleansing session she'll go anywhere from 15-30 minutes.

"It's nice to take time for yourself, you can be meditative about it, kind or release stress," she explains.

"This obviously isn't something you can do all the time but if you can oil cleanse for 15 minutes once a week, that's a win."

But while she says anyone can benefit from the process, other experts disagree. US dermatologist Dr Joshua Zeichner told Self that while overall it's a safe process, he'd "caution people with sensitive skin from overly washing, as it can lead to skin irritation and inflammation".