Sure you’ve already used coconut oil for skin. Why not? It’s incredible! And there is a ton of research that prove its benefits.
Here I will focus on using coconut oil for skin. But there are so many more health benefits. These articles get into a lot of them so you can check them out when you get a chance:
What’s in coconut oil?
Lauric acid, a medium chain fatty acid, makes up 50% of coconut oil. Actually, coconut oil is one of the few sources of lauric acid. It’s in laurel oil, palm kernel oil and human, cow, and goat’s milk.
Oh you read that right! Lauric acid is in coconut oil and breast milk.
That’s really important. Why? When you or your baby ingests lauric acid, the acid breaks down to form monolaurin. And monolaurin is a powerful antimicrobial compound that helps fight off infections. So coconut oil helps to boost your immunity and your baby’s too.
Besides lauric acid, coconut oil also has other fatty acids in it. Fatty acids like myristic, palmitic, decanoic, caprylic, and oleic acid.
Altogether, these compounds are responsible for the incredible benefits of coconut oil for skin.
Benefits of Coconut Oil for Skin
Coconut oil is a safe moisturizer that is great for eczema and healing wounds. It is also antimicrobial so it works well for bacterial and fungal skin infections. And some reports suggest it can even resist ultraviolet rays and sun damage.
Coconut oil moisturizes
Before Aveeno, Nivea, and CeraVe lotions, there was coconut oil. The oil has been used for centuries to keep skin soft, smooth and hydrated.
A 2004 study even found coconut oil was just as effective as mineral oil as a moisturizer. The study went on to show both improved skin hydration and reduced rough, scaly skin.
It also absorbs fast
Besides being a great moisturizer, coconut oil gets absorbed fast. I even find it’s a little drying.
But how does its absorption compare to other carrier oils? This 2015 study helps answer that. It looked at the skin penetrating properties of a couple oils. Olive oil absorbed the fastest. But coconut was more penetrating than grapeseed, avocado and emu oils.
So coconut oil does not just sit on your skin.
Use coconut oil for eczema
A 2014 pediatric study looked at using coconut oil and mineral oil for mild to moderate eczema. The researchers found 47% of the coconut oil group had moderate improvement. And 46% had an excellent response.
These results were way better than the mineral oil group.
Heal wounds faster with coconut oil
A couple animal studies show coconut oil has great wound healing benefits.
This one from 2008 found using coconut oil worked well to heal burn wounds in rats. But coconut oil mixed with silver sulphadiazine (Silvadene) worked even better.
Another 2010 study from the University of Kerala also had great results. It showed wounds treated with the oil formed new blood vessels, tissue and collagen quickly.
The oil kills bacteria
I already talked about lauric acid and monolaurin. Both have excellent antibacterial activity, especially against common bacteria that cause skin problems. Bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus which is linked to pimples, boils, and eczema.
So hydrate, heal and protect your skin with coconut oil!
And eases fungal infections too
Coconut oil also has great antifungal activity, even against drug resistant Candida species. That is according to this 2009 study. So you can use coconut oil to deal with candidiasis, oral thrush and other fungal skin infections.
You should also look at this 2015 study in the Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society. It noted lauric acid and monolaurin have excellent antimicrobial benefits. These extend to certain types of bacteria, several fungi and even viruses. Wow!
It resists UV rays
You know UV rays are bad for your skin. They cause sunburn, wrinkles, sun spots and free radicals. Now this 2011 study found coconut oil, peanut oil, and olive oil can block 20% of UV rays. Sesame oil can resist 30%.
While this is a great benefit, 20% is just not enough to protect your skin from the sun. So you still have to use sunscreen. Lots of sunscreen. And large hats, umbrellas and proper clothing. You want 100% sun protection, not 20%.
It may fight against skin cancer
There is a 1994 animal study where carcinogenic chemicals were topically applied to test animals. But, for one group, researchers added coconut oil to the chemicals.
The animal group without the coconut oil all developed tumors within a couple weeks. ALL! And guess what? The group with coconut oil had no tumors. None formed!
So the coconut oil blocked the growth of skin cancer in the animal models. That is amazing! But it is animal study, not a clinical trial. So don’t go bathing in coconut oil to get rid of any strange-looking skin growths you may have. Go to the dermatologist and get it tested!
It can control oral plaque
Ok this one is not really a benefit of coconut oil for skin. But I thought I’ll still add it in.
This 2017 study looked at how capable coconut oil pulling was for controlling oral plaque. Here, dental students were asked to oil pull once every morning for 10 minutes for one week. At the end of the week, it was clear oil pulling was effective.
These findings further prove the antimicrobial benefits of coconut oil.
Before Using Coconut Oil for Skin
Before slathering coconut oil all over your body, you should know it is highly comedogenic. In fact, the comedogenic rating of coconut oil is four out of five.
What does that mean? It is very – and I mean very – likely to cause acne.
So I don’t recommend using it on acne-prone skin, especially on your face. It can cause whiteheads, blackheads and breakouts. So beware! Patch test to make sure it won’t affect you!
Where to buy coconut oil?
Coconut oil is everywhere now. Try any of these brands:
Or you can make your own coconut oil at home. I even did a step-by-step guide on How to Make Coconut Oil at Home. Check it out and try it!