Acne is a common skin disease. It affects almost every one of us at one point in our life. According to some statistics, acne affects up to 80% of people in their lifetime.
As a skin condition, acne is most common during the teenage years, but it can also affect adults. In the past few years, we’ve seen a rise of natural remedies for acne, one of which is coconut oil for acne.
Due to the many benefits of coconut oil, a lot of people believe it can help relieve and treat acne symptoms as well. You can reap the benefits both by applying topically or by consuming coconut oil. But despite the benefits of coconut oil, a lot of people doubt its effect on acne.
So, what is the truth? Does coconut oil for acne helps? Or can it make the situation worse?
What causes acne?
In order to explain the effectiveness of coconut oil on acne, we have to understand what causes acne. As with most natural remedies, coconut oil aims to solve the source and cause of the problem.
Acne forms when oil and dead skin cells clog up our pores on the skin. We all have pores, some smaller, some larger. They are little holes in the skin, connected to a sebaceous gland that produces an oily substance called sebum.
In some cases, our sebaceous glands produce too much sebum, which then fills up and clogs the pore. Because our pores are clogged, bacteria can grow and breed. The bacteria is then trapped in the hair follicle (or pores) and causes white blood cells to attack it. The result is skin inflammation that leads to acne.
So in other words, acne is caused by bacteria and inflammation. Symptoms include pimples, whiteheads, and blackheads. In some cases, acne is a more serious and severe condition, while in others, the breakouts are mild.
Hormonal changes, genetics, stress, diet, infection, and other factors can contribute to acne.
How coconut oil can help with acne?
As mentioned previously, coconut oil has a lot of benefits. These include skin benefits. And many of these benefits can help with acne problem.
Here is a quick breakdown.
Coconut oil kills bacteria
If you didn’t know, coconut oil has some antibacterial and antifungal properties. Rich in medium-chain fatty acids, coconut oil is a potent antimicrobial remedy. That means coconut oil can eliminate the problem that leads to acne breakouts.
More than half of the fatty acids in coconut oil are actually lauric acid, known for its ability to kill off harmful bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Coconut oil also capric, caproic, and caprylic medium-chain fatty acids. While they are not as effective and powerful as lauric acid, they are also effective. These fatty acids work only when applied directly to the skin.
Moisture and heal your skin
Coconut oil is widely known as one of the best moisturizers for your skin. In many cases, acne can lead to skin damage and scarring, which is where coconut oil’s healing benefits help.
Keeping your skin moisturized is the key to providing healthy and radiant skin glow. Your skin needs moisture to fight off infection and heal. Dry skin often results in acne breakouts or other skin problems.
In addition to providing moisture for your skin, coconut oil can speed up the natural healing process of your skin. Wounds, as well as blackheads, heal up much faster if you apply coconut oil on your skin.
Helps with inflammation
This benefit works only if you consume coconut oil. Coconut oil can reduce inflammation when applied topically as well, but that only spots treatment. When consumed, coconut oil reduces inflammation from the root of the problem. It is all thanks to the fatty acids in coconut oil. Consuming it on a regular basis will reduce redness and swelling, common symptoms of acne.
When not to use coconut oil?
Generally speaking, coconut oil is a safe and secure natural remedy. In most cases, there are no adverse side effects.
However, while eating coconut oil is not problematic for most people, not every skin type can absorb it properly when applied.
For example, if you have oily skin, it is not recommended that you apply coconut oil topically. The oil is highly comedogenic, which means it can also clog your pores, and make the breakouts even worse if you have oily skin.
Should you use coconut oil for acne?
The natural question is whether you should experiment with this remedy or not. As mentioned, coconut oil is rich in lauric acid, but this acid can be problematic for people with oily skin.
You can consult with a dermatologist or try a patch test before using coconut oil. Just a side note, eating coconut oil is safe, no matter if you have oily skin type or not.
Coconut oil works best for dry skin, or very oily skin. However, if you have acne-prone skin, aggressively using astringent like coconut oil can have an adverse effect.
In other words, coconut oil can strip your skin of its natural oils, and encourage the sebaceous glands to produce even more oil.
How to apply coconut oil to your skin?
There is a right and wrong way to apply coconut oil to your skin. Now that we know that coconut oil for acne is a good treatment, let’s talk about how to utilize it.
- Always choose organic and virgin coconut oil. This way, you ensure you are using pure coconut oil on your skin, which is free of any additives. Find it at any grocery or beauty store
- Make sure your coconut oil is in liquid condition. If the coconut oil is in hard, balm state, which happens during the cooler months, scoop out a small amount, and then massage between your hands to liquefy it
- Massage the oil into your face for 3 to 5 minutes, putting most emphasis on areas of makeup
- Wash off the coconut oil with a mild facial cleanser after 5 minutes. Make sure you use a cleanser that will not over-strip your skin
- If your skin is dry, you can always consider leaving coconut oil overnight. Just make sure you clean and clear your skin first, and then apply coconut oil. Pat off any excess oil with a clean towel.