Coconut oil has garnered immense popularity as a versatile and effective skincare treatment in recent years, and for good reason. While some may approach this natural remedy with skepticism, we can confidently assure you that its widespread acclaim is well-deserved. As a holistic skincare solution, coconut oil offers numerous benefits that cater to various skin types while promoting safe and fair trade practices.
Initially valued for its culinary properties, coconut oil has expanded its repertoire and now plays a significant role in the beauty industry, especially as a highly nourishing moisturizer. In the following article, we will delve into the myriad uses of coconut oil in skincare regimens, as well as discuss the essential precautions one should consider when incorporating this wondrous ingredient into your daily routine.
What is Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil is a highly saturated fat obtained from raw coconuts or dried coconut kernels. It is solid at room temperature but melts when heated. Coconut oil has been a staple in cooking and more recently, it has gained popularity in beauty treatments. The key benefits of coconut oil stem from its medium-chain fatty acids, which comprise 65% of its composition. These saturated fats include:
- Lauric acid
- Linoleic acid
- Myristic acid
- Palmitic acid
- Oleic acid
- Caprylic acid
- Stearic acid
Additionally, coconut oil contains a small amount of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. One tablespoon provides 12g of saturated fat and 1g of unsaturated fats. There are different types of coconut oil:
- Virgin coconut oil: Pure, unrefined, cold-pressed oil from fresh coconut meat.
- Cold-pressed coconut oil: Obtained from dried coconut meat, using minimal heat during the extraction process.
- Expeller-pressed coconut oil: Similar to cold-pressed but involves slightly more heat in the extraction process.
- Refined coconut oil: Heavily processed and may lack some nutrients and antioxidants found in the unrefined versions.
When selecting coconut oil, we recommend opting for virgin, cold-pressed, or organic options to ensure the highest quality and nutrient content.
How coconut oil helps your skin?
Coconut oil is antimicrobial
Coconut oil is known for its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, which can protect the skin against harmful microorganisms. These properties help prevent the growth of organisms responsible for infections like acne. Lauric acid, a key component of coconut oil, is especially effective in blocking the growth of bacteria.
Inflammation is the root cause of many problems, negatively impacting the body’s immune system. Chronic inflammation can lead to various skin disorders, such as eczema and psoriasis. Coconut oil, with its anti-inflammatory properties, can soothe your skin during times of irritation and inflammation. It works by improving the antioxidant status of your skin, stabilizing free radicals, and neutralizing the atoms responsible for causing inflammation.
Using coconut oil to treat acne has been a topic of debate, as it works for some and not others. If you have oily skin, we would not recommend using coconut oil on your acne. However, if your skin is normal, coconut oil can effectively eliminate acne caused by dryness and inflammation. Additionally, coconut oil’s antimicrobial properties can help combat bacteria, which are often responsible for acne breakouts.
Coconut oil is popular for its moisturizing ability, as it can lock in moisture, create a barrier, and prevent your skin from drying out. Some studies have even shown that it has the same effectiveness as mineral oil. As a moisturizing agent, coconut oil can be used to treat conditions like eczema, which often cause dry and itchy skin.
How to use coconut oil for skin?
We can use coconut oil as a cleanser for our face and as a makeup remover. Gently massage the oil into your skin, then remove it with a flannel cloth. Next, do a second cleanse using a skin type-specific cleanser. This method allows our skin to absorb the benefits of coconut oil without potentially clogging pores.
As a face massage
Facial massages improve blood flow, circulation, and enhance our skin’s glow. Apply a small amount of coconut oil to your face and use firm, circular massage movements for two to three minutes. Afterward, wash your skin with lukewarm water to remove excess oil.
As a moisturizer
The primary use of coconut oil for skin is moisturizing, especially on dry and itchy skin. Keep a jar of extra virgin oil handy and apply a small amount after washing your face. Avoid using too much oil to prevent clogged pores. There’s no need to wash it off.
As a face wash
Coconut oil’s antibacterial and antimicrobial properties make it an effective face wash too. Gently rub the oil on your face and neck in circular motions before bedtime for a gentle massage. Then, wash off the residue with a gentle face wash.
To maximize the benefits of coconut oil, consider using a facial mask. Make sure your face is clean before applying the mask. Mix a pinch of turmeric, a teaspoon of lemon juice, a teaspoon of raw honey, and a tablespoon of melted coconut oil. Once the mixture is smooth, apply it to your face. Let it sit for 15 minutes, then wash off with lukewarm water.
Coconut oil works as a hydrating eye cream too. If you have dry patches under your eyes, apply a light layer of coconut oil to rejuvenate your complexion. Using your ring finger, gently dab the oil to avoid applying too much pressure. Do this before going to bed.
When to avoid coconut oil for skin?
In some cases, it’s best for individuals to avoid using coconut oil on their skin. People with oily skin may find coconut oil too heavy and comedogenic, meaning it can clog pores. To determine if coconut oil works for you, a trial and error approach may be helpful.
- Oily skin: If you have oily skin, take note of any redness or pimples that appear after using coconut oil.
- Sensitive skin: Conduct a patch test to see if the oil causes any irritation.
However, despite these possible side effects, cooking with coconut oil remains safe for everyone.