In recent years, coconut oil has become a staple product in many households. Though most commonly used in the kitchen as a cooking and baking ingredient, coconut oil has experienced an additional boost in popularity due to its alleged benefits as a skin care product.
Beauty gurus rave that coconut oil is the ideal product for promoting healthy skin, hair, teeth, and more. Some claim that applying coconut oil to the face has resolved their issues with skin blemishes, wrinkles, and acne breakouts. Those who have applied coconut oil to the body often praise the substance’s ability to fade stretch marks and moisturize dry skin.
Whether you’re looking to use the coconut oil sitting in your pantry or are considering purchasing your very first jar, it’s important to understand exactly how coconut oil should be applied to the skin. Though coconut oil works well for many, others have had issues using coconut oil as a beauty treatment.
In this guide, we’ll answer all of your questions regarding coconut oil’s effectiveness as a skin care product. Discover where to buy coconut oil for your skin, how to use coconut oil for acne relief, and much more.
- Is Coconut Oil Really Good For Your Skin?
- What Kind of Coconut Oil is Best for the Skin?
- Where to Buy Coconut Oil for the Skin
- How to Use Coconut Oil for Skin Care
- Washing the Face with Coconut Oil & Treating Facial Acne
- Treating Wrinkles and Stretch Marks with Coconut Oil
- Coconut Oil for Managing Eczema, Psoriasis, and Rashes
- Coconut Oil for the Scalp: Reducing Dandruff & Beautifying the Hair
- Alternatives to Coconut Oil for Face and Body Care
- In Conclusion:
Is Coconut Oil Really Good For Your Skin?
Is coconut oil a miracle skin treatment? This question is particularly challenging to answer. A better question might be, “Is coconut oil right for my skin type?”
For individuals with normal and dry skin types, coconut oil can be an excellent skin care ingredient. Those with combination or oily skin, however, will want to proceed with caution when pursuing a new coconut oil skin care regimen. In general, it appears that coconut oil works best for individuals with non-sensitive skin and smaller pores.
Coconut oil is known for being particularly comedogenic; this means that the oil may cause clogged pores and breakouts in individuals with acne-prone skin. It is impossible, however, to know whether or not coconut oil will work well with your skin type. Some individuals with oily skin actually experience great success using coconut oil. If you’re interested in trying this oil, begin by patch-testing your skin to see whether or not it causes breakouts or irritation. For those who want to avoid the risk of clogged pores, check out our list of non-comedogenic skin care oils at the end of this guide.
There are many factors that make coconut oil an excellent skin care product. Healthy saturated fats are just one of the beneficial components found in this oil. Unlike the smaller fatty acids found in animal fats and vegetable oils, the medium-chain fatty acids and triglycerides found in coconut oil are the ideal size for penetrating the barrier of the skin. Other oils often contain long-chain fatty acids, which cannot penetrate cell membranes. In contrast, coconut oil effectively permeates cell membranes. In doing so, coconut oil improves the strength and elasticity of the skin.
Coconut oil is also known for being antimicrobial, killing acne-causing bacteria on the skin. Most of the oil is composed of a specific fatty acid known as lauric acid. Within the body, lauric acid is converted into monolaurin. This compound fights off bacteria and fungi on the skin and throughout the body. Research suggests that lauric acid may be effective in fighting acne vulgaris and the Staphylococcus aureus infection, a condition which often affects eczema sufferers.
If you’ve got dry, cracked, or rash-prone skin, you might also benefit from using coconut oil. Unlike petroleum jelly and mineral oil, which simply work as moisture-trapping coatings, coconut oil is truly absorbed by the skin. This allows dry and rashy skin to heal more quickly, preventing cracked skin and redness. Research seems to back up these results; studies indicate that coconut oil is superior to mineral oil and olive oil in reducing eczema symptoms. By naturally balancing the body’s immune system, the oil is also able to reduce the itchiness and sensitivity associated with these skin conditions.
Coconut oil’s anti-inflammatory properties have also served to make this oil a popular all-natural skin care product. Reduced inflammation often leads to fewer acne breakouts and reduced eczema and psoriasis symptoms. In short, less inflamed skin will appear brighter and healthier.
There are many other benefits to using coconut oil on the skin, too. The vitamin E found in coconut oil may protect the skin from free radical damage, for instance, reducing the formation of wrinkles and brown patches on the skin. Coconut oil also offers low-grade sun protection, reducing the amount of UV radiation affecting the skin. The oil is gentle on the skin and can even soothe diaper rashes in infants.
Perhaps best of all, coconut oil is natural. It is stable and has a long shelf-life. Unlike many skin care products, coconut oil does not contain processed or artificial ingredients. Few individuals are allergic to the oil, too.
If coconut oil works with your skin type, you may even be able to reduce your monthly skin care budget. Just a little coconut oil goes a long way, and the product can often be bought in bulk. Instead of investing $100 in a serum, you can spend just $10 or $20 on a jar of coconut oil.
There are numerous benefits to using coconut oil on your skin. As long as your skin agrees with this oil, it is well worth purchasing.
What Kind of Coconut Oil is Best for the Skin?
There are hundreds of different coconut oil products on the market today. Discovering the very best coconut oil for face and skin care, therefore, can require some research.
Ideally, you should seek out a coconut oil labelled “virgin coconut oil” or “extra-virgin coconut oil.” These terms both refer to the same type of oil. These oils are made from the flesh of mature coconuts. These fully-grown coconuts naturally produce an abundance of rich, healthy oil. No additional chemicals are needed to enhance this pure-grade oil.
Your skin will benefit most from using this all-natural form of coconut oil. All of the beneficial fatty acids and nutrients remain a part of virgin coconut oil. Note, however, that this type of coconut oil is very “coconutty.” If you’re not a fan of the potent scent and flavor of coconut, you may want to opt for refined coconut oil instead.
If you’re not a big fan of coconut, refined coconut oil might be a better choice for you. This form of coconut oil is natural yet less flavorful than virgin coconut oil. If you choose to use refined coconut oil, seek out a product that’s been expeller-pressed to reduce your risk of consuming any added chemicals.
Other forms of coconut oil exist as well. These, however, are generally worth avoiding. Liquid coconut oil, for instance, is a heavily-processed form of coconut oil that remains in liquid form at room temperature. Unfortunately, these oils are heavily processed. The lauric acid found in standard coconut oil has been extracted, reducing the benefits of the oil for acne and eczema sufferers.
Perhaps the worst type of coconut oil on the market is RBD coconut oil. As suggested by the acronym in its name, this type of oil has been refined, bleached, and deodorized. Like refined coconut oil, RBD oil is devoid of scent and flavor. This oil, however, has been heavily processed and may contain unnatural chemicals. Many of the beneficial components of the oil have been eliminated, too. For superior skin care benefits, opt for virgin or refined coconut oil instead of liquid or RBD oils.
Where to Buy Coconut Oil for the Skin
Coconut oil can be purchased in virtually every large grocery store. Retailers, warehouse stores, and online merchants also tend to offer coconut oil products. As mentioned above, it is important to consider the quality of the coconut oil you are purchasing. A virgin, unrefined coconut oil is likely to be of good quality, regardless of the retailer you select.
If you’re new to the world of coconut oil, consider researching various products on Amazon to get a better idea of what you might like to buy. Read reviews and consider whether you’d prefer to buy a virgin or refined oil. Discover the brands that are both popular and affordable. By doing so, you can get a high-quality product at a budget-friendly price.
How to Use Coconut Oil for Skin Care
Coconut oil can be used to treat dandruff, eliminate eczema, fade wrinkles, cleanse the face, and much more. Due to its oily nature, however, it is important to consider the technique and amounts of oil being applied to the skin. Misapplying coconut oil, for instance, may cause unwanted breakouts or greasy hair.
Stick to the following methods to successfully heal your skin with coconut oil.
Washing the Face with Coconut Oil & Treating Facial Acne
Contrary to what one might believe, washing the face with coconut oil is actually one of the most effective ways to remove dirt and oils from the face. Oil cleansing works based on the notion of “like dissolves like.” By applying coconut oil to a steamed face, sebum and debris is lifted out of the pores, cleansing the face. The antimicrobial properties of the oil work to prevent future breakouts and blemishes, too.
To wash your face with coconut oil, you’ll need the following items:
- 1 teaspoon of virgin or refined coconut oil
- 1 washcloth
- Wash your hands.
- Scoop a teaspoon of coconut oil out of your jar. Place the scoop of coconut oil in your hand.
- If your coconut oil is not in liquid form, warm it up by rubbing your palms together.
- Massage the coconut oil into your face. Using your fingertips, rub the oil into your skin. Move your fingers in small circles for a minute or more.
- When you’re done massaging the oil into your face, wash your hands again. Grab your washcloth and run it under hot water until it is wet. Wring out any excess water before setting the washcloth on your face. Allow the cloth to sit on your face for 30 seconds to a minute.
- Using the washcloth, wipe all of the coconut oil off of your face. If necessary, rinse out the washcloth and wipe off your face again. Repeat until there is no oil left on your face.
- Proceed with your skin care routine as desired.
Coconut oil works well as a makeup remover. The oil is even effective at removing waterproof cosmetics! Removing your makeup before oil cleansing is therefore unnecessary. Be careful when removing eye makeup, however. Getting oil in your eyes may blur your vision for a short while.
Note that you may experience a few breakouts during your first month of oil cleansing. This may be due to the skin detoxing from this enhanced cleaning method. If your skin is not becoming more clear after a month, your skin may not be compatible with coconut oil. If this is the case, consider switching to one of the less comedogenic oils recommended below.
You probably won’t need to apply an additional moisturizer to your skin after oil cleansing. If, however, your skin feels noticeably dry after oil cleansing, adding a moisturizer to your skin care routine is perfectly acceptable. Until you know how your skin will respond to oil cleansing, you should avoid using coconut oil as a moisturizer after cleansing. This may overload the skin and cause breakouts.
Avoid washing your face with oil more than once per day. Cleansing the face with coconut oil a few times per week is ideal for many. This is how to use coconut oil for acne treatment. With regular washing, you will hopefully notice a reduction in the number and severity of their breakouts.
If oil cleansing works well for you, you can later consider blending other oils into your coconut oil. Choose a deep-cleaning astringent oil like almond, castor, avocado, jojoba, or sunflower to enhance the health of your skin. For oily skin, use a ratio of 30% astringent oil to 70% coconut oil. For dry skin, use no more than 10% astringent oil. Normal and combination skin types will generally have good results using a 20%-80% ratio between the two oil types.
Oil cleansing is a great way to purify your skin. A consistent washing routine just might lead to the best skin you’ve ever had!
Treating Wrinkles and Stretch Marks with Coconut Oil
Applying coconut oil to the face as a night cream or moisturizer is a great way to boost collagen in the skin. By increasing the skin’s moisture content, the skin will become more elastic, reducing wrinkling. Regular use of coconut oil may even reduce the appearance of future wrinkles.
In a similar way, stretch marks are caused by damage to the dermis and epidermis of the skin. Both layers of the skin can be partially healed through the application of coconut oil. The fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamins in the oil work to strengthen the skin while healing scars.
To treat wrinkles or stretch marks, you will need the following items:
- Coconut oil
- Optional: additional oils, such as castor oil, olive oil, coconut oil, or shea butter
- If you have additional oils, mix them together with up to a teaspoon of coconut oil.
- Using your fingers, gently massage the oils into the target areas of your skin. Massage in a circular motion.
- Allow the oils to be absorbed by your skin. Leave them on. Repeat this once daily until your desired results are achieved.
Coconut Oil for Managing Eczema, Psoriasis, and Rashes
Skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and rashes can generally be treated in much the same way as wrinkles and stretch marks. Simply massaging coconut oil or a coconut oil mixture into the skin and leaving it on the affected areas overnight is generally an effective treatment for reduce these uncomfortable skin flare-ups. Ingesting a tablespoon or two of coconut oil on a daily basis can also help alleviate these skin problems.
If you’re looking for another way to heal your skin, consider taking a coconut oil bath. Add between two tablespoons and a cup of coconut oil to your bathwater. If desired, add finely-ground oatmeal to the bath, too. A soothing bath can take the edge off of a particular bothersome flare-up, especially when it affects multiple parts of the body.
Coconut Oil for the Scalp: Reducing Dandruff & Beautifying the Hair
Coconut oil is a surprisingly excellent treatment for both dandruff and dull hair.
The oil’s antimicrobial and antifungal properties make it an effective tool for combating pesky dandruff. By moisturizing the scalp, flakes are less likely to form, too.
To treat your dandruff, you will need the following items:
- 2 tablespoons (or more) of coconut oil
- A shower cap
- Take the coconut oil and warm it with your hands.
- Using your fingers, massage the coconut oil into your scalp. If desired, apply additional coconut oil to the hair, starting at the roots and ending at the tips.
- Continue to massage your hair and scalp for roughly 5-7 minutes.
- Tuck your hair under a shower cap. Leave the shower cap on overnight.
- In the morning clean your hair as usual, using a shampoo of your choice.
- If desired, repeat this treatment on a nightly basis. Continue until your scalp is healed.
For most people, this dandruff treatment begins working after just a few days. If coconut oil doesn’t work for you, jojoba oil is the best alternative treatment option. Consider taking cooler showers and blow-drying your hair less frequently to enhance these results.
Coconut oil can also be used as a more general hair care product. To condition the hair, for example, individuals can apply a fraction of a teaspoon of the oil to the tips of their hair. For very damaged hair, oil can be applied to the entire hair shaft, covered with a shower cap, and left in overnight. In the morning, the hair can be cleaned as usual.
Coconut oil applied to the hair can also be used to enhance styling and reduce frizzing. Add just a fraction of a teaspoon of oil to the hair and then treat it. These simple tricks can enhance the appearance of your hair throughout the day.
For hair growth, men and women can massage coconut oil into the scalp. Massaging the oil into the scalp for approximately 10 minutes a day a few times a week has the potential to stimulate hair growth. Consider adding a few drops of rosemary oil to your coconut oil to further boost hair regeneration.
Alternatives to Coconut Oil for Face and Body Care
If your pores are particularly prone to getting clogged, coconut oil may not be effective for you. If you’ve tried coconut oil for your skin and have noticed increased breakouts, a less comedogenic oil may be a good skin care alternative for you. On a scale of one to five, coconut oil is often listed as having a comedogenic rating of three to four. Those who are prone to breakouts should therefore seek out alternative oils with lower comedogenic ratings. Those with particularly breakout-prone skin should ideally choose products with comedogenic ratings of zero to one.
If coconut oil didn’t work for you, try one of the following alternative products for skin care.
Argan oil has a light, natural consistency and a comedogenic rating of zero. It has disinfectant properties similar to those of coconut oil and works to reduce skin inflammation. With a natural SPF of 30 and scar-healing properties, argan oil is a great option for healing the skin while protecting it from future sun damage. Its pleasant scent makes it a great substitute for coconut oil, too.
Hemp Seed Oil
Hemp seed oil is another top choice for those with acne-prone or oily skin. In addition to having the lowest possible comedogenic rating, hemp oil is known for reducing the visibility of pores on the skin. This oil is high in omega-3 and omega-6, which also enhance the health of the skin. Best of all, hemp seed oil boosts vitamin D absorption, improving the overall health of the body and skin.
With a comedogenic rating of zero, shea butter is another top choice for those seeking a moisturizing alternative to coconut oil for the face and body. This soothing skin care product is packed with vitamin E and is known for stimulating collagen production in the skin. Shea butter’s anti-inflammatory properties also make it the perfect remedy for healing dry, cracked skin and reducing the symptoms of psoriasis and eczema.
Sunflower Seed Oil
Sunflower seed oil is a light and nourishing oil for the skin. It’s packed with vitamins A, D, and E and contains carotenoids, which have been proven to reduce skin cancer risk. Moisturizing without causing breakouts, this oil is ideal for anyone with sensitive or acne-prone skin.
Though coconut oil isn’t compatible with every individual’s skin type, many people experience incredible results using it. Whether you’re looking to clear up the acne on your face or the eczema on your hands, there’s a good chance that coconut oil will work for you. If not, there are a variety of less comedogenic oils you can try.
Invest in a jar of coconut oil today. If it doesn’t work for your skin, you can simmer the rest away!