Coconut oil is a very versatile product. It is used in cooking like in the Indian cuisine, as an ingredient for body lotion, in skincare in general, as the base for making soap and cleansers, hair masks, dental hygiene, natural deodorant, even a stain remover and for weight loss. It seems the list can go on forever.
Coconut Oil Benefits
Coconut nut oil is obtained from the coconut by extracting it from the meat of the coconut. It is the white meaty part and coconut milk also comes from this part. It is rich in highly saturated oil and contains the following fatty acids:
- Lauric acid: 49%
- Myristic acid: 18%
- Caprylic acid: 8%
- Palmitic acid: 8%
- Capric acid: 7%
- Oleic acid: 6%
- Linoleic acid: 2%
- Stearic acid: 2%
If you have not yet seen or used coconut oil, you might be surprised. The word “oil” is a bit misleading, as it is actually a solid until it reaches about body temperature. Once you apply it on your skin, it will instantly melt into it.
On a side note, you probably have seen coconut oil as well as coconut butter. Both products look similar. Coconut oil as mentioned above is extracted from the coconut meat. While coconut butter is made by pureeing the coconut meat, including the oil. It therefore contains fiber and might therefore not work so well in skincare.
The first fatty acid mentioned, lauric acid is a medium-chain fatty acid. It has antimicrobial properties and can help protect against harmful microorganisms. This property is key for skin health, considering that several types of skin infections, such as acne and athlete’s foot, are caused by bacteria or fungi. Applying coconut oil on the skin can, therefore, help fight fungal infections like athlete’s foot as well as bacteria on the skin and so reduce inflammation. In some people, it helped with clearing their skin and reducing acne inflammation. And in others, however, like those with oily and acne-prone skin, coconut oil can clog pores and contribute to breakouts.
Chronic inflammation plays a big part in many different types of skin disorders, such as psoriasis, contact dermatitis, and eczema. Applying coconut oil helps with improving the skin condition and relieving irritation. Research has shown that it can suppress inflammatory markers and protect the skin by enhancing skin barrier function.
Coconut oil is moisturizing as it reducing water loss in the skin while increasing the sink surface lipid levels. So it is a popular ingredient in natural lotions and body butters.
Coconut oil contains vitamin E that is essential for the overall health of your skin. It will keep the skin smooth and supple, as well as protect it against cracking. As it boosts both skin growth and skin repair, it is a vital ingredient for taking care of ageing skin.
Coconut oil can work as a weak sunscreen. Beware, it will only block about 20% of UV. Always were a normal sun cream in the day.
Its antibacterial properties and its thick texture make coconut oil great to use as the last layer in your skincare. Apply it as your last step in a thin layer to seal in the serums, moisturizers, and other skincare products while acting as a shield against microorganisms.
Refined Or Unrefined
As with honey, if you want to use coconut oil in your skincare, opt for unrefined (also called virgin or pure) coconut oil. Here are a few ways to look for unrefined coconut oil. The less refined it is, the bigger the coconut flavor and you’ll also have more nutrients. In the refinement process, baking and bleaching reduce the number of polyphenols and medium-chain fatty acids available, which is less beneficial for skincare.
How To Use Coconut Oil In Your Skincare
As coconut is solid at room temperature, you’ll first need to liquify. All you need to do is apply gentle heat. You can for example melt it by rubbing it between your hands or if it is a smaller amount between your fingers.
Cleanser and Exfoliator
Consider using coconut oil also as your first step cleanser. It can remove even the most stubborn and waterproof eye makeup, foundation, and other impurities. Plus, the acids found in coconut oil have exfoliating properties and help to brighten your skin. Adjust the coconut oil amount as you need.
You can use coconut oil alone as a moisturizer, or consider mixing it with other oils, or as a carrier for essential oils. You can also add it to lotions and creams when you feel you want to boost their moisturizing properties. Adjust the amount to your skin needs, for example, dry skin would need more than normal or oily skin. Oily skin may need drier carrier oils such as argan or olive.
You can mix a mask according to your needs. Take the coconut oil as a basis and add other ingredients such as honey to it. You can get some inspiration on how to modify the effects of your coconut oil mask when you jump over to DIY Honey Masks For 6 Skin Concerns and 5 Amazing Coconut Oil Face Masks for Healthy And Gorgeous Skin.
When your skin is still wet from a shower or bath, apply enough coconut oil to coat your skin. It will give you a smooth, close shave.
As shaving was already mentioned, we will think more out of the box and further include swishing coconut oil in your mouth like mouthwash. The coconut mouthwash may improve oral health, whiten your teeth, and reduce bad breath. It is an ancient Indian where you put a tbsp of oil in your mouth, then swish it around for 15–20 minutes. Finish by spitting it out and rinsing.
How do you use coconut in your daily skincare regimen? Tell us in the comments below.