Coconut Oil for Skin Health
Snake oil or nature’s gift? Everywhere you turn, coconut oil’s benefits are being touted for everything from being used as a mayonnaise replacement to improving brain function in Alzheimer’s patients. The list of benefits to your skin, alone, are almost endless. So much so, that the fatty plant oil almost seems like snake oil - too good to be true.
But hold onto your hats, because this skincare staple has proven itself to deliver just what it promises when it comes to your largest organ - your skin.
Coconut Oil For Eczema, Psoriasis, and Dry Skin
Your skin plays an important role in being your body’s gate-keeper. It allows the release of toxins through your exocrine glands, or sweat glands. It also protects your body by not allowing any external substances to be absorbed. All of the toxic micro-particles of chemicals you come into contact with every day are kept at bay by your skin.
But when things go wrong, that barrier function is compromised. Skin troubles like eczema or psoriasis can damage the skin barrier leading to dryness, irritation, and an increase in harmful substances crossing the skin border, causing greater irritation and infections. All of this winds up in a vicious cycle of redness and irritation.
Studies have shown that the use of coconut oil has led to a 68% decrease in eczema symptom severity when used as a moisturizer. Ensuring that skin is properly hydrated goes a long way toward preserving the important barrier function. It’s believed that part of the benefit comes from the protein content of coconut oil, helping to replace sick or dying cells quickly with new, healthy cells. To relieve itch, add a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil to a warm bath.
Of course, you don’t have to have eczema to benefit from using coconut oil as a moisturizer. It works well as a skin softener, helping to ameliorate hardened, cracked areas like your feet and overworked areas of your hands and cuticles. The cracks will become softer within just a few applications.
It’s full of nourishing fatty acids, especially lauric acid, in addition to vitamin E. These go a long way toward helping to make your skin smooth and happy. As a result, they’re being incorporated more and more as an effective ingredient in moisturizers and serums or as a hydrating oil.
The benefits don’t stop there, either. Applied topically, coconut oil makes for a good all-natural, anti-aging moisturizer. Once absorbed, it can work to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by helping to keep your connective tissue in your skin strong and supple.
Coconut Oil As a Gentle Makeup Remover
Sometimes removing makeup can prove a bit tricky - especially stubborn waterproof mascara! If your face is prone to sensitivity and irritation, you won’t want to scrub too harshly. Yet it’s important to make sure that all makeup is gone from your face at the end of each day.
Coconut oil works wonders as a makeup remover - even on your delicate eye area. That’s because it does a fabulous job of breaking down the wax and ink in eye makeup. Use it all over your face as a pre-wash. Rub the oil in a circular motion over your face and neck, then use your regular cleanser to clear away the residue. The result will be a silky clean without the worry of using harsh chemicals that can strip your skin of nutrients and moisture.
Coconut Oil Can Curb Acne and Other Skin Infections
Many of the products on the market today designed to treat acne actually include harsh chemicals which can strip the skin of its natural oils, leading to more skin issues. Many people are finding that coconut oil is a great alternative to use. In addition to its moisturizing properties, it’s naturally anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. That’s great news for people suffering from acne, cellulitis, folliculitis, and athlete’s foot, all of which are caused by bacteria or fungi.
The lauric acid in coconut oil accounts for about 50% of the fatty acids in coconut oil, and is one of the most effective fatty acids out there at blocking the growth of bacteria. It’s even effective at killing Propionibacterium acnes, which is the bacteria that causes inflammatory acne. Capric acid, included in coconut oil to a lesser extent, has also been shown to have great antimicrobial properties.
Silky Smooth Coconut Oil Shave
The key to a good shave is moisture and something slippery to help the razor glide smoothly. Coconut oil fits both of those bills and can take the place of your conventional shaving cream, which is really just a concoction of chemicals that your skin doesn’t really need. Because it has the ability to ease irritated skin, it’s perfect for maintaining a healthy shave.
What to Watch Out For
As with anything natural, a little bit goes a long way, and you want to watch for quality when you’re grabbing off the shelf. Some coconut oils can be highly processed, which sort of negates the benefits you receive from going natural. These products may have a tendency to lead to more breakouts and skin irritations. To be on the safe side, choose only purified, cold-pressed coconut oil.
If your skin is really prone to congestion, you may want to be careful how much and how often you utilize coconut oil in your routine, as it may sometimes have a tendency to be one of the more comedogenic oils, meaning it might clog your pores, rather than clear them.
The gentle traits of coconut oil make it an excellent addition to any skincare routine. Whether being used as a cleanser, a moisturizer, or a rescue ingredient, the benefits of coconut oil have been touted for many years. If you’re not feeling brave enough to try it in its pure form, look for products that incorporate the benefits of coconut oil into their lines. You’ll be glad you did!
Steven Wang, MD and Gui Wang, LAc have over 60 years of combined experience caring for patients. By combining Traditional Chinese Medicine with modern technology, this father-son duo has formulated a natural line of skincare products that are ideal for use in spas or at home.
We are healers at heart. All of our products are made with the goal to promote healthy skin, use the knowledge we have gained over years of dedicated practice, and to make an effective, natural product.
For more information, please read about our story!