In recent years, coconut oil has gone on a bit of a roller coaster in the health and wellness space. Touted by some as a miracle solution for all hair, skin, and diet solutions, but cautioned by others—coconut oil is a trendy topic. But regardless of the oil’s dietary properties, it is clear that the topical use of coconut oil can be great for your skin and have many positive effects on skin health.
What is coconut oil?
Coconut oil is a fat extracted from the white fleshy coconut “meat.” The oil is extracted from the meat by being pressed, often with a cold expeller oil press. Virgin coconut oil is pressed from fresh coconut meat, whereas refined coconut oil is often pressed from a dried coconut product, called copra.
Coconut oil contains a high percentage of saturated fat, but it contains small amounts of unsaturated fats as well. It is sometimes also called lauric acid, which is a type of fat, because the oil contains a high percentage of it.
Virgin vs. refined coconut oil
Not all coconut oil is created and processed the same way. Virgin or extra virgin coconut oil is often cold-pressed and considered the purest form of the oil. It doesn’t require any treatment with heat or chemicals before being packaged and sold. This definitely doesn’t mean that refined coconut oil is a bad product, as it still retains the same potent nutrients and all the good stuff associated with the product. But it can require more treatment with heat and chemicals to process and refine the oil appropriately. The main differences between the two types of coconut oil really come down to what you want to use the product for. While refined coconut oil has a higher smoke point, this means that it may be better used when it comes to using it in the kitchen. And due to the unrefined nature of virgin coconut oil, this might be a better choice for your skin care routine, as it will be a more gentle option for your skin.
Benefits of coconut oil for the skin
Coconut oil has many great benefits for the skin!
These properties make coconut oil a great addition to most skin routines:
Works as an emollient
Coconut oil is a strong emollient, which means that it helps soften and smooth your skin. It also absorbs quickly into your skin for fast effects.
Locks in moisture
Not only is coconut oil an emollient, but it also forms a strong, natural barrier on top of your skin that can help hold in moisture and prevent moisture loss.
The lauric acid in coconut oil is thought to have antimicrobial properties. This means it can help kill acne-causing bacteria for people with dry or acne-prone skin. However, many people with oily skin can find coconut oil to clog their pores and worsen acne, so use caution when using coconut oil on your face and find what works best for you!
Eases inflammation and redness
Coconut oil has a soothing effect on the skin and can help fight inflammation. It can also help reduce redness.
Coconut oil can reduce signs of aging and has been shown to minimize the look of fine lines and wrinkles. It can be a great, low-cost alternative to other expensive and synthetic anti-aging solutions.
How to use coconut oil on your skin
So now that you’ve heard of the many benefits of coconut oil, how do you use it? Here are our 3 favorite ways to use coconut oil on the skin:
Use it as a cleanser
It might seem counterintuitive, but coconut oil can be a great cleanser. Remember in high school chemistry class when you learned that “like dissolves like?” That means that oils like coconut oil are a great, gentle way to wipe away dirt and oils on your face.
Use it as a makeup remover
Coconut oil works the same way to remove makeup. Coconut oil is an excellent makeup remover and is even highly effective at breaking down waterproof and other tough-to-remove make-up.
Use it as your new favorite body moisturizer
If you suffer from dry skin, coconut oil can be a wonderful moisturizer to soothe dry skin and protect it against moisture loss.
Coconut oil also great for gum health!
That’s right! coconut oil can help remove nasty bacteria in our mouth. The process is called Oil Pulling, and it involves swishing a tablespoon of oil around in your mouth, which helps sweep the bacteria from your gums and teeth.
Taking all of the above benefits into consideration, it sounds like the rewards outweigh the risks when it comes to taking Coconut Oil for a test drive as part of your daily skin care routine.