With a plethora of evidence-based health benefits, coconut oil has been regarded as a superfood until recent guidelines by the American Heart Association (AHA) advised against the use of coconut oil as high consumption of its high saturated fat increases LDL cholesterol, a major cause of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease (CVD), increasing the risk of stroke.
One of the best-established uses for coconut oil is as a skin moisturizer for moisturizing very dry skin and treating wrinkles. Any type of coconut oil can be applied on the skin but with the different types of coconut oil available, how do you pick the best coconut oil for the skin?
Benefits Of Coconut Oil For The Skin
Some dermatological benefits of using coconut oil supported by preliminary studies include:
- moisturizing dry skin
- prevent rashes and treat conditions such as eczema (atopic dermatitis)
- protective function by improving barrier function of the skin
- weak sunscreen reducing inflammation due to UVB rays
- promoting wound healing through antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties
It is believed that the polyphenols, fatty acids and vitamin E in coconut oil may contribute to its beneficial effects on the skin. The antioxidant properties of polyphenols can protect the skin and improve its appearance.
Coconut oil is rich in lauric acid and caprylic acid. Both these acids are known to possess antibacterial, antimicrobial, and anti-fungal properties making coconut oil a popular ingredient in the formulation of cleansers and creams.
Types Of Coconut Oil
Coconut oil comes from the pressed white flesh of coconuts. Depending on the extraction technique, different types of coconut oil are produced.
The 2 main types of coconut oil are:
1. Virgin coconut oil
This is made from fresh coconuts. The oil is extracted without using heat and is referred to as cold-pressed coconut oil. This type may be richer in polyphenols and have better antioxidant properties.
If the extraction process uses steam or heat to press the oil out of fresh coconut meat, this produces expeller-pressed coconut oil. The nutty aroma and flavour of expeller-pressed coconut oil makes it the preferred choice for baking and culinary use.
2. Refined coconut oil
This is made from dried coconut meat. Refined coconut oil may go through more processing steps, including machine pressing to obtain the oil. Some manufacturing processes may use chemical solvents, deodorizing, and bleaching.
Because coconut oil high in saturated fat (92%) it is solid at room temperature (25 degrees Celsius), but melts under heat. To help coconut oil stay solid in warm temperature, manufacturers may hydrogenate it, which means treating it with hydrogen. The resulting product is rich in artificial trans fats.
In order to get the most nutrients out of coconut oil, it is best to choose organic, virgin coconut oil rather than refined versions.
Is Coconut Oil Safe To Use On The Skin
The use of coconut oil on skin is associated with few known risks. Although allergy to coconuts are quite uncommon, virgin coconut oil is cold-pressed, and therefore unrefined, and should be avoided by people allergic to coconut.
The risk posed by using cosmetic and toiletry products such as soaps, hand gels, shampoos and hair conditioners that contain coconut oil and extracts is unknown but best to be avoided by people with coconut allergy. When using coconut oil on the skin for the first time, you should test it on a small area before applying it extensively. This is particularly important for people who have sensitive or oily skin to prevent any adverse reactions.
Rub a small amount of coconut oil directly onto the skin or hair. If using as a moisturizer, it can be applied twice a day as a serum after cleansing. The skin generally absorbs coconut oil quickly. After applying coconut oil to the hair, you can leave it in for the desired time before washing it out using shampoo.
Coconut oil can also be used as a makeup remover and makes removing makeup easy. Rub the coconut oil in your palms to liquefy it and gently massage it onto your skin. No washcloths or cotton pads are needed. Once your makeup has lifted, rinse with warm water and cleanse your face with a gentle facial wash.
Best Coconut Oil For Skin
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1. Nutiva Organic, Unrefined, Virgin Coconut Oil, Natural Moisturizer For Skin & Hair
- NATURALLY EXTRACTED and NUTRIENT DENSE: Nutiva’s all-natural steam refining process yields a pure, taste and odour free, nutrient-rich oil containing 63% medium chain triglycerides and 50% lauric acid without the use of dangerous and harmful chemicals or hexane.
- HEALTH AND BEAUTY: Nutiva Virgin Coconut Oil has natural moisturizing and deep conditioning properties, making it an invaluable part of every body care regimen
- NATURAL & VERSATILE: Can also be used outside of cooking as natural skin moisturizer, eye make-up remover, and deep conditioning hair treatment—combine with Nutiva Coconut Sugar for a great exfoliating body scrub
- COMMITMENT TO QUALITY: Nutiva stringently adheres to USDA guidelines and partners with certified organic farmers to source the world’s finest non-GMO, sustainably grown, and responsibly harvested ingredients that is good for you and for the planet.
2. PURA D’OR Organic Fractionated Coconut Oil USDA Certified 100% Pure & Natural MCT Oil Sustainably Sourced Hexane Free Moisturizing Carrier Oil For Face, Skin & Hair
- ALL-AROUND FACIAL NEED: Organic Fractionated Coconut oil (MCT Oil) is easily absorbed and non-greasy. You can use it as a moisturizer day or nighttime for extra skin protection. Use it as a makeup remover or an overnight oil to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
- SOFTEN AND MOISTURIZE YOUR BODY: Areas like elbows and heels often get dry and flaky. Apply this ultra-smoothing Fractionated Coconut oil (MCT Oil) to these areas to soften them for a silky soft feel. It also helps reduce the appearance of brittle nails.
- STIMULATE HAIR FOLLICLES: Common in most hair care products, Organic Fractionated Coconut oil (MCT Oil) penetrates into the scalp for hydration and improve circulation in the scalp. This stimulates hair follicles and encourages stronger, healthier, thicker hair.
- ADD IT TO ANY ESSENTIAL OILS: Because Organic Fractionated Coconut oil (MCT Oil) is odourless and non-staining, it can be easily used to dilute any essential oils and still maintain the oil’s natural scent and benefits. Organic coconut oil helps the essential oil be easily absorbed into the skin without causing any irritation or dryness.
3. COCO & CO. Organic Pure Extra Virgin Coconut Oil for Hair & Skin, Beauty Grade
- For Luxurious Skin and Hair: Soft, supple skin and beautiful, thick and shiny hair. Rich in vitamin E and essential fatty acids. Helps reduce the appearance of blemishes, dark spots on face, wrinkles, age spots and stretch marks. Used as a daily moisturizer for soft and youthful looking skin.
- Feel the Difference: Many have heard of the benefits of coconut oil for cosmetics and beauty use. However, most coconut oils are made from a traditional low-quality process. Many cosmetic & health users often complain about the ‘greasy’ feeling similar to petroleum and an unpleasant odour and taste. Say BYE, BYE to your yellow, smelly “Coconut Oil”!
- COCO & CO. has been the top selling, highest rated coconut oil for beauty since 2014 and ranks consistently at the top in blind tests!
- Exceptional Quality: COCO & CO.’s , Pure, 100% RAW, Natural Virgin Coconut Oil offers the lightest, velvet smooth consistency and odour-free body oil for cosmetic use. We use the freshest coconuts no older than three days and use a special method of extraction. In other words, This coconut oil is silky smooth, crystal clear and won’t go rancid! Our special process preserves all the essential nutrients beneficial for your skin, hair, face and body.
- Save your grocery isle coconut oil for cooking, they don’t even compare! Our unique extraction method makes it so pure, it’s been lab tested up to 1000% more pure than regular extra virgin coconut oil. Yes, that makes it fine like silk and clear as spring water!
The Final Verdict
Coconut oil has many potential benefits on the skin. It is well-established to be a very good skin moisturizer and can be applied safely directly on the skin for dry skin conditions.
Research suggests that it has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. However, more research is being done to study the benefits of coconut oil on the skin to treat medical conditions. Before considering the use of coconut oil as a home remedy for topical treatment of chronic skin inflammation you should speak to your doctor.
In addition to topical application, you can also include coconut oil in your diet, but research into the skin-related benefits of consuming coconut oil is limited. The high content of saturated fat in coconut oil makes it a less healthy option compared to other vegetable oils such as olive oil.
In general, for the healthier option, the least processed types of coconut oil, such as cold-pressed virgin coconut oil are recommended.
I hope that this article has been helpful to you in learning how to choose the best coconut oil for the skin.
If you have any questions or comments, please do leave them below and I’d be more than happy to reply.