Everyone is talking about coconut oil these days. You can use it in so many different ways. You can put it in your food, your hair or your skin!
But when it comes to your skin specifically, what does it do?
Let’s just say it’s a lot and it’s great!
Settle in because we are going to break down what coconut oil does for your skin and everything else. Keep reading along!
What Is Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil is an oil extracted from the kernel or meat of mature coconuts harvested from the coconut palm.
It has a high saturated fat content, which has led to it being disliked. However, recent studies by dermatologists have shown that not all fats are bad for you, and in fact, coconut oil may have some skin benefits.
The two main benefits of coconut oil are its sealing and moisturizing effects. So it is both a sealant and moisturizer.
Coconut oil works to seal moisture in your skin and keep it hydrated. It also acts like a moisturizer when your skin is overly dry, ashy and dehydrated.
Skin Benefits From Coconut Oil
When you over wash your hands or if the weather is particularly cold, your skin can lose its moisture.
Coconut oil is great in these situations because it is a natural sealant. It can form a layer on top of your skin to prevent further loss of moisture.
Extreme skin dehydration can cause skin cracking, itchiness, and potentially skin infections.
Even though coconut oil seals moisture into your skin, you should moisturize with a moisturizer first before applying any oil to your skin.
Coconut oil is a great moisturizer for balancing your skin’s natural moisture level.
Lack of hydrated skin can cause problems.
When your skin’s moisture level is at a low level, your skin produces excess sebum. This is because your sebaceous glands work extra hard to produce natural skin oils when your skin doesn’t have enough moisture.
Why is excess sebum bad?
Producing more sebum can clog pores and ultimately cause more breakouts if you have acne prone skin.
Another great benefit of coconut oil is boosted collagen production.
According to studies you can use virgin coconut oil extract (VCO) on your face to prevent wrinkles by boosting collagen.
Collagen is a natural protein in your body that gives skin a youthful look and helps improve skin elasticity. Without collagen your skin would sag and you would have many wrinkles and fine lines.
Heals Damaged Skin
Coconut oil is an emollient. Therefore, it can be directly applied to dry damaged areas.
Applying coconut oil to dry, cracking skin will help the skin soften and heal faster.
You can apply coconut oil to damaged skin anywhere on your body including your elbows and knees.
Skin inflammation and irritated areas of skin look red with blemishes and rashes.
Coconut oil is a natural skin soother that can help stop skin discomfort and help get rid of skin tightness, redness, and inflammation.
This is particularly perfect for sensitive skin types. Sensitive skin suffers the most from irritation and itchiness.
Ingredients To Look For
In order to get the right coconut oil for your skin, you want to make sure that the contents are only coconut oil.
Coconut oil can come in other forms such as coconut alcohol, hydrogenated oil, and acid. These are forms of coconut oil to avoid.
To make sure you get the right stuff for your skin, look for the following:
- Expeller or Cold Pressed
- Organic Oil
- Food Grade Oil
How To Shop For Coconut Oil
When shopping for coconut oil for skin, it’s important to look for a food grade oil that has not been hydrogenated or refined. The best option is an unrefined, cold pressed oil that has been expeller pressed from the fruit.
Coconut oil can also be found in beauty products. In beauty products, coconut oil will be an ingredient in moisturizing creams and lotions.
How To Use Coconut Oil As A Moisturizer
If you will be using coconut oil as a body moisturizer, then follow our steps below to apply it to your skin properly.
#1. Dry Off Skin After Bathing
Once you are done showering or bathing, you should dry off your skin with a soft towel.
Make sure you have damp skin and it is not visibly wet. When your skin is moist it will help trap moisture into your epidermis more easily. Moist skin should feel smooth and soft.
#2. Add Coconut Oil to Palms and Warm
After drying off your skin’s outer layer, pour a small amount of coconut oil into your hands.
Next, you want to rub your hands together like you are rolling a piece of dough. This rubbing action will warm your hands and the oil.
Body heat will activate the coconut oil making it easier for the oil to be absorbed into your skin.
#3. Spread Thin Layer Over Skin
Take the oil that you warmed up by rubbing your hands together and gently spread the coconut oil across your body.
You can apply the oil to your face, hands, knees, and arms.
#4. Add More Oil as Needed
Given the weather is extremely dry or your skin naturally lacks moisture, you may want to apply more coconut oil.
One thing to be careful of is that applying too much oil can cause clogged pores or breakouts if you have acne prone skin. Therefore, apply coconut oil with caution to your face, chest area, or back.
Is Coconut Oil A Good Sunscreen?
No, coconut oil is not a good sunscreen and does not have skin protective properties for UV rays.
In order for your skin to have a protective layer from sun damage, you need sunscreen with SPF. The SPF content will prevent the sun’s UV rays from damaging your skin.
So, to create a protective barrier for your skin, board certified dermatologists recommend applying sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher. After applying sunscreen, coconut oil is fine to use as a moisturizer.
Can You Use Coconut Oil As A Facial Moisturizer?
Coconut oil is great as a moisturizer for your face!
It has antibacterial properties and antimicrobial properties, so it’s great for treating acne and other skin problems. Plus, it’s super moisturizing, so it will provide skin hydration all day long.
Just be careful not to apply too much, especially if you have oily skin. A little oil goes a long way, and if you apply too much, your skin will end up looking greasy.
We usually apply it in the morning before I go out, and then reapply in the evening if our skin feels dry. Coconut oil along with a moisturizer and a humidifier will get rid of your dry skin.
Other Moisturizing Natural Oils
Coconut oil is not the only oil that can help moisturize your skin. The following are other oils that can moisturize your skin.
- Jojoba Oil
- Almond Oil
- Argan Oil
Great for treating skin conditions like seborrheic dermatitis and acne, jojoba oil provides a moisturizing effect. This oil provides a soothing effect and skin barrier repair effects.
Almond oil has been used as a natural solution for dry skin for years. This oil can help fight acne as well as manage eczema and psoriasis.
This oil’s fatty contents break down excess sebum while the retinoids boost cell turnover and skin elasticity.
In addition to being a natural skin moisturizer, argan oil has anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties.
Argan oil has vitamin E and essential fatty acids that help moisturize dry, flaky skin according to skin experts.
Putting It All Together
Coconut oil is an oil extracted from coconuts coming from palm trees. The oil has soothing and moisturizing properties. Coconut can provide many benefits such as boosting elasticity and hydration. When buying coconut oil you should buy the purest form of the oil. If you are looking for alternatives, almond and argan oil can also provide skin benefits.
Fact Checked by our Director of Dermatology – We know that understanding how your skin and hair work can seem scary, so my team and I devote our time to thoroughly researching every single topic and product we write about. We hope you find our reviews helpful and informative.
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