Many of us are familiar with coconut oil as a healthy kitchen staple. However, it also has many beneficial uses for skincare! This versatile natural beauty product supports healthy skin and can replace all those expensive (and possibly toxic) beauty products.
What is Coconut Oil, Really?
Before diving into the skincare of coconut oil, let’s take a look at what it actually is to understand how it works. The scientific name for coconut is Cocos nucifera, and the coconut palm is so highly valued by traditional cultures as both a source of food and medicine that it is called “The Tree of Life.”
Coconut oil by nature is a refined product, because oil does not grow on a tree. The oil is extracted from the kernel or meat of mature coconuts harvested from the coconut palm. Technically speaking, the only truly “unrefined” coconut oil you can consume is the oil still inside the meat from a fresh coconut just picked off the tree. The term used for the least refined coconut oils is “virgin coconut oil.”
The fruit’s oil is predominantly made up of saturated fats with a high amount of medium chain fatty acids, with a good percentage of the fatty acid being lauric acid. (1) It contains vitamin E, which is known to protect the skin from free radical damage. (2)
Coconut Oil vs. Mineral Oil
Is coconut oil the same as a mineral oil? No. As mentioned above, coconut oil is extracted from the coconut fruit. A mineral oil is an odorless and colorless substance that is made from a non-vegetable (mineral) source, generally from petroleum. (3)
It is found in many different products such as baby lotion, ointments, facial creams, cosmetics, hydraulic fluid, wood preservatives, pesticides and electrical components. Before synthetic oils were invented, mineral oil was used primarily as a mechanical lubricant.
Your skin is the body’s largest organ, and it works together with the kidneys to rid the body of toxins. If your skin cannot breathe, it cannot do its job properly, which may affect the health of your body. Slathering mineral oil on your body may be doing more harm than good, as this oil can attract moisture from cells deep in the skin which causes cell renewal to slow, collagen to break down and connective tissue to be damaged. This can cause premature aging. (4)
Is Coconut Oil Good for Skin?
Coconut yields a nourishing and moisturizing oil which we know as coconut oil. The high fat content has been shown to help improve certain skin conditions by healing wounds, reducing rashes and preventing acne. Its anti-inflammatory effect works wonders for soothing skin ailments. (5) (6) (7)
Initial thoughts might be that applying oil to the skin will clog the pores and cause the complexion to be oily and full of acne. However, coconut oil is unique compared to other products such as mineral oil; it isn’t pumped full of water or petroleum by-products which can block the pores. Instead, coconut oil hydrates and softens the skin as it sinks deep into the cells. Coconut oil helps to naturally clear away dirt and dead skin cells which allows for a healthier complexion.
Depending on your current diet, lifestyle and beauty regime when you first start using coconut oil on your face, you may experience an increase in acne, as it draws the impurities out of the skin. However, within a short period of time with consistent use of applying coconut oil, the acne will diminish and will often completely clear up. Make sure you are eating nutritious food, too!
How Coconut Oil Can Transform Your Skin
Condition and Soothes Skin – Coconut oil absorbs quickly, which leaves silky smooth skin. After washing your face with water and dabbing dry with a towel, apply a small amount to your face every morning and night as a moisturizer. Remember, a little bit goes a long way, so don’t slather too much on your face. It also works wonders for the whole body as a moisturizer, so use it for the hands, feet and even as a massage oil.
Cleanses and Tones Skin – Coconut oil cleanses and moisturizes all in one, so there’s no need for a cabinet full of cosmetics. It is a fantastic makeup remover – and even works on waterproof mascara! Put a little on a cotton ball and gently wipe over your eyes and the rest of your face to remove makeup. The bonus is that it will leave the skin hydrated and soft.
Reduces Acne – The fatty acids in coconut oil help it to work as an anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial natural product. This works in favor of reducing acne breakouts and keeping the pores dirt-free.
Coconut oil helps to soothe inflammation that often accompanies severe acne, and helps to alleviate the red dry skin that acne can cause. The vitamin E can help to fight damage to the skin thanks to its powerful antioxidant properties.
Use good nutrition to reduce acne from the inside, while focusing on good natural products from the outside to prevent acne and heal acne scars. This strengthens skin, making it healthier and more radiant. (8)
How to Use Coconut Oil for the Face
This is a very simple method that can yield effective results for hydrated, glowing skin. Purchase the best quality coconut oil you can find and choose cold-pressed virgin coconut oil that has a coconut aroma.
How to Apply:
1. Every morning and night, wash your face with water, then lightly dab dry, don’t rub.
2. Optional: Apply Rosehip Seed Oil (for additional skin benefits) before the next step.
3. Put a little coconut oil on your fingertip, then gently rub all over your face. A good quality coconut oil will release an amazing coconut scent as it melts onto the skin.
(Related: Oil Cleansing for Perfect Skin)