If there’s one beauty ingredient that continues to stand the test of time, it is definitely coconut oil. In fact, this product is literally found everywhere – from your beauty cupboard to your bathroom cabinet and even in your own kitchen!
Now, while the debate around the effects of orally consuming coconut oil continues to rage on, there is no denying the anti-aging and beauty benefits that come from its topical application. In fact, whether you’re concerned about wrinkles, or dryness that you just can’t seem to quench, coconut oil is exactly what your skin needs.
Why Coconut Oil?
Derived from coconut, coconut oil contains a variety of compounds that can serve to protect the health of the skin. These compounds include vitamin E, lauric acid, and linoleic acid. According to research from Oregon State University, vitamin E was found to help counter the aging and inflammatory effects that UV rays may have on the skin.
In regards to the other ingredients, research has found that they each serve to hydrate as well as protect the skin from both bacteria and inflammation – two elements that can both be damaging to your skin’s health.
Before we delve into the many ways that coconut oil can benefit your skin’s health, it’s important to first remember one important aspect of coconut oil. Unfortunately, despite its benefits, coconut oil can be very comedogenic. This means that it can clog pores, which can then lead to breakouts. Therefore, if your skin is prone to congestion and breakouts, it’s advisable to stay clear of the oil. If you are looking for a natural ingredient that will help to address your skin concerns, turmeric would be a great addition to your beauty cupboard.
Coconut Oil and Skin
In addition to its already rich nutritional value, coconut oil also contains antioxidants. This then allows for it to effectively help to prevent premature aging, and thus reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
Additionally, as collagen is a protein in the body that helps to maintain the skin’s suppleness, an animal study published in the journal Skin Pharmacology and Physiology found that coconut oil may help to encourage the production of collagen.
One of the most important factors when it comes to maintaining healthy hair is to ensure that it’s hydrated. Dry hair can affect hair growth and healthy hair by causing breakage. Thankfully, including coconut oil as part of your hair care treatment can prevent this. The fatty acids present can help keep your hair hydrated. It does this by trapping and retaining moisture inside the hair follicles.
Additionally, research published in the Journal of Cosmetic Science found that coconut oil can help to prevent hair loss by reducing further protein loss in already damaged hair.
If you really want to boost the health of your hair using coconut oil, enjoy this hair mask recipe courtesy of Dr. Axe;
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil (optional: 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon coconut oil)
- ½ ripe avocado
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon raw honey
- 5–10 drops rosemary essential oil
- 5–10 drops lavender essential oil
- Place coconut oil and avocado in the blender. (For curly hair, you may want to try the olive oil per the ingredients listed above.)
- If you are using the whisk method, you will need to soften the coconut oil first by slightly heating it.
- Add the eggs and honey and blend.
- Add the rosemary and lavender oils and blend.
- To apply, dampen your hair, then apply the mask evenly throughout, making sure to cover all the hair, especially the ends.
- Once you have applied it, cover the hair with a shower cap or towels so that you do not get it on your clothes. (If you have long hair, tie it up first, then cover it.)
- Allow the mask to sit for 45 minutes to an hour.
- Wash out the mask with all-natural shampoo and conditioner.
- For the best results, try applying this mask once a week.
As mentioned, coconut oil has the capability to encourage the growth of collagen. The skin around the eye area is the most sensitive part of the entire body. Therefore, it’s the first area of the body to display the first signs of aging.
Therefore, using the oil as an eye cream will help to replenish and rejuvenate the area around your eyes.
Oil pulling is an Ayurvedic method that helps to maintain dental health. Research suggests that swishing and gargling a teaspoon of oil for 20-30 seconds can help remove disease-causing bacteria from your mouth. This then helps to reduce bad breath, as well as tooth decay and gum inflammation (1).
For those battling eczema, coconut oil could be the key to alleviating symptoms associated with the skin condition.
According to a study published in the International Journal of Dermatology, a group of eczema patients who applied virgin coconut oil to their skin twice a day experienced a reduction in skin, dryness, abrasions, as well as redness.
Evangelista, Mara & Abad-Casintahan, Flordeliz & Villafuerte, Lillian. (2013). The effect of topical virgin coconut oil on SCORAD index, transepidermal water loss, and skin capacitance in mild to moderate pediatric atopic dermatitis: A randomized, double-blind, clinical trial. International journal of dermatology. 53. 10.1111/ijd.12339.
Govindan, Nevin & Rajamohan, T. (2010). Effect of Topical Application of Virgin Coconut Oil on Skin Components and Antioxidant Status during Dermal Wound Healing in Young Rats. Skin pharmacology and physiology. 23. 290-7. 10.1159/000313516.
Rele, Aarti & Mohile, R. (2002). Effect of mineral oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil on prevention of hair damage. Journal of cosmetic science. 54. 175-92.
Shanbhag V. K. (2016). Oil pulling for maintaining oral hygiene – A review. Journal of traditional and complementary medicine, 7(1), 106–109. doi:10.1016/j.jtcme.2016.05.004