In recent times, coconut oil has been talked about so much for its benefits for health care. But what about the skin, are there any benefits of coconut oil for skin care? Before we go into details of its skincare benefits, perhaps we should say a little about the coconut oil itself.
What Is Coconut Oil
Coconut oil, or copra oil is a fatty oil extracted from the flesh or kernel (meat) of the mature coconut. There are two main methods of extraction of coconut oil: The dry and wet processing.
The dry processing involves the kernel or flesh (meat) of coconut being extracted from the shell and dried by means of sunlight or fire. The dried meat known as copra is then pressed to produce oil. The oil produced by this means is known as Refined coconut oil.
In the wet processing method, the meat of a fresh coconut is extracted and grated. The protein in the coconut creates an emulsion of water and oil. The emulsion is then broken up to recover oil through heat, cold or some other method. Coconut oil obtained through this method is unrefined, virgin, or pure 100% coconut oil
Types Of Coconut Oil
There are three main types of coconut oil: Unrefined, Refined and Liquid coconut oil. All the three types are extracted from the meat of the coconut. What accounts for their difference is the method employed for their extraction and how they are subsequently processed and readied for consumption
Unrefined coconut oil, also known as Virgin, Pure or Cold-pressed coconut oil, is coconut oil extracted from fresh or raw coconut meat by the wet processing method. This type of coconut oil has a higher coconut flavor and aroma. It also contains more nutrients like polyphenols and Medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA). These substances contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Refined Coconut Oil
Refined coconut oil, also known as RBD – refined, bleached and deodorize is oil extracted from copra (dried meat of coconut). The preparation and storage of copra is often done in unhygienic conditions giving rise to a contaminated oil. This oil, which is of poor quality and unfit for human consumption, requires refining by further heating and filtering to make it good for consumption.
Through this process of refining and purification, a little percentage of its lauric acid is lost. However, it still possesses all the benefits of unrefined coconut oil. It has all the antimicrobial and antioxidant properties of unrefined coconut oil.
The fact that it is refined though, does not make it unfit for use on the skin. It has several benefits for the skin. For one, it is lighter on the skin thereby making for faster absorption into the skin.
Liquid Coconut Oil
Liquid coconut oil is made, 100% from coconut. It is liquid and remains so even at room temperature. It contains all the beneficial properties of coconut oil like caprylic, capric and lauric acids.
Studies have shown that people who experience comedogenic acne as a result of the use of unrefined and refined coconut oil usually do well with liquid coconut oil. The reason for this is that this oil does not contain solidifying acid and is non-comedogenic.
Coconut Oil For Your Skin Type
The good news is that coconut oil is good for all skin types. For those with dry skin, applying coconut oil topically helps to restore the lipid barrier resulting in a reduction of water loss. It also prevents peroxide and oxidative damage and improves antimicrobial function.
If you have oily skin, applying coconut oil to your skin would benefit your skin in that it helps to exfoliate your skin. What it does is that it breaks up and dissolves excess oil without stripping the skin of its natural lipid barrier. This may seem counter-intuitive but coconut oil is the largest producer of lauric acid. The antibacterial property in lauric acid is known to effectively combat acne even better than benzoyl peroxide.
In addition, coconut oil helps balance sebum production which makes it a very good oil for oily skin. Sebum is a substance which the skin naturally produces from the sebaceous glands to keep it moisturized. When it is produced in excess, it clogs the pores thereby encouraging the growth of acne bacteria P. acnes (Propionibacterium acnes). The white blood cells immediately notice this and start to fight the inflammation resulting in acne.
Best Coconut Oil For Skin Care
So long as skin care is concerned, there is no right or wrong coconut oil for your skin. The three types of coconut oils all possess properties that make each one wonderful for skin care. We all have different skins and may react differently to each of the oils. What is important is your preference and your ultimate experience with each one of them
Coconut Oil Benefits For Skin
Adding coconut oil to your skincare would be a very smart thing to do because of the immense benefits derivable from it. In addition to being a wonderful moisturizer, face cleanser, and a sunscreen, it can be used to treat a couple of other skin disorders. The fatty acids in it ( caprylic, capric and lauric acids) help to reduce inflammation both internally and externally.
It moisturizes, and at the same time protects the skin from damage due to the many nutrients and antioxidants in it. The natural saturated fat in the oil is made up entirely of MCFA. Above all, it is one of the few sources of MCFA. For this reason, it is a wonderful item for the skin
Lauric acid, the predominant MCFA found in coconut oil has antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and anti-inflammatory benefits. Coconut oil contains other chemical substances like phytonutrients and polyphenols which act as antioxidants and other properties which support and repair the tissues
These beneficial properties which the coconut oil possesses makes it wonderful for several skin care purposes. They include the following:
1 Treatment Of Acne
Because of the antibacterial property of coconut oil, it can reduce the risk of bacterial infection which worsens acne and at the same time hydrating your face to keep it looking and feeling vibrant.
2 A Good Exfoliant
Coconut oil when combined with other exfoliating scrubs such as granulated sugar, citrus zest, baking soda, etc, works very well due to its antibacterial properties to get rid of dirt and impurities which clog the pores without drying out your skin. You may also mix it with coffee or salt to reveal a healthy, smoother skin.
3 As An Anti-ager
Premature aging occurs as a result of damage to skin by UV rays and other environmental pollutants. The facial skin is the worst hit by these factors as a result of the fact that it is more exposed to them than the other parts of the body. Applying coconut oil on the face can act as protection for the skin from environmental pollutants. Its antioxidant properties protect the skin from this oxidative stress as well as promote collagen formation
4 For Repair Of Wrinkles And Scars
Aside from being rich in fatty acids, coconut oil also contains Vitamin E and that is the reason it is great as a moisturizer. In addition to hydrating the skin, it tightens it to reduce wrinkles and scars.
5 As A Makeup Remover
Coconut oil easily wipes away makeup without causing irritation or redness. It is especially ideal for cleaning makeup around the eye area as it would not dry out this delicate area as would other chemical based products. Your face would thereby enjoy the benefit of hydration and avoid the chances of wrinkles at the same time.
6 For Moisturizing The Skin
Because of the saturated fat content of coconut oil, it works very well for skin by helping the skin to stay moisturized. The fat prevents moisture loss through the pores giving it a smooth, healthy even tone
As a daytime moisturizer, you can combine it with sunblock. This enables you to take advantage of all the benefits of coconut oil without running the risk of sun damage.
You can also use it as a night cream to help hydrate and repair your skin while you sleep. If you have very oily skin or you are prone to acne, you may add a few drops of your normal moisturizer to hydrate your skin without too much extra oil
7 For Treatment Of Skin Conditions
Because of its antibacterial properties, coconut oil can improve and alleviate symptoms of skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis occasioned by dry skin
How To Use Coconut Oil On Skin.
As I stated earlier, everybody has different skins and for this reason, there is bound to be different reactions to coconut oil. Before totally embracing it for skin care, it is advisable that you do a skin test with it.
How to do the test? = Apply a little quantity of it to a small portion of your skin, preferably, a hidden part which you would be able to examine closely. Apply coconut oil to this part consistently for a few days and see how your skin reacts to it. It is only when you are satisfied with the result that you should go the whole hog.
Coconut oil is available in different brands and names: Virgin, Extra Virgin, Cold-pressed or Expeller-pressed and Raw. All these names refer to Unrefined coconut oil. There are also the Refined and Liquid coconut oil. All of these oils are ideal for skin care even when it is indicated on the label of the product that it is a cooking oil. All you need do is identify that which is suitable for your skin and you are good to go.coconut
As A Moisturizer
How To Use = For dry skin, wash your face with a mild soap. You may want to try this coconut oil soap which is mild and gentle or the coconut milk face wash both of which are suitable for this purpose.
After washing, pat dry. Take a small quantity (it spreads very well) of coconut oil into the palm of one hand. Rub properly with the other palm and apply to the face. Massage thoroughly into the skin using gentle motions. Wait for 10 – 15 minutes and wipe away residue, if any, with a cotton towel. Normally, coconut oil melts on the skin as soon as you apply it, without leaving any kind of residues.
For oily skin, apply coconut oil liberally on the face and neck after washing with a mild soap. After 15 minutes, wash with warm water and dry with a soft towel. You may experience an initial flare-up of acne or greasiness. You can ignore it unless it is very severe. Your skin will eventually get used to this.
As A Makeup Remover
How To Use = Apply coconut oil to a cotton pad and wipe it all over your face being careful to not tug and pull at your skin. Leave on for about 10 minutes and wash off with warm water and mild soap. You may repeat this process if you do not feel clean enough.
As An Exfoliant
How To Use = Add a little quantity of sugar to some coconut oil. Mix together until fully blended. Using your fingertips, apply to your face and rub it gently into your skin. Leave it on for 5 – 10 minutes for maximum benefit. Then rinse off with warm water. You may use a washcloth for this purpose. Thereafter, pat dry your face.
You may add spice to your coconut oil sugar scrub with other ingredients, such as essential oils or citrus zest. You can add the citrus zest from a lemon, grapefruit, orange or lime.
Coconut oil is a great oil for skin care purposes. It contains beneficial properties like MCFA, nutrients, and antioxidants and above all, you do not need to be concerned that you are ingesting chemical substances into your skin since it is an all natural oil. Wouldn’t you rather take the benefits of this wonderful oil? There are several other uses of coconut oil aside from the ones mentioned in this article. Let us know your thoughts and experience with this oil.
You may leave your contributions, comments or questions below and I will gladly get back to you.