It’s all-natural, soothing to the face, soothing, and evoking memories of sunny beach days and tropical drinks – no wonder coconut-oil is a popular skin ingredient.
While there is still insufficient evidence that coconut oil is beneficial to your skin research shows that using it on the surface of your skin can really help.
Coconut oil – extracted from the white and sturgeon portion of this date palm nutrient – is high in free fatty acids, which, according to small human studies, can improve skin hydration, reduce itching, dryness and rash, including eczema. Some of those fatty acids can also reduce the common microbes in the skin (including Staph aureus) that are known to cause eczema itching. Research on preterm infants and children with mild to moderate eczema found that consuming twice daily virgin coconut oil reduces the severity of skin disease, improves skin’s ability to retain moisture, and improves skin sodium function. Strengthens – leads to healthier, less – itchy face, smoother. And it’s not just the fatty tissue that seems to have a beneficial effect. In studies comparing virgin coconut oil with virgin olive oil or mineral oil, virgin coconut oil has worked better as a moisturizer, natural germ, and applesauce than other oils.
But for many people who suffer from common forms of eczema (such as atopic dermatitis or native dermatitis), coconut oil is not enough to control itching and rashes. Many dermatologists find simple ointments (such as jelly or Aquaphor) and thick, non-toxic creams to be more effective moisturizers. Your dermatologist can help guide you through soft skin techniques to maximize skin health and can prescribe topical (or even systemic) medications if needed. And if a product containing coconut seems to make your skin red and itchy, be suspicious – certain derivatives of coconut oil, including cocamide diethanolamine, are known to cause allergic reactions in the skin. Lastly, don’t forget that coconut oil is comodogenic – meaning it can clog pores and make acne worse – so you should not stain areas.