Benefits Of Coconut Oil For The Skin

Understand how to use this versatile oil to enjoy naturally enhanced and healthy skin.

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Archna Agrawal, MSc (Dietetics), Naturopathy
By Monomita Chakraborty

Coconut oil helps to keep the skin smooth and hydrated. It is loaded with natural fats and anti-inflammatory properties and helps you in several ways. You may use coconut oil for skin issues and improve its texture and appearance. It is also a common ingredient used in many home remedies and commercial skin care products.

Keep reading to learn the benefits of coconut oil and how to use it on the skin.

What Is Coconut Oil?

Jar of fresh coconut oil with spoon and two coconuts in the background

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Coconut oil is highly saturated and edible oil extracted from raw or dried coconut kernels. It is 100% fat, and about 80%-90% of it is saturated fat. That is why coconut oil solidifies at low or room temperatures. It is rich in fatty acids like (1):

  • Lauric acid (49%)
  • Myristic acid (18%)
  • Palmitic acid (8%)
  • Caprylic acid (8%)
  • Capric acid (7%)
  • Oleic acid (6%)
  • Linoleic acid (2%)
  • Stearic acid (2%)

It also contains trace amounts of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Coconut oil offers some amazing skin care benefits. Find out what they are in the next section.

Benefits Of Coconut Oil For The Skin

Woman with eczema applying coconut oil on her legs

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1. Protects The Skin Barrier

Coconut oil has anti-inflammatory properties and protects the skin barrier. It may be beneficial in soothing the symptoms of skin disorders like eczema and atopic dermatitis and restore the compromised skin barrier (2).

2. Minimizes UV Damage

UV exposure causes sunburn and premature aging. Topical coconut oil can prevent the damaging effects of UV rays on the skin and blocks 20% of the UV radiation (3), (4).

3. Promotes Wound Healing

A study on rats found that virgin coconut oil promoted collagen development and wound healing. The fatty acids and other components in coconut oil stimulate the fibroblasts (collagen-producing cells) and improve the antioxidant enzyme activities to heal wounds (5).

4. Removes Makeup

Woman using cotton pad soaked in coconut oil to remove makeup

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Coconut oil can also be used for oil cleansing to remove makeup. It gently dissolves waterproof makeup and cleanses the skin .

5. Moisturizes The Skin

Coconut oil is rich in lauric acid and myristic acid. which makes it an emollient that softens and moisturizes the skin. It reduces transepidermal water loss (TEWL) to improve skin dryness and texture (6).

There are a variety of ways to use coconut oil for your skin. Let’s check them out.

Ways To Use Coconut Oil For Skin

Woman using coconut oil as face moisturizer

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1. Oil Cleanser

Massage your face with a few drops of coconut oil. Wipe it with a damp cotton cloth. Follow up with a facial cleanser to remove the remaining traces of oil and dirt.

2. Facial Scrub

Combine equal parts of coconut oil and brown sugar. Massage your face with this sugar scrub for a minute and wash off with lukewarm water. This sugar scrub exfoliates dead skin cells without damaging the skin. You can use it twice a week.

3. Facial Moisturizer

You can use coconut oil as a facial moisturizer and as a last step of your skin care routine to seal all the goodness of the products. Massage your face with a few drops of virgin coconut oil and wake up with soft and smooth skin.

Remember: If you have acne-prone or oily skin, avoid using coconut oil.

4. Cuticle Oil

The cuticles protect the nails and keep out bacteria. However, they may dry out and get damaged. Massage them with coconut oil to keep them nourished, hydrated, and healthy.

5. Shaving Gel

If you are shaving your legs or underarms, use coconut oil to lubricate the area to prevent cuts and ingrown hair. Coconut oil provides a perfect slip for a smooth shaving result. Additionally, its skin-soothing qualities keep the skin moisturized and protected.

Always use pure, organic, and virgin coconut oil on your face for the best results. Avoid oils that contain preservatives and other additives. Do a patch test to avoid any possible side effects of coconut oil.

Side Effects Of Coconut Oil

Woman with allergic reaction on neck due to coconut oil

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If you have a nut allergy or are allergic to coconut oil, applying it may cause:

  • Irritation
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Rashes
  • Redness

Coconut oil is comedogenic. If you have acne-prone or oily skin, it may aggravate the breakouts. If you have oily skin and are on antibiotics or have low immunity, do not apply coconut oil on the face as it may aggravate bacterial and fungal spread due to its comedogenic nature.

In A Nutshell

Coconut oil is a highly nutritious oil that is commonly used in skincare products and several home remedies. Its anti-inflammatory properties and emollient properties make it ideal for protecting the skin barrier, slowing down premature aging, and moisturizing the skin. You can use coconut oil for your skin as an oil cleanser, facial moisturizer, or shaving gel. People with a nut or coconut allergy should avoid using coconut oil. If you experience side effects such as redness, irritation, or hives, stop its usage immediately and consult a doctor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use coconut oil every day on the skin?

It depends on your skin type. You can use coconut oil daily if your skin is not prone to breakouts. However, you should avoid it if you have acne-prone skin (as coconut oil is comedogenic).

Can I use coconut oil on my face every night?

Yes. You can use coconut oil on your face overnight if you have chafed, dry, and flaky skin. However, steer clear of it if you have oily skin as it can clog your pores.

Does coconut oil make skin glow?

Yes. Coconut oil is rich in antioxidants and fatty acids that boost your skin’s glow.

Can coconut oil reduce pimples?

Yes. The medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil have antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. The oil helps kill the microorganisms that may cause pimples and protect the skin from further breakouts.

Does coconut oil tighten skin on the face?

While anecdotal evidence suggests that coconut oil boosts collagen production in the skin that helps tighten it, there are no scientific studies to back this claim.

Key Takeaways

  • Coconut oil has several benefits on your skin, like soothing the skin, preventing the effects of UV damage, cleansing, and moisturizing.
  • You can use it as a facial cleanser, scrub, moisturizer, cuticle oil, or shaving gel.
  • However, since the oil is comedogenic, using it on acne-prone skin may cause breakouts.

Sources

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Coconut oil and palm oil\’s role in nutrition health and national development: A review
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC5044790/
  2. In vitro anti-inflammatory and skin protective properties of Virgin coconut oil
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC6335493/
  3. Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC5796020/
  4. Potential of herbs in skin protection from ultraviolet radiation
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC3263051/
  5. Effect of topical application of virgin coconut oil on skin components and antioxidant status during dermal wound healing in young rats
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20523108/
  6. 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
    https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/ijd.12339
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Monomita has a graduate degree in mass communication and video production from St. Anthony's College, Shillong, and a master’s degree... more

Dr. Archna Agrawal

(MSc (Dietetics))
Dr. Archna Agrawal is a licensed naturopathy and yoga practitioner with over 20 years of experience in nutrition and counseling.... more

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