Want to know why we put certain ingredients in our products? What makes them so special compared to other companies? Are there any benefits behind them or do they just seem like they're just an upscale ingredient? Well, we're writing to let you know that there ARE actually benefits behind each ingredient we put in our products! Our first featured ingredient is Coconut Oil.
What is Coconut Oil?
First things first, what is coconut oil? We hear all of these crazes with this particular oil, and how it seems to be this all-in-one fatty oil that does it all. Let's first get down to the scientifics.
Coconut oil is a highly saturated medium chained fatty acid derived from extracting the oil from coconuts or dried coconut kernels. When a fatty acid is highly saturated, it means that every carbon link in the molecule has a hydrogen connected to it, means that is it easily absorb-able and very stable. At room temperature it is solid, but when heated it melts into a liquid. Coconut oil is rich in medium-chain fatty acids, which are a form of saturated fat. In fact, these medium-chain fatty acids make up about 65% of its total composition.
The fatty acids found in coconut oil are:
- Lauric acid: 49%
- Myristic acid: 18%
- Caprylic acid: 8%
- Palmitic acid: 8%
- Capric acid: 7%
- Oleic acid: 6%
- Linoleic acid: 2%
- Stearic acid: 2%
Health Benefits to the Skin
There are many claims on why coconut oil should be used, but we'll go over the main benefits:
- They are Antimicrobial
- They have Anti-inflammatory properties
- They may help treat acne
- It can moisturize dry skin
It Kills Harmful Microorganisms
Due to its Lauric Acid content, it kills any harmful microorganisms, which is important in skin health. Many types of skin infections, athlete's foot, acne, and cellulitis are caused by bacteria or fungi, and the properties in coconut oil, particularly the lauric acid, fights off these microorganisms.
There have been many studies proving the stunt of growth with certain bacteria and fungi when applying both lauric and caprylic acid to test tubes. You can read all about it here and here, and here as well.
It Can Reduce Inflammation
Chronic inflammation is a major component of many different types of skin disorders, including psoriasis, contact dermatitis and eczema. Animal and test tube studies have shown that coconut oil may not only relieve inflammation, but also relieve pain on the affected areas. It may ease inflammation by improving antioxidant status.
Antioxidants work by stabilizing free radicals in the body, due to the high saturation content from the fatty acid. It neutralizes the reactive atoms that contribute to the inflammation. You can read more about this here.
It May Help Treat Acne
Since acne is considered an inflammatory condition, coconut oil can lead to helping treat acne. For best results, applying coconut oil directly on the skin can help alleviate inflamed pores and can even kill the bacteria that causes acne. Find out more on these sites here and here.
It Helps Moisturize Dry Skin
One study in patients showed that by applying coconut oil to mild to moderately dry skin hydrates the skin as effectively or more effectively than mineral oil, the same kind of oil seen in petroleum jelly. It also has been shown to be effective in skin conditions such as eczema, a condition that characterizes as dry, rashy, itchy skin. This is also due to the high absorption found from the saturated fatty acid.
According to an article in healthline, it is stated that "Keeping your skin hydrated can help preserve its function as a barrier to keep out bacteria, promote the healing of scars and maintain overall skin integrity".
One study has shown that using coconut oil for eczema had a 68% decrease in severity, making it more effective than using mineral oil and olive oil in the treatment of eczema outbreaks. You can read more about this here and here.
Who Should and Shouldn't Use Coconut Oil?
While I am in no way a medical professional, I cannot claim that coconut oil can cure or treat skin conditions. It is always safe to use trial and error with small patches and see if coconut oil is right to use for personal care.
If you have oily skin, it may cause more acne or create blackheads with the added oil. Also, if you have sensitive skin, it's best to use a small portion on a patch of the skin to make sure you don't cause an allergic reaction or clogged pores.
The Bottom Line
Coconut oil has had many health benefits, not only with cooking and dieting, but also with skin health. It has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and moisturizing properties that can help with certain skin conditions that may be able use for treatment.
While coconut oil has many benefits, it may not be best for everyone. Always start off small to test on your skin and consult your dermatologist for further questions.