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Coconut Oil for Skin: Everything You Need to Know

coconut oil in a jar

What is coconut oil?

Coconut oil is an ancient natural ingredient that has gained popularity in recent years for its numerous health benefits.

Coconut oil is extracted from the flesh of coconut fruits and has a variety of uses, including as a cooking oil, as a natural skin moisturizer, and as a hair treatment.

Coconut oil is thought to be beneficial for the skin due to its moisturizing properties. In addition, coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids that can help to kill bacteria and fungi, which may be beneficial for treating acne.

Historically, coconut oil has been used for skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema, as well as to soothe burns and protect against sun damage. Coconut oil is also a common ingredient in natural beauty products.

What are the benefits of coconut oil for the skin?

Coconut oil is often praised for its potential skin benefits. Some of the purported benefits include:

  • Moisturizing: Coconut oil can help to moisturize the skin and prevent dryness.
  • Reducing inflammation: Coconut oil has anti-inflammatory properties that may help to reduce inflammation and soothe conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
  • Killing bacteria: The medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil can help to kill bacteria, which may be beneficial for treating acne.
  • Protecting against sun damage: Coconut oil can help to protect the skin from damage caused by ultraviolet (UV) rays.

Where should I use coconut oil in my skincare routine?

If you’re using coconut oil as a moisturizer, you can apply it to your skin after cleansing and before applying your sunscreen or makeup.

If you’re using coconut oil as a treatment for acne or another skin condition, you can apply it to the affected area up to three times per day.

You can also use coconut oil as a natural makeup remover or as a hair treatment. For more on this topic, check out our post on how to create the perfect natural skin care routine.

What are the side effects of coconut oil?

Coconut oil is generally safe to use on the skin. However, some people may experience skin irritation, redness, or breakouts. If you experience any of these side effects, discontinue use and consult your doctor.

Coconut oil may also clog pores, which can lead to breakouts. If you have oily or acne-prone skin, coconut oil may not be the best choice for you.

It’s also important to note that coconut oil can increase your risk of sunburn. Be sure to apply sunscreen before going outdoors if you’ve used coconut oil on your skin.

How do I choose coconut oil for my skin?

Coconut oils come in a variety of forms, including virgin coconut oil, fractionated coconut oil, and coconut milk.

For skin care, virgin coconut oil is the best choice. Virgin coconut oil is unrefined and contains the most nutrients.

When shopping for coconut oil, look for an oil that is:

  • Virgin
  • Cold-pressed
  • Refined
  • Unrefined
  • Organic

How to use coconut oil for skin: 10 applications

1: Apply as an eye cream

To reduce puffiness and wrinkles, apply coconut oil around the eyes before bedtime.

2: Make a DIY face mask

woman using moisturizer

Mix coconut oil with honey, avocado, or another natural ingredient to create a nourishing face mask.

3: Remove makeup

Coconut oil can help to remove makeup, including waterproof mascara. Simply massage coconut oil into your skin, then remove it with a warm washcloth.

4: Moisturize skin

Apply coconut oil to your skin after showering or bathing for long-lasting moisture.

5: Treat psoriasis or eczema

For dry, cracked skin, coconut oil can help to soothe and heal. Apply coconut oil to the affected area up to three times per day.

6: Prevent stretch marks

Rub coconut oil onto your stomach, breasts, or hips during pregnancy to help prevent stretch marks.

7: Shave your legs

For natural shaving cream, try coconut oil. The oil will help to soften hair and reduce irritation.

8: Make a natural deodorant

Mix coconut oil with baking soda and essential oils to create a natural deodorant.

9: Soothe a sunburn

Coconut oil can help to soothe a sunburn. Apply the oil to the affected area as needed.

10: Use as a lip balm

For chapped lips, coconut oil can help to moisturize and heal. Apply the oil as needed, or make a DIY lip balm.

FAQs about coconut oil for skin

Can you use coconut oil as a moisturizer?

Yes, coconut oil can be used as a moisturizer. Apply coconut oil to your skin after cleansing and before applying your sunscreen or makeup.

Can coconut oil help with acne?

Coconut oil has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that may help to treat acne. Apply coconut oil to the affected area up to three times per day.

Can you use coconut oil on your face?

Yes, coconut oil can be used on the face. Apply coconut oil to the skin after cleansing and before applying your sunscreen or makeup.

Is coconut oil good for your skin?

Coconut oil has several benefits for the skin, including reducing inflammation, preventing moisture loss, and protecting against free radicals. Coconut oil is also a good choice for people with sensitive skin.

How often should you use coconut oil on your skin?

You can apply coconut oil to your skin as needed. For best results, apply coconut oil after cleansing and before applying your sunscreen or makeup.

Doesn't coconut oil clog your pores?

Coconut oil can clog pores, which can lead to breakouts. If you have oily or acne-prone skin, coconut oil may not be the best choice for you.

How long does coconut oil last on your skin?

Coconut oil can last on your skin for up to 12 hours. For best results, apply coconut oil after cleansing and before applying your sunscreen or makeup.

Does coconut oil expire?

Yes, coconut oil does expire. The shelf life of coconut oil is about two years. After that, the oil can become rancid.

Can coconut oil relieve skin conditions?

Yes, coconut oil can relieve skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema, and dry, cracked skin. Apply coconut oil to the affected area up to three times per day.

Final thoughts on coconut oil for skin

Coconut oil is a versatile and natural product that can be used to improve the health of your skin.

Coconut oil has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, and it can help to treat acne, psoriasis, eczema, and dry, cracked skin.

This is why we include coconut oil in all of our prebiotic skincare products, including our body washes, lotions, and mists.

Prebiotics are nourishing “superfood” for the skin which naturally feeds the skin's healthy microbes. Prebiotics diminish harmful bacteria and create a balanced skin pH.

This healthy enzymatic activity stimulated at the cellular level aids in skin restoration, accelerates recovery in problematic skin, and repairs skin from blemishes, scars, and wounds.

To learn more about the power of prebiotics, check out our post: Prebiotic Skincare: Everything You Need to Know, or shop our products now!

Matt Kenyon

Matt Kenyon is a researcher, strategist, and writer for Aleavia. He enjoys studying natural lifestyle trends and their effect on wellness and longevity.


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