Coconut oil is famous throughout the world not only as an edible oil and hair tonic, but also as an excellent massage oil and smoothener for the skin. In the tropical parts of the world where coconuts are readily available and used in many ways, natives commonly spread coconut oil on their skin, as they believe that it protects from the sun’s harmful rays. So this natural oil, without any chemical or additives, can protect the skin in some of the hottest and sunniest places on earth better than our processed and artificial sun creams?
The question is, what makes coconut oil so beneficial for the skin? Before we can understand how coconut oil achieves all of its impressive benefits that people around the world claim, let’s look into the constituents of coconut oil and their respective properties that might make them useful for maintaining skin health.
Coconut Oil- Composition
Saturated Fats: Predominantly, these saturated fats are medium chain fatty acids or triglycerides. When applied on the skin, they keep it smooth to the touch. Due to the presence of these fats, coconut oil also retains the moisture content of the skin, as the fats eliminate moisture loss through the pores on skin. When ingested through the regular consumption of coconut oil, these fats deposit under the skin, thus keeping it healthy and smooth, giving it an even tone and reducing the appearance of the pores.
Capric /Caprylic/Lauric acid: These are not very different from the medium chain fatty acids, but it is still important to mention them separately here, since they have their own contributions. These three fatty acids have strong disinfectant and antimicrobial properties. As a result, when applied on the skin, coconut oil protects from microbial infections that can get into open wounds or even enter the body through the pores. This microbial action can be experienced even if coconut oil is taken internally, as the fatty acids boost the immunity when converted to monocaprins and monolaurins.
Furthermore, capric, caprylic, and lauric acids are easily broken down chains of fatty acids, meaning that they contribute to usable energy in a quick and efficient way. This can be a major boost to your energy levels before a workout, which is why these powerful acids have also been linked to weight loss and management. Losing weight is a good way to improve the quality of your skin by reducing excess fat, stretch marks, and folds in the skin which can be unattractive. Having a healthy, toned body means that the skin maintains its tight grip around the muscles and bones.
Vitamin-E: The contributions of vitamin-E towards skin care are well known. It is essential for healthy skin growth, repair of wear & tear on the skin, keeping skin smooth and protecting against cracking. Above all, it prevents premature aging and wrinkling of the skin, since it has good antioxidant properties. 100 grams of coconut oil has about 0.1 mg of vitamin E, thus enhancing it skin-nourishing properties.
Anti-Aging Cream: Traditionally, coconut oil has been praised and popularized for its anti-aging properties.
Coconut oil’s ability to nourish and heal the skin has been known in the tropics for hundreds of years. Even when the anti-saturated fat campaign waged in the US convinced many even in coconut oil producing countries to switch to polyunsaturated oils, Filipinos and others never stopped using coconut oil on their skin because they knew about its wonderful moisturizing and healing powers for generations. As a saturated fat consisting primarily of medium chain fatty acids (MCTs), it is not easily oxidized and does not cause harmful free radical damage like polyunsaturated vegetable oils. Most commercial skin care products in the US today are made from polyunsaturated oils which oxidize and turn rancid very quickly causing free radical damage in the skin. There is good evidence that this is not only true for external applications, but also holds true for the oils one consumes. One of the main reasons that we experience so many skin problems in the US today is a switch in our dietary oil. Our forefathers consumed primarily saturated fats, but most people today consume polyunsaturated fats and trans fatty acids.
Coconut Oil for Fungal Skin Problems
Virgin Coconut Oil has been reported to help many skin problems as well. Depending on what is causing the skin problem, the coconut oil seems to work in a variety of ways. For example, we have had positive reports from people who suffer from yeast infections in the skin, and there is solid research that shows the MCTs in coconut oil do kill yeast infections.
Coconut Oil for Skin Disorders
We have seen some wonderful results from people reporting about success in using coconut oil for acne : Coconut Oil used to treat some other skin diseases like Eczema, Keratosis Polaris, Psoriasis, & Rosacea