Is coconut oil good for your skin?

by Nicole Mandallaz Coconut Oil, Lauric acid, Skin

Is Coconut Oil Good For Your Skin?

Well...kind of.... yes and no. 

Applying coconut oil straight as is from the jar, is a hard no.  But, that does not mean that coconut oil doesn't have beneficial properties that can be extracted and utilized in skincare, and that ALSO does not mean that it's not super awesome for your skin and body when you eat or cook with it.  To better explain why, let's look further in depth into the makeup of coconut oil.

  Coconut oil is composed of many fatty acids at different percentages.  Caprylic, capric, lauric, palmitic, myristic, stearic, oleic and linoleic acids.  You may recognize some of these individual fatty acids from the ingredient labels of your common skin and beauty products!  The main ones we'll focus on are the lauric, and caprylic/capric acids.

Lauric Acid

Lauric acid is the main property of coconut oil that gives it it's powerful anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties, and there is 49% lauric acid in coconut oil!  That means coconut oil is mostly lauric acid! 

 People automatically think this is a good thing for the skin, but when it comes to acne and congestion, they're not actually caused by bacteria (the overpopulation of bacteria is the side effect.  You'll see me say this over and over). 

     The main cause of acne is retention hyperkeratosis which means too many skin cells in the lining of your pores are over shedding and causing clogs.   When you get the clog, there's less oxygen which the p.acne bacteria love, and thrive on.  THEN the bacteria starts to overpopulate. This is important because it means things that clog the pores will directly contribute to acne and congestion whether anti-bacterial or not.  Lauric acid has been found in comedogenic studies to be VERY pore clogging.  A 4/5 on a scale of 1-5.  VERY PORE CLOGGING.  

 

Caprylic and Capric Acids

Fractionated coconut oil is coconut oil where the long chain fatty acids have been removed leaving the medium chain acids behind.  Mostly the caprylic and capric acids are left behind.  The good news is these are NON comedogenic!!  The sad news is, that the fractionated oil has lost its anti-microbial properties.  You will however see them listed often in cosmetics and skincare because of their moisturising abilities and slippery texture as "caprylic/capric tryglycerides" rather than "fractionated coconut oil".

 

So what should we do?

So, coconut oil alone from the jar may be good to use on your feet to prevent foot fungus, but will clog the pores on your skin all over your face and body.  Best leave it for eating, and stick to using products with caprylic/capric tryglycerides, or fractionated coconut oil, to get the most benefits of it for your skin.


 

Nicole Mandallaz
Esthetician, acne and aging expert, ingredients nerd, information junkie.
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