We already know that people have been slathering on the coconut oil for hundreds of years without the need for any scientific tests or proof. They just used it because it worked.
But now research is piling up in just about every area of skin care to support the use of this luscious-smelling concoction. It’s great for everything from simple moisturization to healing scars and helping reduce the appearance of wrinkles. And you can thank those magical medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) that we’ve been discussing. In this article, you’re going to learn some useful ways to incorporate coconut oil into your beauty routine so that you can see for yourself how incredible your skin can feel again!
One of the biggest problems many people have with commercial lotions is that the products work really well for an hour or two but then seem to simply stop, leaving skin just as dry (or drier) and flakey as it was before. There are a couple of reasons why this is so. First, the primary ingredient in most lotions is water. This is great, except that water evaporates, and without a medium to hold it in your skin, it won’t be there for long, especially in a dry environment. Coconut oil’s MCTs are a great transporter for water since they’re small enough to penetrate your skin.
Another reason why your skin may feel drier after your lotion absorbs (or evaporates, as the case may be) is because it contains alcohol in one form or another. Certain forms of alcohol are used by auto mechanics to remove water from parts, so if alcohol is a dehydrator for cars, what do you think it’s doing to your skin? There are also innumerable other chemicals used in moisturizers as binding agents and preservatives that can cause dryness, allergic reactions, and even long-term problems such as cancer.
Remember that your skin is your largest organ. It’s porous and absorbs what you put on it, at least in part. Parabens, alcohols, and hydrogenated oils that contain free radicals are all common ingredients that you routinely slather onto your outer sponge. These may then be absorbed into your bloodstream. In essence, your skin “eats” some of what it comes into contact with, so should you really put anything on your skin that you wouldn’t put in your mouth?
Protection from Bacteria, Viruses, and Fungi
Your body’s first and most effective defense against infectious organisms is your skin; particularly the acidic layer of oil (aka sebum) that coats your skin. Our skin is slightly acidic (with a pH of around 5 to 5.5), creating an environment in which good bacteria can exist and go about their business but bad bugs can’t. Some bacteria, in fact, are essential to good health. For example, there’s at least one type that eats sebum (like anything else, too much of anything—in this case, sebum—is not good for your skin), breaking down the MCT in the process and leaving behind medium-chain fatty acids. MCTs aren’t microbial, but once those fatty acids are released, they become powerful antimicrobials that combine with the slightly acidic environment on your skin to protect you from all sorts of different illnesses caused by “bad” bacteria, fungi, and viruses.
The layer of sebum on your skin consists of about 60 percent medium-chain fatty acids, but when you bathe, you wash much of that away, leaving your skin vulnerable. If you have a cut or some dry, cracked skin without the protective layer of sebum, it’s like leaving the barn door open for anything that wants to enter. By applying coconut oil, you speed up the process of reestablishing the natural barrier.
Now that you know coconut oil protects you from disease while it’s making you soft and young-looking, doesn’t it make sense to use it after bathing?
Psoriasis and Other Skin Conditions
Despite what many people think, conditions such as psoriasis are not caused by a lack of moisture or fungi. It’s caused by your body’s inflammatory response. Basically, your body is having an allergic reaction to itself. And since coconut oil is an anti-inflammatory, it’s great for these conditions. People seem to see a reduction in many different disorders (not just those caused by immune responses) after either applying coconut oil topically or eating it. Just a few of these disorders include:
- Keratosis pilaris
- Seborrheic eczema
- Cold sores
- Cutaneous candidiasis
There are also some great uses for coconut oil for people who don’t have specific skin conditions. Since it’s an antimicrobial that moisturizes, soothes, and forms a protective lipid barrier wherever you apply it, think about substituting it for your everyday cosmetics including :
- Lip gloss
- Callus remover
- Body scrub
- Anti-aging cream
Simply substituting plain virgin coconut oil for many of these will work wonderfully, but the rest of this article features recipes that combine the power of other ingredients to blend with the coconut oil to make a truly superior product that is both effective and free of harmful chemicals.
Just a note: Your body is used to producing sweat and excess oil in response to chemicals and soap that you use. It’s going to take your body time to adjust to being back to a natural state, so you may notice some excess sweating or oilier hair or skin for up to two months after you stop using chemicals that strip natural oils from your body. This is normal, so push through it. Your skin and hair will thank you!
Anti-Aging Super Night Cream
This cream is packed with antioxidants, natural healing agents, and skin protectants that will help you fight wrinkles, age spots, and other signs of aging. Since coconut oil penetrates so easily and dissolves fat-soluble vitamins, it can help carry the nutrients deep within your skin so they can rebuild and repair from within. Vitamin A degrades in sunlight, so in order to get the full benefits, only use this at night.
- 2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons cherry kernel oil
- 1 tablespoon jojoba oil
- 6 liquid vitamin E capsules
- 6 liquid vitamin A capsules
- 5 drops lavender oil
- 5 drops frankincense oil
- Add coconut, cherry kernel, and jojoba oils to a small bowl. Poke each vitamin E and vitamin.
- A capsule and squeeze into the oils, discarding the empty capsules.
- Add the lavender and frankincense oils, and then stir until all of the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Store in a dark-colored glass bottle or jar.
- Apply at night before going to bed. It won’t take much, so this amount will last you for quite a while. If you’re sensitive to scents, you can leave out the lavender and frankincense oils and still have an incredible anti-aging concoction.
Yields about ¼ cup.
Basic Healing Coconut Moisturizer
One of the best things about coconut oil is its ability to penetrate the skin; without that, none of the other uses would be as effective. Vitamin E is a healing restorative that is excellent for chapped skin and even fresh scars and wounds, but it needs fatty acids to unlock its lipid barrier so it can work. Coconut oil’s medium-chain fatty acids make it a great transporter, since it both dissolves the vitamin E for use and helps it penetrate the skin where it can work.
- 6 liquid vitamin E capsules
- ½ cup virgin coconut oil
- In a small glass bowl, poke a hole in the vitamin E capsules and squeeze them into the coconut oil. Stir to combine and slather onto your skin after you shower or whenever you’re feeling a little dry.
- This is great for dry spots too and is even useful for softening calluses. If you’d like to use it for calluses, simply slather on, cover, and leave on for a few hours or overnight. Wipe off the excess and that callus will be soft enough to slough off with your pedicure file.
Yields ½ cup moisturizer.
Relaxation Massage Oil
Massage is as much a sensory experience as it is a hands-on, physical therapy session. The combination of essential oils and deep massage techniques using this oil will erase your tension and leave you relaxed and ready to rest.
- 2 ounces virgin coconut oil
- 2 ounces jojoba oil
- 2 ounces sweet almond oil
- 15 drops ylang-ylang oil
- 15 drops sandalwood oil
Combine all ingredients and store in a glass bottle. The shelf life for these ingredients is particularly long, especially if you store the concoction at room temperature. Warm the oil up in the palm or your hand before applying. It is also great as a bath oil.
Yields about 6 ounces.