COCONUT OIL – Is it Good OR Bad for Acne?
Coconut oil is extracted from the mature raw coconuts or dried Kernel.
(edible white flesh lining the inside of a coconut, also referred to as coconut meat).
Coconuts grow on palm trees with the scientific name Cocos Nucifera, possibly originating in India and Southeast Asia.
About 75% of the world’s supply of coconuts is produced by Indonesia, Philippines, and India.
The coconut tree is also referred to as the tree of life & it is the official state tree of Kerala, India.
Coconut oil is integral to Sri Lankan and many South Asian diets.
The Virgin Coconut (the pure unrefined version) has a topical, sweet, nutty taste & flavor, whereas the refined coconut oil has a neutral taste & aroma. The consistency of coconut oil varies depending on temperature. At room temperature, coconut oil is typically solid and semi-soft, although it will likely be softer or even melted in a warmer temperature.
Initially, coconut oil was classified along with saturated fatty acid food items and criticized for its negative impact on health.
However, research studies have revealed that coconut oil is a rich source of medium-chain fatty acids. Thus, this has opened new prospects for its use in many areas.
Beyond its usage in cooking, coconut oil has recently attracted attention due to its hypocholesterolemic, anticancer, antidiabetic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and skin moisturizing properties.
Even though studies done in Asian countries claim a favorable impact on cardiac health and serum lipid profile, the limitations in the number of studies conducted among Western countries hinder the endorsement of the actual value of coconut oil.
A survey found that 72% of Americans rated coconut oil as “healthy,” though surprisingly, only 37% of nutrition experts agreed.
Coconut oil is increasingly popular in several trending diets, including ketogenic and Paleodiets.
Now, let’s learn about coconut oil in a bit more detail.
Coconut oil is rich in medium-chain fatty acids, a form of saturated fat. In fact, these medium-chain fatty acids make up about 65% of their total composition.
The fatty acids found in coconut oil include :
- Lauric acid: 49%
- Myristic acid: 18%
- Caprylic acid: 8%
- Palmitic acid: 8%
- Capric acid: 7%
- Oleic acid: 6%
- Linoleic acid: 2%
- Stearic acid: 2%
The medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil have antimicrobial properties that can help protect against harmful microorganisms.
This is especially important for skin health, as many skin infections, including Acne, cellulitis, folliculitis, and athlete’s foot, are caused by bacteria or fungi.
Virgin coconut oil (VCO) has been traditionally used as a moisturizer for centuries by people in tropical regions. Clinical studies have revealed that VCO improves the symptoms of skin disorders by moisturizing and soothing the skin.
Animal studies have shown that coconut oil may relieve inflammation by improving antioxidant status and decreasing oxidative stress.
While some think coconut oil clogs pores, the antibacterial properties of the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil help reduce Acne.
Numerous studies have shown that lauric acid, which accounts for nearly half of the fatty acids in coconut oil, can eliminate the strain of bacteria linked to Acne.
In fact, test-tube and animal studies have shown that lauric acid is more effective than benzoyl peroxide at preventing the growth of acne-causing bacteria.
Along with lauric acid, capric acid has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
To get the best results, coconut oil should be applied directly to the skin in areas where Acne is found.
The emollient effect of coconut oil has been successfully demonstrated in atopic dermatitis patients, showing that coconut oil is a potent natural emollient to be used in the treatment of xerosis.
A critical study demonstrated that virgin Coconut Oil suppressed the pro-inflammatory cytokines in both protein and gene expression levels.
This study demonstrated that topical application of VCO brings anti-inflammatory activity by inhibiting the various cytokine levels, including TNF-α, IFNγ, IL-6, IL-5, and IL-8, and improves skin barrier function by up-regulating AQP-3, filaggrin and involucrin mRNA expression and also by protecting against UVB irradiation.
Therefore, VCO could be useful in treating skin disorders with permeability barrier dysfunction, especially those accompanied by reduced epidermal protein expression, such as atopic dermatitis and eczema.
What kind of coconut oil is best for acne-prone skin?
So, you’re convinced that you need more coconut oil in your life – fantastic!
But before buying the most giant tub you can at the grocery store, remember that not all coconut oil is produced equally.
Whether you’re putting coconut oil on your skin or body, you want the highest-quality coconut oil available.
First and foremost, look for coconut oil closest to its natural state; you don’t want to buy liquified, deodorized, or bleached versions- just embrace what nature has given us.
In short, you should focus on these three things when buying coconut oil:
- Organic – means avoiding pesticides or chemicals from fertilizer that may aggravate Acne or the gut. Organic coconut oil, therefore, is packed with natural nutritional value.
- Unrefined (virgin) – Virgin coconut oil (VCO) is an edible oil prepared from fresh coconut kernel by natural or mechanical means without undergoing chemical refining. “Virgin” means that it’s free of additives and bleach, unlike refined coconut oil, which often undergoes a process to remove part of the smell or taste!
- Cold-pressed – cold-pressed simply means that there was no excessive heat used to extract the oil from the coconut. Alternatively, expeller-pressed coconut oil uses heat and pressure, which can oxidize some fatty acids and strip its nutritional benefits.
The good thing about coconuts and coconut oil is that it’s generally not tricky to find high-quality organic variety at a reasonable price.
How to apply coconut oil for your Acne?
- A patch test is recommended- Allergic reactions to coconut oil are rare, but it’s better to be safe. Massage a dab of coconut oil into the back of the hand and observe if you experience any weird reactions. If yes, stop the use & wash your skin.
- If there was no weird reaction, you are good to go ahead & enjoy the incredible health benefits of coconut oil.
- Massage the coconut oil into your skin gently using a light, circular motion; you don’t need to heat the oil as it melts with your fingers’ heat. Start massaging at your forehead and work down your face and neck, giving yourself a gentle massage. Concentrate on areas that are the driest.
Remember that everyone is different, and coconut oil will impact everyone’s skin differently. Observe its effects on your body, trust what it suggests, and proceed accordingly.
Sometimes coconut oil can cause aggravation in some people’s Acne, which is why a patch test is highly recommended.
The most important thing is that your skin is a reflection of your inner health, so if you are dealing with any chronic skin issue, including Acne, the best possible treatment is to treat it from the inside out.
Conventional treatments can provide short-term relief for acne symptoms, but do you know they come with their own side effects? Read the detailed blog here.
With years of experience treating chronic skin issues, I have designed the Holistic Acne Treatment Program, a 7-step program to treat Acne using herbs, homeopathy, lifestyle upgrades, nutritional & supplementation advice, yogic detoxification, and more.
If you are interested in knowing more about the Holistic Acne treatment program, find all the information here.
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