Eczema, Skin Conditions | July 26, 2016 | Author: Naturopath
The coconut tree is known to be the "tree of life" by many cultures, especially in continents where coconut plantations are abundant. Everything from the roots to the tips of the leaves can be used for something in the house, no part of the coconut tree can ever go to waste. Not only is the coconut tree known for its uses, but also for the many benefits. Whether as a home necessity or health and body necessity, coconut works in many ways that are essential and useful for us.
One of the popularly distributed and used products of this special tree is the coconut oil used for health, skin and other home essentials that we see and do every day. Thinking that coconut oil is simply a good cooking agent - and while you are not wrong, the idea is not complete. This common but special oil can offer you a lot more than just a tasty meal.
The coconut oil is extracted from the copra of the coconut, the edible and dried meat part. Composed of 60-70% fatty acids, 4-10% water and some protein and carbohydrate content. Due to the amount and type of natural saturated fat, made up of medium-chain fatty acids, it is incredibly good on the skin.
The predominant medium-chain fatty acid found in coconut oil is called lauric acid. It has been proven to have:
Coconut oil also contains other chemical substances such as phytonutirients and polyphenols, which both act as antioxidants, and has also been reported to have tissue-supportive and tissue-protective properties.
Several studies have shown that coconut oil’s properties make for an effective moisturizer and been has found to be beneficial in reducing:
It has been proven to also increase the collagen cross-linking on our skin (meaning helps to prevent ageing), and improve wound healing.
In a conducted topical irritation assessment done on 480 persons with active skin diseases, only 5 (0.9%) reacted to the use of coconut oil on their skin. This lack of effect only showed that coconut oil appears to have low allergic reaction when applied to the skin. this is good news for those with dermatitis and eczema or sensitive skins.
Skin becomes dry when the water in- between the cells evaporates. This commonly occurs in the winter, where there is a large moisture difference on your skin and in the air, but can happen all year round.
Putting oil on the skin creates a barrier that stops the loss of moisture occurring.
Coconut oil is proven to be an effective moisturizer for those suffering from xerosis (dry and itchy skin). Studies have revealed that after four weeks of applying 5 mls of coconut oil (about 1 teaspoon) on affected skin area twice everyday, it helped prevent further aggravation and infection.
The good news is, coconut oil can works on All skin types, even oily skin. Having an oily skin doesn’t mean you can’t use oil. Applying oil on the face where the skin overproduces oil helps skin exfoliation. The oil breaks up and dissolves the excess oil without hurting the skin from its natural lipid barrier. Applying the face with coconut oil as a facial moisturizer works well for everyone, no matter the skin type.
One of the distinct properties of coconut oil is that it is antibacterial. The lauric acid found in it can kill the growth of bacteria causing acne, 15 times stronger than benzoyl peroxide, a topical antibiotic used for treating mild to moderate acne.
By increasing the collagen cross-linking and antioxidant enzyme activity, coconut oil is found to aid in the healing of wounds. Along with it’s anti-inflammatory properties, such as the ferulic acid,(which is often used in many high-end skin care products as an anti-oxidant), p-coumaric acid and other phenolic compounds, the coconut oil is set to protect the skin.
There are loads of types and brands of coconut oil out there and choosing the right one isn’t easy. To start, there are three main types:
Unrefined coconut oil is oil extracted from fresh coconut meat, from wet-milling or quick drying. These processes allow the naturally occurring phytonutrients and polyphenols to remain intact in the oil.
Refined coconut oil, on the other hand, is oil extracted from previously dried coconut meat. The process is done with chemical solvents or through physical extraction. The coconut oil produced from this must be purified by refining. This method causes some beneficial nutrients to be lost.
Liquid coconut oil is simply coconut oil without lauric acid. Without the lauric acid, two other medium-chain fatty acids are left but with lower melting points.
Based from the descriptions above, the organic and unrefined coconut oil is the best for skin care because all the naturally occurring properties are still present. Unrefined coconut oils are sometimes described as virgin, cold pressed or raw coconut oils.
As with all new skin care products, it is always prudent to apply a small amount to check for adverse reactions. Even though coconut oil has been shown to be suitable for sensitive skin, every skin is different. Before using coconut oil on ANY skin, apply to a small area of your skin for 3-4 days and observe for any abnormal reaction especially if you are prone to reactions.
Cleansing the face with coconut oil allows the oil to dissolves the debris accumulated in the skins own sebum that has hardened with impurities and clogged the pores. Wash or wet your face with a warm wash cloth to open the pores, massage the coconut oil into the skin allowing the oil to dissolve the dirt from the face which can be easily wiped away.
Effective as a moisturizer, the coconut oil can be applied directly on to the face and body. Coconut oil has a luxurious feel and can be massaged all over the body. Use after shower or bath, morning and before bed. It can works wonders on cracked heels.
Dabbing of coconut oil on cold sores can help alleviate the pain and speed up healing. Coconut oil also prevents sores from coming back.
The use of coconut oil with Epsom salts works well as detox agent. Adding ¼ cup of coconut oil and a ¼ cup of Epsom salt to a hot bath equals to a very relaxing detox. Caution needed when exiting bath as you may be oily and slip.
Coconut oil is a gift of nature and with its many naturally occurring properties, it works a great many wonders on our skin.