Is the summer heat making your skin dry and dull? Regular coconut oil massage can improve skin texture in just a few days.
From dryness, eczema, rashes, acne to wounds and bites, there isn’t a skin problem that coconut oil cannot heal. The amazing antimicrobial, emollient and wound-healing properties of this herbal cure are also cited in the ancient Ayurvedic texts.
Read on to know the various benefits of coconut oil and the best type to use for healthy, glowing skin.
Our Ayurvedic Doctor Speaks
“Coconut balances Vata and Pitta and increases Kapha. Thus skin that is dry, inflamed, chapped and sensitive benefits from the usage of coconut oil.” Dr. Zeel Gandhi (Bachelor Of Ayurveda, Medicine & Surgery), Chief Ayurvedic Doctor, Vedix
- Is Coconut Oil Good For Your Skin?
- Different Types Of Coconut Oil
- Benefits Of Coconut Oil For Your Skin
- How To Use Coconut Oil For Skin Whitening?
- How To Use Coconut Oil For Various Skin Problems?
- How To Use Coconut Oil For Skin Tightening?
- Who Shouldn’t Use Coconut Oil?
- Frequently Asked Questions On Coconut Oil For Skin
Is Coconut Oil Good For Your Skin?
Extracted from coconut kernels, coconut oil is one of the main edible oils that is also extensively used in skincare. It is a rich source of vitamin E, polyphenols and medium-chain fatty acids, which make coconut oil an excellent anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and hydrating agent.
It is also effective in treating various skin conditions such as dermatitis, allergies, infections, premature skin aging and sun damage.
According to the natural science of Ayurveda, coconut oil helps to balance the vata and pitta doshas and heals skin infections related to vata-pitta aggravations.
According to studies, fatty acids in virgin coconut oil can inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells and can thus be used as an anti-cancer treatment, especially for liver and oral cancers.
Different Types Of Coconut Oil
The two main varieties of coconut oil are virgin and copra coconut oil . Virgin oil is extracted from fresh coconut meat whereas copra is the dried flesh of the coconut. Virgin oil is usually more preferred due to the presence of certain extra nutrients when compared to copra oil.
Another classification divides coconut oil into two types -refined and unrefined. Although refined coconut oil is more stable, the refining process often takes away the oil’s flavor and antioxidant properties.
Benefits Of Coconut Oil For Your Skin
1. Moisturizes Dry Skin
Coconut oil has been used as a moisturizer for centuries. Its miraculous hydrating and skin-protective properties make it apt for dry skin care. Extreme dry skin conditions or xerosis result in flaking, peeling, increased transepidermal water loss and impaired barrier function.
Regular use of coconut oil repairs the skin barrier  and improves moisture retention. It infuses your skin with essential fatty acids such as oleic, stearic and linoleic acids . These act as emollients, increase skin hydration and enhance your skin texture. Coconut oil can also be used to heal chapped lips and cracked heels.
2. Helps In Wound Healing
Treating minor wounds and burns with coconut oil has been a common practice in most Indian homes. Topical application of coconut oil increases the rate of epithelialization, fibroblast proliferation  and neovascularization. This ensures quick wound healing. Also, the oil’s anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties reduce inflammation at the wound site and prevent chances of infection.
3. Treats Acne
Acne occurs when your skin pores are clogged with excess sebum, impurities, dead cells and bacteria. Medium-chain fatty acids in virgin coconut oil such as capric, lauric and caprylic acids are known to possess antibacterial properties.
When ingested, your body converts lauric acid into monolaurin . This chemical displays powerful antibacterial properties and may help reduce bacterial infections such as acne vulgaris.
Further, coconut oil’s anti-inflammatory properties can heal an inflamed acne lesion. However, it is important to remember that coconut oil is highly comedogenic. Thus, using it as a spot treatment on acne along with other antibacterial herbs is advisable.
4. Reduces The Appearance Of Fine Lines
Frequent massages with coconut oil can reduce various signs of aging such as wrinkles and fine lines. According to research, polyphenolic antioxidants in virgin coconut oil prevent free radical skin damage and cell death.
A serum formulation containing coconut oil  as its base along with extracts of deer antler stem cells, improved skin elasticity and reduced fine lines and wrinkles in a period of two weeks.
5. Reduces Skin Inflammation And Sensitivity
Allergic reactions of the skin can be effectively treated with coconut oil, owing to its anti-inflammatory and cooling properties. It soothes sensitive skin and strengthens your skin‘s immunity, thus lowering the risk of skin allergies. Further, its pitta-balancing abilities reduce redness, itchiness and other skin irritations.
6. Treats Eczema
Eczema or atopic dermatitis is a chronic inflammatory skin condition. It leads to thickening of the stratum corneum, reduction in skin lipids, excess loss of moisture and itchy, red, inflamed lesions. Owing to coconut oil’s intensive moisturizing properties, it is often prescribed as a combination therapy with antibiotics or corticosteroids.
In fact, virgin coconut oil can effectively regulate pro-inflammatory cytokines  and reduce inflammation in eczema-affected skin.
7. Treats Skin Infections
Constant emergence of antibiotic and antimicrobial-resistant strains of bacteria and fungi has led to the search for natural agents with antimicrobial properties. While virgin coconut oil’s antibacterial properties are owed to the presence of lauric acid, according to studies, it is also an effective antifungal agent. Research in 2007, showed virgin coconut oil active against fungal infections caused by the Candida species.
8. Prevents Sun Damage
While coconut oil cannot be used as an alternative for sunscreen, it does display mild sun-protective abilities. It can block about 20% of the sun’s UV rays and unlike various plant oils, it is not phototoxic. Myricetin , a flavonoid present in coconut oil, is known to suppress sun-induced photo-aging. Thus, swimmers are often advised to apply coconut oil before getting into the water to prevent sun and chlorine-related tanning.
9. Detoxifies Your Skin
Coconut oil is frequently used in Abhyanga or Ayurvedic oil massages to help balance vata and pitta doshas and foster healthy kapha. It removes accumulated ama toxins from your skin and holistically improves your skin health.
10. Treats Hyperpigmentation
Polyphenols in virgin coconut oil such as quercetin , gallic acid, ferulic acid  and others can help treat minor hyperpigmentation disorders of your skin. Applying coconut oil over skin areas tanned due to sun exposure can give you a more even-toned appearance.
Oil pulling with coconut oil every morning can remove accumulated toxins from the body, giving you healthy skin. It can also prevent various skin conditions such as xerosis, acne and eczema.
How To Use Coconut Oil For Skin Whitening?
Coconut oil’s ‘varnya’ properties can help lighten your skin tone with regular use.
1. Coconut Oil, Yashtimadhu And Kumkuma
Add 2 tablespoons of virgin coconut oil to 1 tablespoon of yashtimadhu powder and ½ tablespoon of kumkuma or saffron. Let the ingredients soak for 30 minutes, mix well and apply on your face and all other areas affected by hyperpigmentation. Leave it on for 1 hour and wash off.
2. Coconut Oil, Turmeric And Sandalwood
Mix a tablespoon each of turmeric and sandalwood powders. Add 2 ½ to 3 tablespoons of virgin coconut oil to it. Mix well and apply on your skin. Leave it on for 40 minutes to an hour and wash off.
3. Coconut Oil, Aloe Vera And Lemon
Mix a tablespoon each of pure coconut oil and fresh aloe vera gel. To this stir in ½ tablespoon of lemon juice. Apply on your face, hands and feet and leave it on for 1 hour before washing off.
4. Coconut Oil, Arjuna Twak And Amla
Add a tablespoon of Arjuna twak  powder and ½ tablespoon of amla powder to 2 to 2 ½ tablespoons of coconut oil. Mix well and apply on affected areas. Wash off after 40 minutes.
5. Coconut Oil And Vetiver Essential Oil
For bright glowing skin, add 4-5 drops of vetiver essential oil to 10 ml of pure coconut oil. Apply on all hyperpigmented areas. Leave it on for 20 to 30 minutes before washing off.
How To Use Coconut Oil For Various Skin Problems?
The benefits of coconut oil for your skin are numerous. The below-mentioned coconut oil remedies help treat a variety of common skin problems.
1. For Dry Skin
Mix a tablespoon each of glycerin and coconut oil. To this add ½ tablespoon of ela powder. Mix and apply on your dry skin. Leave it on for an hour before washing off.
Mix a tablespoon each of ripe avocado and banana pulp. To this add a few drops of coconut oil. Apply on your skin and leave it on for an hour before washing off.
2. For Eczema
Add a tablespoon of virgin coconut oil to a tablespoon each of colloidal oatmeal and manuka honey. Mix well and apply on the eczema lesions. Wash off with cold water after an hour.
Mix a tablespoon each of ashwagandha and triphala powders. To this add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and 2-3 drops of chamomile essential oil. Apply on the eczema affected areas and leave it on for 30 to 40 minutes. Do a cool rinse to wash the pack off.
3. For Acne
Add ½ tablespoon each of manjistha, neem and triphala powders to 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. To this add 2-3 drops of tea tree oil. Mix well and apply on your acne lesions as a spot treatment. Leave it on for half an hour and wash off with lukewarm water.
4. For Skin Infections
To use coconut oil for treating fungal skin infections, crush 5-6 cloves of garlic into a fine paste. Add 1 tablespoon each of onion juice  and virgin coconut oil to this. Mix and apply over ringworm affected areas and other fungal lesions. Leave it on for an hour and wash off with lukewarm water.
Coconut oil and camphor is one of the best treatments for scabies. Add a few drops of camphor oil or a tablespoon of crushed camphor to 2 tablespoons of mildly heated coconut oil and apply over the affected areas. Leave it on for 30 minutes to an hour depending upon the severity of the condition. Wash off with lukewarm water.
For bacterial skin infections, crush 4 to 5 marigold flowers and 8 to 10 marigold leaves in a mortar and pestle. Add ½ tablespoon of aloe vera gel and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil to it. Mix and apply over the lesions. Leave it on for 40 minutes to an hour and wash off.
How To Use Coconut Oil For Skin Tightening?
Coconut oil contains certain powerful polyphenolic compounds that help prevent oxidative stress-related cell damage and keep your skin looking youthful.
1. Coconut Oil, Hibiscus And Gotu Kola
Mix a tablespoon each of gotu kola and hibiscus powders. Add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil to this and massage onto your face. Leave it on for 40 minutes and wash off.
2. Coconut Oil, Rosehip Essential Oil And Ginseng
Add 3-4 drops of rosehip essential oil to 2 tablespoons of virgin coconut oil. To this add a tablespoon of ginseng powder. Mix and apply on your face and neck. Leave it on for 30 to 40 minutes and wash off.
Who Shouldn’t Use Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil has a high comedogenic score. Therefore, while it is completely safe to use it as part of a double cleansing routine for oily skin, it is better to avoid it as a moisturizer. Coconut oil is also not recommended for those who are experiencing an aggravation of the kapha dosha. While allergies from coconut oil are rarely heard of, it is better to do a patch test before applying it on sensitive skin.
Frequently Asked Questions On Coconut Oil For Skin
1. Is Coconut Oil Safe For Sensitive Skin?
Coconut oil is a good remedy for skin sensitivity. It alleviates skin irritations caused by pitta aggravations. Its cooling, anti-inflammatory nature soothes skin and prevents redness, itchiness and inflammation. However, always do a patch test before trying anything new on sensitive skin.
2. Can You Use Coconut Oil On Your Face Every Night?
Massaging your face every night with coconut oil helps remove oil-based impurities, make-up and sunscreen residues from the face. It balances the vata dosha, prevents dryness, improves blood circulation and nourishes your skin. It can also keep skin infections at bay. However, after massaging your face, wash the oil away rather than leaving it overnight.
3. How Long Should Coconut Oil Stay On Your Face?
This depends entirely on your skin type. While around 10 minutes is safe for oily skin, dry to normal skin can leave coconut oil on for about 20 minutes and then wash off. A face pack with coconut oil can be left on for an hour, as long as your skin does not experience any adverse reactions.
4. Can You Use Coconut Oil For Face Wash?
Double cleansing with coconut oil can benefit your skin. This means that you first massage coconut oil on your face to remove make-up, bad oil and sunscreen and then wash it off with a gentle cleanser. Using coconut oil in place of a face wash/ cleanser can clog your pores and prevent other skincare products from entering your skin.
The Last Word
Coconut oil has many skin benefits and is a good addition to your regular skincare routine. Its antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties act as a remedy for various skin diseases. However, it is recommended that you consult your Ayurvedic doctor to better understand your skin type and Prakriti. This will help you to choose the right dosage and herbal combinations with coconut oil for soft, supple and glowing skin.Know Your Dosha Now
1. Health Effects Of Coconut Oil- A Narrative Review Of Current Evidence, 2018 November
2. Anti-Inflammatory And Skin Barrier Repair Effects Of Topical Application Of Some Plant Oils, 2018 January
3. Coconut Oil And Palm Oil’s Role In Nutrition, Health And National Development: A Review, 2016 September
4. Effect Of Topical Application Of Virgin Coconut Oil On Skin Components And Antioxidant Status During Dermal Wound Healing In Young Rats, 2010 June
5. Minimum Inhibitory Concentrations Of Herbal Essential Oils And Monolaurin For Gram-Positive And Gram-Negative Bacteria, 2005 April
6. Anti-Aging Effects Of A Serum Based On Coconut Oil Combined With Deer Antler Stem Cell Extract On A Mouse Model Of Skin Aging, 2022 February
7. In Vitro Anti-Inflammatory And Skin Protective Properties Of Virgin Coconut Oil, 2019 January
8. Myricetin Suppresses UVB-Induced Wrinkle Formation And MMP-9 Expression By Inhibiting Raf, 2010 January
9. Quercetin Inhibits ɑ-MSH- Stimulated Melanogenesis In B16F10 Melanoma Cells, 2011 August
10. Biochemical Characterization Of Ferulic Acid And Caffeic Acid Which Effectively Inhibit Melanin Synthesis via Different Mechanisms In B16 Melanoma Cells, 2018
11. Management Of Vyanga (Facial Melanosis) With Arjuna Twak Lepa And Panchanimba Churna, 2014 January- March
12. Plants Used To Treat Skin Diseases, 2014 January- June
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