Coconut oil, to be used without moderation?
Posted on August 12 2020
Let's face it, coconut oil or INCI: Cocos nucifera oil (or coconut butter; it becomes liquid when the temperature reaches 24°C) is a TREND in cosmetics, therapeutic massage or for cooking. You can also find its derivatives in body care products such as capric/caprylic triglyceride, or oleic acid. We use it for everything, without really knowing who or what it is intended for.
Use with moderation
We talk a lot about coconut oil, especially in food (except if you have allergies) where its use stays controversial. It is made up of approximately 50% lauric acid, 20% myristic acid, as well as palmitic acid (8%), caprylic acid (8%), capric acid (6%), etc. Used excessively and exclusively, both internally and externally, it may have harmful effects. Whether for cosmetic or cooking, when choosing a coconut oil, always opt for organic, virgin (unrefined) and cold-pressed (same for any oil or butter you use), to be sure to completely benefit from all its good nutrients and properties.
Lauric acid contained in coconut is an excellent emollient and antibacterial compound. It acts as an effective oil remover, and becomes interesting in cleansing products such as soaps and shampoos, due to its foaming and purifying power. Myristic acid is similar to lauric acid, and also has anti-inflammatory properties. The drying and antibacterial effects of coconut oil are also very useful in deodorants, such as those offered by Herbalera.
A must for all skin types?
Because it is highly comedogenic (another controversial subject), it is not suitable for oily and acne-prone skin, as it can cause breakouts and clog skin pores (watch for oleic acid, which is a pore clogger!). Regarding its saturated nature, coconut oil will penetrate the skin very slowly, which will make it a great moisturizer able to enhance the skin barrier function.
Coconut oil is really an essential treatment for combination, or mature, or tanned skin (it soothes the skin inflammation due to the sun). You will mainly use it as a makeup remover, or to massage your body after exfoliation. Its composition will help clear and purify skin. if you have a dry skin, after the first moisturizing feeling, coconut oil would have some drying effects on your skin (and hair) if used too frequently and in too large quantity. Use it with moderation.
Indeed, you should know that only breast milk contains as much lauric acid as coconut. Once in our body, it is converted into monolaurin known for its antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. A little treasure of nature that reminds us of our first months of existence.
Varma, et al., 2019. In vitro Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Protective Properties of Virgin Coconut Oil. J Tradit Complement Med. 2018 Jan 17;9(1):5-14
Nangia S, Paul V, Chawla D, et al. 2008. Topical coconut oil application reduces transepidermal loss in preterm very low birth weight neonates: a randomized clinical trial. Pediatrics 2008; 121: S139.
Verallo-Rowell VM, Dillague KM, Syah-Tjundawan BS. Novel antibacterial and emollient effects of coconut and virgin olive oils in adult atopic dermatitis. Dermatitis. 2008 Nov-Dec;19(6):308-15.