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Coconut oil for your skin

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Coconut oil is extracted from the fleshy "meat" found inside the nut of the coconut palm (cocos nucifera) and has been used as an important health and skincare ingredient for centuries in the tropical regions where it grows.

Coconut oil uses

Coconut oil can be used as a healthier alternative to animal or vegetable fat in baking or frying. Through the presence of medium chain fatty acids, the fat content of coconut oil is immediately released as energy rather than being stored. The pharmaceutical industry uses it in many preparations for ailments as diverse as stomach ulcers, arthritis and yeast infections, but it is primarily used for treating skin disorders such as eczema and psoriasis. It is also a basic ingredient in soap-making where it is valued for its ability to lather well and cleanse effectively. Many anti-dandruff shampoos and sunscreen products include it for the beneficial soothing and healing effects it has on the skin.

Is coconut oil good for your skin?

Healthy skin benefits from both a good skincare routine and a diet that is rich in vitamins and minerals. Coconut oil contains a range of B vitamins which help to improve the metabolic function of individual cells leading to a healthy regeneration. Age-defying vitamin E helps the skin to stay soft and supple while vitamin C is important in maintaining a healthy immune system. It also contains zinc which has antioxidant properties that help to repair the cells of dry or cracked skin.

Coconut oil for skin benefits

Coconut oil has traditionally been used to treat skin that has been damaged by cuts, bruises or burns as it is rich in lauric acid which has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties to soothe the skin and fight infection. Antifungal properties make it an effective treatment against fungal infections such as athlete's foot.

Coconut oil for skincare

Coconut oil is beneficial for all skin types. Dry, rough skin lacks the correct balance of moisture and natural oils but coconut oil can help restore nourishment to the surface lipid layer by encouraging new cell formation and creating a barrier to prevent the loss of any water. Coconut oil is effective when used on acne or any excessively oily skin by gently exfoliating and cleansing bacteria from blocked pores without causing any damage to the lipid layer.

Coconut oil skincare products

Many skincare ingredients remain on the surface of the skin but coconut oil can sink to the layers beneath where it can help to nourish and repair damaged cells. It can combat the ageing effects of harmful free radicals by aiding the regeneration of healthy new cells.

Skincare products that contain coconut oil restore vital moisture, reducing the appearance of wrinkles by plumping and firming the skin. A night cream such as Sönd's Midnight Feast is rich in coconut oil and can help restore the health and vitality of the skin while you sleep.

Hannah de Gruchy BSc(Hons)

About Author

Hannah de Gruchy is a freelancer writer who specialises in health and wellness. She has a keen interest in the biology of skin and loves using her words to help separate the real science of skincare from the pseudoscience of some skincare brands. Hannah has a degree in Human Biology and many years’ experience working in laboratories around London. Using this experience, Hannah enjoys turning complex science into interesting, engaging and easy to digest pieces to read. In her spare time, Hannah runs, practices yoga and loves cooking plant based foods.

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