Used for hundreds of years for cooking and other purposes, coconut oil is extracted from the coconut kernel. In fact in many South Asian countries every part of the coconut tree is utilized for some or the other purpose, for example the trunk is used for making roofs and canoes, while the leaves are used for making mats.
The water inside the coconut is the purest form of water and is used for many therapeutic and medicinal purposes. Coconut oil too has been used since time immemorial in many of these countries not only for cooking purposes but also for cosmetic and medicinal uses as well. It has been known to treat diseases like scabies, jaundice, scurvy and also cure health problems such as constipation, swelling and a sore throat.
It is an excellent antifungal, anti bacterial and anti microbial that is used for treating a number of health problems. Along with these benefits, coconut oil is an excellent skincare tool as well. Its moisturizing and cleansing properties help in hydrating the skin and keeping it smooth and supple. Here are some benefits of coconut oil for your skin.
Benefits of Coconut Oil
Coconut Oil for Acne
Before we can understand how coconut oil helps in removing acne and pimples, let us first try to understand why acne is formed at all. Our skin contains sebaceous glands that produce sebum which is actually protective oil for the skin that helps to keep the skin smooth and hydrated. However factors such as hormonal changes, certain foods, allergens and stress can cause the sebaceous glands to become overactive. This in turn can lead to production of excess sebum and the clogging of the pores.
The clogged pores can house within them dirt and bacteria which leads to acne formation along with redness, inflammation and swelling. So how does an oil aid in lessening acne? Coconut oil contains antimicrobial properties due to the presence of capric and lauric acid present in this oil. These substances destroy the harmful bacteria and microbes on the skin and protect the skin against acne. Moreover coconut oil contains Vitamin E which is excellent for skin care as it penetrates the layers of the skin thus nourishing and cleansing the skin. This helps in cooling the skin inflammation and removing acne and pimples.
Coconut Oil Stops Wrinkle Formation
Coconut oil is highly beneficial for combating the signs of aging. Its natural antioxidants and hydrating factors allow the skin to remain wrinkle free and supple. As the skin ages the connective tissues which are responsible for the maintenance of the smoothness and suppleness of the skin are damages. Moreover the constant attack of the free radicals can lead to the skin losing its smoothness and aid in wrinkle formation as well.
Coconut oil which is rich in antioxidants can fight the onslaught of free radicals and delay the formation of wrinkles effectively. It penetrates the skin’s layer and helps in strengthening the connective tissues and prevents the signs of aging such as spots and blemishes from appearing.
Coconut Oil as a Moisturizer
Skin dryness can be caused by a number of factors including the harsh rays of the sun, pollution and an insufficient diet with reduced water intake. While there are a number of cosmetic companies that market their moisturizing products, many of them are quite inadequate in giving long term smoothness and suppleness to the skin. Moreover most of the products are water based which can only hydrate and moisturize the skin for a short while.
Coconut oil in contrast to the cosmetic formulations is an excellent moisturizer. It hydrates the skin by moving into the layer of the skin’s cells and removes dryness. Massaging your skin with coconut oil every night helps in removing the dead skin cells and keeps the skin moist and smooth.
Coconut Oil for Skin Diseases
Coconut oil has antiseptic and antifungal properties that aid in curing skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, rashes, skin inflammation and minor burns. Skin disorders such as eczema are a chronic skin condition that results in the formation of red, inflamed rashes over the skin. They can lead to peeling flaky skin along with blisters and redness. Coconut oil has a cooling effect that not only soothes the inflammation but is also quite effective in curing the problems. When applies to a wound it protects it from dirt and dust and is thus quite effective in curing minor cuts and bruises.
How to Use Coconut Oil
To use coconut oil on skin, you will need to first clean your skin completely. This will help in widening the skin pores and allow better absorption of the oil into the skin. Now apply a thin coat of coconut oil and gently massage it into your skin. Leave on the oil for around half and hour before washing off with lukewarm water. This will help in unclogging the pores and cleansing the skin. Alternately you can massage the oil at night and leave it on overnight for the best results.
While there are many cosmetic formulations including soaps, moisturizers, body lotions and face creams that contains coconut oil as one of its ingredients. However for the best results it is advisable to use extra virgin coconut oil on your skin. Some people are allergic to coconut oil and it can lead to excess acne and rashes.. So before applying it on the skin, it is advisable to first do a small patch test for negating the chances of an allergy.
Coconut oil has a number of other uses as well. One of the most noteworthy of which is its use as a hair care tool. It helps in preventing scalp dryness and allows you to treat dry, damaged hair with ease. When used in culinary dishes, coconut oil promotes weight loss, aids in digestion and prevents heart diseases which are caused by the deposits of cholesterol in the body. It also helps in preventing stress and can thus be used as a massage oil quite effectively.