Coconut oil — the milky white substance harvested from the meat of matured coconuts (Cocos nucifera) — is often used as a cooking oil. With a high nutritional content and low smoking point, it’s a healthier alternative to traditional vegetable oil. However, coconut oil can also be used to promote healthier skin and hair.
To better understand the benefits of coconut oil, you must first look at its nutritional makeup. This all-natural substance contains a large concentration of saturated fats, consisting primarily of medium chain fatty acids and triglycerides. When applied topically to the skin, these fats serve two purposes: to prevent moisture loss, and to moisturize the skin.
So, what’s the best way to use coconut oil as a skin moisturizer? There’s really no wrong way to use it — assuming you choose the organic, all-natural variety with no artificial ingredients added. Some people apply coconut oil once a day to their face and other areas that suffer from chronic dryness, whereas others prefer to use strictly on their hands. If this is your first time trying coconut oil as a skincare product, start by rubbing a small amount over your skin after you get out of the shower. Gently massage the oil into your skin until it’s no longer visible. Continue doing this for a week and you should notice an improvement.
As a side benefit, there’s some belief that coconut oil also acts as an insect repellent, deterring mosquitoes, gnats, fleas and other pests. Coconut oil contains compounds that wards off these insects, and its thick consistency makes it difficult for insects to penetrate the skin.
Of course, coconut oil can also be used to promote healthy hair. A recent study conducted by researchers at the Research
and Development Department, Nature Care Division found coconut oil to reduce protein loss in both undamaged and damaged hair. Protein loss is a key factor in damaged hair, as the lack of proteins makes hair thin, frail and prone to breakage.
Do you use coconut oil as a regular part of your skincare regimen?