We have heard TOO much about coconut oil, but will it be the key to wearing a skin of 10?
Once upon a time, my friend accidentally overturned a fragile glass jar of my favorite and very expensive facial serum, causing it to break on the floor. I cried (not really, but really) when I picked up the glass fragments and cleaned up the mess. I was about to forgive her when she had the audacity to say: “Anyway, you don’t need all those skin care products, all you really need is coconut oil.”
Um what?! I thought. How dare she? But my anger quickly turned into curiosity. Could she … be … right? Is coconut oil the ingredient of miraculous beauty that I have been needing all this time but I have avoided it for fear of the outbreaks and oil stains?
I mean, of course, people have been talking about coconut oil as if it were magic for years. Bad breath, smelly armpits, dry hair: coconut oil supposedly heals everything. But it could not be the miracle worker for skin care that is promoted, right? Right!?
Skeptical, I contacted dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic research and dermatology clinic at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, to find out what is true and what is only beauty bullsh * t. Read on to discover what you should know before applying coconut oil all over your face.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS FOR CARING FOR THE SKIN OF COCONUT OIL?
Although coconut oil is generally praised for being a great moisturizer thanks to its fatty acid content, this is the crazy truth: coconut oil is actually too thick to penetrate pores and hydrate the skin sufficiently. In fact, all facial oils stink like moisturizers (what! Yes, it’s true).
Technically, they are better when used as a final step in your skincare routine, to retain all of the hydration and products applied before (as a seal) instead of as a moisturizer itself. And coconut oil is no different, says Dr. Zeichner. So, if you plan to apply a layer of oil and continue with your day, you could actually be drying your skin in your quest to hydrate it.
Still, if you’re really excited to immerse your face in coconut oil, make sure you apply it on a layer of moisturizer to be effective. Or tiptoe to the trend using it as a cleanser or cleanser since, you know, the oil dissolves the oil, says Dr. Zeichner.
DOES THE COCONUT OIL HELP WITH THE BUDS OF ACNE?
The Internet is a fun place where you can find arguments to literally support any idea (flat Earth conspiracy, anyone?), So it can be difficult to discover the truth about coconut oil and sprouts. So here are the facts, directly from a real doctor:
“Coconut oil can be useful in the treatment of acne-prone skin, because it has high levels of soothing linoleic acid for the skin, something that is deficient in the skin of people with acne,” says Dr. Zeichner. “It also contains lauric acid, which is believed to be antimicrobial, so it can lower the levels of bacteria that cause acne on the skin and reduce inflammation.”
That said, some people with acne or oily skin still find that coconut oil is too heavy and comedogenic (clogging pores) for their faces. “We are all different,” says Dr. Zeichner. “If you prefer a natural facial oil, you can try coconut oil on your skin, but if it ends up exploding, you’ll know it’s too heavy for you.”
In short, it could help or make things worse. I know, I know, life is not fair. And if that answer is not clear enough for you, adhere to the ingredients and acne treatments that have been thoroughly studied and proven to work, such as salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide.
IN GENERAL, IS IT OK TO USE COCONUT OIL ON THE SKIN?
Unless you consider possible outbreaks as harmful, coconut oil is harmless enough to try, according to Dr. Zeichner. But is the magic, wonderful and multipurpose skincare ingredient that is promoted? Eh, probably not, or the whole world would use it happily and Sephora’s shelves would be stocked.
As a cleanser and makeup remover, yes, it works (but it can also leave a residue that could clog pores), and as a last-step facial oil, it will surely block moisture. But when it comes to being an acne treatment, what works for you may not work for me and, realistically, it probably won’t work as well as other tried and tested treatments.
Still, if you live life to the limit and are willing to try coconut oil, you are a really brave soul. However, as for me and my acne-prone face, we will be left with expensive serums and acne products that I know will, in fact, work, TYVM.