Can You Really Use Coconut Oil For Acne?
One of the many great things about coconut oil is that it can be used to treat acne at home. This is just one of the many ways this natural oil can be used.
In fact, you may already be using coconut oil to cook, as a healthy addition to smoothies, to add moisture to your shampoo or conditioner, or even as a soothing hand lotion. But you may not have heard that coconut oil can also help your skin fight back against acne.
Find out how to use coconut oil to treat acne, what to do, and what kind of results you can expect.
The Benefits of Coconut Oil for Acne
Coconut oil is different from other kinds of fat. Coconut oil is full of medium-chain fatty acids instead of the long-chain fatty acids found in animal products. One of these fatty acids is lauric acid, which has been shown to kill P. acnes bacteria, an overgrowth of which is a major cause of acne.
Coconut oil has the highest lauric acid of any natural ingredient. This is why people who want to treat acne on their own have been quick to use this common kitchen item. Still, the only way to get the benefits of lauric acid is to put the oil on your skin, which, despite being antibacterial, could clog your pores and make your acne worse.
When bacteria, skin cells, and sebum get stuck in pores, they cause inflammation. This is another root cause of acne. Coconut oil can stop this natural immune response and calm blemishes because it is anti-inflammatory.
This is because it is an antioxidant, which is a compound that reduces oxidative stress, which happens when there is inflammation. This means that adding coconut oil to your diet could, in theory, help reduce inflammation.
That means you can use coconuts in your recipes, stick a straw in them and drink the milk, or even break them open and eat what’s inside. But don’t use it as a skin care product on your face.
May not be recommended for acne-prone skin
Even with these possible benefits, using coconut oil on the skin misses a very important cause of acne: clogged pores.
On the comedogenicity scale, which shows how likely something is to clog your pores, coconut oil ranks very high. This means that even though it has some good qualities, you should never put it on your face. If you put coconut oil on your face, it will trap dirt, sebum, and dead skin cells. This will cancel out any antibacterial or anti-inflammatory effects it might have.
In fact, you should also be careful about putting coconut oil in your hair. This is a common ingredient in many hair care products, and it could be the cause of your acne, especially on your forehead and scalp.
How can you use coconut oil to treat acne?
WebMD says that coconut oil is made by taking the natural oils out of the white flesh inside the coconut, which is called the “meat.”
Coconut oil is a white solid when it is cool. It becomes a clear liquid when it is heated. Coconut oil is a very hardy oil that doesn’t go bad even when stored for a long time or in extreme temperatures.
You may have heard that coconut oil is full of saturated fat, also known as “bad fat.” This is true. About 85% of coconut oil is made up of saturated fat, while the remaining 15% is made up of unsaturated fat. But coconut oil has some other special qualities that make it much healthier than other types of saturated fat, according to researchers.
The fact that most of the fat in coconut oil comes from MCFAs, or medium-chain fatty acids, is one of the most important (also called medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs). The long-chain fatty acids found in most saturated fats are not the same as these acids. Researchers now think that the body may process them differently than other saturated fats, in a way that is healthier for you.
Why talk about MCFAs? Many people with acne don’t understand why they should put oil on their face, which is breaking out. But MCFAs’ oily goodness hides powerful antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. Antioxidants protect, and antioxidants and antimicrobials kill bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms that cause infections and breakouts.
So, when you use coconut oil for acne, you give your skin the antimicrobials it needs to fight off acne-causing agents. At the same time, the antioxidants in coconut oil protect your skin from further attacks, and the moisture in coconut oil helps your skin heal (the oil itself).
Lauric acid is the most powerful antimicrobial agent among the MCFAs in coconut oil. Caproic, capric, and caprylic are the names of the other fatty acids that work. In the next section, we’ll talk about how lauric acid can help keep your skin healthy and free of acne.
What Lauric Acid Does for Acne
Lauric acid has been studied a lot by scientists who want to learn more about how it kills germs. Recent and important research studies show how well lauric acid works against the microorganisms that can cause acne.
In this study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), lauric acid was better at killing bacteria and other germs than 29 other fatty acids.
In this Biomaterials study, lauric acid did a better job of killing P. acnes, the bacteria that causes the inflammation that leads to acne, than the two top competitors.
In this study from the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, lauric acid did better than benzoyl peroxide, which is one of the best-known and most popular acne treatments.
In this study from the Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, lauric acid and retinoic acid worked well together to fight acne. The antimicrobial properties of lauric acid made the retinoids work even better.
This Journal of Dermatology Science study also found that the other active fatty acids in coconut oil (capric, caproic, and caprylic) work well as antimicrobial agents to fight P. acnes.
Vitamin E, which is found in coconut oil, is a natural antioxidant that can fight skin cancer and toxins in the environment to keep skin healthy and well-fed. ResearchGate says that coconut oil is a great source of Vitamin E that can stay useful for a long time.
It’s clear from science that lauric acid works to get rid of acne. But is there a certain way to get rid of acne scars with coconut oil? In the next section, we’ll talk in more depth about that!
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