There have been many times where I’ve had a new skin care client tell me that they use coconut oil as their moisturizer. I have been able to tell them that it’s *not* good for their skin, but I don’t think I’m always making sense to them. When I ramble about percentages of oleic and linoleic within a certain oil, I’m pretty sure their eyes start to glaze over and I’m tuned out. I don’t blame them. It took me a while to be able to understand it myself.
I’ve searched for studies on PubMed specifically citing the use of coconut oil and topical skin applications, and I haven’t been able to find any that have the specifics that I’m looking for. I’ve found it helps to show my clients the summaries of the studies I find, as they are way more easy to comprehend than all the technical stuff within the study.
My good friend and colleague, Beth Kenerson, is my guest today to factually (and maybe a bit snarkily) explain why you shouldn’t be using coconut oil as a skin care cream.
THE INSIDE STORY: COCONUT OIL
I’m always a little baffled when people argue against legitimate, black and white, scientific facts. All the girlie blogs, paid quack reports, and organic, anecdotal DIY in the world doesn’t change the chemical behavior of a substance. Cocos Nucifera Oil is comedogenic for facial skin. That’s the way its fatty acid profile works.
Just because your face isn’t filled with pustules doesn’t mean that coconut oil isn’t gradually breaking down your skin’s acid mantle, slowly inflaming your pores and creating a sea of congestion you WILL see at some point, whether it be actual breakouts or finely textured sandpaper similar bumps, barely visible to the naked eye. Nonstop inflammation is nonstop age acceleration.
You know how one day you had a chest like a 12-year old, and seemingly the next day it was lined and ruddy? The damage was always on its way and then came prancing through the door – tada!! Hey! Don’t you wish you had skipped that Crisco tanning contest summer of your senior year and used that SPF your mother told you about? Too late now!
Whether you’re acne prone or not, inflammation is inflammation, you’ll simply become inflamed more quickly if you are already oily/acneic vs very dry. Everyone’s skin is different and there are all kinds of acne presentations, but just because you don’t look like a Proactiv commercial doesn’t mean your skin is healthy.
– will ultimately make dry skin drier due to gradual barrier destruction
– will cause breakouts in oily and acne prone skin because it badly inflames and clogs pores
– does not sit on top of the skin (that’s a myth) – it penetrates and accumulates in the stratum corneum, where it feels light, pleasant, and initially very satisfying but slowly begins to aggravate
– has almost zero topical nutritional benefit – no carotenoids, only trace vitamins, scant oxidative stress relief, and comparatively speaking, an extremely low antioxidant presence.
– is a tiny molecule, NOT a large molecule.
– has antimicrobial, antifungal and antibacterial qualities and can boost the immune system – but at a price for easily congested skin
Coconut oil fatty acid composition percentages:
Lauric acid 45-52%
Myristic acid 16%-21%
Caprylic acid 5%-10%
Capric acid 4%-8%
Caproic acid 0.5%-1%
Palmitic acid 7%-10%
Oleic acid 5%-8%
Palmitoleic acid in traces
Linoleic acid 1%-3%
Linolenic acid up to 0.2%
Stearic acid 2%-4%
Guess what – lauric acid, myristic acid, caprylic acid, capric acid, palmitic acid, oleic acid and stearic acid are all comedogenic. Lauric and myristic acids are both highly comedogenic [acne causing] and are the two highest percentages.
There are always going to be people for whom everything works, but they’re in the minority. For the people struggling with the health of their skin, the discovery of the “why” is the best way to illustrate what works and what doesn’t.
Copyright © 2017 Beth Kenerson
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