Coconut oil has garnered lots of attention over the past few years for its incredible health benefits. The oil, which has been described as a superfood, is made by extracting and pressing the fruit from coconut palm trees.
However, before slathering coconut oil on your face and your plate, check the label to make sure you’re using organic, unrefined coconut oil. Unrefined, or virgin, coconut oil is made from fresh, ripe coconuts without the use of chemicals. This kind of coconut oil has many health benefits and isn’t the same as refined coconut oil, which is removed from chemically bleached coconut meat.
As an antibacterial and anti-fungal superfood, unrefined coconut oil attracts shoppers in search of natural skin care solutions, hair care remedies, and healthy cooking ingredients - all in one.
Coconut oil’s unique combination of fatty acids is one reason why it’s wound up in the homes of many consumers seeking it’s benefits for the body. It may be hard to believe that one product can take on so many uses, but there is a growing body of research that demonstrates the value of coconut oil to your health, appearance, and overall well-being.
1. Benefits of Coconut Oil on Skin | Is Coconut Oil Good For Your Skin?
Infused with vitamin E, coconut oil is nature’s perfect moisturizer - try smoothing some over your skin after cleansing for a fresh glow. Not only will coconut oil moisturize the skin, but it will also fight the aging of skin due to its high concentration of antioxidants.
Dermatologists have also found that due to its anti-microbial properties, coconut oil can soothe and treat skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and staph infections. The fatty acids (caprylic and lauric) contribute to the healing of these skin conditions as they reduce inflammation both internally and externally.
2. Coconut Oil Health Benefits | Benefits of Eating Coconut Oil
The health benefits of coconut oil go beyond the exterior. To begin with, coconut oil can improve digestion because it helps the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, calcium and magnesium. Coconut oil can also affect your gut health by destroying candida and bad bacteria, both of which can cause inflammation and digestive issues.
Not only can coconut oil aid digestion, but it can also help you lose weight. Studies have shown that the fatty acids found in coconut oil can increase 24-hour energy expenditure by about 5 percent. Although burning an extra 100-120 calories per day might sound underwhelming, it adds up to at least 36,000 calories a year.
3. Benefits of Coconut Oil on Hair
Ever wondered how some people have such shiny, luscious hair? Coconut oil could be their secret ingredient. In fact, coconut oil has been proven to be more effective at making your hair shine than mineral oil, because coconut oil penetrates the hair shaft. To give it a try, sub coconut oil for your conditioner next time you wash your hair.
However, coconut oil’s benefits go far beyond the appearance of your hair! If you have a dry scalp or dandruff, coconut oil might be the solution you’ve been looking for. Try massaging a tablespoon of coconut oil to your scalp for a few minutes. Add an essential oil before application for a nice scent. Leave it on your scalp for about half an hour, then rinse in the shower.
4. Benefits of Coconut Oil on Face
Although it may be counterintuitive to put an oil on your face, unrefined coconut oil can improve both the appearance and the health of your skin. It contains anti-microbial properties which work to treat skin conditions like acne, while its antioxidants are ideal for healing the skin.
Studies have shown that coconut oil also enhances protective barrier functions and has an anti-inflammatory effect on the skin. This miracle oil can also be used as a natural face cleanser, moisturizer, and makeup remover. Simply add about half a tablespoon to your face cloth and watch your makeup melt away!
Surprisingly, coconut oil also has natural SPF of 4-5 – however with this low of an SPF you wouldn’t want to rely on it for a day in the sun!
5. Benefits of Cooking With Coconut Oil
Replacing olive, safflower, or any other cooking oil with coconut oil could make a huge difference in your overall health. Coconut oil is a good source of natural saturated fats, which increase the healthy cholesterol (also known as HDL cholesterol) in your body.
The saturated fats found in coconut oil also help convert the “bad” cholesterol into healthy cholesterols. The increase of HDL in the body is tied to better heart health and a lower risk of heart disease. Because coconut oil is high in saturated fat, it can handle higher temperatures than other oils, which in turn makes it one of the best oils for cooking.
As we age, our skin becomes thinner which may lead to dark circles below your eyes, as the thinning skin makes the blood vessels beneath your eyes more noticeable. These dark circles may be due to allergies, dehydration, lack of sleep, or certain medications.
To treat under-eye dark circles, massage one teaspoon of coconut oil into the skin below your eyes for about 30 seconds, letting the oil absorb. It’s best to do this at bedtime, after cleansing the skin and removing any makeup.
One tablespoon, or 15 milliliters (ml) of coconut oil contains*:
0 g of protein
14 g of fat, of which 12 g is saturated, 1 g is monounsaturated, and 0.5 g is polyunsaturated
0 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol
Coconut oil is not a significant source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
*Nutrition facts provided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database
Is Coconut Oil Safe For Eyes? Is Coconut Oil Bad if it gets in Your Eyes?
Coconut oil is just like any other oil and, while it's not going to cause outright harm if it enters your eyes, it may cause a few side effects. First of all, coconut oil is going to cloud or blur the vision if it gets into your eyes, because the oil will spread across the front of the eye with the tear film. This blurriness may last a few minutes but should subside relatively quickly.
Also, coconut oil is comedogenic and full of fatty acids. The fact that it's comedogenic means that it has the ability to clog pores, which can lead to styes and other issues on the skin.
To avoid this, make sure to use organic, virgin coconut oil, which is non-comedogenic, or switch to another non-comedogenic oil (like jojoba oil) if you encounter skin problems.
Is it Okay to use Coconut Oil on Eyelids?
The short answer to this one is, yes!
However, you want to make sure that you're using an organic, virgin coconut oil so that you know it's non-comedogenic and won't clog the pores in your skin or the meibomian glands of your eyelids. If you're concerned, you could always try another non-comedogenic oil, but most people will not have issues moisturizing with coconut oil.
On another note, coconut oil can be drying to the skin for some people, so it's best to test it out for yourself and see how you react.
Can Coconut Oil make your Eyelashes Grow?
Eyelashes often break off because they become brittle or they're affected by blepharitis. A great solution for brittle eyelashes is moisturization! And this includes organic virgin coconut oil, jojoba oil, or any other natural oil that you prefer to moisturize with.
By using oil on your lashes, at least once per day, you'll ensure that they stay supple despite all of the cleansing you may have to do to ward off blepharitis and dry eyes.
All in all, coconut oil is a wonderful product to use when needing a little extra moisture in your facial and eye care routine.