coconut oilAs a skin therapist whose treatment room is located in a beauty boutique, I have access to thousands of products that help keep our skin looking good. It’s a wonderful, terrible temptation on a daily basis! All of these products are wonderful. They range from the financially accessible to the break-the-bank, and do everything from fight acne to help take years off our appearance. And yet there is one simple oil that is readily available, has literally dozens of uses, and has been used worldwide for years, and can be used for all of these purposes, and more.


Coconut oil is not only one of the only saturated fats that is healthy to eat, but it is also a fabulous hair moisturizer, an excellent massage oil, and works wonders at smoothing the skin. In the tropical parts of the world where coconuts are readily available and used in many different ways, natives commonly spread coconut oil on their skin in order to protect it from the sun’s harmful rays.


So what makes coconut oil so beneficial to the skin?


Saturated Fats: Predominantly, the saturated fats found in coconut oil are medium chain fatty acids or triglycerides. When applied on the skin, they keep it smooth to the touch. Due to the presence of these fats, coconut oil also retains the moisture content of the skin, as the fats eliminate moisture loss through the pores on skin. When ingested through the regular consumption, these fats deposit under the skin, keeping it healthy and smooth, giving it an even tone and reducing the appearance of the pores.


Capric /Caprylic/Lauric acid: These three fatty acids have strong disinfectant and antimicrobial properties. As a result, when applied on the skin, coconut oil protects from the skin from infections that can get into open wounds or even enter the body through the pores. This microbial action can be experienced even if coconut oil is taken internally, as the fatty acids boost the body’s immune system.


Vitamin E: The contributions of Vitamin E in skin care are well known. It is essential for healthy skin growth, repair of wear and tear to the skin, keeping skin smooth and protecting it against cracking. Above all, the antioxidant properties in vitamin E help prevent premature aging and wrinkling of the skin.


Proteins: Like coconuts themselves, coconut oil is rich in proteins. These proteins keep skin healthy and rejuvenated, both when used externally or when consumed internally. Proteins also contribute to cellular health and tissue repair, along with a wide range of other essential activities within the body.


With all these benefits, there are endless ways coconut oil can be used on the skin. Just a few of the many ways coconut oil can be incorporated into your beauty routine are:


Lip Balm:  By now most of us know that the chemicals in Chap Stick actually dry out our lips. A light application of coconut oil not only moistens the lips, it also is non-toxic and tastes good!


Skin softener: Most of us use several creams and lotions for softening our skin, especially the skin of the face and hands. Coconut oil is a great skin softener and helps you get rid of dry and hard skin. Simply take some coconut oil on your palms, emulsify it by rubbing your palms, then apply wherever you want to see a moisturizing effect. One client of mine gives herself a “hand facial” every time she washes the dishes, by putting some on her hands before donning dishwashing gloves. By the time the family’s dishes are done, her hands are baby soft!


Coconut oil is also excellent for hardened and cracked feet. The cracks in your feet will not vanish, but your feet will become softer within days if you apply coconut oil to the affected area, and cover the area with socks overnight for a nighttime foot treatment.


Exfoliant: As an exfoliant, including coconut oil as an agent with other exfoliating or grainy materials such as salts or sugars can vastly improve the effects. The natural soothing nature of the oil combines with the grainy, exfoliating material perfectly, and leaves your skin with an even color, clearer pores, and a soft texture.


Makeup Remover: Coconut oil can also be used a makeup remover. In its liquid form, it is far better for the skin than a mineral oil or chemical makeup remover.


Skin disorders: It is claimed that coconut oil is good for several skin disorders such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema. However, scientific research is ongoing in order to prove or disprove these claims. Much of the research that is there speaks to its protein content, since the replacement of sick or dying cells that can occur with various skin disorders, are quickly replaced by new, healthy cells. In this way, coconut oil not only treats the infection by battling the microbial bodies, they also heal the damage or the visible marks of that skin disorder.


No matter what you decide to use this amazing oil for, just remember that it is not necessary to reapply coconut oil as often as other natural skin care oils. You only need a small amount to create a protective shield on your skin that will last for a long time. Many people make the mistake of using too much coconut oil, and since the skin can only absorb a certain amount, the protective layer that the absorbed oil creates doesn’t let any more oil in. This means that if you use too much, too often, your skin will end up as an oily mess!


Start with a small jar of organic coconut oil and experiment with it to see how many uses you can find for it. After you find some uses for your skin, move to the hair — we’ve only just begun!