Coconut oil, also known as copra oil, is useful for a variety of culinary and cosmetic applications. It comes from the kernel of the fruit, sometimes referred to as the nut or seed, of the coconut palm tree. Natives of tropical regions have used the oil for protection from the sun, and now people around the world are discovering the many benefits of using coconut oil for skin care.
There are many good reasons for personal care product manufacturers to use this type of oil in their products. Its antifungal and antibacterial properties benefit the body in many ways. It is also an excellent moisturizer capable of penetrating hair better than many alternatives.
Coconuts contain vitamin E, which has well-documented benefits to skin health. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant. Many studies show that antioxidants prevent wrinkles and prevent premature aging by eliminating damaging free radicals in the body’s cells.
The saturated fats in coconuts are triglycerides. These medium chain fatty acids are beneficial whether ingested or used in a topical ointment. When applied as a topical agent, they help retain moisture by preventing loss through the pores while keeping the texture smooth and silky to the touch. When consumed, these fats collect underneath the dermis, which reduces the appearance of pores and produces an even tone.
Lauric, caprylic, and capric acid are three fatty acids known for their antimicrobial and disinfectant properties. When the oil is applied to the surface, these components provide a protective barrier that prevents infection in open wounds and keeps microbes from seeping through the pores. When consumed, the body converts them to monolaurins and monocaprins, which boost the immune system. Because they break down easily, these fatty acids also increase energy levels. When consumed before exercise, they can aid in weight loss. This has a positive effect because it improves tone, and excess fat can cause stretch marks and unattractive folds
The proteins found in coconuts are good for rejuvenating cells from the inside and outside. Proteins are helpful for repairing damaged cells. They speed up the healing of wounds and reduce the appearance of scars.
This oil serves as an excellent softener for the face, hands, and feet. Many people have cracked and hardened skin on the feet due to standing all day or excessive cold. The oil will not eliminate cracks in the skin, but it will soften it after several days of application.
Commercially produced lip gels, even the ones marketed as edible, can contain harsh chemicals. Coconut oil is a great natural alternative that acts quickly. It is nontoxic and safe to eat, so licking the lips will not cause any unpleasant side effects.
Makeup remover and shaving cream are two more personal care products that contain chemicals that can be harsh. Applying coconut oil to the face with a cotton ball breaks down waxy makeup and helps with hydration. It even works on waterproof mascara. When used to shave the legs or underarms, its antimicrobial properties protect against nicks and cuts. When used in small amounts it also leaves the skin looking moist without appearing greasy.
Mixing the oil with sugar, salt, or other natural grainy materials makes an effective exfoliant. The mixture will clean oil and debris out of the pores. It also scrapes off dead cells without irritation. Using this natural exfoliant evens out the tone and softens the texture.
When applying coconut oil topically it can be easy to overdo it. A little bit goes a long way, and the skin is only capable of absorbing so much before the oil forms a protective layer that will not allow any more in. Using too much can make skin shiny or greasy.
In warm climates, coconut oil is a liquid. When the temperature is cold, it has a solid texture more like a cream. Both forms are effective when applied directly to skin. Unlike other oils, it lasts longer and does not require frequent reapplication.
In addition to being a beneficial skin tonic, coconut oil is a wonderful natural substitute for traditional hair conditioners and styling products. Its many minerals and vitamins keep hair shiny and strong. It can improve scalp health and promote hair growth. It also adds shine and volume.
Even though many commercial personal care products contain coconut oil, they also contain harsh chemicals that can be harmful to skin and hair. Consumers can replace a variety of products with a single jar of oil. This saves money and produces better results with a natural product that is safe to use.