Coconut oil is considered to be a “superfood”, a unique status given to very few foods by the health experts.
Coconut oil is extremely beneficial for treating many of the common skin problems and diseases. It is a fantastic skin moisturizer and an excellent remedy for microbial infection and inflammations that occur in the skin.
Does coconut oil clog pores? Is this oil bad for oily skin? These are some of the most debated questions that are doing rounds in the acne patients’ forums and circles.
While some support the use of coconut oil for acne, others totally reject and forbid the use of this oil in acne management.
In this article, you are going to read about comedogenic facts on coconut oil, its comedogenic rating and its implications.
What Does ‘Clogged Skin Pores’ Means?
Skin pores (excretory conduits) are tiny little openings in the skin. The sebaceous gland which produces the body’s natural oil called sebum is located in the skin pores.
It is through these pores the sebum oil is released to the top surface of the skin. Every pore has a hair follicle beneath it and hairs grow out through this opening .
“A square foot of human skin will contain one hundred forty-four million pores, and supposing that a medium-sized man’s surface is made of fourteen square feet”.
The pores in the skin are extended downward and reach several layers of skin below.
What Causes Clogged Pores?
The pores in the skin can get clogged or blocked when it is filled with an excess amount of sebum.
Accumulation of dead skin cells in the openings in the skin can also block them. They can also get clogged with dirt and filth which enters them from the external environment .
Here are a few reasons that may cause the blocking of the pores:
- Excessive production of sebum oil;
- Use of organic and plants oils;
- Dehydrated skin;
- Poor hygiene and cleanliness;
- Dead and dry skin cells;
- Excessive sweating;
- Fluctuation in hormones production;
- Genetic reasons;
- Allergenic reactions;
- Fungal infection.
Excess sebum production is the most prominent reason pores getting clogged.
Teenagers in the puberty period experience volatile instability in hormone production that results in excess production of sebum. For this reason, teenagers are generally most vulnerable to acne attacks like whiteheads, blackheads, and pimples .
Fluctuation in hormone production during the menstrual period and pregnancy can also cause excess secretion of sebum .
Clogged pores are also common in people who regularly use certain cosmetics like skin lotions, creams, and cleansers.
Consequences Of Clogged Pores On Skin
Skin breathes, self-moisturizes and lets out perspiration through the skin pores.
Blocking of the openings in skin hinders the flow of oxygen and carbon dioxide in and out of the body via the skin.
Excretion of toxic wastes from the body via perspiration is prevented.
With the poor absorption of moisture, the pH balance of the skin is disturbed.
Blocked openings in the skin prevent the healthy growth of hair; most hair on the body is in miniature forms that are not easily visible.
The single biggest skin problem arising out of clogged skin pores is acne. The clogged pores become breeding grounds for bacteria that cause whiteheads, blackheads, pimples or zits.
Does Coconut Oil Clog Pores?
Any substance that blocks the pores in the skin is called Comedogenic. Coconut oil is said to be fairly comedogenic.
On a comedogenic rating scale of 5, coconut oil’s Comedogenicity =2 and Irritancy = 1. According to this rating, coconut oil is ‘fairly comedogenic’. However, some of the health experts have given this oil a comedogenic rating of 4 i.e equal to ‘highly comedogenic.’
Skin types of many people have comparatively larger pores in the skin to the others who have narrow pores in the skin.
Skin pores with a wider opening are highly susceptible to get clogged by external factors like oils, cosmetics, or dirt.
Some of the studies have pointed out that most people who get severe acne issues are persons who have comparatively larger pores in the skin.
Does coconut oil clog your pores? Answer to this question very much dependent on the types of skin you have.
If your skin is highly prone to getting frequent bouts of acne, in all probability, coconut oil may clog your pores. It means to say that you have skin with larger openings in the skin.
If you have oily skin, it is a clear indication that your skin produces excess sebum and you have larger pores on the skin. Coconut oil treatment is not recommended for a person with oily skin.
Using coconut oil for skin moisturizing or cleansing is apt for persons with dry to normal skin type. Usually, the people with dry skin have narrow pores on the skin which does not get blocked easily.
Some people can effectively use the coconut oil treatment for managing acne, while for others it might aggravate the acne issues all the more.
In short, the comedogenic effect of coconut oil varies according to the type of skin that an individual has. If you have normal to dry skin, you can confidently use coconut oil for skin treatments.
What Does Coconut Oil Do For Your Skin?
Coconut oil is considered to be the most useful plant-oil for skin, hair, and health.
It is effectively used even for treating acne which is basically a problem caused by oil logging in the hair follicles and skin pores.
The different types of fatty acids and Vitamins E and K present in this oil are truly beneficial to skin in many ways. Let us briefly look at some of the major benefits:
Antimicrobial And Antiseptic
Lauric acid in coconut oil is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent that can quickly heal skin issues caused by inflammation. It is beneficial for healing wounds, preventing acne and reducing rashes [7,8].
It is the best natural alternative skin moisturizing creams and lotions. The fatty acids in this oil produce moisturizing, smoothing and softening effect in the skin.
Cleanses And Tones The Skin
Most people fear the coconut oil makes their skin oily and sticky. But if you use it correctly, this oil is fantastic for the deep cleansing of the skin. It makes the skin tones lighter and bright.
Using oil to fight an oil born disease may sound quite strange and absurd. The anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties in this oil can effectively heal and prevent acne. It also cleanses the clogged pores and prevents bacterial activities [14,15,16].
However, this oil is NOT recommended for oily skin and severe bouts of acne.
Coconut oil is nutritious with healthy fatty acids and Vitamins necessary for skin protection and care. Consuming about 30 grams of coconut oil per day can improve the metabolism and liver functions needed for the improved health of the body and skin [18,19].
What Does Coconut Oil Do For Your Face?
You might think that applying coconut oil on the face can clog the pore and make your face oily with increased acne breakouts.
However, coconut oil is unique and safe for the skin compared to mineral oils and other plant oils.
Unlike most of the other oils, coconut oil hydrates soften, cleanses and protects the skin from bacterial activities like the acne. It is effective for clearing the dirt and dead skin cells accumulated in the pores.
It moisturizes the facial skin and makes it appear smooth and lighter complexions.
Applying this oil one face is beneficial for reducing age spots, wrinkles, and for repairing the damages to the skin caused by UV rays of the sun.
Initially, when you begin to use coconut oil on the face, you may experience increased outbreaks of acne as it tries to clear the skin from within. If you continue to apply the coconut oil on your face acne will gradually diminish and totally clear up the skin.
To get rid of acne you must make sure to follow healthy diets and lifestyle habits.
While using coconut oil on the face it is important that you apply only a small amount of this oil on the face. If your skin is oily, then you must cleanse your face with a natural cleansing solution after 10-15 minutes of applying the oil.
Remember, a little bit goes a long way, so don’t slather excess amount of it on your face.
If you have sensitive skin, you can mix the coconut oil in a blend of less comedogenic carrier oils like Argan Oil, Hemp Seed Oil or Shea Butter. In fact, mixing a few drops of Hemp Seed Oil in coconut oil help in keeping the sebum from hardening and clogging the pores.
You can also perform a mild facial exfoliation before applying the coconut oil on the facial skin. If your skin is genetically oily, it is best to apply a very thin layer of coconut oil and do it only two times a week.
How To Get Rid Of Clogged Pores?
For some people, applying comedogenic oils like coconut oil on the face may clog the pores in the skin. However, you can follow some simple methods to unclog the pores quickly. Here are some of those steps worth practicing:
- Steam your face for 5 minutes, preferably before going to bed at night; do not scrub the face after steaming. Do not over steam the face either;
- Wash your face with lukewarm water twice a day;
- Make sure to remove the makeup completely from the face before you go to sleep at night;
- Use mild skin pores cleansing face wash once a day
- Always dry your face with a clean and soft towel
- Add a few drops of tea tree oil to the lukewarm water you use for cleansing the skin;
- Exfoliate the skin with mild cleansing lotion twice a week
- Do a dry brushing of the facial skin for unclogging the pores; use a soft-bristled facial brush for it;
- Keep your skin well hydrated by drinking lots of water every day and using good quality skin moisturizer after the shower.
The Bottom Line
Coconut oil is loaded with several benefits for skin, hair, and health.
However, using coconut oil on acne-prone facial skin is a much debated and disputed issue.
People have got mixed results from using coconut oil on the skin. Some people have found this oil to be good for clearing up the skin while others have found it causing more acne outbreaks.
This oil is a comedogenic oil, so it is not recommended for using on very oily skin with recurring incidences of severe acne.
Make sure to use only the virgin coconut oil for treating your skin. If you are using coconut oil for deep pore cleansing then it is better to add a few drops of Hemp Seed Oil to it.
Coconut oil does not clog the pores if you can use this oil correctly. It is safe to use this oil for normal and dry skin types.
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