“Acne is the most common skin disease. It affects more than 80% of the people in their lifetime,” claims a report published by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).
Acne skin disease is most prevalent among teenagers; few adults of any age may also face it.
Coconut oil is a traditionally used natural remedy for treating various skin diseases. The medicinal properties of this oil are beneficial for treating skin issues like acne, psoriasis, eczema, dry skin issues, and all types of microbial infections on the skin.
However, there are only a few researches done so far to examine the medicinal powers of this oil.
Coconut oil for acne can help in effectively managing this common disease.
It may sound something contrary to the advice of most dermatologists who usually insist on acne patients to avoid all types of oils and oily foods.
In this article, we are going to discuss in detail why this oil is beneficial and how to use it for treating acne.
What Causes Acne?
Acne occurs when skin oil and dead skin cells clog up the hair follicles (pores on the skin).
Each of the hair follicles has a direct connection to the sebaceous gland which produces the sebum (skin oil). When the sebum is produced in excess amount, the hair follicles get filled with it; also sebum gets mixed up with the dead skin cells there.
Under such a situation, the hair follicles become a breeding ground for the bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes, or P. acnes. It is the P. acnes bacteria that cause acne.
Usually, acne appears in different forms such as pimples, whiteheads, and blackheads.
The inflammation in the skin pores caused by this bacterium may produce redness, swelling, bumps, pain, and puss formation on the affected areas of the skin.
Usually, the face, neck, and chest are more prone to develop acne disease.
How Does Coconut Oil For Acne Help?
Does the use of coconut oil increase the production of sebum oil and make the acne even worse?
It is quite puzzling to think that coconut oil can help acne, a disease actually caused by the excess production of sebum oil. However, coconut oil can be beneficial for acne treatment.
There are several nutritive agents in coconut oil that is useful for managing the symptoms of acne.
Antimicrobial Effects Of Fatty Acids In Coconut Oil
The Lauric and Capric acids present in coconut oil are two powerful antimicrobial agents. It is the same microbial agents present in breast milk that keeps the babies free from infections.
According to some of the studies, Lauric acid is effective in eliminating harmful bacteria, viruses, and fungi in the body. This acid has a proven effect in killing P. acnes.
According to a 2009 study published in The Journal Of Investigative Dermatology, Lauric acid was found to be more effective than benzoyl peroxide in killing P. acnes. The therapeutic power of this acid is proven to minimize the inflammation caused by the bacteria.
In another study published in The Journal Of Nanoscience And Nanotechnology, it is possible to inhibit the growth of P.acnes if the Lauric acid and retinoic acid are used in combination.
The other fatty acids in coconut oil such as capric, caproic, and caprylic are also beneficial for fighting the acne-causing bacteria to some extent.
Directly applying coconut oil to the skin is more efficient in eliminating the Propionibacterium responsible for acne.
Coconut Oil Helps To Fight Inflammation
Some of the animal and multiple test-tube studies suggest the presence of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties in coconut oil.
The inflammatory properties contained in the coconut oil help to fight inflammation.
Having coconut oil in your diet is beneficial for reducing the redness and swelling of inflammatory acne.
When coconut oil is applied to the skin it penetrates hair follicles and gradually begins to reduce the inflammation caused by acne.
Coconut oil is also beneficial for healing wounds and bumps on the skin.
However, there is a need for extensive research and human studies to prove the anti-inflammatory powers of coconut oil in managing acne.
Coconut Oil Contains Vitamin E
Coconut oil is an excellent natural source of Vitamin E.
As you know, Vitamin E is important for healthy skin and hair. It improves the functioning of sebum glands and helps in clearing the clogged skin pores. That is what exactly is needed for unplugging the root cause of acne.
According to a research report published by The Journal of Molecular Medicines, Vitamin E helps in reducing inflammation both within your body and on your skin. It is good for managing inflamed acne.
Vitamin E plays a crucial role in balancing your endocrine and nervous system which controls the balanced production of various hormones in the body. Thus it helps in reducing acne occurrence caused by hormone fluctuations in the body typical to teenagers.
Coconut Oil Helps In Moisturizing the Skin
Coconut oil, undoubtedly, is one of the best natural oils for moisturizing the skin.
It is important to keep your skin well moistened to keep your skin healthy and youthful. Adequately moistened skin is beneficial for fighting infection and healing the inflammations on the skin.
Studies show that to fight bacterial infection on the skin it is necessary to get rid of dry skin first. Applying coconut oil on your skin is the simplest home remedy for getting rid of dry skin and thereby healing the pimples.
Coconut Oil For Acne Scars
Coconut oil is useful for healing the inflammation on the skin fast and prevents scarring.
According to a research paper published by Skin Pharmacol And Physicol, when the rats with wounds were treated with coconut oil, they had reduced inflammation and increased the production of collagen.
Increased collagen production induced by coconut oil increases the elasticity of the skin, makes the skin smooth, strong, and scar-free.
The moistening effect on the skin produced by coconut oil is also beneficial for reducing the chances of scar formation on the skin.
Consuming coconut oil is useful for boosting the functions of the liver which helps flush out toxins. It helps deactivate the androgenic hormones that usually trigger the excess production of sebum. Achieving healthy levels of sebum production in the sebaceous glands reduces the chances of acne occurrence and prevents the formation of new scars.
Regular application of coconut oil on the skin helps in skin lightening by reducing and preventing hyper-pigmentation activities in the skin.
Does Coconut Oil Clog Pores?
Many dermatologists do not recommend the use of coconut oil or any other oil on acne-prone skins.
Does coconut oil clog your pores? Is coconut oil non-comedogenic? These are some of the frequently heard questions raised by cane patients. Before we answer these questions let us check a few basic facts on clogging of skin pores.
First of all, normally the pores on the skin get clogged when dead cells and sebum get fixed in the pores.
Secondly, foreign bodies like dust, dirt, creams, and oils can also penetrate the pores and get stuck there.
Skin types with large pores easily get clogged than those with small pores. In fact, blackheads and whiteheads attacks are rampant in people with large pores on the skin.
People who have oily skin do have skin with large pores; those with dry skin have narrow pores on the skin.
People with small or narrow pores on the skin are usually non-sensitive to oil and skin creams. There is the least chance of coconut oil clogging if your skin type has narrow pores.
However, people with large skin pores and oily skin types will face some amount of clogging caused by coconut oil and other creams or oils. This happens only when you apply coconut oil where the skin pores are already filled with dead skin cells and sebum.
The coconut oil has rich medium-chain fatty acids which usually DO NOT clog the skin pores. In the case of mild clogging, it is easily removable with a deep cleansing or exfoliation.
Coconut oil is safe to use on most types of skin.
It can be comedogenic for people with very oily type skin. On a scale of five where four is “most comedogenic”, coconut oil rates as about two.
So the answer to the question ‘does coconut oil clog pores’ depend on the skin type.
Is Coconut Oil For Oily Skin Good Or Bad?
Eating coconut oil does not cause health problems usually.
Some studies suggest that up to 2.5 tablespoons (39 grams) per day can be safely eaten by anyone, depending on calorie intake.
Eating 2 tablespoons of coconut oil provides about 18 grams of medium-chain triglycerides. Eating 15-30 grams of this oil daily has been shown to increase the metabolic rate and helps in maintaining a balanced production of hormones in the body.
Directly applying this oil on skin and hair has several benefits. It is popularly used as a moisturizer or facial cleanser.
Coconut oil is beneficial for treating acne, but it is not recommended for people who have very oily skin and severe acne issues.
This oil is comedogenic for people with oily skin and bigger skin pores. It is ideal for people with normal and dry skin types.
Should You Treat Acne With Coconut Oil?
The Lauric acid present in this oil is effective in getting rid of the bacteria that causes acne.
Moderately applying coconut oil on the skin may kill the bacteria responsible for acne and naturally moisturize your skin.
You can also consume up to 30 grams of coconut oil daily as part of your diet or as cooking or flavoring oil.
The anti-inflammatory properties of this oil can heal inflamed acne fast.
Regular use of this oil improves the production of collagen which is good for faster healing of acne and reduces scar formation on the skin.
It is also beneficial to use coconut oil as a facial cleanser. It softens the skin and clears up skin.
However, if you have oily skin, you should not use coconut oil, especially, on the face. Even if you use it, you should not leave the oil on the face for more than 10 minutes. Cleanse the face thoroughly with lukewarm water and natural cleansing lotion.
How To Use Coconut Oil For Acne Treatment?
Coconut oil can be internally consumed or locally applied to the skin.
Most health experts recommend the idea of consuming the oil and external use to obtain maximum health benefits out of this oil.
Limit the consumption of this oil to 30 grams per day. It can be added to food, used as cooking oil or eaten directly.
For coconut oil acne treatment, use only virgin coconut oil; the clearest and purest quality oil does not clog the skin pores, unlike the crude variety.
You can follow these steps in treating acne with coconut oil:
- Steam your face to open up the pores (follow the standard facial steaming practices)
- Take a teaspoon of virgin coconut oil and apply the oil on the skin by gently massaging in a circular motion for 5 minutes.
- It is good to add 2-3 drops of different acne-fighting essential oils in the coconut oil you use for acne treatment; good ones are tea tree oil, juniper oil, Clary sage oil, or lavender oil.
- After 15 minutes of applying the oil, do a warm-water compress or cleaning with a soft facecloth on the oil-treated areas of the skin.
- Let the facecloth open up the pores and soak up the excess coconut oil.
- After the treatment, if you feel oiliness on the skin, wash your face thoroughly with lukewarm water and a mild facial cleanser.
- Repeat the treatment thrice a week for the best results.
The Bottom Line
Coconut oil definitely has a lot of positive effects on the symptoms and healing process of acne. However, this oil is classified as a light-microbial agent.
Coconut oil cannot be your one-and-only solution for serious cases of acne. It should be used as a natural remedy that gives an additional boost to your mainstream treatments for whiteheads or blackheads.
If you have severe and recurring conditions of acne, you certainly need a proven healing and preventive method of treatment than simply using coconut oil.
The results from coconut oil treatment also depend on the skin type, age, lifestyle, diet habits, and personal hygiene of the patient.
Experiences of numerous people suggest that using coconut oil to treat acne has fantastic results in clearing up even the most severe cases of acne. But there are also several people, especially those with very oily skin, who experienced increasing bouts of acne after using this oil.
It is worth testing the coconut oil for acne; use it as an additional treatment to your regular medication and acne preventive steps that you are following.