5 Reasons We love Coconut Oil (& Your Skin Does too!)

November 07, 2016

5 Reasons We love Coconut Oil (& Your Skin Does too!)

Chances are you have seen or heard something recently involving coconuts; whether it is the new coconut milk option at Starbucks, or a cooking show advising the use of coconut oil in sautéing... coconut is everywhere. What is all the fuss about? Why did we choose it as a base in so many of our products?

No, it's not because we are trendy and cool (just ask our siblings)-- coconut oil really is just that good for you. Here are 5 reasons to jump on board the Coconut Oil Fan Train, specifically where it comes to skin care:

5 Reasons Coconut Oil is Good for Your Skin

1. medium chain fatty acids- these are the reason why coconut oil packs such a big health punch. Around 62% of the fat in coconut oil is made up of these MCFAs, among them caprylic, lauric and capric acids. These are smaller in size than the fatty acids found in other plant oils, which allow your cells to absorb and use them more quickly. Lauric acid in particular bonds exceptionally well with proteins, and because of its structure (under a microscope you'd see it as a long straight chain), it's able quickly penetrate and be used by the skin, rather than just sitting on top of it. (Link) This leads us to our next reason to love coconut oil:

2. anti-microbial properties- these MCFAs are anti-fungal and anti-bacterial, and with our skin as first line of defense against germs and toxins of many sorts, we definitely need all the help we can get. Bacteria and fungi need energy in the form of sugars, and since coconut oil is made mostly of fat, they can't thrive off it, but instead die quickly. More than that, the MCFAs somehow disrupt the cell membranes of harmful bacteria and yeast, and kill them, while leaving our own cells intact. In studies, both capric and lauric acid have been found to be very effective at killing candida albicans, a fungus responsible for thrush, yeast infections and athlete's foot (among other problems) (Link). So many skin issues have a fungal root problem that coconut oil makes a lot of sense!

3. ph-balanced- Despite being wonderfully effective against harmful microbes like candida, coconut oil does not make your skin more susceptible to other infectious agents in the way that soaps (especially "antibacterial" products) do. Soap works by binding with the oils on your skin and then also binding to the water used to rinse off both soap & oils/germs. This can backfire because part of the skin's defense mechanism is its "acid mantle"-- a layer of oil and antibiotic peptides that keep invaders out and bacteria to healthy levels. Soap washes that right off, leaving a weak area where germs can more easily enter. Since coconut oil is an oil, it doesn't disrupt this layer. It's neither acidic nor alkaline; so it has no effect on your body's naturally slightly acid skin defense. (Link)

4. anti-inflammatory- Virgin coconut oil is so good at calming down inflammation that in one study it healed arthritis (in rats) better than leading medications. (Link) Another study looked at coconut oil harvested at medium heat (not high heat) and found that it too worked as an anti-inflammatory as well as a mild pain-reliever.

5. health-balancing benefits absorbed through skin- Coconut oil has a whole host of benefits, from regulating hormones to being a good source of energy that is processed by the liver rather than the pancreas, which allows all sorts of healing and positive processes throughout the body. These are all best seen when coconut oil is ingested as part of a diet, but as anything put on the skin is absorbed by the body, why not put something on the skin that will only do great things inside your body too?

One last note is that all coconut oils are not created equal. Studies show that the health-promoting aspects found in a coconut are best preserved in coconut oil extracted with minimal heat. Unheated or low-heated oils have higher levels of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Also, cheaper coconut oil has usually been extracted using chemical solvents and even bleach... trace amounts of those remain in the oil forever. Remember, coconut oil is really absorbable, so any of those solvents and chemicals present in the oil will get quickly absorbed right into the body... which is NOT good.

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