As of recent you can literally find a hack for everything that could go wrong in your life on the internet. If you're reading this I'm sure you have questions about coconut oil. If you didn't know its the "best" thing to fix or "cure" anything like breakouts, dry skin, a bad day, money issues, etc. People have a tendency to believe anything they find on Pinterest or the internet in general.
Now do not get me wrong there is tons of great info on the internet but do thorough research before just slathering something on your skin. *cough cough glue & active charcoal* As an Esthetician that has dedicated a lot of time to learning as much as I can about ingredients and how they have effect the skin (and I still have a ton to learn) I have learned where coconut oil falls on the comedogenic scale. The Comedogenic scale ranges from 0-5 with zero meaning will not clog pores and 5 meaning highly comedogenic (pore clogging). Coconut oil falls at 4 on the scale being fairly high.
So to first break down coconut oil's fatty acid composition to help you see the different fatty acids present and their amounts:
Lauric Acid........... 45-52% *comedogenic
Myristic Acid........ 16-21% *comedogenic
Caprylic Acid........ 5-10% *comedogenic
Caprice Acid......... 0.5-1% *comedogenic
Hamitic Acid......... 7-10% *comedogenic
Oleic Acid.............. 5-8% *comedogenic
Stearic Acid........... 2-4% *comedogenic
Linoleum Acid...... 1-3%
Linolenic Acid up to 0.2%
Palmitoleic Acid in traces
Now, I will address a various amount of scenarios I have come across with clients in my treatment room and explain why coconut oil is doing NOTHING good for your skin.
"It feels great on my skin! It soaks in and doesn't feel oily on my skin and really makes it feel moisturized!"
The reason your skin feels it is absorbing is because of the high percentage of Lauric Acid present in coconut oil. Lauric acid is what causes coconut oil to not feel oily. Lauric acid significantly penetrates the skin and actually accumulates in the stratum corneum (upper layer of the skin). This action caused by Lauric acid can actually have an adverse reaction on the skin. Since Lauric acid causes the coconut oil to effectively and quickly absorb into the skin the skin is being communicated to and being told "I am now oil rich and do not need to produce any more [natural] oils." So with this, the skin is not producing the needed sebum and and amounts of lipids to prevent water loss and to keep the skin properly hydrated.
"Coconut oil cleared up my acne and helped me improve my skin."
Do not get me wrong I understand how great it is to finally get your skin clear of that pesky acne. Coconut oil does have anti-microbial, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties it is all with a cost of easily congested skin. Seeing as coconut oil is rated a 4 out of 5 on the comedogenic scale regardless the results you are seeing with it you are still applying a comedogenic/ pore clogging product. No matter dry or oily your pores are becoming congestion and this will cause inflammation and with inflammation present in your skin it is highly prone to age acceleration.
The MOST IMPORTANT part I have found and understood is that since the Lauric acid the coconut oil to significantly penetrate it is causing your skin to stop producing its natural sebum which will cause your skins acid mantle and barrier function to become compromised due to the fact of lacking the sebum or lipids on the skin to keep the acid mantle healthy. With an unhealthy acid mantle you are subjecting your skin to be sensitized and open to bacteria and extrinsic aging factors.
Lets break it down into a list for all of those that love list!
Facts about Coconut Oil:
Actually causes skin to become dryer due to the break down of the acid mantle and barrier function. One of the functions of the barrier function is to prevent TEWL (trans epidermal water loss) which is what prevents the skin from become dehydrated and also keeps the lipids in between cells healthy. Now since coconut oil does not cause a light film over the skin it is absorbing it is not a proper oil to help renew lipids or help prevent TEWL
Can cause breakouts in oil and acne skin because it is highly comedogenic
Does not sit on top of the skin, instead its effectively penetrates into the Stratum Corneum and accumulates there
Has ZERO nutritional content for the skin via topical application - such as NO carotenoids, NO vitamins, NO phyosterols & compared to other oils has very low antioxidants presences
Though it has anti-microbial, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties, you are paying that price for easily congested skin
With all this being said there are a large list of oils that are great for use on the skin. There are tons of people who opt for natural or simplistic regimens so I will be posting a blog soon on different oils and their great benefits for your skin.
Any questions, comments, or concerns please feel free to comment or email me!