There are over 1,500 studies proving coconut oil to be one of the healthiest foods you can eat—but did you know that it’s also amazing for your skin?
Coconut oil is able to penetrate your skin on a deeper level than your average product because of its low molecular weight and the way it bonds with proteins.
Coconut oil’s saturated fats helps the skin stay moisturized—the fat also stops moisture from escaping through the skin’s pores. These fats give the skin a healthy, smooth and even tone.
Coconut oil also contains three fatty acids — capric, caprylic and lauric acid — that possess both disinfectant and antimicrobial properties, helping to protect against as well as heal microbial infections.
Using coconut oil, over mainstream skin-care products, is cost-effective and a great way to avoid toxic ingredients.
Here are 20 ways to reap coconut oil’s benefits from the outside-in:
1. Body Butter. Avoid the chemicals found in conventional lotions by whipping up your own. Mix shea butter, coconut oil, jojoba oil, and your favorite essential oils for a natural body butter that’s great for your skin. Apply after the shower to lock in moisture.
2. Body Scrub. Moisturize while getting rid of dead skin cells by making your own body (and/or facial) scrub. Just mix coconut oil with coconut sugar to reveal smoother skin. Try it a few times a week.
3. Body Oil. If your skin’s seriously dry, coconut oil for skin is one of the best remedies. Rub coconut oil in hands to warm it up and then use it in lieu of body lotion. Focus on spots like elbows and knees that tend to get even drier than other spots.
4. Cold Sore Treatment. Dabbing coconut oil onto a cold sore can help speed up healing time, alleviate pain, and reduce the risk of scarring or discoloration.
5. Cuticle Oil. Use coconut oil in your next at-home manicure. Rubbing the oil into cuticles helps kill germs and will loosen up cuticles, making them easier to push back or cut.
6. Detox Bath. A good detox bath is a great way to eliminate toxins while allowing your body and mind to unwind. Create a simple detox bath by adding 1/4 cup of Epsom salts, which are great for detoxing, and 1/4 cup of coconut oil into a hot bath. For added aromatherapy benefits, include a few drops of your favorite essential oils.
7. Diaper Rash Guard. Using coconut oil for skin eases the pain, itch, and redness of diaper rash. Using it regularly can also help keep it at bay. Use about a tablespoon over affected areas.
8. Dry Hands. If washing dishes or tinkering around the tool shed is taking its toll on your hands, coconut oil is a great remedy. Keep a jar by the sink or in the garage to replenish hands. Bonus: Rub coconut oil over hands and then cover with gloves to get skin soft and supple even more quickly.
9. Face Wash. With its antimicrobial properties and moisturizing abilities, coconut oil for skin is perfect to clean your face. It’ll kill any bacteria (goodbye, pimples!) while hydrating skin to keep it looking and feeling vibrant.
10. Homemade Deodorant. If traditional deodorants irritate your skin, using coconut oil is a great alternative. Mix 1/2 cup coconut oil, 1/2 cup baking soda, and 40-60 drops essential oils of choice. It will harden into a natural, healthy alternative to store-bought brands that’ll keep you smelling fresh.
11. Insect Repellent. Put down the toxic chemicals and make your own repellent. Mix eight ounces of coconut oil with 40 to 50 drops of essential oils. While you’ll need to reapply throughout the day, you’ll avoid introducing harsh chemicals and toxins into your body.
12. Lip Balm. The simplest products are often loaded with frightening ingredients. Instead of accidentally ingesting toxic chemicals through your lip balm, make your own! Mix 1 tbsp coconut oil, 1 tbsp bees wax, 2 tbsp shea butter, 7 drops peppermint essential oil, and 7 drops lavender essential oil.
13. Makeup Remover. Using coconut oil for skin around the eye area will allow you to remove makeup without fear or irritating your eyes. Plus, you’ll give extra hydration to that sensitive area — and reduce your wrinkles!
14. Massage Oil. Why purchase expensive massage oils when it’s so easy to make your own? Combining coconut oil with several drops of your favorite essential oil does the job just as well; it’ll alleviate sore muscles while also tickling the senses and encouraging a mindful meditation.
15. Night Cream. Keep your skin hydrating and repairing itself while you sleep by applying coconut oil on your face. If you’re prone to acne, just add a few drops to your normal moisturizer to amp up hydration without adding too much extra oil. If useing coconut oil as a daytime moisturizer, combine it with sunblock to reap the benefits throughout the day without risking sun damage.
16. Scalp Moisture. Using coconut oil on a dry, flaky scalp will keep the area moisturized, discouraging dandruff growth and keeping hair looking shiny. If you have dry ends as well, rub some oil on them to provide deep conditioning.
17. Shaving Gel. Get a close, smooth shave by using coconut oil instead of shaving creams or gels. Coconut oil for skin will help prevent ingrown hairs and razor burn plus add moisture — just rub onto skin, shave and pat dry.
18. Skin Conditions. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, coconut oil has beome a popular treatment for skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. A recent study found that 46% of patients with a chronic skin disease who used coconut oil had an excellent response in treating their condition. While only 19% had a positive response from mineral oil.
19. Stretch Marks. Stretch marks occur as the skin’s elasticity changes, most frequently after weight gain/loss or pregnancy. Using coconut oil can help reduce the marks that are left behind, helping them fade more quickly while keeping skin moisturized to allow quicker healing.
20. Sunburn Relief. Coconut oil can help soothe inflamed skin, reduce redness and rehydrate skin. Please note that coconut oil provides minimal sun protection — about SPF 4. I recommend adding red raspberry seed extract or zinc oxide to make a stronger sunblock if you’ll be in the sun for an extended period of time.
Photo credit: iStock To learn more about coconut oil, visit Dr. Axe’s blog.