Coconut Oil for Skin Moisture
How Does Coconut Oil Improve Your Skin?
For thousands of years, coconuts have been valued and used by many cultures. Coconut palms thrive in many tropical locations around the world including parts of Asia and along the Pacific Rim. From dietary, textile, cooking and topical uses, coconuts are an essential ingredient in the daily lives of people from a variety of locations. It was also once a cooking staple in western countries until the 1950s. However, due to the rise of vegetable and soy oil, coconut oil fell to the wayside. With modern research revealing a variety of benefits both for the body and the skin, coconut oil has made a resurgence. Although commonly referred to as a fruit, nut or seed, the coconut is actually not a nut, but a one-seeded drupe, similar to the olive. The rich meat within the coconut can be pressed, producing precious coconut oil. Due to its rich natural properties, coconut oil can be utilized to protect or to give your skin a moisturizing boost.
Using coconut oil for skin treatment can help rejuvenate, moisturize and protect against free radicals. One of the reasons this natural oil can deliver these benefits is because it has an abundance of the antioxidant, Vitamin E. Vitamin E can be found in many sunscreens, moisturizers and lotions due to its abilities to nourish the skin. It is often paired in products alongside Vitamin C because the two antioxidants work together to powerfully protect skin cells. As an antioxidant, Vitamin E has the ability to combat the damaging impact of free radicals. Free radicals are unstable atoms, which make them highly reactive. We come into contact with thousands of free radicals everyday through exposure to UV rays, cigarette smoke, car exhaust, industrial fumes and more. Free radicals can be dangerous and damaging to the skin because when they react with important elements such as DNA or cell membranes, cell damage occurs. Unfortunately, free radicals are things we come into contact with daily, but this is where antioxidants come into play. Antioxidants such as Vitamin E have the ability to safely interact with free radicals, stopping their reactions and harmful domino effect.
The antioxidant properties found in Vitamin E are essential to proper skincare because free radicals are one of the causes of unwanted fine lines and brown spots. When free radicals damage the skin, collagen production slows and new skin cells are not able to flourish. This breakdown of cells makes skin lose its elasticity and youthfulness, generating fine lines. On the other hand, when the skin is rich with antioxidants it is able to generate new cells, leading to healthy function and growth.
Coconut oil is also known for possessing an abundance of saturated fats. However, do not let the term “saturated fats” scare you away from coconut oil’s supportive functions. These saturated fats are medium chain fatty acids, also known as triglycerides. Saturated fats are easy for your skin to absorb, allowing them to nourish deep within your skin and creating a wonderful moisturizer. As the fats work their way into the skin surface, they protect cell membranes by locking in moisture and helping heal cracked skin and dry patches. The fatty acids also help to eliminate moisture loss through the pores, further retaining hydration. This natural moisturizer is a great solution for dry or irritated skin, especially for those with sensitive skin that may be irritated by artificial ingredients and fragrances.
A wealth of proteins can also be found in coconut oil, aiding in moisture retention and healthy cell and tissue function. Your hair, nails, muscles and skin are all made of proteins, making them essential to a strong, healthy body. Proteins can be viewed as the building blocks for tissue repair and for the generation of new tissue. When a cell is damaged or dead, proteins help to keep the generation of new cells moving at an efficient rate. When the skin is not receiving an adequate amount of proteins, it often begins to prematurely sag or give off a lackluster appearance since it is weighed down with dead cells and does not have the proteins required to maintain the skin’s elasticity. Both the topical application of proteins and ensuring that you have an adequate amount of protein in your diet are holistic ways to help keep your skin strong and healthy.
A group of acids found in coconut oil also give it a surprising secret weapon. The acids, Lauric, Capric and Caprylic, have disinfecting and antimicrobial characteristics. These properties allow coconut oil to protect the skin from microbial infections that could enter through a small wound, scratch or even through the pores. Keeping the skin free of infections is key to reducing painful blemishes and potential scarring. In addition to topical application, when coconut oil is ingested, these fatty acids give the body a boost of energy.
Another quality coconut oil possesses that makes it valued as natural moisturizer is the fact that it is a very stable substance. There are a variety of ingredients that must be stored at a specific temperature and have a short shelf life, or else they risk losing their beneficial qualities. However, coconut oil is able to withstand a variety of conditions without damaging its chemical complex. Due to its ability to retain its structure, coconut oil is a long-lasting ingredient that can provide benefits for many months.
With the handful of positive effects that coconut oil can have on your skin, now the question remains—how can you integrate coconut oil into your regular beauty routine? One of the first steps is finding the best coconut oil for skincare. Not all store-bought coconut oil is created equally, so it is important to know what key indicators to be on the lookout for. The three most common types of coconut oil available in stores are unrefined, refined and liquid. Unrefined coconut oil is in its most natural and beneficial state, where as refined and liquid versions of the oil have undergone processing that diminishes their restorative qualities. Similar to a label you would see on olive oil, try to find “extra virgin” coconut oil. This means that the coconut oil has not been processed by deodorizing, bleaching or refining. Extra virgin coconut oil may also be listed as raw, organic or cold pressed, but try to read the back of the label to ensure that it has not been processed. The best coconut oil for skin treatment is the oil that is closest to what nature has provided us with. Luckily, with its growing popularity, a variety of brands and types of coconut oil are available both in stores and online.
Once you have purchased a virgin, unprocessed coconut oil, the DIY fun can begin. In addition to cooking, there are a number of ways to tap into coconut oil’s rejuvenating and moisturizing properties to benefit your skin. One way is to treat yourself to an at-home spa experience is with coconut oil lotion. Coconut oil remains solid at 76 degrees, which makes it great for a whipped textured lotion. The solid oil can be applied directly to the skin, but be aware that a little goes a long way. About a spoonful is an adequate amount for your entire body. If you are feeling a bit more adventurous, try whipping your coconut oil with a standing mixer or similar tool to give it a fluffy texture. During this process you can add essential oils or additional supplements such as Vitamin E if desired. Once your lotion is complete, massage the oil into the skin just as you would any other lotion or body butter. If you prefer your lotion in oil form, coconut oil can be transformed into a massage oil by bringing to a temperature over 76 degrees. Carefully warm the oil and check that the oil is a safe temperature before applying it to the skin. By utilizing this nourishing oil, the lipid barrier of your skin will be restored, reducing water loss and irritated, dry skin.
In addition to body lotion, coconut oil face moisturizer can help deliver nature’s hydration to one of the most sensitive areas of the skin. Before bed, apply a thin layer of coconut oil to the face, rubbing it in thoroughly until it is no longer shiny. Although coconut oil is great for the face, it can sometimes feel a bit heavy for everyday wear. Instead, apply unrefined coconut oil as a deep treatment moisturizer at night when your skin is feeling particularly dry. For daily use, look for products that tap into coconut oil’s abundance of advantages alongside other ingredients for a lighter, everyday application. OZNatural’s Sea Infused Herbal Moisturizer pairs coconut oil with Vitamin C, Blueberry Extract, Algae Extract and Giant Sea Kelp Extract to deliver the most natural, potent dose of moisture. Coconut oil on the face can be coupled with other natural ingredients for day-to-day use, or be applied on its own for a deep hydrating experience.
Although it may seem counterproductive, coconut oil can actually be used as a facial cleanser both for daily use and to target acne. Remember that coconut oil has disinfecting and antimicrobial properties, helping fight infected blemishes and inhibiting bacterial growth. In this case, coconut oil has a similar effect as benzoyl peroxide, a chemical found in many acne washes. In addition to naturally fighting acne-causing bacteria, coconut oil can also be used to naturally lift dirt and oil from the face. Oil and water to not blend, so in order to rid your face of unwanted oil, you must use another substance that can mix with the oil on your face. This is where coconut oil steps in. Over the course of the day, oils and impurities harden on the skin’s surface, clogging pores. Remove this by gently rubbing coconut oil onto the skin, lifting the residue that accumulated throughout the day. Finally, use a steamed washcloth to wipe away both the coconut oil and the unwanted dirt and oil. For an extra clean feeling, finish washing your face with a gentle solution such as OZNatural’s Vitamin C Facial Cleanser.
In addition to moisturizing and cleansing, coconut oil has been thought to help reduce the appearance of stretch marks. Although there is not definitive evidence that has proven the connection between coconut oil and stretch mark reduction, the collagen improving proteins and moisturizing qualities are known to nourish the skin. Try keeping skin moisturized and supple to avoid the formation of stretch marks; however, if stretch marks have already formed, try applying coconut oil to encourage the production of new cells and tissue.
Beauty experts love to talk about the benefits of coconut oil for the hair, but as skin experts, we are more concerned with the health of your scalp. One of the top uses of coconut oil is for dandruff relief. Again, this is where coconut oil’s antimicrobial properties come in handy by combating unsightly and uncomfortable dandruff. The oil not only fights against dandruff, but also alleviates the symptoms of a dry and flaking scalp.
Nature is full of useful gifts that we can tap into and integrate into our health and beauty regimens. Not only is the coconut a tasty tropical treat that we can enjoy through cooking, but it also contains a variety of elements that can help protect, moisturize and restore our skin. Before grabbing an artificial fragrance-filled lotion or processed facial moisturizer off the shelf, remember the holistic advantages that come from using coconut oil and other natural ingredient based products.