Welcome to another article from the Skincare Close-up! series, where we take a closer look at one of our skincare products’ key ingredients. In the last installment of the series, we dove deep into the details of jojoba oil, where it comes from, and how it benefits the skin. This time, we’ll be focusing on coconut oil, the smooth white balm reminiscent of warm sun, sandy shores, and cool ocean breezes. 🥥
What is it?
As you probably know, coconut oil comes from coconut trees, which thrive in the sandy soils of warm rainforests and tropical coastal areas. Specifically, coconut oil comes from the meaty part of the coconut fruit . The traditional method of extracting coconut oil involves boiling the coconut milk, which allows the water to evaporate, leaving behind the oil .
The coconut and its derivatives (like coconut milk and coconut oil) have been deeply intertwined with many cultures across the globe for thousands of years, and continue to be a staple of daily life in many parts of the world. For example, the coconut tree is a central part of Indian mythology, and is referred to as Kalpavriksha, “the tree that provides all the necessities of life”. In Malaysian culture, it is Pokok seribu guna, “the tree of a thousand uses”. An Indonesian might know it as the “three generations tree”, and for someone in the Philippines, the coconut tree is called the “tree of abundance” .
As the saying goes, there’s power in a name, and in this case the names given to the coconut tree reveal just how important of a role it plays. Indeed, aside from delicious food and drink, the gifts provided by the coconut and coconut tree are practically endless. Just a few examples include their use in everything from construction materials, household items, and cooking to medicine and cosmetics , , .
Coconut oil’s cosmetics uses—specifically in skincare—are especially relevant to us, so let’s find out how this tropical essence works wonders for your skin!
Benefits of Coconut Oil
Thanks to its high lauric acid content (which is a highly effective antibacterial fatty acid , ), coconut oil is antibacterial, antifungal, AND antiviral . This makes coconut oil an excellent 3-in-1 defence against harmful pathogens that could otherwise irritate your skin. Coconut oil’s antimicrobial properties are a lifesaver for sensitive skin, but also for all skin types, since many kinds of skin infections are caused by harmful fungi or bacteria.
It’s a powerful antioxidant.
Coconuts are high in antioxidants , and coconut oil is no exception . This is great news for your skin, which uses the antioxidant activity of coconut oil to help prevent, fight off, and recover from oxidative stress. (More on that here).
As you may know, chronic inflammation plays a major role in inflammatory skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis , so coconut oil’s anti-inflammatory properties can be very soothing for inflamed or irritated skin. In addition to reducing chronic inflammation, coconut oil may also help relieve pain and speed up wound healing , .
It’s highly moisturising.
Coconut oil is very hydrating , making it especially good for dry skin! Keeping your skin hydrated is an essential part of maintaining soft and healthy skin. Without sufficient moisture, your natural skin barrier is compromised and can’t do its job as effectively . Applying coconut oil directly might be a bit too much for oily skin, however, so make sure to test it first on a small area to see how your skin reacts, or choose products that also contain other moisturising ingredients more suitable for oily skin, such as jojoba oil.
Image Source & Licensing Info:
- Coconut oil: https://www.publicdomainpictures.net/en/view-image.php?image=237603&picture=coconut-oil-on-wooden-spoon