Does Coconut Oil Help With Dry Skin?

What once was seen as a horrible, unhealthy addition to your life is now praised for having an abundance of uses and benefits to your health, including your complexion. In addition to having magical powers, using coconut oil for dry skin might be the best thing you've ever done for yourself. It's a fact — actual studies have shown improvements in those that have lathered themselves up with this yummy, tropical oil.

While it might seem surprising to find out that coconut oil was once thought of as something to steer clear of, it’s actually not that far fetched. Coconut oil is almost 90% saturated fat, which has been debated to cause heart problems and other issues in our bodies. Frankly, as I sit here drinking coconut water, I don’t think it’s all that horrible; everything in moderation, right? Regardless of what you think about consuming coconut oil, know that it's totally A-OK to use on your skin!

I won’t get into the logistics because science is not my forte, but basically coconut oil has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that stem from its 50% lauric acid (which is from that fat mentioned previously). This fat also helps your skin retain moisture by creating a coating. On top of that, it is great for all types of skin and absorbs quickly; it has even been compared to mineral oil, but without the side effects.

Need some more convincing? Doctor Oz explains that coconut oil also has antioxidants and tons of vitamin E, which is good for healthy skin. The cherry on top is that coconut oil is already known to help various skin problems like eczema, dermatitis, and aging (all of which fall under dry skin issues) because the oil helps your skin stay hydrated.

But – yes, there is always a but – you have got to use virgin coconut oil. While all coconut oil is from, well, coconut, virgin coconut oil is “extracted from the fruit of fresh mature coconuts without using high temperatures or chemicals” according to Medical News Today. The other oils are not as good and might actually contain harmful chemicals because of the coconuts being used (they could be chemically bleached, deodorized, and contain processed oils like trans fats). So, remember: Not all coconut oil is equal.

Thankfully, it is not insanely difficult to find virgin coconut oil. Once you’ve managed to supply yourself with this wonderfully, maybe even heaven-sent oil, you can begin to fight off that itchy, dry skin for a more radiant, supple self.

To sum things up, here's a list of the benefits coconut oil has on your skin:

  • Great for all skin types.
  • Absorbs quickly, without leaving a greasy feeling afterwards.
  • Rich in antioxidants and nutrients.
  • Anti-aging properties.
  • Antibacterial and antimicrobial.
  • Can help with problem skin and acne.
  • Skin softener.

And here are some helpful tips to remember when applying it:

  • Test out the amount of oil you wish to use on a small patch of skin. This will allow you to see if you’re using too much or too little (or, if your skin doesn’t like it).
  • Apply the oil after showering, as your pores are more open from the warm water or steam, making it easier for your skin to absorb the oil.
  • Add some to your favorite moisturizer or apply alongside for even more skin benefits.
  • Add some drops of essential oils for a nice scent with your moisturizer.

Images: Fotolia, fruitlush/Flickr