Multiple benefits of using coconut oil for the skin are observed like moisturizing dry skin, including eczema, inflammation reduction, wound healing due to antibacterial, antifungal an antiviral properties found in it. Some preliminary research supports these benefits.
One study found that coconut oil might help prevent and treat rashes, such as atopic dermatitis. Another study showed that coconut oil extract could improve the barrier function of the skin and reduce inflammation due to UVB rays.
ResearchTrusted Source on coconut oil has also suggested that the oil may have antibacterial properties, even when people use it on the skin. Cellular studies indicate possible antifungal and antiviral capabilities, too.
Scientists believe that coconut oil also helps strengthen the skin barriers for infants with a low birth weight, which could help protect them from health complications.
Scientists have not determined exactly why coconut oil benefits the skin, but the polyphenols and fatty acids that it contains may contribute to its helpful effects. It also contains antioxidants, the topical applicationTrusted Source of which can protect the skin and improve its appearance.
Research into the benefits of using coconut oil on the skin is still ongoing, but there are currently few known risks.
Different types of coconut oil are available, and people classify them by their production process.
The two main types are virgin coconut oil and refined coconut oil. Virgin coconut oil is made from fresh coconuts, and it may be richer in antioxidants and polyphenolsTrusted Source. Refined coconut oil is made from dried coconut meat.
Refined coconut oil may go through more processing steps, including machine pressing to obtain the oil. Some producers may use chemical solvents, deodorizing, and bleaching.
The type of coconut oil also depends on the extraction technique. When producers obtain the oil without using heat, they refer to it as cold-pressed coconut oil. This type may be richer in nutrients.
If the extraction process uses steam or heat to press the oil out of fresh coconut meat, this results in expeller-pressed coconut oil.
Generally, the least processed types of coconut oil, such as cold-pressed virgin coconut oil, are the more healthful options.
To help coconut oil stay solid in warm temperature, manufacturers may hydrogenate it, which means treating it with hydrogen. The resulting product is rich in artificial trans fats. The American Heart Association say that eating them increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. However, this warning does not seem to apply to putting coconut oil on the skin.
A person can use any type of coconut oil on the skin. Most oils sit on the surface of the hair, but research shows that coconut oil penetrates more deeply into the hair shaft, which may lead the hair to feel softer and smoother.
Some people believe that coconut oil can help treat hair loss and promote hair growth. Many product recipes combine coconut oil with other oils, such as Indian gooseberry oil or nut grass oil.
Another 2015 study examined hair loss due to environmental damage and pollution. The researchers concluded that coconut oil was able to protect the hair from damage, reversing or treating hair loss.
A person planning to swim in a chlorinated pool can reduce the quantity of chlorine that gets into their hair by protecting it with coconut oil.
Similarly, coconut oil mai also protect the hair from the damaging effects of air pollution.
Like other oils, coconut oil can leave the hair glistening and smooth in appearance. Some people use a few drops as a shine serum on dry hair.
Coconut oil works well as a hair refresher, and because it keeps water out, it can also prevent frizz. Simply run a few drops through the hair before scrunching or twisting it.