Posted by on 1/19/2021 to Let's Talk Soaping
Coconut Oil for the Skin and its Benefits in Soap Making, as well as Bath and Beauty Products
What is Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil for many years has been touted for it's broad range of health benefits, both in consumption and beauty products. However, with all of the good news, also comes a lot of claim's, not just about coconut oil, but other oils and butters for the skin.
So what is coconut oil? Coconut oil is solid at room temperature, but has a relatively low melting point of 76 degrees. Coconut oil is produced from a coconut, specifically, the meat of the coconut, called copra. It is obtained through the process of pressing. Fresh coconut or dried coconut meat is obtained and then pressed.
The process of the "dry" method vs. the "wet" method is slightly different in that the wet method once pressed, produces milk and oil, then the two are separated by methods including fermentation and centrifuge machines.
The "dry" method uses heat to dry the copra and then it is pressed, to yield coconut oil.
Coconut oil is a staple in most soap makers collection. Why? It has great cleansing qualities as well adds a lathering property to finished soaps.
In this post we'll discuss coconut oil and what some of the data and research says about its benefits for the skin and body.
Uses of Coconut Oil For Health
Obviously, coconut oil is a popular ingredient that is utilized for activities such as cooking. Some of the biggest reasons for the coconut oil craze is due to it's ability's to potentially better brain function, and decrease cholesterol levels, specifically, your "bad" cholesterols, called LDL's.
Coconut oil, being somewhat high in medium chain-fatty acids, suggest it has unique properties that may be helpful with certain conditions like high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes, however repeatable evidence to support this is lacking.
One particular study in 2009, performed a randomized double-blind clinical trial and looked at women with waste circumference > 88cm. Half of the women took supplementation with coconut oil and the other half soy bean oil over a 12-week period along with specific diet and daily walks. The group that took coconut oil daily had increased HDL's levels, lower LDL levels and lower BMI. It was concluded that coconut oil may help to promote reduction in abdominal obesity.
However, Nutrition Reviews 2016, which was a literature review of coconut oil and cardiovascular health, made arguments against oral coconut oil supplementation, specifically bettering cardiovascular health, compared to other cis unsaturated fats.
So what about the skin?
Benefits of Coconut Oil For The Skin and Body:
1. Moisturizes the Skin
One of the most touted benefits of coconut oil for the skin is it's moisturizing effect. Coconut oil is easy to apply, and from current and past literature, it does not pose harm to the skin.
Topically there is research of it's ability to prevent and treat skin conditions like atopic dermatitis.
Another study in 2004 compared coconut oil to mineral oil, concluding that it is a safe and as effective an oil as mineral oil for moisturizing. Coconut oil also showed significant improve in skin hydration and an increase in skin surface lipid levels.
According to this same study, there was also a slight trend towards coconut oil being a better treatment of conditions skin like xerosis(dry skin).
2. Cleans The Skin
Coconut oil has shown the ability in research to significantly reduce Staphylococcus aureus colonization in patient with atopic dermatitis. The study concluded that this may be useful in proactive treatment against atopic dermatitis.
Coconut oil not only keeps you looking smooth and moisturized, but this oil also helps to disinfect your skin, and is why it is heavily used in homemade soap for it's cleansing properties.
This can be useful for people trying to kill acne-causing bacteria. In addition, considering these medicinal properties, coconut oil is also good for preventing skin infections.
3. Helps With Wound Healing/Skin Protective Properties
In addition to sanitizing the surface of your skin, can coconut oil help with protecting the skin, or even act as an anti-inflammatory? Several studies have shown that this oil can help speed up the healing process.
In one study from the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine 2019, it was concluded that virgin coconut oil (VCO), demonstrated the ability to suppress inflammatory markers, as well as enhance skin barrier function.
A study out of the International Journal of Molecular Science 2017 found that coconut oil, out of all the plant oils that were studied, had one of the highest skin permeabilities and lipid penetration within the epidermis. This same article concluded that coconut oil has the ability to help in promoting wound healing through faster epithelization.
One specific component within coconut oil, called monolaurin, has showed antimicrobial activity. An animal study on rats and wound healing in 2010 showed that virgin coconut oil treated wound, healed "much" faster due to the various biological components within the oil, compared to the control group.
4. Keeps Your Hair Healthy
Coconut oil has been shown to help in hair penetration that may lead to smoother and softer hair as well as lead to your hair looking fuller and healthier because of this.
Coconut oil, according to one study in 2015, reduced protein loss from hair. Could this lead to less breakage of hair? Coconut oil can also be left in the hair for considerable amount of time for this penetration to occur.
Tried any great product with coconut oil lately? We'd love to hear about them in our comments section below!
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