Beauty trends come and go but the trend for coconut oil in skin care and cosmetics is set to stay.
Part of the star appeal of coconut oil is that it is one of the most effective, skin softening moisturisers out there and, unlike mineral oils (which are also very effective moisturisers), it is natural, not synthetic.
Coconut oil has inherit moisturising properties due to its oily consistency which means that it improves the skin's hydration levels without affecting the surface lipids. It is primarily composed of saturated fats and contains medium-chain fatty acids, which help to repair the skin barrier and trap water, thus hydrating the skin.
It also has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and is filled with anti-oxidants and can help with skin conditions such as eczema, and alleviate extreme dryness such as scaly feet and rough irritated elbows.
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The benefits of coconut oil don't stop at the skin. The scalp and hair also benefit from regular application. Coconut oil is able to penetrate the hair shaft due to its low molecular weight and affinity for proteins. Studies have shown that it can reduce protein loss in hair when used before shampooing and as a leave-in treatment. A little application on the hair and skin as part of a daily beauty routine—will result in smoother, hair and baby soft skin.
If you have very oily skin or are prone to break outs avoid slathering yourself in coconut oil from head-to-toe as it may comedogenic. However, don't shun it completely, you don't want to miss out on the anti-inflammatory and anti-aging benefits of the polyphenols. Instead mix some coconut oil with your regular moisturiser to boost the hydration levels without going oil overboard. Or incorporate products in your skin care regime that contain coconut oil as a prominent ingredient.