Coconut oil for skin care is an age old tradition. It comes from the fruit of the coconut palm tree. The “nut” of the tree is the familiar, hairy brown sphere that you often see in the produce section of your grocery store. When the meat of that nut is pressed, a natural oil is extracted. This oil is commonly used both as a dietary enhancement and as a skin and hair treatment, due to its many health benefits.
Because it contains lauric acid, a fatty acid that has antiviral, antimicrobial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties, coconut oil has been used to treat a number of skin disorders from athlete’s foot to eczema. Its potent moisturizing properties make it a safe, natural alternative for battling dry skin and improving skin tone, making it a staple of the cosmetic industry as well.
How Does Coconut Oil Work?
In terms of moisturizing, coconut oil absorbs deep below the surface to provide natural moisture where the skin needs it most. At the same time, it works to strengthen the underlying tissues that provide a firm framework for the skin, which helps to erase fine lines and wrinkles. And by promoting the exfoliation of dead cells, it combats the dry, rough and flaky skin that can result from harsh weather conditions or from certain skin conditions including eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis.
Unlike synthetic oils, coconut oil does not clog the pores, allowing the skin to breathe freely. In the case of fungal infections such as athlete’s foot it works to kill off the organisms that cause skin irritation. For eczema and psoriasis, where flaking and scaling occur, coconut oil can help to soothe irritated skin and promote healing, helping the skin to restore itself from the inside out.
What Skin Conditions Can It Treat Effectively?
Specifically, coconut oil can be applied topically to treat athlete’s foot and other fungal infections. Simply dab directly on the affected areas and let the coconut oil absorb into the skin. It can also be used to treat other fungal infections, including nail fungus and Candida. For nail fungus, the oil should be rubbed into the cuticles until fully absorbed. For Candida, the oil can either be rubbed onto affected skin or taken internally to help stop the spread of the infection.
Coconut oil uses include as a topical treatment for eczema and psoriasis. Simply rub it over dry, scaly patches to bring soothing relief. Because it can also be used on the hair, coconut oil is particularly ideal for treating scalp psoriasis, which may be difficult to treat otherwise. Simply rub into the dry patches on your scalp and you’ll feel a difference. Likewise, it can be rubbed onto scars to hasten the healing process and diminish the appearance of the scar. It has a very soothing effect on the skin and can be used to ease symptoms of most conditions that involve drying, flaking and itchiness.
Beyond its medicinal use, the benefits of coconut oil are frequently applied for cosmetic purposes. As stated above, it is a wonderful natural moisturizer and can be used to combat the dryness and wrinkling that accompany the aging process. It can also be used to maintain proper moisture levels during the winter months when skin tends to dry out more rapidly. It can even be used as a soothing lip balm to heal dry, chapped lips.
How Does Coconut Oil Compare To More Traditional Treatments?
While traditional treatments such as topical steroids and retinoids, shampoos containing salicylic acid and UV light treatment are generally the first line of defense for psoriasis, applying coconut oil to affected skin is recommended as an effective addition to your treatment arsenal.
Using this wonderful natural substance on a regular basis can help to improve overall skin tone, combat skin conditions and keep your skin properly moisturized, and all with no side effects. In fact, coconut oil is so mild it is even considered safe for pregnant and nursing women. There is almost no reason not to avail yourself of one of nature’s most useful substances, so give your skin a boost by adding coconut oil to your skin care regimen.