The Beauty Benefits of Coconut Oil
One of “the latest and greatest” foods to garner increasing attention, coconut oil deserves every bit of interest it gets. Cooking with coconut oil, especially instead of certain other oils, brings new health dimension (and flavor) to food. That’s certainly a boon for your inside. What may be surprising, though, is just how good this oil can be for your outside, too.
Coconut Oil and Hair Health
- Treats Dandruff—The medium-chain fatty acids (a good type of saturated fat) in coconut oil can help minimize those itchy, white flakes; massage a small amount onto your scalp and let it sit for 30 minutes before rinsing hair.
- Conditions Strands—If your locks are thirsty for moisture, coconut oil is able to hydrate hair by deeply penetrating the shaft. You can even use it as a leave-in treatment by combing a small dollop into your hair at night; cover your pillow with a towel to protect your pillowcase.
- Prevents Hair Damage—Because of its ability to lock in moisture, coconut oil prevents breakage; its lauric acid also reduces protein loss, which can lead to dull, brittle strands, as well as thinning and hair loss.
- Tames Frizz—Just a small drop of coconut oil is all you need to help control frizzy locks. Rub it between your fingers and apply it to your strands, especially the ends, for a smooth, soft and shiny appearance.
Coconut Oil and Skin Health
- Hydrates a Dry Complexion—The saturated fats and fatty acids in coconut oil trap water, making it an effective moisturizer. Rub a quarter-size amount into skin (your face, neck, legs, elbows, knees and heels) after you shower for better absorption. Unlike many creams and lotions that contain petroleum-based ingredients, coconut oil reaches a deeper level of your skin, strengthening its tissue and eliminating excess dead skin cells.
- Helps Heal Skin—The vitamin E in coconut oil can soothe sunburn and speed along the healing of bug bites. Although this oil may be helpful in treating skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, and it can’t hurt to try, the evidence is inconclusive; speak with your doctor about whether coconut oil is an appropriate option.
- Reduces the Appearance of Wrinkles—Additionally, the antioxidant properties of vitamin E can minimize wrinkles. Applying coconut oil to your skin after you’ve been out in the sun may help ward off fine lines brought on by inflammation and sun damage. (Of course, nothing does that better than using proper sun protection in the first place.)
- Helps Remove Makeup—Put some coconut oil on a cotton ball and wipe your face to lift makeup, especially pesky mascara that often lingers. Remove residue with a gentle cleanser afterwards.
Note: If you have sensitive skin and are prone to breakouts, you may want to avoid using coconut oil on your complexion.
More: Hydrate Your Complexion
Coconut Oil and Nail Health
- Protects Cuticle—This miraculous oil can also make for an effective cuticle treatment, helping to moisturize nail beds and prevent peeling. Apply as necessary, gently rubbing the coconut oil into cuticles.
If these gains encourage you to add coconut oil to your beauty routine, look for extra virgin, which means it hasn’t been hydrogenated, bleached, refined or deodorized, and, therefore, retains more of its beneficial properties. You may hesitate buying a jar, worrying that you won’t use it all, but know that you can store coconut oil at room temperature for up to two years. And remember, a little goes a long way: Just a drop or two of coconut oil is enough to make a difference. Close your eyes, inhale its alluring fragrance and create a spa-like moment while you use it.