Coconut oil… the crisco of modern day self care

Coconut Oil is everywhere.  It seems these days as though all life's problems can be solved by this simple lipid.  Who knew?  When you take an in depth look at this oil, especially from a skincare perspective, it is definitely not all it's cracked up to be.  There are several issues with using coconut oil on your face; while not an issue on other areas of the body, the face is a very different story. The Lauric and Myristic acids found in coconut oil can cause the cohesiveness of keratin to take place.  In short, It causes your oils to become much more "sticky" and accelerates the shedding of cells which is specifically what makes it comedogenic (pore clogging). Imagine all those cells flaking off, sticking together and causing a plug. This is a huge issue for acne prone skin (although I have seen it cause issues in other skin types as well) and while it may not necessarily be an issue on our feet or even our hair, on facial skin, it has a whole other effect and can lead to many different problems. Myristic acid is also known to be irritating to the follicle, so less "The Holy Grail" as many have touted, and more "The Perfect Storm."

Another issue with this particular oil is the amount of oleic acid in it. Our skin has a specific balance of oleic and linoleic acid (many people are deficient in linoleic acid, especially if they are prone to acne). By disrupting this balance we are disrupting our skin's delicate barrier leaving it vulnerable which can eventually lead to things like irritation, dryness, redness and a whole slew of other issues.

As for claims of antibacterial properties that I keep hearing about, here is a quote from a well written article in Futurederm from 2016.  "Coconut Oil grows bacteria because it is full of things bacteria like to feed on. It includes the lipids lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, all of which have some antibacterial activity on their own, but do NOT cover the entire range of microorganisms they might be susceptible to encountering on a regular basis. In addition, after regular use, all of that bacteria and moisture on your hands gets into the jar, resulting in a prime place for bacterial growth." 

The best oils for your face are sunflower, safflower or jojoba as they are most closely related to the natural oil our skin produces. However, when purchasing, you do want to ensure that you get these oils organic as genetically modified versions of the same oil can contain higher amounts of oleic acid. Cleansing with the appropriate oil for your skin can be immensely beneficial, where moisturization and hydration come into play, our skin needs more than just oil to stay moisturized and battle signs of aging or specific issues such as acne or eczema.  

So keep that coconut oil in the kitchen!  Unless you are like me and cannot stand the stuff.