Coconut oil is a highly saturated oil that has been used for years in skin and hair care for its nourishing and soothing properties. But are there any side effects and contraindications associated with its use? Find answers in this article.
Coconut Skincare: Are There Any Dangers to Using Coconut Oil?
Coconut Oil in Skincare Products: What Are the Contraindications?
The only contraindication concerns oily and acne-prone skin. Indeed, its very high index of comedogenicity (4/5) makes it incompatible with these types of skins because it risks blocking the already obstructed pores, promoting the formation of pimples. So, does coconut oil cause acne? Concerning acne, coconut oil is a contradictory ingredient. Indeed, it clogs the pores, but it also contains a powerful antibacterial called lauric acid capable of limiting the proliferation of Cutibacterium acnes, the main bacterium involved in acne.
Apart from that, coconut skincare and oil is gentle and non-allergenic. It is even suitable for pregnant and breastfeeding women, as well as for babies and young children.
Coconut Oil in Skincare Products: What Are the Side Effects?
There are pros and cons of using coconut oil, but only one actual side effect: the appearance or aggravation of comedones (blackheads) and small spots. Only oily skin is affected by this type of side effect, as its pores are already clogged before the application of coconut oil.
Note: in capillary application, whatever the nature of the hair, it is preferable not to apply it on the scalp. Coconut oil will grease the scalp and will then make the hair look greasy.
Coconut Oil in Skincare Products: What Precautions to Take?
It is advisable to be attentive to certain points when using coconut skincare:
To enjoy all its benefits, it is recommended to use a virgin or unrefined coconut oil rather than a refined one. It is the raw coconut oil extracted from the expeller. Refined coconut oil has undergone a chemical reaction called partial hydrogenation, which has changed its biochemical composition. Although it is less expensive than virgin coconut oil, refined coconut oil is also less beneficial to the skin and hair.
Coconut oil has a protective effect on the skin, but it is not a substitute for sunscreen. It does not filter UV rays and therefore will not protect the skin from the harmful effects of the sun's rays.
Even if it is not very sensitive to oxidation, it must be kept in an airtight amber glass container, away from air, light, and heat.
Mandatory information must be indicated on the label of the bottle (batch number, INCI list, period after opening, etc.
Darren Yang & al., The antimicrobial activity of liposomal lauric acids against Propionibacterium acnes, Biomaterials. (2009)
Teruaki Nakatsuji & al., Antimicrobial property of lauric acid against Propionibacterium acnes: its therapeutic potential for inflammatory acne vulgaris, J Invest Dermatol, (2009).
Wen-Cheng Huang & al., Anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of capric acid against Propionibacterium acnes: a comparative study with lauric acid, J Dermatol Sci, (2014)