Is Coconut Oil Good For Your Skin? Dermatologists Weigh In
When we’re told that an ingredient can do it all, we’re immediately suspicious. Take coconut oil for example. It’s an ingredient that many have touted for benefits across multiple categories, from cleaning surfaces to hydrating the skin. But is that truly the case? In particular, is coconut oil actually good for your skin? For the answers, we turned to two of our consulting dermatologists. They let us in on the truth about whether or not coconut oil is good for your skin.
Is Coconut Oil Actually Good for Your Skin?
In the world of DIY-everything, it’s hard to discern what ingredients are truly safe to be used on the skin and which should be kept in the kitchen pantry. That’s why we reached out to two board-certified dermatologists, Dr. Dendy Engelman and Dr. Dhaval Bhanusali, hoping they could offer their expert opinions and shed some light on whether coconut oil—one of the buzziest ingredients in the skin care realm—is, in fact, a good ingredient to slather on our skin.
“I don’t like coconut oil for the face as it can clog pores and cause breakouts.”
Dr. Engelman started off by sharing that oils can be a skin care essential. “Oil-based products are one of the best ways to add moisture back into the skin,” she says. “They are easily absorbed and penetrate deep into the skin.”
That said, there are some downsides. For starters, applying coconut oil to the face didn’t receive such a resounding approval from the experts. “Coconut oil has great moisturizing properties, however it may actually clog pores in some skin types, particularly oily, acne-prone skin,” Dr. Bhanusali says. Dr. Engelman revealed a similar perspective. “I don’t like coconut oil for the face as it can clog pores and cause breakouts,” she says. “It ranks very high on the comedogenicity scale.” Lastly, the American Academy of Dermatology warns that acne-prone skin types can actually benefit from avoiding products containing coconut oil. There’s your answer, loud and clear.
4 Ways to Use Coconut Oil
If you’ve already stocked up on coconut oil, but aren’t sure how to use it other than to coat your face, Dr. Engelman has some suggestions. She recommends reserving coconut oil for body skin application, since the skin there is less likely to be sensitive. And that way, not only will you not have to worry about clogged pores, but the oil also doesn’t have to go to waste. Below, we’ve rounded up four of the best ways to use coconut oil that don’t involve your face.
1. SHAVE WITH IT.
Anyone who’s ever been caught in the shower without shaving cream knows the pain of trying to shave with a bar soap, or worse, completely dry. If you’ve run out of shaving cream and are in a pinch, reach for your coconut oil. The oil’s consistency resembles that of a thick shaving cream, which can help the razor glide smoothly over your skin, making it less likely you’ll end up with razor bumps.
2. MASSAGE IT INTO YOUR CUTICLES.
Nothing ruins a perfect manicure faster than shabby cuticles. If your cuticles are dry, you don’t have invest in a fancy cuticle oil or cream, you can apply coconut oil to moisturize them instead.
3. ADD IT TO YOUR BATH.
Ready for a relaxing bath? To take it your bath to the next level, add a ¼ cup of melted coconut oil. Not only will your bath have a delightful smell—without using any artificial fragrances—but when you step out, your skin will feel hydrated and smooth.
4. TRY IT IN PLACE OF BODY LOTION.
To nourish your body skin and leave it looking radiant, apply coconut oil all over your body (instead of a lotion or cream) immediately after a shower. For maximum moisture, you can even apply a separate body lotion over top of the oil.
5. USE A COCONUT OIL-FORMULATED SKIN CARE PRODUCT
Don’t want to use pure coconut oil on your skin? Reach for a skin care product that’s formulated with coconut oil instead! That way you are technically applying coconut oil to your face, just while it’s mixed into a larger formulation. Not surprisingly, the skin care products below—all formulated with coconut oil—are hydrating in some capacity. So whether you’re looking for a new lip mask or facial cleanser, read on for 6 skin care products—from the L’Oreal portfolio of brands—infused with coconut oil!
#1: Kiehl’s Buttermask for Lips
This hydrating lip mask is infused with fairly-traded coconut oil and wild mango butter to help repair the lip moisture barrier to visibly restore lips overnight. That’s right, this overnight lip treatment smooths, softens, and nourishes lips with intense hydration—all while you snooze! You’ll wake up to soft, supple lips by morning. To use, apply a generous layer at bedtime and reapply throughout the day as desired.
Kiehl’s Buttermask for Lips, $24 MSRP
#2: L’Oréal Paris Pure-Sugar Nourish & Soften Cocoa Scrub
This face scrub is formulated with a blend of three pure sugars—brown, blonde, and white—finely crushed cocoa, luxurious coconut oil, and rich cocoa butter for gentle yet effective exfoliation. The buttery-soft formula is truly kind to your skin, leaving it more supple and nourished. The mask can be used on both the face and lips up to three times a week[CH2] .
#3: Kiehl’s Butterstick Lip Treatment SPF 30
Looking for a supremely hydrating and smoothing lip treatment? Butterstick Lip Treatment SPF 30 is for you. Formulated with a nourishing blend of oils and butters, including coconut oil and lemon butter, the formula instantly melts onto lips, providing a cushion of soothing moisture. The formula also contains SPF 30 to provide UVA and UVB protection for your lips. Simply apply the lip treatment liberally to lips as the last step in your daily skin care regimen.
Kiehl’s Butterstick Lip Treatment SPF 30, $19.50 MSRP
#4: Carol’s Daughter Almond Cookie Frappé Body Lotion
Blended with almond oil, coconut oil, and other carefully selected ingredients, this nutrient-rich body lotion comforts and hydrates the skin leaving it healthy-looking and soft. What’s more, the formula is free of sulfates, parabens, petrolatum, and artificial colors.
#5: NYX Professional Makeup All Over Balm - Coconut Oil
This nourishing, all-purpose body balm is infused with natural oils and enticing scents to revive skin so it looks more radiant.
#6: Baxter of California Sulfate-Free Daily Face Wash
This men’s daily face wash contains with coconut oil, aloe vera, and allantoin and can help energize and hydrate skin. The paraben-, sulfate-, and fragrance-free formula breaks through dirt and oil without drying the skin, making it great for all skin types including sensitive skin. Your skin will be left feeling refreshed and ready to face the day.