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Is Coconut Oil Good for Your Face: Pros and Cons of This Skincare Ingredient ----- Back

05.11.19 - Knowledge

Is Coconut Oil Good for Your Face: Pros and Cons of This Skincare Ingredient

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Words by Antoinette Barnardo

Coconut oil is a popular ingredient in skincare and other beauty products. In addition to giving products an appealing scent, coconut oil is also used to help moisturise skin, fight infection, and even remove makeup. But even though it’s used in various skincare products, is coconut oil good for your face?

In order to determine the effectiveness of this well-known ingredient on your skin, we'll break down the chemical structure of coconut oil while taking a look at the ways it can work in harmony with other actives.

What Is in Coconut Oil?

Coconut oil’s composition is roughly 90% saturated triglycerides. We can break these down by what’s known as free fatty acids, or FFAs — each of which has its own benefits for the skin.

Lauric acid makes up the majority of FFAs in coconut oil at 49%. It’s known for its antibacterial and antifungal properties.

The remaining FFAs found in coconut oil have numerous skin-revitalising benefits, as well:

  • Myristic acid (18%): Surfactant (meaning it brings water and oil together)
  • Palmitic acid (8%): Opacifier (in other words, it makes products more opaque)
  • Capric acid (7%): Skin conditioner 
  • Oleic acid (6%): Surfactant 
  • Linoleic acid (2%): Cleansing agent 
  • Stearic acid (2%): Skin conditioner/surfactant

Given the benefits of these FFAs, coconut oil can certainly aid in promoting a healthier, clearer complexion. However, this ingredient is not without drawbacks.

Pros and Cons of Coconut Oil

There is no skincare ingredient that is absolutely perfect for every single person. Coconut oil can be beneficial for your face, but it can also be ineffective or even damaging in some cases depending on your skin type and other personal factors.

Pros of Coconut Oil

Cons of Coconut Oil

  • Coconut oil is comedogenic, which means it has the potential to clog pores and cause breakouts. Anyone with acne-prone or oily skin may not see the same benefits from coconut oil as other skin types, especially when it comes to reducing blemishes.
  • Despite what some may believe, coconut oil is not an effective sunscreen. A study published in the November 2015 edition of the International Journal of Cosmetic Science revealed that coconut oil has an SPF of 1. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that people use sunscreen that is at least SPF 30. Never attempt to make a DIY sunscreen using coconut oil (or anything else).
  • Although it’s rare, allergies to coconut oil do exist. If it’s your first time using a product with coconut oil on your face, perform a patch test to rule out any possible negative reactions. If you feel like you may have an allergic reaction to coconut-based skincare products, visit your dermatologist or health care professional.

Of course, with all skincare ingredients, your success may vary. When introducing coconut oil — or any ingredient — into your skincare regimen, take into account other products you’re using. Also, consider hormonal changes that come from menstruation/menopause or pregnancy and environmental factors such as pollution or humidity.

In order to harness the benefits of coconut oil, it’s not enough to use it as a skincare product alone in most cases. Derivatives and alternate forms of coconut oil, when combined with other active ingredients, can yield some excellent results.

How Coconut Oil Is Used in Skincare Products

Coconut oil has many different forms and names. You might see it in the ingredients lists of your skincare and beauty products under the following names:

  • Coco-caprylate/caprate: A mixture of coconut alcohol with caprylic acid and capric acid that’s commonly used as an emollient (skin softener) and emulsifier (an agent that binds water and oil).
  • Cocoglycerides: An emollient from coconut oil that gives the skin a soft, smooth appearance.
  • Coconut alkanes: A plant-derived silicone obtained from coconut oil that provides a smooth feel and helps spreadability.
  • Coconut alkanes (and) polysilicone 11: A vegetable-sourced silicone elastomer (rubber) that provides a matte, soft appearance and silky feel. It also aids in absorbing excess facial oils.
  • Cocos nucifera (coconut) oil: A natural emollient and moisturiser.

While there are several ways to extract and use coconut oil, at YORA we find the following two methods to be the most effective in our line of products:

MCT Oil

MCT (medium-chain fatty acid) oil is a popular dietary supplement, especially among those who follow a ketogenic diet. But in addition to its health benefits, it's now becoming recognised for how it can improve your skin. MCT oil is a refined derivative of coconut oil that is thinner, which means skin can absorb it easier

Coconut oil is primarily made up of lauric acid. MCT oil contains a high concentration of caprylic/capric triglyceride. This makes MCT oil more valuable as a skin conditioner and moisturiser.

To try a nourishing product that includes MCT oil, look to the YORA Revitalise Face Polish. It combines the exfoliating properties of alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) with the moisturising power of caprylic/capric triglyceride plus PENTAVITIN® to give you a softer complexion without being too harsh. Use it once a week to keep pores clean and skin smooth.

Another option is the YORA Replenish Face Oil. It’s infused with MCT oil, Co-Q10, and ANTILEUKINE 6®, which creates a protective barrier against external factors that can lead to the physical signs of premature ageing. This oil makes a great primer for makeup. You can also mix some into your favourite foundation for a dewy finish.

Virgin Coconut Oil

Virgin coconut oil comes from the milk of the coconut and is unrefined. Unlike its refined counterpart, virgin coconut oil has a higher content of vitamin E, which makes it even more moisturising.

You can find virgin coconut oil in YORA’s Lip Plump. This is a hydrating formula that also includes LPD Lip Plumper and Hyaluronic Filling Spheres™. It leaves lips looking fuller while smoothing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. This lip balm is suitable for all skin types.

Incorporating Coconut Oil Into Your Skincare Routine

With its ability to add moisture, ease inflammation, and condition skin, coconut oil can be good for your face, especially when it’s included in well-formulated products.

If you have extremely dry skin or a damaged moisture barrier, you may benefit from coconut oil’s hydrating properties due to its high concentration of nourishing lipids. And since coconut oil has a high concentration of lauric acid, it can also be effective in healing scars and diminishing breakouts.

However, if you are acne-prone or have oily skin, you may want to avoid adding this popular ingredient to your routine. As a comedogenic ingredient, coconut oil can clog pores, which can lead to more pimples.

Coconut oil is most effective when paired with other actives, such as AHAs and Co-Q10. At YORA, we follow a wholistic philosophy that recognises how multi-faceted our skin is. Thus, we take a both/and approach to skincare, realising that no one ingredient like coconut oil can, nor should, do it all.

We encourage you to harness the benefits of coconut oil to achieve your most glowing, vivid complexion yet.

Words by Antoinette Barnardo

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