If you suffer from acne the chances are that you often feel embarrassed, self-conscious and frustrated about how your skin looks and feels.
Celebrated as one of nature’s superfoods coconut oil, has received a lot of attention over the last couple of years with its antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial and antiviral properties being documented in popular health and beauty magazines, scientific research articles and diet books. However when it comes to skincare, can the topical application of coconut oil directly help with the elimination of acne? – in my professional opinion the answer is no, here’s why.
Our skin is constantly changing and adapting to the environment around it. The choices we make regarding our diet, exercise, water intake and the products we put onto our skin will all impact its overall appearance and health. While oils in the form of aromatherapy massages and those which are added to our daily diet can be a fantastic addition to our overall well-being, it’s important to use the right ones for your unique skin type. If you suffer from acne, you’ve most probably read about the multiple benefits of coconut oil and heard many positive testimonials about how it can decrease inflammation and redness associated with regular breakouts. However it’s not an oil which we’d recommend you use, in fact the truth is that coconut oil, has the potential to make your flare ups worse, due to it being very high (level 4 in fact) on the comedogenic scale. (The comedogenic scale is a reference table used to ascertain how products can clog your pores.)
Derived from the dried flesh of mature coconuts from the tropical climates of Africa and South East Asia, coconut oil is bursting with a variety of nutrients and medium chain fatty acids (Lauric acid, Capric acid and Caprylic acid), which collectively support our wellbeing. Despite having multiple benefits when incorporated into a healthy diet and added to some beauty products such as hair masks and lip balms to lock in moisture, if used directly on the face or other areas of skin where acne is present, our much loved virgin cold pressed coconut oil can aggravate and in some cases make acne worse.
The facts – Why coconut oil should not be used directly on acne prone skin
It’s important to remember that propionibacterium acnes also known as P. acnes, which is the cause of acne vulgaris, is constantly present in hair follicles in a dormant state. Normally this bacteria is unable to reproduce due to the levels of oxygen which circulate around it, however if the follicle becomes blocked by comedogenic (pore clogging) oils such as coconut oil, the one dormant bacteria will begin to feed off the sebum of overactive sebaceous glands and will multiply, leading to those all too common inflamed whiteheads (pustules).
Coconut oil ranks high up on the comedogenic scale, means that consistent use of it as a skincare product, can potentially make acne prone skins worse. At room temperature coconut oil solidifies, when applied to our skin it creates a barrier and locks in moisturiser, so while absolutely having the ability to soften and hydrate it can also block pores and aggravate the problem. Which is why I’d never personally recommend it as part of your daily routine, as in my expert opinion the skin needs to be able to breathe and secrete sebum naturally.
Benefits of coconut oil
While we don’t encourage the use of coconut oil as a skincare product for acne, we do recommend it as an addition to your kitchen or bathroom cupboard for other uses. Here are 5 reasons why;
- Oil pulling with coconut oil is recommended to compliment dental brushing as it’s believed to help reduce bacteria in the mouth and support dental hygiene.
- A smoothie containing coconut oil makes the perfect drink to have after your high intensity gym workout or group exercise session. The high energy fuelled medium chain fatty acids contained within the oil, help to encourage muscle recovery and boost your metabolism.
- Substituting your regular cooking oil with coconut oil, is something many nutritionists advocate, as unlike long chain fatty acids which are found in plant oils, the medium chain fatty acids present in coconut oil can help to aid digestion. As they’re processed quickly in the liver, resulting in an immediate conversion to energy, instead of being stored as fat.
- When refined, despite being depleted of many of its beneficial nutrients, coconut oil can be much more easily absorbed, making it an ideal carrier to be used in perfumery or as a massage oil base, to soften dry and mature skin.
While there are many articles which promote the benefits of coconut oil it’s important to take into consideration that scientific studies and research don’t always support some of the claims made on the internet. The same approach applies to the use of coconut oil as a skin care product. While some facial oils do have the ability to regulate the overproduction of sebum, hydrate and nourish the skin, they need to be non comedogenic, to ensure that they don’t make your acne worse.
Here at Envision Acne and Skin Care Center we only recommend products to our clients that are 100% acne safe and won’t contain any comedogenic ingredients. Our PoreInfusion skincare line was especially created to help support every individual acne type by using ingredients that will exfoliate, hydrated and renew the skin. Our sensitive skin wash containing white oak bark extract to gently cleanse congested skin. The deep hydration cream being rich in Hyaluronic Acid and Squalene is perfect for locking in moisture for those dehydrated pores. Our popular acne spot treatment is infused with pore detoxifying sulfur and is perfect for cystic breakouts. The PoreInfuison hydrating toner contains lavender to calm the skin, hyaluronic acid which helps to restore moisturizer, which hazel which balances PH levels and sage which is one of nature’s antiseptic and anti-inflammatory healers.
Do you need expert skin care advice from a licensed esthetician/acne specialist? Schedule your appointment for a consultation today to get personalized advice on products and treatments that are right for you.
Please note that all blog posts and content created by Envision Acne and Skincare Center are not intended to be used as medical advice or as a substitute for it and are designed for your information and educational awareness only. We always recommend that you consult with a medical practitioner regarding any health or skincare issues you have, as they may wish to carry out a full health assessment before recommending you to a licensed aesthetician and acne professional