Twenty-Eight Health and Beauty Uses for Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a tasty alternative to the unhealthy oils so commonly used while cooking. Coconut oil is one of the healthiest oils available. It is made up of medium chain triglycerides, which is the good kind of fats that help the body metabolize faster and hence burn fat quicker. There are a myriad of health benefits to using coconut oil and it goes further than staying fit and building the immune system. There are also a bunch of health and beauty uses for the oil. The list below is simply the beginning.
Uses 1-12: General Beauty
Use organic, unrefined, extra virgin coconut oil as an all over body moisturizer to get rid of and prevent dry skin. Because the oil sinks into the skin it will never leave you feeling greasy. Coconut oil promotes the production of collagen which will strengthen skin tissue and prevent wrinkles. Also, mix with salt and use as a body scrub in the shower. After you’ve shampooed your hair, treat your locks to a hair mask: twist a generous amount of oil into your hair and let it sit for five minutes before rinsing. This will leave your hair healthy and shiny. If you’ve run out of shaving cream or just don’t trust the ingredients inside that shifty aerosol can, pull out your jar of coconut oil and slather that baby on. It will leave your skin smooth allowing for a super close shave, and once rinsed off, your skin will feel like silk. Once you’re dried, massage a small amount of oil into your cuticles. It will soften the skin around your nail and strengthen your nails. Coconut oil can be used as a lip balm, frizz fighter, skin highlighter, make-up remover, deodorant, and massage oil and lubricant. Dab the oil under the eyes as an under-eye cream to prevent puffiness, wrinkles, and dark circles. Coconut oil is a healthy, natural, and probably cheaper alternative to the expensive, commercial brand beauty supplies.
Use 13: Acne Prevention
Almost everyone struggles through the inconvenience of acne during some point in their life. With hundreds of skin care products floating around the world, all promising the same thing and not always fulfilling that promise, it’s hard to find the right product that will work for you. Coconut oil is a natural, non-chemical, non-preservative, acne fighter and preventer. Coconut oil contains antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties which all band together to fight and prevent acne breakouts. The vitamin E contained in the oil helps to reduce the appearance of acne scars.
It’s beneficial to take a steam shower before applying the oil. The steam will open up the pores and allow the oil to seep deep into the skin. Apply the oil topically to the acne prone areas. Massage well into the skin and then rinse with natural, non-scented soap. Do this twice daily, in the morning and at night. For severe acne apply 3-4 times a day. When you first begin using the oil you may notice an increase in acne, this is because the oil is pushing the infection out of the skin. Continue using the oil and in a week or two the acne will lessen and in most cases clear up completely. It may also be helpful to ingest 2-5 tablespoons of coconut oil as this will help build your immune system and help fight infection. Begin with one tablespoon a day (to let your body become used to it) and work your way up to five.
Use 14 and 15: Weight Loss and Immunity Booster
Coconut oil is high in medium chain triglycerides, which are metabolized differently than long chain triglycerides (most animal fat) in a more beneficial way. Coconut oil is thermogenic which means that ingesting it increases fat burning. It also decreases appetite. Because coconut oil boosts the metabolism and reduces appetite, it can help you lose fat. Especially infamous belly fat. Abdominal fat can be dangerous because it lodges near the organs and can cause inflammation, diabetes, and heart disease. Studies have shown that by adding two tablespoons of coconut oil to their current diet, obese men lost over an inch of abdominal fat per four weeks. Although this is not a drastic change, combine coconut oil with a healthy diet and frequent exercise and you can consider that belly fat good as gone!
Lauric acid and caprylic acid are two ingredients in coconut oil that are almost like miracle workers for immunity. These ingredients are helpful when dealing with viruses and bacteria. While coconut oil should not be the only thing driving your immune system (a healthy diet and exercise are required, as always!) it can certainly help fight off colds and flus, as well as help protect the body from bacterial diseases such as herpes, and HIV.
Use 16-26: Oral Health Benefits
Coconut oil can be used as a natural toothpaste. Commercial toothpastes are commonly packed with unsafe ingredients like xylitol (which is deadly to dogs and not good for humans either), glycerin (which coats the teeth for “protection” but blocks the re-enamalization process so that cavities can’t self-heal), and sodium fluoride (a product also found in rat poisons and industrial pesticides). Coconut oil on the other hand has none of these scary ingredients and is a great alternative. Use the oil on its own or mix it with baking soda and essential oil to create a DIY toothpaste. Both baking soda and coconut oil double as a natural teeth whitener.
Oil Pulling is an ancient practice that originated in India. Basically, it involves swishing oil (in this case coconut oil) around in your mouth for 10-20 minutes. This deep cleans your mouth and provides several benefits to your health. This practice promotes gum health, fresh breath, reduces harmful bacteria, and prevents cavities. Oil pulling can also help the body in areas not related to the mouth. For instance, it cures hangovers and headaches, is anti-viral and acts as a general detox, and sinus and allergy cure, it works as a general pain reliever, can help get rid of acne, eczema, and other skin problems, and it can manage weird hormonal imbalances (for when TOM pays that monthly aggravating visit). Just be sure to spit the oil out in the trash once you’re done swishing. You don’t want to clog any drains!
Use 27: Sunscreen
Like a lot of commercial “health” products, over-the-counter sunscreen can sometimes contain harmful ingredients. Ironically, sunscreen often contains ingredients linked to cancer. Store bought sunscreens will often contain retinyl palmitate (which is a skin hazard) and oxybenzone (which can cause cancer by disrupting hormones and leading to cell damage). When rubbed or sprayed onto the skin, those chemicals are absorbed into your bloodstream and can be toxic.
There are two types of UV rays from the sun: UVA and UVB. UVA are what you need protection from, UVB, however, is where you get your vitamin D which is your body’s natural way of protecting you from cancer. Store bought sunscreens will block both types of rays and unfortunately, while blocking UVB rays will stop you from burning, it could also cause cancer which is basically counterproductive. Luckily for us, the earth provides a natural sunblock, one that people have been using for thousands of years and has been proven effective: coconut oil! You can buy natural coconut oil sunscreen, or whip out that handy-dandy jar of oil from the kitchen cupboard and slather it on.
Use 28: First Aid
Apply coconut oil to lacerations, sunburns, rashes, and new tattoos to help the skin heal. Because the oil encourages collagen production, it helps repair skin cells and helps skin injuries heal faster. The antibacterial properties contained in the oil will help prevent infection and it will sooth the pain from burns and prevent pealing. You can use it on a new tattoo to help the skin heal and not chap or peal. However, wait a week before using as it will heal the skin and could draw the ink out of your flesh.