Some have classified coconut oil, with its myriad of benefits, as a ‘super-food’ – though not many are aware of what else it offers.
Coconut oil contains a high amount of lauric acid, a fatty acid that is not only known for its antimicrobial and antifungal properties, but has also been characterised as having a beneficial effect on the levels of HDLs (high-density lipoproteins), which are otherwise known as good cholesterol, increasing its ratio in comparison to LDLs (low-density lipoproteins).
Additionally, coconut oil is also great for use on skin and hair, with many swearing by it as part of their beauty regime.
It contains vitamin E, a popular ingredient in skincare products that reportedly protects the skin from oxidative damage as well as general wear and tear. Unsurprisingly, when coconut oil is applied to the skin, it often leaves the surface feeling baby-smooth, thanks to its moisture-retaining capability.
A study published in the scientific journal Pharmacognosy Review also reported that coconut oil blocks out approximately 20% of UV radiation the skin is exposed to, while a separate dermatology study indicated that it significantly improved the level of hydration within the skin.
Coconut’s oil component of lauric acid has demonstrated a high affinity for hair proteins as well, allowing it to penetrate and moisturize the hair shaft, which improves scalp health, fights infections and supports hair growth. It also helps to prevent damage from frequent combing and brushing, while adding volume and shine to your mane.
All-natural coconut oil can also be used as a leave-in conditioner, and is a good hair care option for those plagued by a chronically dry scalp.
Nevertheless, when applying coconut oil to your skin or hair, start in small doses before increasing the amount used gradually, in the event that you might be allergic to any of the oil’s components.