There’s so much talk these days about the benefits of using coconut oil in and out of our bodies. It is fast becoming a growing trend for healthy living. So much so, that coconut is now classed as a superfood.
I personally jumped on the coconut oil bandwagon 5 years ago when I started using it for hair growth and I am pleased I did. The results have been staggering. Now, not only am I an avid user both for cooking and on my skin but I’m also a serial recommender.
But what is coconut oil exactly? Are there real benefits of using it on our skin? Let’s find out!
What is coconut oil
Coconut oil, also known as copra oil, is a type of edible fatty oil derived from the flesh or meat of mature coconuts also known as the kernel – gotten from the coconut palm.
It’s a highly saturated fat packed with medium-chained fatty acids. Most of the other natural fats we consume are usually long-chained.
According to research, medium-chain fatty acids continuously boost the amount of energy the body produces. Unlike other fats that are stored in our bodies, these are sent directly to the liver and burned as energy.
Its unique composition as a medium-chained fatty acid makes this oil very potent and nutritious. And, apparently, it nourishes not only the body from inside but also its various parts, especially the skin.
Benefits of using coconut oil
Coconut oil is antimicrobial because of the medium chain fatty acids it’s composed of. These help the body fight against harmful microorganisms.
Many skin infections such as acne, athlete’s foot, or cellulitis are caused by these harmful microorganisms (bacteria, parasites, and fungi).
Direct application of coconut oil on the skin could help protect against the growth and spread of these microorganisms. This is mainly due to the high content of Lauric acid – up to 50% present in coconut oil.
A study which tested the strength of 30 different types of fatty acids against 20 various strains of bacteria, found Lauric acid to be the most potent against the growth of bacteria.
Further examination showed Lauric acid to kill Propionibacterium acnes which is an inflammatory acne-causing bacteria.
Capric acid, which is also found in coconut oil, protects against harmful microorganisms as well but to a lesser extent than Lauric acid.
Research has shown both Capric and Lauric acid to be very effective at killing off various strains of bacteria.
Another study showed Capric acid effective in stopping the growth of fungi.
The above studies show that coconut oil has antimicrobial properties and is very effective at killing and protecting against bacteria and fungi.