Over the last few years, coconut oil has become the new craze in the beauty community. Noted as an all-rounder, the oil is considered to be the answer to every problem you could possibly face.

Frizzy hair? Coconut oil. Chapped lips? Coconut oil. Makeup remover? You guessed it, coconut oil. Celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow swear by the affordable ingredient, saying their skin feels hydrated after incorporating it into their routine.

But the question lingers as to whether the oil is safe for our skin, and if there are any risks involved when slathering it in concentrated amounts. Cosmetic chemist and founder of Hop & Cotton, Ee Ting Ng, and skin specialist and owner of Skin Clinic Blyss, Jodie King, spoke to Beauty Crew about the benefits and the downsides of coconut oil.

What are the benefits of using coconut oil on the skin?

Ng says that like other plant-based oils, coconut oil can hugely benefit those with dry skin, as it helps lock in moisture. “By reducing water loss (also known as trans-epidermal water loss), [coconut oil] helps increase the water content in our skin,” Ng tells Beauty Crew.

“Water is crucial in maintaining the barrier function of our skin to keep unwanted microbes out, prevent dryness and allow all other skin functions to perform optimally like repair and desquamation. These benefits are not a result of coconut oil per se, but the occlusive nature of it being an oil.”

King goes on to further add that, “Due to the hydration of the skin, coconut oil can soften the appearance of fine lines.”

Ng says: “These superficial lines are caused by separation of the outermost skin cells, which have dried out and curled up at their edges. Coconut oil moisturises by flattening these edges, thus ‘filling’ in these gaps, making them less apparent.”

But while the all-rounder oil reduces the appearance of fine lines, the effect is temporary. “There is no scientific evidence to say that coconut oil will improve wrinkles,” says King.

What type of coconut oil should you use?

Experts believe raw, organic coconut oil is the best. “Virgin coconut oil (VCO) is the preferred form as it has not been subjected to high heat during extraction. VCO also contains antioxidants like phenolic and coumaric acids, which prevent free radical damage.”

How to use coconut oil

If you struggle with acne or clogged pores, stay far away from coconut oil, as it can exacerbate the condition. But for those who lean more towards dry and dehydrated skin, here are ways you can use coconut oil.

1. As a makeup remover: Because of its oil base, coconut oil is a great alternative to makeup remover, as it breaks down all the nitty gritty, even stubborn waterproof eye makeup. But be sure to remove every last trace of the oil from your skin, as it may end up clogging your pores if left on.

2. As a face mask: For a DIY face mask that costs next-to-nothing, mix two teaspoons of coconut oil and 1.5 teaspoons of raw honey. Combine the two together and apply evenly all over your face. Leave it on for half an hour to reveal beautiful, plump skin.

3. As a moisturiser for your body: Coconut oil is full of essential fatty acids, making it the perfect all-over body moisturiser. Apply it liberally after a shower, especially focusing on stubborn areas such as elbows, knees and feet.

Will you be incorporating coconut oil into your everyday beauty routine? Let us know in the comments below

Republished with permission of Over60.