When we’re told that an ingredient can do it all, we’re immediately both intrigued and suspicious. Take coconut oil, for example. It’s an ingredient that many have touted for benefits across multiple categories — from cleaning surfaces to hydrating the skin — but is that truly the case? In particular, is coconut oil actually good for your skin? To get some answers, we turned to two of our consulting, board-certified dermatologists, Dendy Engelman, MD, and Dhaval Bhanusali, MD.
“Oil-based products are one of the best ways to add moisture back into the skin,” says Dr. Engelman. “They are easily absorbed and penetrate deep into the skin.” That said, there are some downsides. “I don’t like coconut oil for the face as it can clog pores and cause breakouts,” Dr. Engelman continues. “It ranks very high on the comedogenicity scale.”
Dr. Bhanusali agrees, saying, “some skin types — particularly oily, acne-prone skin — shouldn’t use it.” Additionally, the American Academy of Dermatology warns that acne-prone skin types should avoid using products containing coconut oil.
FOUR WAYS TO USE COCONUT OIL ON YOUR BODY
So, if you just received the news that coconut oil is not recommended for your skin type but you have a stock pile of it, Dr. Engelman has some suggestions: Reserve the ingredient for body application because the skin there is less likely to be sensitive. Ahead, we’ve rounded up five of the best ways to use coconut oil that don’t involve your face.
Coconut Oil Hack #1: Shave With It
Anyone who’s ever been caught in the shower without shaving cream knows the pain of trying to shave with a bar soap — or worse, completely dry. If you’ve run out of shaving cream and are in a pinch, reach for coconut oil. The oil’s consistency resembles that of a thick shaving cream, which can help the razor glide smoothly over your skin, making it less likely you’ll end up with razor bumps.
Coconut Oil Hack #2: Massage It Into Your Cuticles
Nothing ruins a perfect manicure faster than jagged cuticles. If your cuticles are dry, you don’t have to invest in a fancy cuticle oil or cream when you can apply coconut oil to moisturize.
Coconut Oil Hack #3: Add It to Your Bath
Ready for a relaxing bath? Take it to the next level by adding a ¼ cup of melted coconut oil. Not only will your bath have a delightful smell (without using any artificial fragrances) but when you step out, your skin will also feel hydrated and smooth.
Coconut Oil Hack #4: Try It in Place of Body Lotion
To nourish your skin and leave it looking radiant, apply coconut oil all over your body (instead of a lotion or cream) immediately after a shower. For maximum moisture, you can even apply a separate body lotion over top of the oil.
Coconut Oil Hack #5: Use a Coconut Oil-Formulated Skin-Care Product
Don’t want to use pure coconut oil on your skin? Reach for a skin-care product that’s formulated with coconut oil, instead. When coconut oil is mixed into a larger formulation, it makes it less likely to clog pores. Ahead, find ultra-hydrating skin-care products that are all infused with coconut oil.