Ahhh, coconut oil 😍
This oil smells divine and the list of amazing things it does for our health is incredible! In this blog post, I’d like to share ten ways I use coconut oil in my home and/or in my tinc botanica products.
Please also note the following:
*Coconut oil has a melting point of 76 degrees fahrenheit. This is why it can be super hard in the winter and become a liquid in the summer. When using it in your skin products, it is often wise to adjust your ratios of coconut oil to butters etc, according to the season.
*I am in no way a medical professional. I’m a lover of living a mindful lifestyle in which we keep unnecessary chemicals to a minimum. What I know about coconut oil comes from years of personal experience and a lot of research!
*It is always a good idea to test a small area on your skin before trying any oil for the first time.
So, without further ado I present to you my list of ten health benefits that coconut oil has been known to provide:
1. UV Protection
In some studies, coconut oil has been found to help protect skin from harmful UV rays. This study found that coconut oil is estimated to have an SPF of 7. While this is still a far cry from the recommended 90% protection, when mixed with other oils containing SPF AND common sense (shade, protective clothing, mindfulness of time of day in the sun, etc), coconut oil can at least be a partial solution to safe fun in the sun.
After having done a lot of (often eye-opening) research on the SPF subject, I have landed on a recipe that I like to make myself for the sun care of my whole family. I use oils with natural SPF including coconut and raspberry leaf, as well as non-nano zinc oxide. It feels so good to be informed, while simultaneously helping to protect my kids’ skin!
2. Dental Care
According to this source, “[c]oconut oil can be a powerful weapon against bacteria, including Streptococcus mutans, the bacteria in your mouth that causes dental plaque, tooth decay, and gum disease.” And this study showed that oil pulling with coconut oil for 10 minutes was as effective as using an antiseptic mouthwash.
I personally love oil pulling and find that it’s the perfect way to start my day. I swish about a tablespoon of coconut oil for 15-20 minutes, being mindful to swish it between my teeth. When I am done, I spit it in the trash (don’t want to clog the pipes with oil!) and then I brush with just baking soda. I feel awesome knowing I’m killing bad bacteria, reducing bad breath and risk for cavities, reducing inflammation, and improving the overall health of my gums. This medical article talks more about the health benefits of oil pulling.
3. Skin Irritation and Eczema
Coconut oil has been shown to improve skin irritations such as dermatitis and eczema. Many studies have shown that regular use of coconut oil on irritated skin conditions will moderately to dramatically improve the skin.
Personally, I use coconut oil as a staple in many (or even most!) of my DIY skin products. This super informative article and infographic breaks down the differences between refined and virgin coconut oil. Suffice it to say that both are great in skin products, but typically the virgin oil is used in body care.
4. Nourishing Moisturizer
Coconut oil can be used as an awesome moisturizer for all areas of the body! Because coconut oil ranks higher on the comedogenic scale (ie – how likely it is to clog pores), depending on your skin type, type of oil, and your own unique chemistry, not everyone will have the same experience. It’s always best to test a small area before deciding whether any oil will be the right one for you.
I personally use virgin or extra virgin (and of course, organic!) coconut oil in my skin and hair products. I love the smell of coconuts and the smell is actually one of the bigger differences between virgin and refined coconut oil (and the smoke point when cooking).
5. Promotes Healthy Hair and Scalp
Coconut oil contains lauric acid, which is awesome for a lot of reasons. One of these is its ability to help promote healthy hair and scalp. Lauric acid is the main fatty acid in coconut oil, and due to its unique structure, it can penetrate and protect the hair shaft unlike other oils.
I have used coconut oil in many deep conditioning hair mask recipes, but the one I’m currently loving is in a cute little spray. I mix coconut oil with lemon juice and chamomile tea with lavender, and spray on my hair before going in the sun. I’m blonde and using this mix has helped to lighten me up without harmful chemical hair dyes!
6. Increase Healing
A study on rats showed that coconut oil can increase the healing time for wounds when using coconut oil. Scientists found that (at least for those rats!) coconut oil worked as an anti-inflammatory agent and also helped to speed up collagen production.
So basically we’re saying that coconut oil is a little magical too, huh? I think yes, maybe a little ✨
7. Insect Repellent
It might be commonly known that there are a wide variety of essential oils that can be used in various ways to repel insects. But did you know that combining these oils with coconut oil as the carrier can increase their effectiveness by a lot? This study found that mixing certain Thai herbal oils with coconut oil provided a whopping 98% protection rate from certain mosquitoes. WHAT?! Coconut oil magic, indeed.
8. Natural Deodorant
Interestingly, sweat itself is not what causes us to stink — instead, it’s the bacteria living on our skin that causes this to happen. Because of coconut oil’s strong antibacterial properties, it can make a really great addition to any homemade deodorant recipe. Personally, I use a recipe that calls for coconut oil, cornstarch, baking soda, witch hazel, shea butter, and yummy lemongrass. I absolutely love it!
9. Remove Eye Makeup
Coconut oil makes an awesome makeup remover, too. Just a little bit on a cotton pad and a few gentle pats, and it easily removes my eye makeup.
10. Soothe Burns
Because of its high saturated fat content, coconut oil is ultra moisturizing. While coconut oil has not been proven to definitively cure the sunburn itself, this study showed that applying oils high in fats (such as coconut oil) to a burn may speed up healing time and reduce dryness.