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Does your skin need coconut oil?

Vegetable oils are as good (or as bad) as their chemical composition. What is “good” or “bad” depends on the use you are planning for it.  When it comes to energy and carbon skeletons, our body (and skin) can use practically everything. When it comes to building the cell and its membranes, some fatty acids, like linoleic and alpha-linolenic acids,  are essential because we can’t make them.

What do we know about the composition of coconut oil? Below is the list of fatty acids, the number of carbons they have, and whether they are saturated or not. Coconut oil will not give you the essential fatty acids you need, that’s for sure.

Type of fatty acid        %
Caprylic saturated C8  7%
Capric saturated C10  8%
Lauric saturated C12  48%
Myristic saturated C14  16%
Palmitic saturated C16  9.5%
Oleic monounsaturated C18:1  6.5%
Others  5%

Coconut’s smoke point is low, so when you fry it will not give you more than one frying (don’t reuse it).  As for your arteries, coconut oil will behave like butter or beef fat.

What about acne? Skin bacteria vary in their preferences. Oleic acid has been shown to be an important nutrient for P. acnes. Oleic acid also plays a critical role in acne bacteria adherence and biofilm formation; biofilm formation is linked to acne pathogenesis.

Normal human sebum is mainly composed of triacylglycerols, wax esters, squalene, and free fatty acids with minor amounts of cholesterol, sterol esters, and diacylglycerols. Apparently, increased sebum production may worsen acne, but changes in the chemical composition of the sebum also have an effect. For example, an increase in monounsaturated fatty acids may promote acne pathogenesis. It is known that there is a link between diet and acne, but the mechanisms of action are still in dispute.

Acne bacteria does not need the coconut oil in your skincare products to prosper, as palmitic acid is already in the sebum our skin makes. But I don’t see the point of trying to control sebum production (like using T-zone serum) and then feeding the acne bacteria a “natural” serum containing coconut oil!

Please see also this post.
Claims on this page have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any disease.