Fun Fact Friday
Did you know that coconut oil can actually dry out your skin?
Why is coconut oil in so many DIY projects intended to lend a hand to moisture if it is actually drying to your skin? Some reasons people use it is because it is readily available, non-staining and adds a semi-solid to product making, it can help your product set up even if ratios aren’t perfect. It also has a decent shelf life of at least 2 years. I was going to say it is inexpensive, but let’s face it, it is cheap. I have not found a less expensive carrier. I don’t use coconut oil in things that I intend for emollient properties. I learned with my own lip balms that while it may seem nourishing for a while it doesn’t work as well as it seemed to initially. Over time, using coconut oil at a high percentage in a balm base caused my lips to peel.
Coconut oil has a 4 on the comedogenic rating scale meaning a majority of people will get break outs from it. It is likely to clog your pores in more than a wash off product and doesn’t actually absorb into the many layers of your skin. It can be a great lubricant and skin protectant, but I wouldn’t recommend using on normal to dry skin for long periods of time, especially by itself. Lauric acid makes up about 50% of the composition of coconut oil and is considered a dry, astringent fatty acid. This can lead to dry flaky skin, if you have oily skin that is not prone to break outs, coconut oil may be a good choice for you. It is good for adhesive removal, I like to coat band-aids with it prior to removing from the kiddos. It does a great job removing temporary tattoos and hair dye. It does have antibacterial and antimicrobial properties.
Those antibacterial and antimicrobial properties make it great for detergents. Soap makers use coconut oil to help make a hard bar of soap that lasts for a long time. I like to use a coconut oil soap as a stain stick, but after using it, I make sure to wash with soap and follow up with a moisturizing emollient.
I am not saying don’t use your coconut oil in body products, and to clarify, I am talking about your virgin coconut oil here. I am saying make sure you are using emollients of other lipids and fatty acids in conjunction that are actually beneficial to what you hope to achieve.
Don’t always reach for the coconut oil, explore other fixed oil options, do your homework before just following a recipe.
References: Power of the Seed, Susan Parker
Liquid Sunshine, Jan Kusmirek