Benefits of Coconut Oil for Hair and Skin
For most people, the emergence of coconut oil as a beauty product was unprecedented and largely dismissed as a fad.
But what if I could definitively tell you that the use of coconut oil is far more than just a fad?
While it is by no means a cure for all ills, its popularity stemmed from real and numerous benefits, particularly to the hair and skin. Using beauty products and cosmetics that have coconut oil as an active ingredient, like Afia’s soaps, is hugely valuable in preserving and promoting your well-being.
Many of coconut oil’s naturally restorative properties are due to a high concentration of primarily nourishing fatty acids, especially lauric acid. Lauric acid is renowned for its antibacterial, antiviral, anticancer, and antifungal properties all of which have enormous payoffs when used on hair and skin. Such benefits include countering the adverse effects of aging, macular degeneration, graying of hair, and sagging of the skin. Furthermore, fatty acids allow the coconut oil to deeply and rapidly penetrate the skin, especially when applied to skin that is already damp. This allows lauric acid and its companion fatty acids to increase antioxidant activity, promote the destruction of cancer cells and prevent cancer cell growth especially those relating to the breast and colon varieties, reduce blood pressure and heart rate, reduce oxidative stress in heart and kidneys, and combat various pathogenic microbes. Coconut oil also contains linoleic acid, which is particularly useful when used on acne-prone skin.
While coconut oil’s ability to rapidly and deeply seep into the skin was already mentioned, its positive effects are not limited to aiding the properties of lauric acid. This particular ability can be attributed to saturated fats, which are found in high quantities within coconut oil. Saturated fats allow the oil to retain the moisture content of the skin by eliminating moisture loss through skin pores. This makes the oil highly comedogenic, which tends to have a negative impact on those with oily skin. However, incorporating the oil into a cleansing soap, much in the same way that Afia has, renders this singularly negative impact of using coconut oil null and void. Additionally, these saturated fats even skin tone and reduce the appearance of pores by forming fat deposits under the skin. Its penetrating capabilities are also linked to several health gains. When absorbed, it brings balance to the body by managing the proper secretion of insulin and aiding in the absorption of glucose and fat-soluble vitamins. It also positively impacts circulation and helps the body fight tumors, colitis, ulcers in the stomach and food pipe, correct renal infections, and reduce inflammation due to rashes or contact with foreign substances.
Coconut oil also contains vitamins E and A, both of which effectively boost and supplement coconut oil’s antibacterial, antifungal, and moisturizing properties. In conjunction, they smoothen the skin, allowing it to become soft, supple, and revitalized. They are especially useful in application to the sensitive skin under the eyes, which can become damaged as a result of
dehydration, colder weather, or age. These vitamins thus restore the body’s natural equilibrium not just in its need for their presence but in its need for their effects.
Vitamins A and E aren’t just vitamins, however. They are also naturally occurring, nutrient antioxidants that slow down the aging process and reduce the damage from the sun and free radicals. These antioxidants have profound effects on the skin’s barrier function, improving its ability to repair itself and restore pH levels. The latter effect is uniquely helpful since the skin is the first line of defense the immune system has in preventing microbes and pathogens from entering the body. Repairing the pH levels of the skin is thus beneficial since the skin’s natural pH is designed to ward off these invaders. Moreover, they help treat skin maladies such as eczema, dermatitis, and psoriasis.
Skin conditions like the aforementioned are doubly benefited from the use of coconut oil not only because of the presence of nutrient antioxidants but also because of its high protein content. The high protein content is beneficial to those suffering from such disorders because of its ability to replace sick and dying cells with new and healthy cells. The positive effects of protein present in coconut oil are not limited to skin disorders. Proteins are one of the most important building blocks for everything in the body and are the basis for the body’s ability to repair everything it has built because of said proteins. It isn’t surprising then, that it allows the coconut oil to become an effective treatment for athlete’s foot, rashes, itches, ringworm, and cracked heels. Nor is it unexpected that it helps nourish dry cuticles, fends off cracked skin, hydrates brittle nails, and prevents hangnails.
However, the skin isn’t the only way that coconut oil can be beneficial to your body. Coconut oil’s fatty acid structure and low molecular weight allow it to penetrate inside the hair shaft better than other oils. Thus, regular use of the oil on hair not only nourishes dry hair but also protects and strengthens it, reducing the protein loss and damage inherent to styling and coloring. This allows the coconut oil to be an effective deep conditioner, taming frizz and adding shine, in place of other creams and concoctions with an overload of chemicals. It also has abundantly positive effects on the scalp since the oil can help lower the levels of yeast on the skin that drive the inflammation, flaking, and itching associated with dandruff.
As a result, not only is coconut oil in and of itself beneficial to your body but all of its individual components bring about specific, positive outcomes in a variety of different ways. It is primarily for this reason that Afia considers coconut oil a valuable addition to its soaps and an unparalleled core ingredient. Say what you will about coconut oil and attempt to dismiss it but the evidence speaks for itself.
So can you really still call coconut oil “just a fad”?