- Coconut oil has strong moisturizing properties and can be used as a cleanser for those with dry skin.
- Avoid cleansing with coconut oil if you have oily or acne-prone skin as it can potentially clog pores.
- When choosing a coconut oil cleanser, avoid unrefined coconut oil as it has less antioxidants due to processing and possibly unwanted substances such as bleach.
There is a lot of controversy about whether coconut oil can be safely used on skin. However, many would agree that coconut oil cleansers can be beneficial for some people but not for everyone.
Benefits of Coconut Oil Cleansers
Some cleansers, such as those containing certain alcohols or beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), are known to exacerbate dry skin.
Used as a cleanser, coconut oil can have a strong hydrating effect which helps keep skin moisturized. This is beneficial for normal or combination skin types but especially so for those with dry skin. Coconut oil also has anti-inflammatory properties and can be suitable for eczema sufferers.
Coconut oil can also protect the skin against infection as it contains high concentrations of lauric acid, a fatty acid that has potent antimicrobial properties. This can prevent the growth of microorganisms that can cause skin conditions such as acne and cellulitis.
Coconut oil is also effective at removing makeup, dead skin cells and other debris, which helps keep skin healthy and reduces the risk of breakouts.
How to Use Coconut Oil as a Cleanser
Coconut oil cleansers should be used once a day in the evening. They can be used as the first step in a double cleanse and are particularly effective when used as a makeup remover.
Cleansing with coconut oil is simple and can be easily incorporated within your daily skin care routine.
Coconut oil functions, counterintuitively, by dissolving oil: working coconut oil into the skin will break down other oils already present on the skin. Then, excess oils, makeup and any debris can be wiped off with a facecloth.
Following are the basic steps to take when cleansing with coconut oil:
- Warm a small amount of coconut oil in the palms of your hands.
- Gently massage the oil onto your face thoroughly.
- Wet a washcloth with warm water and wipe the oil off.
- For a double cleanse, wash your face with a mild cleanser.
- Pat skin dry.
Double cleansing is recommended if you are concerned about any lingering oil on your skin; this will ensure the removal of any coconut oil residue that could potentially clog your pores.
Choosing a coconut oil
Coconut oil is widely available in grocery stores and health food stores, but not every coconut product is suitable for use on skin.
When choosing a product, always check the label and look for pure, organic coconut oil. These products are often labeled as virgin or raw. Be sure to avoid products that contain any additives, as these ingredients may irritate your skin or cause breakouts.
Should You Use a Coconut Oil Cleanser?
While coconut oil cleansers can be beneficial for skin, these cleansers are not for everyone.
Due to their strong moisturizing properties, coconut oil cleansers are best suited to people with dry skin.
If you have sensitive skin, or are worried about potential allergic reactions, you should apply a small amount to a patch of skin to see how your skin reacts before incorporating coconut oil cleansing into your daily skin care routine.
Coconut allergies are rare, and it is unlikely that coconut oil will cause an allergic reaction of either anaphylaxis or contact dermatitis. However rare, the allergy can appear spontaneously, even if you have used coconut oil before. If you begin to notice symptoms like itching, or hives appearing on the skin, stop application of coconut oil immediately.
Alternative Cleanser Options
There are many other options worth considering if you are looking for a simple cleansing oil:
- Jojoba oil: Made from the nut of the jojoba plant, jojoba oil has strong moisturizing, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.This oil has been found to repair damaged skin barriers, making it effective for treating conditions like eczema and acne.
- Grapeseed oil: A natural anti-inflammatory, grapeseed oil feels light on the skin and is suitable for dry, normal and oily skin alike.
- Avocado oil: Loaded with fatty acids as well as vitamins A, D and E, avocado oil helps nourish the skin and reduce inflammation.
Coconut oil cleansers have strong moisturizing properties, which can be beneficial for dry skin types. These cleansers also have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties to benefit skin conditions such as eczema and acne.
Incorporating a coconut oil cleanse into your daily routine is quick and easy and the cost is minimal. You can also add an additional step of double cleansing to eliminate any possible oil residue.
Those with oily skin should avoid coconut oil as it can get trapped in pores and lead to a breakout. If you do decide to use a coconut oil cleanser, always use raw or virgin coconut oil that is free of additives.