- Coconut oil is a natural oil that is used as a home remedy for moisturizing dry skin and improving skin’s texture.
- Coconut oil contains medium chain fatty acids that have proven skin benefits.
- Coconut oil is relatively high on the comedogenicity index, meaning it may worsen blackheads, whiteheads and acne.
Coconut Oil and Blackheads
Coconut oil contains a number of compounds with proven skin care benefits, but this clear, natural oil should not be on your shortlist of treatment options for getting rid of blackheads.
Blackheads, or open comedones, occur when a hair follicle becomes clogged with a mixture of oil and dead skin cells. This debris forms a plug and turns black when exposed to oxygen at the opening of the pore.
Despite coconut oil’s many reported skin care benefits, fighting blackheads isn’t one of them.
Coconut Oil Skin Benefits
At first glance, coconut oil appears to check many of the right boxes for both healthy skin and an effective blackhead home remedy.
Coconut oil is an excellent natural emollient and an effective moisturizer. It’s a source of vitamin E, a natural antimicrobial and an antifungal.
For all of coconut oil’s proven benefits however, it shouldn’t be used to treat blackheads. The clinical research is scant, but there is reason to believe that coconut oil could make your blackheads worse.
Is Coconut Oil Bad for Blackheads?
Due to coconut oil’s high viscosity, it isn’t readily absorbed into skin. Worse still, it may actually clog pores, increasing the likelihood of both blackheads and whiteheads forming.
Simply put, coconut oil is not completely noncomedogenic. While it can be refined to an extremely high level of purity for cosmetic formulations, using coconut oil straight from the supermarket is probably going to cause more blackheads.
Coconut oil can be used to relieve the symptoms of multiple skin disorders. But for anyone experiencing with acne-prone skin – avoid comedogenic products.
What Works Better Than Coconut Oil for Blackheads?
Coconut oil may be relatively high on the comedogenicity index, but there are many essential oils that aren’t. If you’re looking for a home remedy for blackheads, you may want to consider tea tree oil, which studies have shown to be as effective as benzoyl peroxide.
For a complete overview of blackhead treatments, see our in-depth guide to blackhead causes, prevention and treatment options.
- Nakatsuji, T., Kao, M. C., Fang, J. Y., Zouboulis, C. C., Zhang, L., Gallo, R. L., & Huang, C. M. (2009). Antimicrobial property of lauric acid against Propionibacterium acnes: its therapeutic potential for inflammatory acne vulgaris. The Journal of investigative dermatology, 129(10), 2480–2488. doi:10.1038/jid.2009.93
- Varma, S. R., Sivaprakasam, T. O., Arumugam, I., Dilip, N., Raghuraman, M., Pavan, K. B., … Paramesh, R. (2018). In vitro anti-inflammatory and skin protective properties of Virgin coconut oil. Journal of traditional and complementary medicine, 9(1), 5–14. doi:10.1016/j.jtcme.2017.06.012
- Fulton Jr., James E. (1989) Comedogenicity and irritancy of commonly used ingredients in skin care product. docplayer.net/20797415-Comedogenicity-and-irritancy-of-commonly-used-ingredients.html
- Sharad, Jaishree. (2013). Glycolic acid peel therapy – A current review. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology. 6. 281-288. DOI: 10.2147/CCID.S3402
- Intahphuak S, Khonsung P, Panthong A. Anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antipyretic activities of virgin coconut oil. Pharm Biol. 2010 Feb;48(2):151-7. doi:10.3109/13880200903062614
- Bassett IB, Pannowitz DL, Barnetson RS. A comparative study of tea-tree oil versus benzoyl peroxide in the treatment of acne. Med J Aust. 1990 Oct 15;153(8):455-8. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2145499