Coconut oil. Does it REALLY help acne?

Coconut oil.  Does it REALLY help acne?

Although it may sound counterintuitive, some natural oils may help to fight oily skin and improve breakouts. There is much talk about coconut oil and whether or not it's effective in helping acne prone skin, so here are the facts.

Acne and its predecessor, oily skin, are results of over production of sebum (skin oil) by sebaceous glands.  The increase in sebum production can lead to clogged pores (whiteheads and blackheads), which accumulate dead skin cells as well as bacteria.  This combination leads to a local inflammatory response, which if chronic, can lead to damage to the surrounding tissue. Acne and oily skin have to be treated from the inside out by removing the cause of excessive sebum production, the common denominator for both acne and oily skin.  Oily skin can therefore be treated by two distinct pathways:

a) decrease sebum production

b) use a cleansing regimen that will safely remove excess oil from the skin. Removing excess skin oil deposits in pores may significantly help to reduce the formation of acne, and also improve the look of the skin.  

Using Oil on Acne Prone Skin

Sebum is a fat soluble substance and is not soluble (diluted) in water without including detergents. Fatty substances may be soluble in other fatty substances like oil or organic solvents like alcohol or water that contains detergents. Many topical acne products and cleansers contain alcohol along with active ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. Products containing salicylic acid for instance may remove some of the sebum and temporarily improve the look of the skin.  However, this treatment will not treat the causes of acne, and longer term use may dry and prematurely age the skin.  In addition, products containing organic solvents may make skin red, over-sensitive and depending on the active ingredients, increase sun (UV rays) sensitivity.

Why Coconut Oil?

Coconut oil can help clean your skin and reduce excess skin oil on the surface of the skin so your skin looks and feels less oily, and your pores less clogged. Additionally, coconut oil can be used to remove makeup, and can help to soothe inflammation that often accompanies severe acne. For some people, it can help to alleviate the red, dry skin that some topical acne products may cause.

Coconut oil contains no harsh chemicals or preservatives; instead it possesses antibacterial, antifungal and antioxidant properties that help fight acne infections. Coconut oil helps to soothe inflammation that often accompanies severe acne, and helps to alleviate the red, dry skin that some topical products may cause.

The lauric and caprylic acid, along with the Vitamins K and E found in coconut oil help to soften acne scars and may accelerate healing by speeding up the skin cell turnover.

How to Use

For the best impact, use coconut oil twice a day (in the morning and before bed time). Apply with your fingers (please wash hands before applying). Massage in light circular motions avoiding the eyes. Wipe with a soft tissue, and follow up with our chamomile toner/astringent.

Coconut oil becomes very thick when it is stored at temperatures below 77 degrees; you may therefore heat it slightly so it is easier to apply. Make sure it is not too hot (never boil it). When coconut oil is used in a solid state, it is less oily than when it has been heated up. However, no matter the state coconut oil is in, it is good for all skin types, even oily skin. Unrefined, virgin, organic, cold pressed coconut oil is the best to use.

Please note, coconut oil will not eliminate your acne. It can assist with helping reduce inflammation and bacteria and can be used in addition to a treatment that prevents acne from coming - the key to breaking the acne cycle

With a promise of clear skin,
Dr. A

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