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More and more people are cooking with coconut oil rather than unsaturated fats like sunflower and canola oil. But coconut oil is more than a cooking ingredient; and it has recently also established itself as a remarkable beauty product.

Whether or not you believe coconut oil is a miracle superfood and that it has amazing health benefits, its uses as a beauty treatment are quite easy to prove. Try using it on your skin and hair, and judge for yourself.

I first started using coconut oil as a “night cream” about two years ago, and my skin has never been better. I’ve never been one to use expensive commercial products, and when I have tried some from time to time, the products I chose have almost always had a detrimental effect, including allergic rashes. So when a friend suggested I try coconut oil to moisturize my skin, I was happy to do so. In fact I’ve used it on my face for longer than I’ve been cooking with it. Only yesterday an old school friend commented on how few wrinkles I have! It may be an illusion, but my skin does feel soft and relatively silky. 

Having said this, in spite of the fact that many people believe coconut oil is “the healthiest oil on earth,” the debate continues, with many in the food, nutrition and medical industries admonishing all health-related claims due to lack of evidence.

So what exactly is coconut oil, and what are the facts around coconut oil as a beauty treatment?

What Is Coconut Oil?

A form of saturated fact extracted from white coconut flesh, coconut oil is rich in lauric acid, which the body uses to destroy certain viruses. It is comprised mostly of medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs) that the body digests easily and the liver converts to energy rather than it being stored as fat (like other forms of oil.) It’s ideal for cooking because it withstands higher temperatures than other oils and isn’t “damaged” during the process of cooking.

Coconut oil doesn’t go rancid, and it can be kept for very long periods of time out of the fridge. In cool temperatures it will be hard, rather like refrigerated lard (see photograph above.) In warm weather it melts – but this doesn’t adversely affect the oil.

How Coconut Oil Is Used As A Beauty Treatment

The Colorado-based Coconut Research Center, founded by naturopathic doctor, Bruce Fife, specifies health uses of coconut oil in addition to its medicinal uses. These include the “fact” that coconut oil:

  • Promotes a healthy complection
  • Softens the skin and helps to relieve flaking and dryness
  • Helps to prevent wrinkles, sagging skin and age spots
  • Reduces the symptoms of dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis
  • Helps to repair and heal body tissue (including the skin)
  • Promotes healthy hair
  • Helps to control dandruff
  • Helps to prevent tooth decay and periodontal disease

Success stories on the Center’s website add that it makes hair softer and makes it grow faster; can also be used to defrizz hair; adds shine to hair; prevents hair from falling out; freshens breath; makes teeth whiter and minimizes stains; clears rashes and heals sores; reduces the effects of scarring; and can even be used instead of regular deodorant.

Several months ago my own adult son had inexplicable lumps on the bottoms of his feet. They were so painful he found it difficult to sleep. Hoping to avoid medical treatment, he decided to try rubbing them with coconut oil at night. They were probably some type of cyst because some of the larger ones burst and all the smaller ones gradually (over a period of weeks) shrank away. They have not recurred, and I admit I cannot offer a scientific explanation.

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