coconut oil

Non-volatile, non-fragrant plant kernel oil whose high saturated fat content has emollient properties for skin.

Coconut oil is a rich source of medium-chain fatty acids, also known as medium-chain triglycerides. Used by itself as a moisturiser, coconut oil’s effectiveness is similar to that of mineral oil.

Oral consumption of virgin coconut oil has been shown to increase the antioxidant content of skin compared to olive and sunflower oils.

Contrary to claims, coconut oil does not provide sufficient sun protection for skin. Research has shown it only screens about 20% of UV light before it can damage skin, which means 80% still gets through. Therefore, skipping regular, broad spectrum sunscreen in favour of coconut oil is putting your skin at risk for early signs of ageing and other undesirable effects.

For more information about coconut oil, see our article Coconut Oil for Skin.

References for this information:

International Journal of Dermatology, January 2014, pages 100-108

Food & Function, September 2013, pages 1,402-1,409

Pharmacognosy Review, July-December 2011, pages 164-173

Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2010, pages 290-297

Dermatitis, November-December 2008, pages 308-315; and September 2004, pages 109-116

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Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books about skincare and makeup. She is known worldwide as The Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula’s Choice Skincare. Paula’s expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international radio, print, and television including:

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