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Looking for a better way to healthier skin? The secret may be hiding in your kitchen: coconut oil. Research has found that coconut oil may be just what your skin needs. Its benefits include:

  • reducing inflammation
  • stopping the damage of free radicals
  • helping to prevent infection

Bloggers like those at OneGreenPlanet, swear by coconut oil, touting its use as a natural moisturizer, especially for your face. Coconut oil is gentle enough to be used around sensitive areas like under your eyes and on lips.

Use coconut oil on your face much like you would use any night cream.

Steps for using coconut oil overnight
  1. Liquefy one tablespoon of coconut oil by rubbing it gently between your hands. The liquefied oil will have a silky, light texture.
  2. Smooth onto your face and neck. You can also use coconut oil on your chest and on other dry areas of your body.
  3. Gently remove any thick residue with a soft tissue. Don’t use cotton balls, as they will stick to the oil on your face
  4. Leave a light layer of coconut oil on your skin overnight
  5. Avoid getting coconut oil into your eyes, as it may make your vision temporarily blurry.
  6. If you’re pinched for time, coconut oil can also do double duty as a makeup remover prior to using as a night cream. Simply follow these same steps twice. Use once to gently remove makeup, and once to leave a light coating on your skin. Shop for organic coconut oil.

Some people prefer to use coconut oil as an occasional or once-a-week emollient overnight treatment. If your skin is oily or you have combination skin, you may wish to experiment with using coconut oil as a spot treatment around your eyes or on dry skin patches.

When choosing the type of oil to put on your face, look for organic coconut oils labeled as unrefined, virgin, or extra-virgin. Researchers used this type in their studies, and these types may provide the most benefit for skin.

There are three main types of coconut oil: unrefined, refined, and liquid. Liquid coconut oils are used primarily for cooking. The quality of commercially-prepared coconut oils varies greatly. Some oils are refined via a chemical process. These may be harsh to skin, and may contain fewer beneficial properties.

Unrefined coconut oil, which is made by pressing the edible flesh of the coconut and generally doesn’t contain added chemicals, is the best for skin care. A 2011 analysis of coconut oils produced by different methods found this type contained more of the fatty acids and compounds beneficial to skin.

Most high-quality coconut oil is solid in form when kept at temperatures under 75°F (24.444°C). Solid coconut oil liquefies when warmed or heated.

For an extra-luxurious feel, you can also whip coconut oil with a mixer or blender, to give it a frothy texture. Try adding in essential oils which have skin nourishing properties.

Giselle Rochford, who owns the blog Diary of an Ex-Sloth whips coconut oil for overnight use with a hand-held whisk, and adds in tea tree oil and vitamin E to help with dryness and breakouts. Other essential oils to try include lavender or chamomile.

Since coconut oil is a fat extracted from raw coconuts or dried coconut flakes, its emollient properties may make it beneficial for certain skin types, such as dry, or normal-to-dry skin, when used as an overnight moisturizer.

Coconut oil contains nourishing fatty acids that help hydrate and protect skin. These include lineolic acid (vitamin F), which helps skin retain moisture and lauric acid, which has antibacterial properties.

If you have dry, flaky skin, using coconut oil instead of your regular moisturizer may soften and hydrate your skin, leaving it looking refreshed and soft upon waking.

Benefits of using coconut oil on your face overnight
  • Hydration. Coconut oil helps bolster your skin’s protective barrier layer, trapping moisture inside and keeping skin supple and hydrated.
  • Reduces inflammation. Coconut oil has anti-inflammatory properties, making it beneficial for irritated, chafed skin.
  • Increases collagen production. The lauric acid content in coconut oil has a beneficial effect on collagen production. Collagen helps skin maintain firmness and elasticity. Helping skin maintain and produce collagen might eliminate the formation of some fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Lighten dark patches. According to beauty bloggers like DIY Remedies, coconut oil can lighten skin, and may help reduce the appearance of dark spots or uneven skin tone. Adding lemon juice may enhance this effect.

Using coconut oil as an overnight treatment may not be right for everyone. Anecdotal evidence is mixed on coconut oil’s benefits for oily or acne-prone skin.

Coconut oil is comedogenic, meaning that it can clog pores. While some people find that coconut oil helps clear their breakouts, making skin look brighter and feel softer, others find coconut oil too heavy to use as an overnight treatment.

Since coconut oil can clog pores, it may contribute to acne breakouts in some people. If you have oily skin, coconut oil might cause blackheads, pimples, or whiteheads to form on your face if left on overnight.

If you’re allergic to coconuts, you should not use coconut oil on your face. Some people who are allergic to walnuts or hazelnuts may also have an allergic sensitivity to coconut oil and should not use it.

Using coconut oil as an overnight moisturizer can be beneficial for people with very dry, chafed, or flaky skin. Coconut oil can clog pores and is not an appropriate overnight treatment for everyone.

On the plus side, it’s easy and relatively inexpensive to use. However, if you’re allergic to coconuts, don’t use coconut oil on your face.