Coconut oil is becoming an increasingly popular addition to meals, but some believe that the benefits might go beyond food. In fact, some people are using coconut oil as a potential wrinkle treatment, too.

Unfortunately, there’s no cure-all for wrinkles, and many remedies and over-the-counter products focus on reducing the appearance of wrinkles instead. Coconut oil could possibly offer such benefits too, but research is currently limited.

What does the science say?

Research has been conducted on coconut oil for its effects on the skin. Still, studies supporting its use for wrinkle treatment aren’t evident. There’s some evidence that coconut oil may help treat dermatitis better than other oils.

Aside from treating the dryness associated with dermatitis, other studies have looked at possible wound-healing properties of coconut oil. One such study looked at the effects of coconut oil in rats and found faster healing time for wounds. Researchers attributed this to increased collagen components from the coconut oil.

Collagen itself is important in creating skin elasticity. In fact, this is what makes your skin firmer and wrinkle-free. Your skin loses collagen with age, causing fine lines and wrinkles. While the above study shows some potential collagen-building benefits of coconut oil, more research needs to be done to understand its role in wrinkle treatment.

Overall, the problem with coconut oil is that it may be sold in beauty products or as stand-alone items without much regulation. In fact, the FDA doesn’t consider wrinkle products to be “drugs.” Therefore, they don’t require proof of research and efficacy before such products are sold on the market. According to the Mayo Clinic, most OTC products offer only “modest” benefits. You might experience similar results with coconut oil.

How to use

For wrinkle treatment, you should use coconut oil as you would a serum. You can apply it to a cleansed face up to two times per day. Use a small amount and apply evenly across your skin. Wait for the oil to dry before applying any other products.

If you’re using a product with coconut oil in it, simply follow the package directions. Some OTC moisturizers have coconut oil in them, such as this one. Other coconut oil-infused products include:

  • spot treatments
  • serums
  • serum masks
  • under-eye patches

You’ll need to use any product consistently over a period of several weeks before you start seeing any results.

You should also adopt other best practices for protecting your skin, in addition to any wrinkle remedies you try. Use a moisturizer twice a day. Ideally, you should apply this after the coconut oil, but before any makeup. Sunscreen is also important in protecting your skin from sun damage, which is also another cause of premature aging. You can look for a daytime moisturizer with a minimum SPF of 15, or wear sunscreen on top of your moisturizer.

Side effects of using coconut oil for wrinkles

Just as coconut oil hasn’t been widely researched and supported as a wrinkle treatment, it hasn’t been studied for potential side effects, either. While the oil has been researched as a possible treatment for atopic dermatitis, it’s possible that users who are unknowingly sensitive to the product could unintentionally develop dermatitis after use.

As a rule of thumb, you should stop using coconut oil if your skin shows signs of sensitivity or allergic reaction. This includes:

  • burning
  • hives
  • itchiness
  • rashes
  • redness

It’s a good idea to undergo a skin sensitivity test before using coconut oil on your face. The same goes with any other new product you use. Apply a small amount of oil to the inside of your elbow and wait for up to 48 hours. The product may be safe for a more widespread application if you have no side effects after this time.

Call your dermatologist if you do experience side effects from coconut oil, especially if they don’t go away after discontinuing the product.

Coconut oil isn’t a cure-all

Wrinkles are a common occurrence, as your skin loses elasticity with age. This doesn’t mean that you can’t reduce their appearance, though. The key is to invest your time and money in treatments that work, which can require a bit of trial and error.

Natural remedies like coconut oil haven’t been proven to be any more effective than regular OTC products. These might reduce the appearance of fine lines and moderate wrinkles, but you will likely need stronger treatments for deeper lines. Talk to your dermatologist about what OTC products, prescription treatments, and procedures might work best for you.