The subject of acne is a rather complicated one. You see, most of us probably believe that acne is caused by an infected sebum gland under the skin. While this is not wrong, it is also not the entire story.
Acne really begins in the gut. An imbalanced or “leaky” gut manifests itself in all kinds of fun ways, acne being one of them. So don’t assume that your pimples are just a result of oily skin, overuse of pore clogging products, or a less than stellar skin care routine.
You can do your own research on how acne starts in the gut if you so choose. I do have a great post on the worst foods for your skin that you might enjoy. I would like to focus this post on how coconut oil for acne and how it might help those suffering from the occasional pimple to full blown cystic acne.
At the end of the day, a pimple (whatever the root cause) is an inflamed oil gland. Sometimes it is just a small, red bump. Other times it is resembles something out of a horror movie. If you can see a pimple, you can bet that it is officially a bacterial infection at that point.
Let’s talk coconut oil for acne
Coconut oil contains large amounts of lauric acid which is well known for being anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral. These antiseptic essential fatty acids found in coconut oil may help prevent and eliminate bacterial infections when taken orally or applied directly to the skin.
What’s interesting is that for the past few years, nanobombs have been all the rage for those who suffer from acne. A nanobomb is basically lauric acid in a gold wrapped nanoparticle delivery system. The science behind this suggests that the gold wrapped nanoparticle allows the lauric acid to be delivered to the acne causing bacteria as opposed to just wandering aimlessly.
These nanobombs aren’t cheap though. From what I can discern, applying coconut oil directly to acne prone skin is just as effective as a nanobomb. Additionally, taking coconut oil orally will help address an underlying gut issue that is playing a role in the acne. My vote is coconut oil for acne, straight up!
Coconut oil is also a well-known cooling oil, which is great for hot, inflamed skin (which is what a lot of acne prone skin is). Your skin may not feel hot, but in Eastern medicine, acne prone skin has the property of too much “heat” or “warmth.” So using an oil that cools skin down is a good thing.
Another plus for using coconut oil for acne is that is mimics your skin’s natural oils and should not clog your pores. It is also very high in vitamin E which promotes healthy skin.
So how would someone go about using coconut oil for acne prevention and getting rid of pimples?
So glad you asked!
The first thing you want to do is open your pores so that they will be more receptive to the oil. You can do this by taking a hot bath or a steamy hot shower. You may also do this by covering your face with a hot washcloth. (Not too hot! No burns please!)
After your pores are wide awake, rub the coconut oil directly onto the acne affected skin. You may use either 100% coconut oil or you can mix it with some sea salt or raw sugar, which will act as a mild abrasive and help to remove dead skin cells from the skin. Once you have applied the coconut oil to your skin, cover it with a damp washcloth and allow the skin to soak up the oil for 5 to 15 minutes. Then take a second warm washcloth and gently wipe the face in downward strokes until most of the oil is removed. Gentle is the key here.
Need something more than just coconut oil? Here is a face wash recipe that can be used in place of plain coconut oil or in addition to it.
Coconut Oil Face Wash
- 1 teaspoon vegetable glycerin
- 3 tablespoons aloe vera juice
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon carrot seed oil (optional)
- 3 tablespoons liquid castile soap (like Dr. Bronner’s plain)
- 3 drops each of 3 three of the following essential oils (all good for oily skin/acne) – bergamot, cypress, eucalyptus, geranium, grapefruit, jasmine, juniper, lemon, lemongrass, orange, patchouli, petitgrain, sandalwood, tea tree, or ylang ylang.
- Blend the ingredients together using a small spatula – NOT WOOD since it will absorb the essential oils. I use this spatula.
- Pour the mixture into a jar or bottle with a secure lid.
- Keeps for a long time so you can actually make a huge batch if you like it.
I love a good face mask. Do you? Here is a recipe for one that is particularly good for acne prone skin. This one is a non-coconut oil recipe. I have to mix it up a little!
Acne Face Mask
- 1 tomato, ripe, chopped
- 1teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon old fashioned rolled oats (these are the ones I use)
- Blend everything until just combined.
- Apply to the skin, making sure the mixture is thick enough to stay on the blemished areas. If necessary add a little more oatmeal to thicken the mask.
- Scrub it off with a washcloth dipped in warm water.
Have you used coconut oil for acne? Share in the comments! And don’t forget to check out my post on all the other great uses for coconut oil.
Sources for this article include:
- Yang D, Pornpattananangkul D, Nakatsuji T, et al. The antimicrobial activity of liposomal lauric acids against Propionibacterium acnes. Biomaterials. 2009;30(30):6035–6040. doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2009.07.033 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2971096/