Is coconut oil for skin right for your complexion?

It's the most famous food on the block, but is it worth the hype?

Coconut Oil For Skin
(Image credit: WWD/REX/Shutterstock)

It's the most famous food on the block, but while it's great for some skin types, it's not for everyone...

Coconut oil is hailed as the darling of the ‘natural world'. According to many a model, using coconut oil for skin treatments is the miracle we all need; If we had a penny for every time The Body Coach throws a spoonful of 'Lucy Bee!' into his pan, well, we’d be a heck of a lot richer. But while it's a miracle worker for some skin types, others may not reap the benefits so easily.

Benefits of coconut oil for skin

There’s no denying that there are a number of benefits of coconut oil for skin. This raw and unprocessed stuff is full of goodness. It’s packed with vitamin E, proteins, lauric, capric and caprylic acids (known for their anti-fungal properties – nice).

A lot of bloggers have praised the effects of coconut oil for hair, and there's a slew of celebrities who claim numerous benefits of oil pulling with coconut oil.

Heck, there are even weight loss benefits of coconut oil - so it's no wonder the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Aniston and even the Kardashians are fans of using it in their daily beauty regime.

So, how does it fare in the skin health department?

coconut oil for skin Kim Kardashian Kendall Kylie Jenner

Benjamin Lozovsky/BFA/REX/Shutterstock
(Image credit: Benjamin Lozovsky/BFA/REX/Shutterstock)

Is coconut oil good for your skin?

Unfortunately, the answer isn’t as simple as yes or no.

On the upside, coconut oil is primarily composed of saturated fats. This is great for repairing your skin’s natural barrier and trapping in moisture. Plus, it's naturally antimicrobial, so will kill off any surface bacteria you may have picked up during the day.

Plus, coconut oil for skin can soothe rashes, speeds your skin’s healing process and combats flaking like a boss. And if you’ve ever run out of your favourite skin highlighter, just dab it along your cheekbones for the healthiest glow you’ve ever seen.

But before you get over-excited and slather yourself from head to toe, know this: coconut oil has one of the highest comedogenic ratings out there. This means that coconut oil for skin may not actually be as good as you first thought.

Videos you may like:

Video you may like:

In fact, on a scale of 0–5 (the latter being the highest), coconut oil for skin sits at a 4 – a big problem if you have an acne or blemish-prone complexion.

In layman terms, coconut oil can clog pores. It has to, as that’s how it locks in moisture and hydrates your skin, which is why so many people use it on their hair.

That’s not to say that our angelic beauty saviour has gone and turned devil on us. On the contrary, many have celebrated the effects it has had on their skin – just be aware that different skin types will have different reactions.

Lucy Bee Extra Virgin Raw Organic Coconut Oil, £7.25, Amazon

coconut oil for skin Lucy Bee

Buy Now

Alternatives to coconut oil

If you're already in love with coconut oil and have used it with great success, there's no need to panic. Keep doing what you're doing. If it works for you, it works.

However, if you've been using coconut oil in the hopes of achieving clearer, brighter skin, only to end up with a whole lot of aggravation, try one of these less comedogenic oils instead. An oil with a comedogenic rating of 0 should not clog pores at all, while a rating of 1 has a very low chance of clogging your pores.

Aim for an oil with as low a comedogenic rating as possible to avoid aggravating your skin and having future break outs – if you spot any of these on the ingredients list while skincare shopping, they should be safe for your skin.

Hemp seed oil

Comedogenic rating: 0

Benefits: Natural SPF, aids absorption of Vitamin D and is high in Omega 6 and 3 – all of which are known to help rebuild your natural skin barrier.

Argan oil

Comedogenic rating: 0

Benefits: Contains vitamin E to help repair your skin, reduces inflammation and is known for its anti fungal properties.

Shea butter

Comedogenic rating: 0

Benefits: Contains Vitamin E, is super moisturising and stimulates collagen production.

Marula oil

Comedogenic rating: 0

Benefits: Rich in Omega 6 and 9, Vitamin C and E and fatty acids, it reduces the appearance of blemishes, scars and wrinkles, as well as deeply moisturising skin.

Calendula oil

Comedogenic rating: 1

Benefits: Highly moisturising and particularly good for soothing sore, broken skin. It's also a great anti-inflammatory.

Natalie Lukaitis