Although the surface of our skin already has a protective layer (self-made skin oil) against aging and diseases, it's never strong enough for fighting off more malicious microorganisms that constantly attack our skin and cause aging and diseases. So, you need coconut oil to strengthen your first line of defense to combat aging and keep disease-causing germs at bay. How does coconut oil achieve that?
1. Kill Germs on Your Skin
The skin oil secreted contains some amount of fatty acids that are good at fighting off common types of harmful germs coming into contact with our skin.
But when you apply especially virgin coconut oil to your skin, you'll step up your skin resistance against a broader range of disease-causing bacteria, parasites, viruses and fungi as virgin coconut oil comprises 10 different types of fatty acids which are all antimicrobials. They are:
- Caproic acid
- Caprylic acid
- Capric acid
- Lauric acid
- Myristic acid
- Palmitic acid
- Stearic acid
- Arachidic acid
- Oleic acid
- Linoleic acid
This is one of the greatest benefits of using coconut oil for skin.
2. Penetrate Your Skin Easily
As most of the fatty acids (~ 64%) in coconut oil are relatively smaller in size, they can penetrate your skin easily and go beneath your skin to fight and kill any ruinous germs that have slipped their way deep into your skin to attack the tissues.
3. Stop Free Radicals Dead in Their Tracks
Free radicals attack connective tissues that support your skin. When connective tissues collapse, your skin will sag and wrinkle. But when you use coconut oil on your skin, it stops free radical activities immediately that in turn, fortify your connective tissue structure.
Thanks to the oil's predominant saturated compounds that act as antioxidants, which make coconut oil an effective sunscreen for our skin – UV radiation encourages free radical activities and coconut oil prevents free-radical reactions.
4. Help Maintaining Your Skin pH
Our skin loves coconut oil a lot because coconut oil's medium-chain fatty acids are very similar to those contained in our skin oil. For that reason, our skin is able to maintain its pH level at below 5.0 with coconut oil. Maintaining at such acidity helps to block invasion by harmful bacteria and other destructive microorganisms.
Many people assume that a skin pH of 5.5 is optimal for our skin's defense and operation. The fact turns out that an average of 4.7 actually benefits our skin better than values above 5.0, reported by a 2006 International Journal of Cosmetic Science study by Lambers and co-workers.
5. Replace Dead Skin Cells Quickly
By killing harmful germs that attack your cells and stopping free radical reactions that destroy your tissues, your cells are able to restore its metabolism. But coconut oil benefits your skin even more by boosting that metabolism further.
Unlike carbohydrates and long-chain fatty acids that require insulin to help them enter cells, the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil feed your cells energy directly without the need for insulin due to its smaller-sized fatty acids. Because of this, your cells are able to receive quick energy and increase their cellular metabolism even if you have insulin resistance.
Increasing cellular metabolism means your skin is able to efficiently make new cells to replace dead cells before the dead cells accumulate on the surface to make your skin rough and flaky, or worse, clog your pores and cause an acne flare. Which is why coconut oil helps to heal any open wounds or cuts quickly.
Increasing metabolism also helps your skin to expel toxins. This especially benefits acne sufferers who have tons of toxins deposited underneath their skin. Your skin will smoothen and shine when toxins are eliminated.
So, these are how coconut oil benefits your skin. But you must make sure to use it regularly in order to reap its full benefits for skin.