To use coconut oil effectively for acne treatment, you must first understand what exactly causes your acne – why you're getting it. If you don't have the faintest idea of the actual causes, you'll unwittingly do something foolish that offset coconut oil's healing effect on acne. And when that occurs, using coconut oil may trigger more breakouts on your face and make your acne worse than before.
I just want to make absolutely sure you're able to treat acne and clear your skin nicely with the use of coconut oil. Let's get started.
1. Why do you get acne?
You get pimples on your face and skin because your liver fails to timely deactivate androgens. Androgens are sex hormones produced by your adrenal gland and sex gland (ovary in females, testis in males).
What have these hormones got to do with acne?
Good question. These hormones can stimulate your sebaceous glands (under your skin pores where hair follicles are) to secrete an oily substance called sebum. Sebum helps to lubricate your skin and hair, and hence, prevent them from drying and cracking / breaking.
Actually, there's nothing wrong with the presence of androgens (androgenic hormones). We need them to help regulate oil production to take care of our hair and skin, and perform other functions as well.
But problems arise when some of them are not properly deactivated by your liver after they have accomplished their jobs. These "remain-active" hormones then continue to circulate in your bloodstream and stimulate your sebaceous glands to keep producing sebum, resulting in an oily skin or face.
In fact, too much sebum production doesn't necessarily cause your skin or face to pop pimples. Which is why you can see some people having oily skin but not a single zit on their face.
But that's just a matter of time before a pimple starts popping up and causes an acne flare.
This is because if you don't do something to reduce the excessive secretion of sebum, the local acne bacteria (Propionibacterium acnes or simply P. acnes) in your skin will soon multiply. Sebum is their primary source of food.
As acne bacteria multiply, they need more space for their fast growth. And so, they produce proteins and enzymes to break down the surrounding tissues. This causes a large number of skin cells to "peel off" and die prematurely.
More dead skin cells means your pores are highly likely to get clogged easily.
In the meantime, bacterial infection prompts your immune system to inflame the comedones (clogged pores) and surrounding tissues in order for your body to fight the infection and heal the red, swollen tissue.
Did you know that overgrowth of Candida (yeast) in your gut can cause acne too?
Candida normally gets out of hand due to lack of friendly gut bacteria to keep them in check. What happens next is that the yeast may run riot and spread throughout your body via your bloodstream. They eat almost anything in sight and then poop out mycotoxins (adding on to blood toxins), which your liver has to deal with. This again, weakens your liver function to deactivate androgenic hormones.
So, to treat your acne effectively, you need to strengthen your liver, regulate your hormones, expel your toxic buildups, unclog your pores, stop the growth of acne bacteria (P. acnes may also be found in your gut besides on your skin) and Candida by maintaining adequate friendly bacteria in your gut.
Using coconut oil can help achieve these and clear your acne.
2. How does coconut oil help with acne?
Coconut oil helps treat your acne by:
- Boosting your liver's ability to filter out toxins (another vital function of liver) and deactivate used androgenic hormones. Your skin will become less acne-prone due to lesser buildup of blood toxins and sebum.
- Energizing your cells to help expel toxins through your skin to relieve your liver of detoxification load. Your liver will have more capability to timely and properly deactivate used androgenic hormones. This in turn regulates your sebum production and reduces your oily skin.
- Stimulating your bowel movements to quickly clear the toxic waste in your colon. This will prevent toxic substances from resorbing into your bloodstream and burdening your liver.
- Sloughing off dead skin cells to help prevent more clogging of pores that can lead to a more severe breakout.
- Calming down your sebum secretion.
- Killing excess acne bacteria and Candida to restore their balance on your skin and in your gut respectively with its antimicrobial fatty acids. Restoring balance helps to hamper growth of bacteria and yeast, and stop bacterial infection. And thus, reduce inflammation and stop hyperproliferation of dead skin cells.
But that's provided you use virgin (cold pressed) coconut oil for acne treatment. Why? Because virgin coconut oil:
- Contains 50 – 64% medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) that can quickly convert to energy. This extra energy can help to boost the metabolism of your cells, tissues and organs, and strengthen their abilities to regulate hormones and detoxify.
- Comprises potent antimicrobial fatty acids (such as lauric, caprylic and capric acids etc). These antimicrobials can effectively fight off the overgrowing acne bacteria, Candida, disease-causing germs and other harmful microbes whether on or in your skin, or inside your body.
- Does not clog pores (non-comedogenic) easily. This attributes to its 80 – 90% saturated fats that are good against oxidation. (Oxidized oil can worsen the clog by acting as glue to dead skin cells.)
- "Communicates" well with your skin as its MCFAs are similar to (and very much more than) those contained in the sebum. Because of this, virgin coconut oil passes through your skin pretty easily and moisturizes your skin very well. And when your skin gets moisturized, it reacts by producing less sebum.
- Prevents free radicals from attacking your skin with its antioxidative property. (Virgin coconut oil's saturated fats are good antioxidants by themselves, hence they can stop free-radical reactions.) Now, your skin can focus better on making new cells to replace dead cells and thus, fading off and healing acne scars.
In short, virgin coconut oil helps to treat acne by empowering your cells, fighting acne bacteria and yeast, expelling toxins, impeding oxidation and speeding up healing of acne and acne scars.
2.1 Can you use refined coconut oil?
If you use refined coconut oil for acne treatment, you might not get the best result. This is because the refining process could have stripped off some of its intrinsic antimicrobials. This in turn can decrease its detoxifying, antioxidative and skin-penetrating prowess.
What's even worse is that some refining process may include hydrogenation. Hydrogenation can cause harmful trans-fatty acids to infiltrate into the oil. Your skin acne will suffer even more if you use this type of coconut oil.
Hence, make sure you choose ONLY virgin coconut oil for acne treatment. Get organic one if you can afford. Organic virgin coconut oil is more natural and free of pesticides, parasites, bacteria, viruses and other harmful microbes. So, your skin won't get further intoxicated with these tiny creepy crawlers.
3. How to treat your acne with virgin coconut oil
Applying virgin coconut oil to skin is one way to treat your acne. Eating virgin coconut oil is another. Combining both can help you tackle the acne-causing factors not just from the outside, but from the inside as well.
However, I got to warn you of the breakout when using virgin coconut oil to help treat acne. Sound scary?
3.1 Why virgin coconut oil causes breakout
Not all acne sufferers will experience breakout with virgin coconut oil. That largely depends on how much toxins you have built up in your body and beneath your skin over the years.
For example, let's say you've been ingesting plenty of toxins via a meat-laden diet. Now, your liver needs to perform around 500 functions every single day. And filtering out toxins from blood is one of its most critical functions.
But the problem is, your liver can only handle blood toxins to a certain capacity at any one time. Which means you can easily strain your liver with a gush of nasty toxins via that toxic diet.
So, when it gets overloaded and fails to eliminate all toxins from your blood, your body will start to mobilize your skin to help expel the unfiltered toxins.
Why skin? Because it's the largest organ of your body and thus provides the largest surface area for quick removal of excess toxins to help clean up your blood.
While your skin provides a good alternative path for clearing away blood toxins, not all cells beneath your skin are good at purging them.
Think of each cell as a human being. It may "fall sick" or become weak due to an attack by toxic substances, free radicals, bacteria, fungi and viruses etc. So when its health deteriorates, it won't be able to perform as good as when it's healthy and strong. Agree?
Don't forget that each cell has its own waste to clear too; like us, they eat and poop. So, imagine it has to help with expelling toxins from the blood. And if the toxins come in huge quantity, it can easily get overwhelmed and wind up storing the toxins instead.
Things get worse when you have more fat cells under your skin since fat cells can store fat-soluble toxins.
Imagine you have 0.001% of cells underneath your skin storing toxins... this "very small percentage" (i.e. millions of them) is large enough to cause an acne breakout as virgin coconut oil stimulates the cells to spit out toxins. Virgin coconut oil also helps to kill local bacteria that attack cells.
3.2 How to reduce acne breakout
Acne breakout seems to appear more severe for those who only use virgin coconut oil topically. What I'm trying to say is, if you consume virgin coconut oil to help with acne in addition to topical application, the breakout could become less severe or minimal. Why?
This is because virgin coconut oil is good at stimulating bowel movement. (No wonder more people are using virgin coconut oil to treat constipation.)
Regular and more frequent bowel movements can help to clear up more toxic waste in your gut. This will dramatically reduce the toxic buildups that are transported to your skin for purging.
3.3 How to apply virgin coconut oil to your skin for acne
Apply virgin coconut oil twice or 3 times a day to your skin for acne treatment. And put on just a thin layer each time.
If you apply too much at one time, the excess will sit on the surface of your skin for some time before it gets absorbed. That's because our skin can only absorb virgin coconut oil up to a certain degree at one time. So, no point putting so much on your skin. A small amount goes a long way.
You may feel a little greasy right after each topical application. But after a few minutes the greasy feel will disappear as virgin coconut oil gradually seeps in to help treat acne. This leaves behind a super thin protective layer on your skin surface to keep off bacteria and other germs.
Some acne sufferers use a hot or warm washcloth or towel to cover their face; or wash their face with warm water to open up their skin pores. This helps their skin to absorb virgin coconut oil more quickly.
On top of that, do not apply over an already oily skin or makeup. Because this can hamper the absorption of coconut oil into your skin for acne treatment.
Make sure you cleanse your face or skin thoroughly before applying virgin coconut oil. And use only natural products for cleansing and removing makeup to prevent more chemicals from clogging the pores and intoxicating your skin.
I've read about people using virgin coconut oil to cleanse and remove their makeup before they apply the second time for acne treatment and overall skin care. It works great for them. You might like to try that.
As you feel more confident and comfortable with using virgin coconut oil over time, you can increase the number of applications per day to expedite the healing.
So, that's the way to use virgin coconut oil on skin for acne. And for better result, don't forget to take virgin coconut oil orally as well for internal detox.
3.4 How to eat virgin coconut oil for acne treatment
Start out slow with 1 tablespoon (tbsp) or 3 teaspoons (3 tsp) of virgin coconut oil spreading over a day first. For example, add one tsp to your breakfast, one to your lunch and one to dinner. Or to make your life easier, split 1 tbsp into half and take half tbsp at breakfast while the other half at lunch.
Do not take too much like 3 tbsp per day at first because virgin coconut oil may cause diarrhea. It is highly detoxifying.
But once your body adapts to this natural oil and diarrhea effect tapers off after 7 days or so, you can start to gradually increase the dose up to 3 tablespoons daily. Again, spread out the dose – 1 tbsp at breakfast, 2 tbsp at lunch or 1½ at breakfast, 1½ at lunch. They ain't hard and fast. So, base your judgment on your daily routine and pace.
3.5 Virgin coconut oil's limitation on acne
Despite its healing benefits on acne, virgin coconut oil cannot permanently prevent your pimples from popping up. Why?
That's because you haven't fixed the root cause of acne yet. What?
It all begins with overloading your liver with the gunky toxins that weaken your liver's ability to shut off androgens. And when these hormones are not deactivated in time, your skin gets oily easily and hence, acne-prone. Remember?
So, once you stop the overload, your sebum production will normalize. You'll have less food for acne bacteria to multiply like crazy. Your dead skin cells will shed at normal rate. And your pores will always be unclogged and clear.
In other words, the environment that breeds acne will completely disintegrate.
Relying solely on virgin coconut oil for acne treatment can help prevent the formation of such acne environment to a certain extent only.
That's because you can only apply that much virgin coconut oil to your skin each day. Besides that, there's a limit to how much virgin coconut oil you can consume per day. For example, after getting used to eating coconut oil, you probably can max out at 4 tablespoons daily. If you try to go above that daily quantity, you get the runs.
Hence, if you don't take further steps beyond using virgin coconut oil, your acne will most likely return with a "vengeance".
4. How to cure your acne once and for all?
STOP INTOXICATING YOUR BODY!
That's the answer, plain and simple. You know why? If you don't stop that stupid act, no matter how good virgin coconut oil benefits acne, how many times you put on your skin and how much you consume, the oil's detox effect will always get diluted, neutralized or even overridden.
You're wasting virgin coconut oil! It's not cheap though.
Think of virgin coconut oil as a gunk remover. Imagine you hire this "gunk remover" to clean up the nasty gunk sticking around inside your body and under your skin. While he's cleaning up, you dump more garbage into your body. How effective do you think this gunk remover can perform?
It won't be long before your liver gets choked and overburdened, and acne flares up on your skin and face again. Make sense?
I know what you're thinking. True, we can't possibly keep all toxic substances and chemicals away from us since we're living in a modern world fraught with toxic pollutants and contaminants, and unscrupulous money-minded farmers and food corporations.
But when you watch your diet and improve your lifestyle, you can remarkably decrease the amount of toxins gaining access into your body.
Less toxic intake means your liver will have enough ability to shut down androgens besides purifying your blood of toxins. And thus, effectively cure your acne.
So, how to reduce your intake of toxins?
Let's take a look at your diet first since you can easily introduce toxins via a bad diet, which alone can cause severe acne breakout.
4.1 What food to avoid for acne?
Do you love eating animal proteins such as meat, fish, dairy (e.g. milk, cheese, yogurt) and/or eggs every day?
Animal proteins are in fact very toxic by themselves. They leave tons of acidic ash behind after digestion, increasing your blood acidity level.
When your blood has too much acidic components in it, your liver will try to remove these components (deacidify) to restore the pH (acid-alkaline) balance of your blood.
Deacidification is another vital function of liver.
If you ingest too much acidic food like animal proteins or animal-based food, the regulation of pH by your liver can weaken your liver's abilities to remove other toxic wastes and "switch off" androgens.
Besides disrupting your pH balance, animal fat tissues store dioxins. Dioxins are highly toxic. They can cause reproductive and developmental problems, damage your immune system, interfere with hormones and also cause cancer. So, these toxic dioxins will add more burden to your liver.
On top of that, extreme stress, fear and anger struck in the animals when they're slaughtered elevate their steroid hormones to an all-time high. So, these over-excessive hormones will pass on to you when you eat them, and they'll overload your liver.
End result? Acne flares.
What's even worse is that you'll ingest other growth hormones, antibiotics and pesticides as well via your meat (and dairy) consumption, straining your liver even more. And if you think that's not toxic enough, mercury from fish will fit the bill.
So, organic meat is better?
Says who? Whether organic or non-organic, the dioxins, huge amount of steroid hormones when the animals are slaughtered and the "natural" acidic ash they leave behind are the same. It's just that organic meat may not contain antibiotics, pesticides and other growth hormones.
4.2 "Hey, my friend is eating a lot more meat than me every day, why does her skin still look so good?"
Well, we're all born and raised differently. What we eat, the way we eat, as well as sedentary or active lifestyle we lead, and the quality of our sleep etc... all these can cause the tolerance levels of our liver to vary extensively.
If you find that someone takes more junk food than you but her skin looks just as great, I can tell you, just wait and see. It's just a matter of time before she breaks out with acne or other form of liver disease, which could be worse than your case.
Acne is a good indicator to tell you to fix your liver before it takes a turn for the worse and goes beyond repair. Some people just do not have breakout when their liver degenerates. By the time they realize how severe they have inflicted damage on their liver, they're only left with a couple of months or even shorter to live.
So, appreciate your breakout so that you can fix it before it's too late.
Having said all that, cut back on animal proteins, dairy or any animal-based food as much as you can or your acne treatment with virgin coconut oil will be nullified. Or best, quit them totally over time since you can easily obtain various nutrients you need from plant sources and whole food.
4.3 Does that mean vegetarians and vegans are spared from acne?
Not when they eat too much processed food containing unsaturated fats and refined carbohydrates.
Unsaturated fats from vegetable oil encourage oxidation and promote inflammation. These can hamper skin tissue repair and worsen your acne and acne-prone skin. They also produce body fats which can store fat-soluble toxins.
That explains why your body can store so much toxic crap underneath your skin. And when coconut oil gets into your fat tissues and expel those toxins, you get a breakout.
As for refined carbs that come mainly from white flour (e.g. bread), white sugar and white rice etc, they can rapidly spike up your blood sugar. High blood sugar will trigger the production of insulin and other hormones to regulate your blood sugar levels. This again, can weigh down and weaken your liver functions, resulting in an oily skin that promotes acne.
Imagine your diet contains loads of animal proteins plus refined carbs and unsaturated vegetable oils, and you use virgin coconut oil for acne treatment, how well do you think virgin coconut oil can help treat your acne?
4.4 What else to do to improve your acne?
Do you smoke, drink alcohol, consume caffeinated beverages like coffee or tea, overeat and undergo frequent mood swings such as stress, fear, anger, frustration or depression etc?
If you say 'Yes' to any or all of them, do yourself a favor – break these bad habits. If you stick to them, not only they'll continue to strain your liver with toxic chemicals and excessive hormonal production that worsens your acne, but they can ruin your overall health in the long run as well.
Wolfing down food in one sitting can cause your liver and other digestive systems to overwork too. So, take small meals 4 to 6 times a day in intervals of 2 – 3 hours.
Not forgetting that a good quality sleep will improve your acne problem dramatically. So, don't stay up late at night for TV, social networking or gaming. Your health is so much more important than those.
Speaking of sleep. You should also try to change your pillowcase as often as you can, like once a week.
Or to save you the trouble and energy, place a clean towel over your pillow and sleep on it every night especially during the acne breakout period. This is because the oily dirt (mixture of your skin oil, dust and other micro-particles) accumulated on the pillowcase may block your pores and hence, aggravate the flare or delay the healing of acne on your face.
Oh, putting on makeup can intoxicate your body too. That's because toxic chemicals can enter your bloodstream through your skin or even get stored in the tissues under your skin.
So, try to use more natural products for your skin. Or best, learn to appreciate your natural look so that you can save money on cosmetics and invest in the natural virgin coconut oil for your acne treatment.
4.5 Eat these food for acne treatment
Besides avoiding acne-provoking food, improving your lifestyle and using virgin coconut oil for acne treatment, include in your diet more dark green leafy vegetables and vitamin-loaded fruits.
These whole foods provide tons of super nutrients that benefit your skin and thus, help with your acne treatment and lighten your acne scars.
Also, engage yourself in exercises because working out helps you relax and improves your lymphatic circulation that delivers nutrients to your cells and carries waste products away from your cells effectively.
If you can't do strenuous workouts, gentle tai chi or yoga moves are good for acne treatment too because they can help regulate your mood and balance your hormones, and improve your body's detoxification systems.