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The Skinny on Coconut Oil Posted June 6, 2013

You may be surprised by how many uses there are for coconut oil. It's great to keep in your pantry, and the bathroom too!

Coconut oil comes from the meat (or kernel) of mature coconuts harvested from the coconut palm. Coconut oil has been used for thousands of years for cooking and personal care, and more recently in industrial applications such as biofuels.

It has a melting point of 76 degrees F and it is often solid or semi-solid at room temperature. It is very stable and therefore slow to oxidize (turn rancid), lasting up to two years.

A powerful ingredient in soap

You may have heard of the many benefits of Aleppo soap. Aleppo soap is widely known for being great for your skin. The active ingredient in Aleppo soap giving it such beneficial properties is laurel oil, and lauric acid is what makes laurel oil so special.

Laurel oil is about 50% lauric acid content, the same as coconut oil. Coconut oil is a much more abundant natural source of lauric acid and more cost effective as well.

The lauric acid content in soaps made with coconut oil makes them effective in treating a variety of skin conditions. Lauric acid has antibiotic, anti-fungal, and anti-itch properties. It promotes wound healing, helps with insect bites, and is an effective treatment for many other skin ailments like eczema, psoriasis, acne, herpes and rosacea.

All of this makes coconut oil an important ingredient in our organic bar soaps. It makes for a long-lasting bar that's highly beneficial to the skin and is quick to lather even in cold or salt water. Each of our handmade organic soaps are made with at least 20% organic coconut oil.

A welcome addition to the pantry

With a high smoke point, coconut oil is a great choice for frying. For vegans, we hear it also substitutes very well for butter in baking.

The lauric acid content of coconut oil promotes healthy levels of LDL and HDL cholesterols and is otherwise an important element in a healthful diet.

Many people report improvements in their well-being from consuming up to three tablespoons of coconut oil a day.

Great for skin and hair

Coconut oil is a fantastic moisturizer for the skin and acts as a natural sunscreen with an SPF of 4. It may have anti-aging and anti-wrinkle properties as well.

Because of the shape of the coconut oil molecule, it bonds very well with hair, moisturizing it and reducing protein loss. It will condition the scalp as well, reducing dandruff.

It's very light feeling when applied to skin and hair. It soaks in quickly and doesn't have the greasy feel you might expect. This makes it a good choice for massage oil.

Burns, scars, and age spots will benefit from the application of a little coconut oil as well.

Coconut oil as a face cleanser?

It can also be used as a face cleanser and makeup remover. You may find the thought of using oil to clean your face counter-intuitive or even a bit scary. However, the oils, dirt, and dead skin cells on your face are soluble in oil and are removed when you remove the coconut oil.

Simply massage a bit of coconut oil into your skin and gently wipe it away after a minute or two, paying careful attention to the edges of your face such a the hair and jaw lines (any excess oil in those areas can lead to clogged pores or breakouts). This will leave your face clean and deeply moisturized. Many people have great success after just a few weeks with this method.

The anti-microbial properties of lauric acid (there it is again!) in the coconut oil also do a bang-up job fighting acne.

Eczema and chronic dry skin

Being so moisturizing and with its healing properties, many people (including yours truly) have had success treating eczema and related skin conditions with the regular application of coconut oil. It keeps the skin from drying out, fights infection, and kills the itch.

For people with sensitive skin or eczema, our organic soaps also go a long way in the struggle for healthy skin.

Go virgin

If you'd like to try coconut oil for cooking, or on your skin or hair, it is important to find pure unrefined or virgin coconut oil.

Virgin coconut oil (VCO) isn't subjected to heat or bleach like refined coconut oil and therefore retains more of its nutritive and anti-oxidant properties. In cooking, VCO is also tastier and more fragrant. Amazon.com has many great options, including our favorite Garden of Life VCO.

We encourage you to continue your research on the many terrific benefits and varied uses of humble coconut oil!