Coconut oil for the skin, is it good or bad?

Question from a client:
How do you feel about coconut oil?  I hear it’s all the rage these days

Answer from me:
Coconut oil is fine – most moisturizers have it in the form of caprylic/capric triglycerides…it is just that the marketing hype around it makes it sound like a new discovery…. ‘Caprylic Capric Triglycerides are a specific fraction of coconut / palm oil fatty acids resulting in only the more stable, and skin loving, caprylic & capric fatty acids which creates a dry, silky oil form of esters.’ Reference

There is an important difference between caprylic/capric triglycerides and ‘fractionated coconut oil’. I prefer the use of caprylic/capric triglycerides to that of fractionated coconut oil. ‘Caprylic Capric Triglycerides are a specialized esterification of Coconut Oil using just the Caprylic and Capric Fatty Acids, while Fractionated Coconut Oil is a, standard, distillation of Coconut Oil which results in a combination of all of the fatty acids, pulled through the distillation process.  Fractionated Coconut Oil has the same feel, and performance, of traditional vegetable oils with a lighter feel and extended shelf life, than most common carrier oils.  Caprylic Capric Triglycerides do not feel like a standard carrier oil, at all.  Caprylic Capric Triglycerides are an ester and have a very light, silky oil, feel that is not at all greasy / oily feeling on the skin.’ Reference

As with all chemicals, the way it is produced/processed can result in unfortunate/unwelcome artifacts in the formula that won’t be suitable on the skin. Using small amounts of well produced product will be fine. Too much and poorly formulated products can help clog pores or develop skin irritation. In skin care applications Caprylic Capric Triglycerides offer several key benefits: 1. they offer a noticeable silkiness in products, 2. they exhibit excellent anti-oxidant properties to extend the natural shelf life, 3. they offer skin nurturing benefits due to the skin loving nature of the specific fatty acid esters, not seen with common Fractionated Coconut Oil, or other carrier oils, and 4. they are especially suited to sensitive skin and oily skin.’ Reference

I am a great believer in lipid rich ingredients with moisturizers as they inevitably help build and strengthen the skin’s lipid barrier (this is essential for sensitive and reactive skin). Coconut lipids, like olive lipids, soy lipids, wheat lipids, shea butter lipids, phospholipids, are all good for the skin when used appropriately…. You will find most of these incorporated in the formulas of Sensitive Skin Clinic moisturizers, as well as those sold through the Blue Turtle Spa online shop.

Whatever is the ‘latest rage’ will inevitably just be marketing hype!

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