What Is Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil is a highly saturated oil that is traditionally made by extracting the oil from raw coconuts or dried coconut kernels (3).
At room temperature it’s solid, but when heated it can soften or even melt.
It’s frequently used in cooking or applied directly to the skin and hair.
Coconut oil is rich in medium-chain fatty acids, which are a form of saturated fat. In fact, these medium-chain fatty acids make up about 65% of its total composition (4).
The fatty acids found in coconut oil include (4):
- Lauric acid: 49%
- Myristic acid: 18%
- Caprylic acid: 8%
- Palmitic acid: 8%
- Capric acid: 7%
- Oleic acid: 6%
- Linoleic acid: 2%
- Stearic acid: 2%
Coconut Oil Can Protect Your Skin, Hair and Dental Health
Coconut oil has many uses that have nothing to do with eating it.
Many people are using it for cosmetic purposes and to improve the health and appearance of their skin and hair.
Studies on individuals with dry skin show that coconut oil can improve the moisture content of the skin. It can also reduce symptoms of eczema (17, 18).
Coconut oil can also be protective against hair damage and one study shows effectiveness as a weak sunscreen, blocking about 20% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays (19, 20)
Another application is using it like mouthwash in a process called oil pulling, which can kill some of the harmful bacteria in the mouth, improve dental health and reduce bad breath (21, 22, 23).SUMMARY:
Coconut oil can also be applied topically, with studies showing it to be effective as a skin moisturizer and protecting against hair damage.