Using Coconut Oil for Dermatitis and Eczema: Does it Really Work?

coconut oil dermatitis eczemaIf you have dermatitis or eczema, you may be wondering if you can use coconut oil to treat dermatitis and dry skin symptoms.

The traditional treatment for these types of skin conditions can include prescription drugs and specialized skin lotions which can help reduce redness, peeling and dryness. Studies show that some patients can have tremendous success with OTC medications and lotions, whereas other patients have been frustrated with their lack of results.

But what about alternative forms of treatment? Well, previous studies have found that coconut oil is an effective treatment for reducing dryness and itchiness in dry skin. And a recent study now indicates that you could use coconut oil to treat symptoms of dermatitis and eczema.



What is Dermatitis?

Dermatitis is a common skin condition that’s characterized by an inflammation of the skin.

There are many types of dermatitis including psoriasis, eczema and urticaria (hives or rashes). There’s no cure, but it can be treated a number of different ways.

coconut oil dermatitis eczema

Dermatitis Inflammation on Arms


Doctors claims that some people who have atopic dermatitis may be more prone to a higher risk of skin infections. It seems that the chronic scratching of dry itchy skin may break open the top layer of your skin which could make you more susceptible to bacteria and viruses.

Some of the more commonly prescribed treatments for this type of dermatitis include antiseptic lotions and/or antibiotics. These are used to reduce the bacteria levels and to improve moisture levels. Corticosteroids may also be prescribed to help fight the inflammation.

Unfortunately, some studies have shown that using antibiotics may have minimal effects on improving your skin’s condition and there’s also concerns about experiencing possible side effects from using corticocsteroids.



This Coconut Oil Dermatitis Study Shows It May be a Natural Cure

coconut oil dermatitisSo there was this recent study published in the 2008 Nov/Dec issue of Dermatology that revealed the amazing antibiotic and moisturizing effects from using coconut oil on atopic dermatitis.

In this study, researchers compared the moisturizing and antibiotic effects of virgin coconut oil and olive oil.

Now many tropical islanders are familiar with the health benefits of coconut oil and Mediterraneans have preached about the benefits of olive oil for generations. All you have to do is take a look at some of the Italian women with their beautiful, flawless skin and it’s no doubt that their healthy  diet of fresh fruits, vegetables and ample amounts of olive oil may have played a role.

However, some food scientists believe that coconut oils are superior to olive oil because it contains lauric acid, a potent anti-microbial found to be effective against many strains of bacteria, fungi and protozoa.

Test Results from Using Coconut Oil on Dermatitis:

  • When patients applied a teaspoon of virgin coconut oil (twice a day) to their dermatitis, they experienced significantly less redness, scaling, dryness and edema, compared to the group using olive oil.

  • Researchers also discovered that it caused a marked reduction in bacteria – and this wasn’t seen in the group using olive oil. Even more interesting was that 25 out of 26 patients receiving coconut oils showed improvement in their symptoms.


coconut oil dermatitis

After 4 weeks of applying coconut oil, patients saw improvement in their dermatitis including less redness, dryness and edema. Researchers found coconut oil caused a significant reduction in bacterial skin levels of Staphylococcus aureus. Photo courtesy of and Dermatology, Issue 2008 Nov/Dec.


So it appears that coconut oils can naturally moisturize the skin and it may also help reduce some bacterial infections commonly seen in atopic dermatitis. Here’s one woman’s experience using coconut oil for staph infection.

The tropical oil also appears to be safe for people with dermatitis as none of the above study participants experienced any negative side effects from it. Here are more testimonials from people that have used coconut oil for different skin conditions.

While this is only a single study on coconut oil dermatitis, the results do appear encouraging. There is more research on the effects of fish oil on eczema that are also promising. If you’re looking for a natural dermatitis or eczema treatment that could help moisturize and nourish your skin, you could also try using  organic body lotions that contain virgin coconut oil and other natural ingredients.

Remember to consult with your dermatologist or health care provider before beginning any new treatment plans to ensure specific ingredients won’t aggravate your skin.


Research References:

Novel antibacterial and emollient effects of coconut and virgin olive oils in adult atopic dermatitis. Dermatitis. 2008 Nov-Dec;19(6):308-15.

Comparative study of Staphylococcus aureus isolated from lesional and non-lesional skin of atopic dermatitis patients. Microbiology & Immunology 2000;44:945-7.

Medicinal plants of the Philippines; Quisumbing E. , Manila: JMC Press; 1978.p. 127-32..


“Search for more Virgin Coconut Oils at”



Home Page > Coconut Oil Home Page > Coconut Oil Dermatitis