Using Coconut Oil on Dry Skin is Better Than Mineral Oil

young woman holding jar of coconut oil for dry skin

If you suffer from dry skin, you may be wondering if you can use coconut oil to moisturize and soften rough, scaly skin?

A recent study found coconut oil was better than mineral oil for improving moisture levels and reducing skin scaling, without any change in skin pH or measurable water loss.

Coconut oils are now found in many skin and body lotions, hair conditioners and even cosmetics.

While there may be plenty of testimonials from people that claimed this is an effective dry skin treatment, there are also a medical studies proving it actually works.

Study Shows How Coconut Oil Improves Dry Skin

Makati, Philippines – In this study, researchers compared virgin coconut oil against mineral oil for skin moisturizing.

applying coconut oil to dry skin on legsThe patients were instructed to apply virgin coconut oil or mineral oil to their legs, twice a day for 2 weeks.

The study was double-blind, so neither the participants nor researchers knew what lotion was being used.

Throughout the study, and at the conclusion, researchers measured a number of parameters to determine if there were any changes in the skin’s structure.

Factors they measured included:

  • Skin moisture
  • Amount of water loss on skin
  • Acidity levels of skin (pH of skin)
  • Amount of dryness, roughness and scaling on skin

Researchers discovered that coconut oils were comparable to mineral oil as an effective skin moisturizer:

  • Both oils caused an increase in skin hydration and skin lipid levels.
  • The oils didn’t dry out the skin;  there was no change in the amount of water loss or pH of skin.
  • Virgin coconut oil was better than mineral oil for overall skin improvement.
  • People using coconut oils also experienced less skin dryness, roughness and scaling compared to the mineral oil.

Based on this study, researchers concluded that using coconut oil on dry skin is superior to mineral oil for reducing skin dryness, roughness and scaling.

Additional research has also shown how ingredients in coconut oil improve skin health:

How to Use Virgin Coconut Oil on Dry Skin

While you can apply the oil directly to dry skin, the following method is an effective deep skin moisturizing and conditioning treatment:

  1. Shower and exfoliate all over your body.
  2. While still in the shower take a quarter size amount of virgin coconut oil and rub between your palms to liquify it.
  3. Massage the oil onto your skin. Repeat this procedure until the areas you want treated are covered in the oil.
  4. Be careful not to get any oil on the bottom of your soles as it can make the tub surface slippery and you don’t want to slip in the bathtub.
  5. After gently massaging in the oil, rinse your body off with warm water. The water will most likely ‘bead up’ on the treated areas.
  6. Carefully step out of the shower and use your towel to gently pat dry your skin. Make sure you pat dry and don’t rub. This will leave a nice thin layer of oils on your skin.

applying virgin coconut oil to dry skin

The best time to do this treatment may be right before going to bed after showering or bathing.

This may give your skin time to absorb the healthy oils overnight while you sleep.

Try to use only a thin layer of oil on your skin as using too much may leave your skin feeling a little greasy.

Depending on your skin’s initial condition, your skin may stay softer and smoother after a couple of treatments. You may even eliminate using traditional body lotions after trying coconut oils.

Some people who’ve used coconut oil for different skin conditions claimed it helped stopped itching and soften the skin.

You can also apply the oils to dry skin areas on your legs and knees.  It won’t dry out the skin so you can apply as often as you want for an instant surge of moisturizing and skin softening effects.

Studies have also shown that you can use coconut oil for hair conditioning and moisturizing as it helps restore protein levels and improve hair structure.

Research References:

A randomized double-blind controlled trial comparing extra virgin coconut oil with mineral oil as a moisturizer for mild to moderate xerosis. Virgin Coconut oil on dry skin study. Department of Dermatology, Makati Medical Center, Makati City, Philippines. Dermatitis. 2004 Sep;15(3):109-16. Agero AL, Verallo-Rowell VM.


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