As a teenager, I had terrible acne.
There were itchy, red bumps splattered across my face, back, and even my shoulders. My pores were blocked, which lead to small, white bumps (I struggled not to pop these whiteheads on a daily basis!) I would have tried anything at the time to make my acne disappear.
I even remember begging my parents to buy me a popular acne treatment system that I saw on an infomercial—but it didn’t seem to have any effect on my skin. Needless to say, I was desperate!
Causes of Acne
As I grew up, my acne gradually disappeared; however, at the time, I never really understood the root cause of my acne problem.Although acne affects about 85% of people between the ages of 12 and 24, the condition is also an issue for 20% of adults. Teenagers are more prone to suffer from acne, due to specific hormonal changes.For starters, oily emission of the sebaceous glands surges. As a result, unpleasant pimples appear on the skin. The fibrous protein called keratin is a key component for the outer layer of skin.The overproduction of keratin can also block skin pores. An excessive amount of the hormone testosterone can also increase the risk of acne. Infectious pores can result in yeast overgrowth and increased bacteria on the skin, which can lead to inflammation. Deep skin inflammation may lead to nodules, cysts, and even scars.Other possible underlying causes of acne also include:
- Candida or yeast overgrowth
- Food sensitivities
- Poor digestion and a toxic body
- Emotional stress
- Nutrient deficiencies, such as zinc, essential fatty acids, and vitamins A, E, and D
It is also important to note that I didn’t have the best diet growing up—I would eat plenty of sugary, fatty, greasy, and processed foods. Unfortunately, these foods also contributed to my skin inflammation and acne breakouts.
Role of Coconut Oil in Acne Treatment
Luckily, certain food substances can help treat acne—especially coconut oil. You see, coconut is loaded with powerful antimicrobial fatty acids called lauric acid (LA) and capric acid (CA). When applied on the skin, LA and CA are converted to monolaurin and monocaprin, which replenishes the protective acid skin layer.
In a 2014 study published in the Journal of Dermatological Science, the LA and CA levels found in coconut oil demonstrated beneficial antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects on treating acne during in vitro and in vivo experiments.
Why else is a coconut oil acne treatment useful?
Coconut oil is a great source of vitamin E, which promotes proper sebum gland function and healthy skin. People with acne often have a vitamin E deficiency. The medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil will also help the liver filter toxins from the body, regulate hormones, and boost the metabolism of your tissues, cells, and organs. It can kill excess bacteria and candida to restore the skin and gut. The coconut oil acne treatment will also remove and clear dead skin cells.
How to Use Coconut Oil as a Treatment for Acne
Coconut oil as a treatment for acne deserves a lot of attention! There are two primary ways to use the coconut oil acne treatment. For best results, try eating coconut oil as well as using it topically:
• How to Use Coconut Oil in Your Body
It is a good idea to include coconut oil in your diet. For example, eating coconut oil is great for detoxification. Consumption of coconut oil will help clear toxins from bowel movements, and reduce the toxin buildup in your skin. You really only need to consume three tablespoons daily, one tablespoon each at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Too much coconut oil may over-stimulate the bowel and lead to diarrhea.
• How to Use Coconut Oil on Your Body
Coconut oil as a treatment for acne should also be taken into consideration. The antifungal and antibacterial properties in coconut oil are extremely effective on the skin—so much so that this super oil is considered gentler than many popular chemical-laden antibacterial creams available on the market today. A coconut oil acne treatment should be used until whiteheads, blackheads, or pimples have fully healed.
Is coconut oil good for acne scars as well? You bet! Coconut oil will help diminish acne scars and prevent the formation of new scars. Simply apply coconut oil to the skin and acne scarring will heal over time. Once to two times daily is the general recommendation.
Choosing the Best Coconut Oil to Treat Acne
What is the best coconut oil to use for acne treatment? It is essential that you use organic virgin coconut oil—it is free of pesticides, viruses, bacteria, parasites, and other harmful microbes. In other words, organic virgin coconut oil is the best type of oil to use to avoid further toxins infecting the skin.
Final Thoughts: Other Things to Consider for Treating Acne
If the body is too toxic, your acne breakouts may continue and even worsen. For some, coconut oil for treating acne may be all you need, but for more serious cases of acne, coconut oil should not be your only treatment. Keep in mind that there are other natural treatments you can try to complement your coconut oil acne treatment:
• Essential nutrients: Nutrient deficiencies can contribute to acne breakouts. Vitamin A (retinol) and zinc are important nutrients to include in your diet. Other key nutrients to include are selenium, chromium, and vitamins B6, E, and D.
• Chasteberry (Vitex): Chasteberry, or Vitex, is a great way to balance hormones and reduce acne; however, it is not a good option for women who are pregnant or taking birth control pills.
• Essential fatty acids: Consider upping your intake of essential fatty acids. Fish oil or flaxseed oil are helpful options to help reduce skin inflammation and acne.
• Homeopathic remedies: Homeopathy also offers a natural solution for acne. A few good remedies include calcarea sulphurica, hepar sulphuris, ledum palustre, pulsatilla, sulphur, and silicea.
Other natural acne treatments include burdock root, tea tree oil, saw palmetto, dandelion root, milk thistle, passionflower, oregano oil, colloidal silver, chamomile, and natural progesterone cream. Super greens like spirulina and chlorella also support skin healing.
Murray, M., et al., The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine: Third Edition (New York: First Atria Paperback, 2012), 245-252.
Balch, J., et al., Prescription for Natural Cures: A Self-Care Guide for Treating Health Problems with Natural Remedies Including Diet, Nutrition, Supplements, and Other Holistic Methods (Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2004), 11-16.
Huang, W.C., et al., “Anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of capric acid against Propioniberterium acnes: a comparative study with lauric acid,” Journal of Dermatological Science 2014; 73(3): 323-240.
Chai, S., “How to Use Coconut Oil for Acne Treatment?” FussyBody web site; http://fussybody.com/use-coconut-oil-for-acne/, last accessed July 13, 2015.
“Coconut Oil for Acne,” Organic Facts web site; https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/oils/coconut-oil-for-acne.html, last accessed July 13, 2015.
“Acne,” American Academy of Dermatology web site; https://www.aad.org/media-resources/stats-and-facts/conditions/acne, last accessed July 13, 2015.