A Dermatologist Weighs in: Uses of Coconut Oil for Natural Beauty

So, what’s all the buzz with coconut oil? Does it really have all the properties and uses for your health and beauty as we hear?

Recent research and studies show it really does; for example, a study published in 2014 in the Journal of International Dermatology found that coconut oil is helpful for improving the skin barrier function, which prevents the penetration of certain unwanted substances as well as prevents the development of eczema in atopic dermatitis patients.

Coconut oil is naturally antibacterial and anti-fungal and is used in many natural beauty products due to its hydration and antioxidant properties.

It’s important to look for extra virgin coconut oil that has not been refined in any way, and has no added fragrance, flavor, or coloring.


Here are eleven ways coconut oil can improve your skin and hair health:

  • Rehydrate dry skin: apply coconut oil immediately after your bath or shower when your skin is still warm and humid, as this is when it will be most readily absorbed.
    • Pro tip: wait a few minutes to allow the oil to absorb before hopping into your pajamas.


  • Repair damaged hair: This oil is able to penetrate the hair shaft, so it works well as an overnight treatment, especially for dry, colored, or often blow-dried hair.
    • Use it once a week, starting near your scalp and working your way towards the end of your strands. Cover your hair with a shower cap and leave overnight. Rinse your hair with sulfate-free shampoo the next morning, two or three times or until your hair no longer feels oily.


  • Control hair frizz and flyaways by using a tiny amount of coconut oil on dry hair.


  • Coconut oil works as an excellent eye cream, as it helps to moisturize the skin, improving wrinkles and dark circles.


  • Coconut oil can be used to moisturize very dry areas such as heels, elbows, and hands: rub a small amount on these areas in circular motion daily.


  • It works as an excellent lip moisturizer, softening chapped lips.


  • The use of coconut oil as a face cream is a little bit controversial since it may clog your pores and therefore be comedogenic. Use it only as a night cream if you don’t have acne-prone skin.


  • Coconut oil also works as a cuticle oil: rub into cuticles until fully absorbed.


  • It also works as a natural shaving cream. The oil is antimicrobial and will leave your legs looking and feeling hydrated. Just be careful if you are shaving in the tub or shower – coconut oil will make the floor very slippery!


  • Mix coconut oil with brown sugar or oat flakes for an excellent skin scrub.


  • It can serve as a great natural deodorant since it contains lauric acid, which kills odor-causing bacteria. Unfortunately, many deodorants on the market are made with toxic ingredients that are hazardous to our health such as aluminun, which has been linked to breast cancer. You may try to use the oil alone, or by mixing 4 tablespoons of coconut oil, ¼ cup baking soda and ¼ teaspoon diluted essential oils for a natural deodorant.


As you can see, coconut oil has many uses beyond cooking and consuming for overall health. It is a great natural alternative for your skin and hair. So, give it a try!


About the Author:

Nilde Costante is an MD, Dermatologist from Venezuela. She completed her Immunodermatology fellowship at University of Chicago and is a mom of two. Apart from being a holistic skin care, healthy lifestyle and fitness advocate, she is also a marathon runner. She’s completed a number of half marathons, including Miami Half Marathon (twice), NYC Half Marathon, CAF Half Marathon, Movistar Half Marathon in Caracas, Gloucester and Andover MA Half Marathons, as well as several full marathons, including the Chicago Marathon and Mountain 2 Beach Marathon in Ojai, CA. For more information on which products she recommends and healthy lifestyle practices that let you radiate your glowing complexion, follow her on Instagram at @fitdermom

Leave a Reply