As anyone who has dealt with acne knows, it can often be discouraging to find something that will treat it effectively. Over-the-counter or prescription creams, gels, and other treatments might do the trick for awhile. Until one day, you wake up to find your skin is bone dry, red, and irritated. Not to mention you still have that zit on your face. Although there are greater challenges in life than acne, its constant or near-constant presence can really take a toll on your confidence and self-esteem. Recently, coconut oil has been touted as, essentially, a cure-all. But does coconut oil do anything for acne?
Coconut oil is seeing a huge boost in popularity lately, as more and more people discover and embrace its versatility. Solid-at-room-temperature coconut oil can be used as an ingredient in cooking, a moisturizer for skin, a deep-conditioning hair mask, and so many other ways. But putting greasy, rich oil on top of a breakout? It seems counterintuitive, right? Surely that will make a breakout a thousand times worse. But that's not entirely true.
The idea behind using coconut oil to treat acne has to do with its lauric acid content. A saturdated fat, Healthline noted that lauric acid has anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties which can help with breakouts. That being said. dermatologist Dr. Dendy Engelman told Teen Vogue that people should still be a bit wary and cautious when it comes to applying coconut oil directly to breakouts because it scores a four out of five on the comedogenicity scale, which measures how pore-clogging something is. That means that, for some people, coconut oil could make their acne worse rather than better. Of course, dermatologist Dr. David E. Bank told BuzzFeed Life that for some people who have acne-prone skin, coconut oil actually may be beneficial, because it will seal in hydration, rather than drying the skin out, as many acne-treating cleansers and products do.
If you are going to try coconut oil to treat your breakouts, here's how it's done. According to Women's Health, coconut oil should be applied directly to the spots where your breakouts are, left alone for 15 minutes, and then rinsed off of your face with warm water. Although it may (or may not, experts are a bit divided on that) clear up your acne, according to VeryWell, it won't help fade acne scarring. Many acne scars fade on their own, with time, but there are other products specifically formulated for acne scarring if you think you need them.
Ultimately, while coconut oil may help clear up your acne, it could end up doing more harm than good. It's easy to try just about anything out of desperation, but it could be a bit devastating if things get worse. If you're going to try it, proceed cautiously. And, as tempting as it is, don't set your expectations sky-high. Then, if it does do your skin some good, well, think of how pleased you'll be.