Is Coconut Oil Good for Eczema?
Is coconut oil good for eczema or can it make things worse? In honor of Eczema Awareness Month, we’re looking into how coconut oil may be able to ease eczema symptoms.
Many types of eczema cause patches of dry, bumpy, and scaly skin as well as itchiness and possible infections. The best way to handle eczema flare-ups is to keep the skin hydrated. The trouble is, some moisturizers can irritate sensitive skin, leading people to search for natural treatments such as coconut oil.
The question is, can coconut oil heal eczema or will it at least manage symptoms such as dryness, rashes, bumps, and itchy skin? Here's everything you should know about the effects of coconut oil on eczema.
What is Eczema?
Eczema (atopic dermatitis) is a common skin condition that affects around 15 million people across the globe. It is characterized by inflamed, itchy, and irritated patches of skin. In severe cases, it may lead to blisters and oozing.
Eczema is believed to result from a combination of genetic and environmental factors, with triggers including allergens, irritants, and stress. While there is no cure, eczema can be managed through various treatments and lifestyle adjustments to relieve symptoms and prevent flare-ups.
Is Coconut Oil Good for Eczema?
Yes, coconut oil may be helpful at easing eczema symptoms. Research suggests that symptoms occur as a result of damage to the skin barrier, leaving skin more susceptible to allergens and irritants. That’s where coconut oil comes in.
Coconut oil is known to be deeply hydrating and highly effective for boosting moisture on the skin barrier. A 2014 clinical trial testing the effect of topical virgin coconut oil in infants with pediatric atopic dermatitis confirmed that their eczema was reduced due to improved skin hydration over the course of eight weeks.
Coconut oil could also be an excellent eczema treatment thanks to its ability to increase the amount of a protein called filaggrin—an essential protein that helps keep the skin hydrated and pH balanced.
Does coconut oil help eczema? There are many reasons to believe coconut oil may be effective in managing symptoms of eczema. Coconut oil is rich in lauric acid, a fatty acid (also found in breast milk) that provides moisture to dry, itchy skin. According to dermatologists, coconut oil cannot cure eczema completely, but it can soothe the skin, ease irritation, reduce itchiness, and reduce the risk of infection.
Benefits of Coconut Oil for Eczema
Is coconut oil good for eczema? It can certainly help to manage symptoms of eczema such as dry skin, redness, and itchiness. Here are all the benefits of using coconut oil for eczema.
Coconut oil has anti-inflammatory properties that can help alleviate eczema symptoms. Since eczema is an inflammatory disease, coconut oil can be effective at soothing red, itchy skin and relieving rashes. What’s more, coconut oil is an emollient and emollients are typically used to manage skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. They help to reduce inflammation and flareups of these conditions.
Thanks to its high lauric acid content, coconut oil helps reduce the presence of bacteria on the skin. This means you’re at less risk of infection when scratching itchy skin. Lauric acid has antimicrobial properties, making it effective at reducing fungi, viruses, and bacteria. The experts say coconut oil also has antibacterial effects, which can help to ward off potential infections.
Coconut oil helps prevent water loss from the skin by acting as a natural emollient, alleviating dryness associated with eczema. It contains a unique combination of fatty acids, such as lauric acid, that form a protective barrier on the skin's surface. This barrier effectively seals in moisture, reducing trans-epidermal water loss.
Additionally, coconut oil's antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties can promote overall skin health, contributing to its ability to combat water loss and maintain skin hydration.
How to Use Coconut Oil for Eczema
Now you know the answer to is coconut oil good for eczema here’s how to use it for the best possible results.
Step 1: Choose a Cold-Pressed Coconut Oil
First off, make sure you choose a high-quality, cold-pressed coconut oil. This ensures that the coconut oil you apply on your skin was extracted without the use of chemicals that could worsen eczema symptoms. You’ll find coconut oil in most grocery stores, as well as online.
Step 2: Apply to Damp Skin
Because coconut oil is solid at room temperature, it’s best to put a small amount on your hands and rub them together to liquefy the oil. Apply a thin layer of coconut oil to your skin when it’s slightly damp at least twice daily. Damp skin absorbs product better than dry skin. Applying coconut oil to eczema on your eyelids? Use a Q-tip for application to avoid getting it in your eyes.
Step 3: Use Before Bed
The best time to apply coconut oil is at night for maximum absorption. Apply a small amount as the last step of your skincare routine to seal in moisture. Your skin will feel smoother and softer the next morning.
Best Coconut Oil Skincare Products
While dermatologists recommend using organic coconut oil for eczema, you can also benefit from using skincare products that contain coconut oil. Just be sure to use fragrance-free formulas that won’t irritate your skin. Here are some of our top picks.
Glazed Donut Skin Set
A clean, vegan, and fragrance-free routine developed to deeply hydrate, nourish, and soothe while combating signs of aging. Glazed Donut Skin Set features a facial serum and cream enriched with coconut oil, shea butter, grapeseed oil, and vitamin E. Together, these active ingredients help to moisturize, protect, and leave skin gleaming. Suitable for all skin types, especially dry and sensitive skin.
Glass Skin Set
Cleanse and moisturize your way to silky smooth, poreless skin with the Glass Skin Set. It features a gentle cleansing balm to remove impurities and a facial serum to hydrate and refine pores. Formulated with a barrier-bolstering blend of jojoba oil, niacinamide, and coconut oil. It’s vegan, cruelty-free, and doesn’t contain any irritating fragrances.
Unicorn Blast Bundle
Moisturize, polish, and plump with the most decadent, ingredient-forward Truly must-haves. You get: the iconic ultra hydrating body butter, a gentle glow-enhancing polish, and the lip balm that leaves your pout extra soft and luscious. Every product in this set offers intense hydration and soothing for skin that feels soft, calm, and comfortable.
Is coconut oil good for eczema? It sure is. However, you probably have more questions in mind now you know that coconut oil can ease eczema symptoms.
Can Coconut Oil Irritate Eczema?
The use of coconut oil for eczema is generally considered safe. However, if you have any concerns it’s best to consult your dermatologist or healthcare provider before using this natural remedy for eczema.
If you are allergic to coconuts, you should avoid using coconut oil. To test for an allergic reaction, apply a drop of the oil to a small patch of undamaged skin.
It is important to choose a high-quality, cold-pressed coconut oil as this will be free of chemicals that can irritate the skin and make your eczema worse.
How Long Does it Take for Coconut Oil to Work on Eczema?
Coconut oil should help relieve irritation and dryness immediately after use. That being said, it can take up to eight weeks to see and feel a full improvement in your eczema symptoms. While you’re using coconut oil for eczema, make sure the skincare products you’re using in your daily routine are gentle and free of fragrances. Check your cleansers, serums, creams, and lotions before applying them to your skin. Avoid harsh soaps that can strip the skin and trigger flareups.
Is Shea Butter or Coconut Oil Better for Eczema?
Both shea butter and coconut oil can be used to alleviate eczema symptoms, but their effectiveness varies from person to person. Shea butter is highly moisturizing and rich in fatty acids and vitamins. It can lock in moisture, soothe dry, irritated skin, and reduce itching and inflammation. Coconut oil also offers moisturizing benefits thanks to its fatty acid content. It also has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that may help manage eczema.
Personal preference and skin sensitivity play a role in determining which option works better for eczema relief. Alternatively, you could try using both to reap the benefits of each.
From Vaseline to olive oil and coconut oil, there are many natural remedies for eczema. Is coconut oil good for eczema? As per research, coconut oil is safe and effective for managing eczema symptoms. With its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and moisturizing properties, coconut oil may help reduce the discomfort associated with eczema. All in all, it’s definitely worth using coconut oil for eczema if you’re looking for a natural way to manage this skin condition.
Watch how to soothe your skin with Truly's Coco Cloud line:
Feature photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya, Pexels