One quick search of “coconut oil” on Pinterest and you’d think it’s the secret to solving all of the world’s problems. Its natural remedies do work — sometimes. We asked New York City dermatologist Francesca Fusco to sort fact from fiction. Here are just a few.
As a hair mask: YES
“Absolutely — there was even a study done comparing coconut oil to sunflower and mineral oils, and it turns out coconut oil can penetrate deeper into the hair shaft than those other options,” says Fusco, adding that it reduces protein loss that can occur from things like heat styling and brushing, so it’s definitely worth incorporating into your routine from time to time.
To prevent stretch marks: NO
“Stretch marks form when skin expands and stretches and the collagen and elastic fibers deep down are pulling, which creates little scars — it’s trauma,” Fusco says. “I think people imagine that using an oil as the skin stretches will help, but it just doesn’t work that way.” To really tackle the lines, treat them with a prescription retinoid while they’re still new and reddish purple — that’s when you’ll have the best luck, she says.
To fight frizz: SORT OF
While the oil will coat the hair and squash your frizz, Fusco questions whether someone would be happy with the resulting look — it may be more slicked down than you were hoping for.
To sooth psoriasis and eczema: YES
Trans-epidermal water loss (when water evaporates from the skin) is the problem for people with eczema on the face, so Fusco says coconut oil definitely can help with a flare up. Psoriasis happens when the skin turnover rate is much faster than it should be, resulting in raw, red skin, so the anti inflammatory properties of the oil (thanks to lauric acid) is a nice, natural choice for calming everything down. “It’s also great because it doesn’t have any preservatives, which can sometimes set off these skin conditions,” Fusco says.
To sooth bug bites: MAYBE
“Coconut oil’s natural anti-inflammatory properties could possibly reduce redness and swelling,” Fusco says, adding that for the same reason, it might help quiet down a pimple as well.
You can see more here: BHG