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The Truth About Using Coconut Oil for Acne & Skin Issues

by Emily Linehan on February 03, 2020

Coconut oil has become a popular ingredient in the last several years. From cooking to body lotions to face creams to oil pulling… it seems to be the new “go-to” product. But what’s the truth about using coconut oil for acne and skin issues? Let’s expose the good, the bad and the ugly truths about coconut oil! 

Coconut Oil for Cooking

Emme Rating: Excellent!
When it comes to coconut oil in cooking, go coco-nuts. 

In fact, coconut oil can be used as a substitute in most recipes that call for oil or butter. It’s a high smoke point oil, meaning you can use it to sauté foods without the risk of burning the oil (unlike olive oil). 

There are also tremendous health benefits from including this oil in your diet.  

Benefits of Coconut Oil in Your Diet

  • Increased metabolism
  • Better digestion
  • Increased energy and endurance. 

Coconut oil has even been shown to help our body's resistance to viruses and bacteria that can cause illness.

Coconut Oil for Oil Pulling

Emme Rating: Good
Oil pulling has become quite popular lately thanks to social media! 

The act of oil pulling dates back to an ancient Ayurvedic remedy for oral health and detoxification. 

Benefits of Coconut Oil Pulling: 

  • Whiter teeth
  • Healthier gums
  • Prevention of bad breath and gum disease
  • Increased energy
  • A clear mind and better sleep 
  • Decreased headaches/migraines
  • Alleviated allergies and clearer sinuses 
  • Improved keratosis pilaris (Red, bumpy "chicken skin" many people get on their arms)

Interested? Here's a great article on how to oil pull.

Coconut Oil for Acne & Skin Issues

Emme Rating: Bad and Ugly (for those who are acne-prone)
This might stir up some controversy, but coconut oil is a highly comedogenic oil. Meaning, it clogs the pores of those with acne-prone skin.

The fatty acid composition of this oil is the reason why. It is 2/3 Oleic acid (also known as Omega 9) and 1/3 Linoleic acid (also known as Omega 6). 

Unfortunately, Oleic acid is a key ingredient in coconut oil and is a huge trigger for acne-prone skin (although Linoleic acid is not a pore-clogger.) 

If you are prone to breakouts or clogged pores, make absolutely sure that your skincare products, hair care products and even laundry detergents DO NOT contain coconut oil. 

Speaking as someone who is acne-prone, discovering that coconut oil was bad for my acne was a turning point in my battle for clear skin. When I eliminated coconut oil from all my personal care products, I saw the results I’d been waiting for.

Coconut oil is the big one, but it’s not the only oil you should be watching out for. 

Oils That Are High in Oleic Acid: 

  • Coconut Oil
  • Sweet Almond Oil
  • Avocado Oil
  • Cocoa Butter
  • Olive Oil
  • Palm Oil
  • Shea Butter

Now that you’ve heard the truth about coconut oil, I’ll tell you some good news! There are still a few natural oils that are great for acne prone skin. These oils are high in Linoleic acid… not pore-clogging Oleic acid.  

Oils That Are Safe For Acne-Prone Skin

  • Cold-pressed Safflower Oil
  • Sunflower Oil.

You can find our compiled list of Pore-Clogging Ingredients in the Emme Diane Acne Bible!

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