8 Reasons to Use Coconut Oil for Eczema

8 Reasons to Use Coconut Oil for Eczema
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Eczema is a skin condition that can affect anyone at some point in their lives; however, some people are more prone to eczema than others. Anyone who suffers from eczema knows that it is a difficult skin condition to manage. Although it is not life-threatening, it can cause great discomfort, pain, and embarrassment. There are a number of possible treatments for eczema and in this article I will discuss how to use coconut oil for eczema.

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What is Eczema?

The term eczema is used for any type of itchy rash on the skin, and can be a chronic problem for many people. Eczema can cause the skin to turn red, become very itchy, blister and dry up. If an eczema sufferer scratches the skin, it can become infected, thus making the problem even worse.

Very often prescribed medication for eczema has unpleasant side effects and, in the long run, can be ineffective, as well as becoming very expensive. Some people try to use natural remedies such as essential oils for eczema, raw food diet as well as other natural treatments.

In order to treat eczema properly, it is suggested that any treatment should do the following:1

  • Control the itchiness
  • Heal the skin
  • Prevent further flare-ups
  • Prevent skin infections

In this article I am going to examine how coconut oil can be used as a natural topical substance to address those 4 issues and how research into the healing properties of coconut oil backs this up.

Coconut Oil for Eczema – Why it Can be a Beneficial Treatment Option

Virgin coconut oil contains a high amount of fatty acids, one of which is lauric acid. Lauric acid is a medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) fatty acid and its structure means that it can permeate the skin very easily.

Lauric acid has also been proven to be antibacterial, anti-fungal, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and it’s also an effective moisturizer.2

This means that you can use coconut oil for eczema, as it has all the properties which can help treat and relieve the discomfort brought on by eczema.

How can you use coconut oil to treat and manage eczema skin-related conditions?

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8 Reasons to Use Coconut Oil for Eczema

1. Coconut Oil is an Amazing Skin Moisturizer

One of the most important ways to manage eczema is to keep the skin moisturized properly. This helps to keep the skin moist while at the same time providing a protective layer on the skin. Usually, eczema suffers are advised to use mineral based oils to moisturize the skin. However, it has been reported that coconut oil is as effective as mineral oil in moisturizing the skin. But mineral oil doesn’t let the skin breathe.

Because coconut oil contains lauric acid it is able to penetrate the skin and provide deep moisturizing to the skin, while at the same time keeping a protective layer on the skin.

One study published in the journal Dermatitis reported that in clinical trials extra virgin coconut oil as a moisturizer was just as effective as mineral oil in people with atopic dermatitis (eczema). However, the study also noted that coconut oil is also a proven antiseptic.3 Therefore, coconut oil is one of the best natural oils to moisturize damaged skin and this is one of the reasons I’ve already mentioned to keep it in your bathroom.

2. Coconut Oil Nourishes Damaged Skin

In order for the skin to be healthy, it needs to be nourished properly. For eczema sufferers it is a challenge to find a topical remedy which will not just relieve the symptoms but also nourish the skin. In fact, many topical skin medications for eczema actually thin the skin and can even make dermatitis worse.

Coconut oil is a great source of fatty acids which have proven health benefits. All fats contain fatty acids, but the type of fatty acids in coconut oil makes it ideal for treating eczema. This is because the fatty acids in coconut oil easily permeate the skin and nourish from the inside. So rather than strip your skin of essential nutrients and minerals, coconut oil will give it the nutrients that it needs.

In fact, studies have shown that virgin coconut oil contains antioxidant properties.4 Antioxidants are needed to rid the skin of free radicals. Free radicals attack collagen strands and other cells of the skin’s architecture. Coconut oil will help you get and retain healthy-looking skin.

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It’s worth noting that the research specifically mentioned that virgin coconut oil performed better than refined coconut oil so it’s best to use virgin coconut oil on your skin. You can also find more information about coconut oil types in my article about the differences between virgin and refined coconut oil.

3. Coconut Oil has Natural Antibacterial Properties

The fatty acid content in coconut oil means that it also has natural antibiotic and antimicrobial properties. One complication with eczema is that when the skin is broken it is more prone to infections from bacteria and viruses.

A study into the antibacterial and moisturizing effects of coconut oil found that the coconut oil was very useful in the treatment of atopic dermatitis and was able to kill off Staphylococcus aureus bacteria.3 Other studies have shown that coconut oil is very effective as an antibacterial agent and it helps wounds heal.5

4. Coconut Oil has Natural Anti-inflammatory properties

There are a number of factors which can cause inflammation on the skin of people who are prone to eczema. These can be extremes in temperatures, soaps, detergents, and other harsh chemicals.  You can use coconut oil for eczema as its anti-inflammatory properties can provide needed relief.

The journal Pharmaceutical Biology published a study showing that coconut oil has moderate anti-inflammatory effects and also moderate analgesic effects. Therefore, coconut oil can help soothe already inflamed skin and make it less painful. By using it regularly you can also help to prevent flare-ups.

One way that coconut oil can help people with eczema on their hands is its use as a hand sanitizer. A compound derived from coconut oil was shown in studies to be just as effective at killing off bacteria as isopropyl alcohol, which is usually used in hand sanitizers. However, unlike alcohol-based hand sanitizers, the coconut oil based compound didn’t dry out the skin.6

5. Coconut Oil Soothes Itching

One of the biggest problems with eczema is that skin is very itchy and it can be very difficult not to scratch. However, everyone knows that scratching may bring temporary relief, but it won’t treat the itch, it will only make it worse. Scratching can break the skin causing it to bleed and then there is a high risk of the skin becoming infected.

All the soothing properties of coconut oil, as well as its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, mean that coconut oil is great for soothing inflamed and itchy skin.

6. Coconut Oil Boosts the Immune System

One of the complications of long-term treatment with steroid creams is that the body can develop allergic reactions to them. To counteract this, doctors may prescribe medication to suppress the immune system resulting in a reduction of allergic reactions. However, some of the side effects of these drugs are a risk of serious infection, vomiting, increased risk of cancer, and high blood pressure.7

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However, it is known that coconut oil has properties which boost the immune system and help to modulate it. The lauric acid helps to enhance the immune response in the body and doesn’t cause any side effects.8

You can also find other ways to boost your immune system.

7. Coconut Oil is Gentle for all Skin Types

Coconut oil is so gentle on the skin that it can also be used on infants. In fact, eczema is a skin condition which affects more infants than adults.

The National Eczema Association website published a story by a mother whose 3-month old son had eczema. She found that the medication doctors prescribed would help for a time, but then the eczema would return. She started using extra virgin coconut oil and found a huge improvement in her son’s condition.9

Studies into using coconut oil on infants also show that it is safe to use and is an effective moisturizer for atopic dermatitis.10

8. Coconut Oil is Natural

One of the best reasons to use coconut oil for eczema is that it is completely natural and it is non-toxic. In fact, there is so much that you can do with coconut oil, not only help relieve the skin conditions brought on by eczema, but you can also use it in cooking and that way you can nourish your body from the inside.

How to Use Coconut Oil for Eczema

Topical application of coconut oil

Apply coconut oil to the affected area several times a day and before you go to sleep. It will help to relieve itching and flaking.  You can also slowly massage the oil into your skin.

When applied in small quantities, the oil gets almost completely absorbed into the skin, and you are left with non-greasy skin.

Coconut oil bandage

Another way to treat eczema with coconut oil is to use it in a bandage. This is especially beneficial if your skin is too rough at places and is prone to break up.

Warm a tablespoon of coconut oil and dip a cotton pad in it. Place the coconut oil-soaked pad over the rough spot and allow it to remain for 15-20 minutes. Afterward, sponge off excess oil with tissue paper.

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Coconut oil and aloe vera

Both aloe vera and coconut oil are excellent for your skin and I’ve already written about the amazing health benefits of aloe vera for the skin.

Here are a few of aloe vera’s health benefits:

  • Aloe vera is a popular natural treatment for minor burns and sunburns.
  • It can be used for soothing irritated skin and rashes.
  • It improves stretch marks, age spots, acne and scars.
  • It hydrates and rejuvenates the skin.

It is important to use pure aloe vera gel (do not use juice), as well as a good quality organic virgin coconut oil (like this one).

Coconut oil, when in solid form, whips up to a fluffy and light consistency, which makes a fantastic body lotion. It is absorbed quickly into the skin and you only need a small amount of it to cover your skin. Please read my article on how to make a soothing healing cream using aloe vera and coconut oil. It has detailed instructions as well as instructions on how to use this cream.

Coconut oil and essential oils for eczema

There are a number of essential oils that are beneficial for eczema such as lavender, frankincense, geranium, cedarwood, and tea tree.

Here is a recipe for a coconut oil soothing cream using essential oils:

  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • 20 drops geranium essential oil
  • 30 drops cedarwood essential oil
  • 20 drops lavender essential oil

Mix all ingredients in a small jar and apply 1 to 2 times a day.

For more information and recipes, read my article about the best essential oils for eczema.

Coconut oil as a dietary supplement

Food allergies might be a potential cause of eczema and other skin problems — specifically, dairy, wheat, eggs, soy products and nuts and seeds. This is something that I’ve mentioned in my article on how to use raw food to treat eczema.

On the contrary, taking coconut oil can be beneficial due to its ability to boost the immune system (that I’ve mentioned previously).

You can take 1-3 teaspoons of coconut oil daily. Loose or frequent motions may be experienced initially, but will resolve once the body gets used to it.

The Best Coconut Oil for Eczema

When using coconut oil for skin, you should always buy extra virgin coconut oil which has been organically grown. That way you make sure that you get the best quality coconut oil and that nothing has been added to it. In addition most of the research that I’ve mentioned was done using virgin coconut oil.

In conclusion, it can be seen that coconut oil is a great topical treatment for all types of skin diseases. It addresses all the 4 factors that eczema treatments should do. Coconut oil controls itchiness, helps the skin to heal, it prevents further flare-ups, and it prevents the skin from becoming infected.

Read these related articles:
1. How to Use Raw Food Diet to Treat Eczema
2. The Most Useful Natural Treatments for Eczema
3. The Best Essential Oils For Eczema
4. Turmeric Face Mask Recipe for Glowing Skin, Acne, Rosacea, Eczema and Dark Circles

Resources:
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