Eczema, a common skin condition, is known for causing dry, itchy, and inflamed patches of skin. The usual treatments include topical corticosteroids and moisturizers, but in recent years, coconut oil has emerged as a popular natural remedy.
Packed with moisturising, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties, this oil can be a valuable addition to your skincare regimen.
1. Why Use Coconut Oil for Eczema?
Coconut oil is loaded with beneficial fatty acids, which contribute to its therapeutic properties. The most significant of these is lauric acid, which boasts impressive antimicrobial properties that can protect the skin against harmful bacteria, fungi, and viruses.
This is particularly important for people with eczema, as their skin often harbors Staphylococcus aureus, a bacteria that can worsen eczema symptoms.
Coconut oil acts as an emollient, filling the gaps in your skin with lipids, thereby restoring the skin’s natural barrier and trapping in moisture. This moisturising effect can help relieve the dryness and itching associated with eczema.
2. How to Use Coconut Oil for Eczema?
When using coconut oil as part of your eczema management regimen, it’s recommended to opt for virgin or cold-pressed coconut oil, which has undergone minimal processing and retains more of its beneficial properties. Here’s how to use it:
- Preparation: Begin by washing your hands and the affected area with a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser.
- Application: Take a small amount of coconut oil and gently apply it to the affected area. It’s better to use a small amount first and add more if necessary, as a little goes a long way.
- Frequency: Apply coconut oil two to three times a day, or more often if your skin feels particularly dry. It can be especially helpful to apply after bathing, when your skin is still slightly damp, to lock in moisture.
3. When to Use Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil can be used as a preventative measure and a treatment for eczema flares. Using it daily, especially after a bath or shower, can help maintain the skin’s moisture levels and prevent dryness. In the event of an eczema flare, coconut oil can help soothe inflammation and reduce itching.
However, everyone’s skin is different. Some people may find that coconut oil causes irritation or doesn’t provide relief. If this is the case, it’s best to discontinue use and consult a healthcare provider or dermatologist.
4. What Else is Coconut Oil Good for?
Beyond its benefits for eczema, coconut oil has a wide range of uses:
Coconut oil can help moisturize the scalp and prevent dandruff. It can also be used as a natural conditioner for shiny, healthy hair.
Oil pulling, a practice that involves swishing oil around in the mouth, can improve oral health. Coconut oil is a popular choice due to its pleasant taste and antimicrobial properties.
Thanks to its antimicrobial properties, coconut oil can be applied to minor cuts and scrapes to prevent infection and speed up the healing process.
Beyond eczema, coconut oil can be beneficial for a range of skin conditions, including psoriasis and dermatitis. It’s also used as a natural makeup remover and face moisturizer.
Despite these benefits, it’s essential to remember that natural remedies like coconut oil may not work for everyone and are not a substitute for medical treatments. Always consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating new elements into your health regimen.