Health & Beauty

20 Coconut Oil uses for Hair and Beauty Care

Peruse a popular women’s magazine. Wander down the aisles of your local drugstore. You may feel overwhelmed by the incredible number of personal care products that promise a quick fix for everything from wrinkles to frizzy hair to discolored teeth. The beauty and personal care industry rakes in more than $250 billion globally each year. If you’re like most people, you’ve probably fed the industry by purchasing hordes of jars, tubes, and bottles of stuff that promised to make you look better—many of which just clutter up your bathroom drawers or dresser top.

It might sound simplistic or even ridiculous that a single product —and an all-natural, inexpensive one at that—can address your many needs, but it’s true. That miracle product is coconut oil. Here we’ll discover twenty-four ways that coconut oil can stimulate hair growth, moisturize dry skin, minimize spider veins and cellulite, brighten your smile, and lots more. And the benefits don’t stop there.

When you include coconut oil in your daily beauty and body care regimen, you’ll not only improve your appearance, you’ll improve your health and vitality, too, naturally and safely. Rather than forking out money on questionable products that at best offer a coverup or temporary improvement, opt for a jar of extra virgin, organic coconut oil. You’ll soon look and feel your best, not only on the surface but deep within as well.

1. Strengthen hair

Long, lustrous locks are your crowning glory, but there is no magical pill, potion, or cream that delivers fast results to lengthen and strengthen your hair. A number of lifestyle habits can enhance or degrade the quality of your hair, so if your goal is to have long, healthy, beautiful tresses you should eat plenty of whole foods and healthy fats, while minimizing foods that are heavily processed or contain lots of preservatives. Because hair is made mostly of protein, it requires protein to grow strong; therefore, eating a diet that’s rich in high-quality protein is essential.

In addition, a combination of apple cider vinegar and coconut oil can improve the texture, shine, and overall health of your hair. If you color your hair, heat-style it, perm it, or expose it to damaging chemicals such as chlorine or water-softening agents, you may need some extra TLC to keep your hair looking great. Even natural, untreated hair is exposed to dirt, pollution, and environmental toxins every day that can damage its health and deteriorate its strength. Try this “secret weapon”:

1. Rinse your hair with apple cider vinegar to cleanse your hair of impurities.

2. Follow with a deep-conditioning application of coconut oil to restore and balance the natural, healthy oils in your hair and on your scalp. You can allow the coconut oil to set on your strands for one hour or up to two days, depending upon how dry your hair is.

3. Shampoo and condition as usual.

By performing this regimen at least once per week, you can boost your hair’s health, strength, and appearance.

2. Defrizz hair

Dealing with frizzy hair is an annoying part of almost every curly-haired girl’s life. Whether you have naturally frizz-prone hair or have self-induced the problem with the excessive use of products and treatments, taming your wild tresses into sleek submission doesn’t have to be difficult, nor does it require a daily battle. Commercial defrizzing products often fail to deliver the desired results. They may leave hair excessively oily or greasy, or even further damage hair with chemical frizz-fighting serums. Luckily, coconut oil offers an outstanding way to improve the quality of your hair and remedy the frizzies safely, effectively, and naturally.

Depending upon the length of your hair, its texture, and the severity of damage (if any), the frequency and duration of your coconut oil treatments will vary. After one application, however, you will be able to determine how often you should repeat the process.

1. Fill a spray bottle with 1/2 cup of liquid coconut oil.

2. Prepare your hair by rinsing it thoroughly with water and towel drying it lightly to remove any excess water.

3. While your hair is damp, spray the coconut oil onto your hair until well saturated but not dripping.

4. Cover your hair with a shower cap or plastic wrap, allowing your body heat to improve the absorption of the oil into the hair strands.

5. Leave the oil on your hair for 1 to 2 hours before shampooing, conditioning, and styling as usual.

Not only will coconut oil smooth the frizzies, it will add shine and improve your hair’s overall health.

3. Stimulate hair growth

Whether you’re trying to grow your hair longer or stimulate growth in areas of thinning hair, commercial products often fail to deliver the promised results. Additionally, these potions and lotions may be packed with harsh chemicals that can damage your hair or seep through your scalp and infiltrate your blood stream through the numerous veins that lie just below the skin of your scalp.

If seeking for a safe, natural way to stimulate hair growth, look no further than coconut oil. Its moisturizing properties help to maximum moisture retention at the base of the hair shaft. Coconut oil also stimulates collagen production, due to its lauric acid and capric acid that combine to promote the regeneration of skin cells and hair follicle production, which can help improve hair quality and encourage new hair growth.

Use this simple procedure to optimize hair growth by protecting the new hair’s structure and delivering powerful phytochemicals and vitamin E to the scalp:

  • 1/2 cup of coconut oil

Massage oil into your scalp and hair. Allow the oil to be absorbed for 1 to 3 hours, or up to a day if you have the time. Rinse, then shampoo and condition as usual. Repeat the process every 1 to 3 days to maximize results.

To support this topical application, consume 1 to 3 tablespoons of coconut oil per day. This enhances hair growth by enabling your body to better absorb the vitamins and minerals needed to maintain hair health.

Can your ponytail damage your hair?

Yes! Surprisingly enough, studies have shown that when the hair is repeatedly pulled into a ponytail, the strands of the hair are exposed to more stretching and breaking. Wet hair, which is weaker than dry, is more prone to damage.

4. Fight frizz on the go

After prepping and primping for an important meeting or big date, your image can be completely derailed by frizzy, unmanageable locks that look nothing like you planned. Humidity, heat, wind, and rain can wreak havoc on your tresses and cause frizz for even the most manageable hair. You can’t control the weather, so what to do when you’re trying to look your best but need to be prepared for the worst?

If you’re aware of high humidity or rain in the forecast, turn to coconut oil for a quick, natural solution.

  • 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil for short hair and up to 1 teaspoon for long, thick hair.

 Evenly distribute the oil on the ends and throughout your hair prior to heat treating and styling, to prevent frizz before it starts.

Stash a mini-bottle of coconut oil in your purse, your car, or your desk drawer to treat those pesky flyaway strands and bouts of the frizzies any time they strike. Simply warm 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil in your hands and lightly apply it to your trouble areas. This effective, on-the-go frizz-fighter is natural and free of damaging chemicals, and leaves your hair smooth, shiny, and luxurious.

Add essential oils to boost benefits

To boost coconut oil’s benefits and customize your hair treatment, try blending in a few drops of essential oil. Chamomile oil is good for dry, brittle hair, and an after-shampoo rinse of chamomile tea brings out highlights in blond hair. Lavender oil stimulates hair growth and helps ease the itching associated with dandruff. If your hair is oily, combine lemon oil with coconut oil or add lemon oil to your favorite shampoo.

 5. Add shine to hair

Most commercial products intended to add shine to your hair contain chemicals that develop a reflective film on the hair shaft. This appears to add shine, but the effect rinses away with just one, or maybe a few, washes—and those chemicals can leave your hair feeling dried out or damaged. If you’re trying to restore a lustrous glow to your locks, you can enhance your hair’s health with coconut oil to bring out natural shine and highlights without chemicals and additives.

Coconut oil’s naturally occurring, deep-moisturizing properties due to high concentrations of lauric and capric acids not only treat hair with the nutrients necessary to achieve a healthy glow, but also help your scalp develop collagen to strengthen hair from root to tip. In this case, the most effective treatment you can find is also the safest.

1. In the shower, apply coconut oil to your wet hair.

2. Allow the oil to set for 3 to 5 minutes.

3. Rinse and shampoo as usual.

4. Follow with your regular styling method.

To improve the quality of your hair’s health and safeguard it from the elements it is exposed to every day, use this application 1 to 2 times per week. You hair will shine from within, not merely with a synthetic film.

Protein protection for your hair

A study published in the March–April 2003 issue of Journal of Cosmetic Science tested coconut oil, mineral oil, and safflower oil to see which offered the best benefits to hair. Researchers found that only coconut oil reduced protein loss in hair, thereby improving the quality of damaged hair and preventing future damage. What’s the secret? “Coconut oil, being a triglyceride of lauric acid (principal fatty acid), has a high affinity for hair proteins and . . . is able to penetrate inside the hair shaft.”

6. Defy dandruff

 To relieve dandruff, you have to attack the problem at its source: a dry scalp. Medicated shampoos available through prescription or over the counter can be packed with harsh chemicals and oily lotions that either exacerbate a dry scalp or leave your hair feeling greasy. By combining natural coconut oil with a relaxing massage technique, you can relieve yourself of dandruff while simultaneously treating your scalp to a number of other benefits that we’ve already discussed.

To gain these benefits with easy applications that take only minutes, use:

  • ½ cup of coconut oil

Wet your hair and separate it into sections, making the scalp easily accessible. Apply oil at the base of the hair directly on the scalp, progressing through sections until the entire scalp is evenly saturated. Massage the oil into the scalp gently, using circular motions. Allow the oil to absorb into the scalp for up to 5 minutes before rinsing and shampooing as usual.

You can repeat the process as often as needed, but for optimal results, use this method daily until dandruff subsides. Repeat at least 2 to 3 times weekly for maintenance.

Get extra benefits from essential oils

A number of essential oils can complement coconut oil in the fight against dandruff. Tea tree oil’s antiseptic properties can help destroy bacteria on your scalp. Lavender, juniper, rosemary, ylang-ylang, and peppermint provide cleansing, purifying, and calming benefits. Blend about 5 to 10 drops of one of these oils—or a combination—into coconut oil and rub the mixture on your scalp. Leave it for about 5 minutes before rinsing and shampooing.

7. Whiten teeth

Did you know that most of the stains and discoloration that occur on teeth can be easily removed and prevented with simple, inexpensive at-home treatments? You can enjoy coffee, tea, and red wine without developing the yellowish or grayish discoloration that often results—and without the chemicals contained in popular, commercial teeth whitening products.

Combine three simple ingredients to brush away stains, whiten teeth, and prevent future stains. It works quickly—and you don’t have to refrain from eating and drinking for hours before and after the procedure.

  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (the unfiltered, unpasteurized, organic version)
  • 1 teaspoon hydrogen peroxide
  • 1 tablespoon water

Combine all the ingredients. Sip the concoction; swish throughout your mouth and over your teeth for a minimum of 1 minute and up to 5 minutes. Spit out the mixture and brush teeth as usual. You can repeat the process as often as necessary throughout the day to brighten your teeth and safeguard your pearly whites.

Other products improve your teeth’s appearance by using leaching methods to enhance color. However, the three ingredients recommended here combine to remove stains by restoring their natural, healthy sheen while also illuminating their color and preventing future stains. You’ll see results after only a few simple, inexpensive treatments.

Whiten teeth with apple cider vinegar

The enzymes (referred to as “the mother”) in apple cider vinegar help to remove stains caused by bacteria, safeguarding your teeth from deposits that cause unsightly discoloration. By daily swishing this bacteria-fighting product in your mouth, you can be sure you’re reaping optimum benefits . . . naturally.

8. Prevent split ends

You’ll notice the title of this section is “Prevent Split Ends,” not “Repair Split Ends,” because once a hair splits, it is absolutely impossible to reunite the hair strand. With the right techniques, however, you can prevent split ends before they start, allowing your hair to grow longer, faster, and without frizz. The bad news is that split strands will continue to split up the hair shaft until you cut your hair above the portion where the splitting occurred. On a lighter note, ridding your hair of the dry, discolored, and unmanageable ends can revive the health of your hair quickly and give it a better appearance.

To prevent split ends in the future, begin by improving your hair-care regimen and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Your diet, too, contributes tremendously to the quality of your hair. Try these things to promote healthy hair free of split ends:

  • Apply ½ teaspoon of coconut oil to the ends of your hair after a shower to nourish and moisturize the tips. The phytochemicals in coconut oil that provide a unique and sensual texture are the same properties responsible for moisturizing strands.
  • Avoiding brushing your hair when wet—it’s most fragile at this stage.
  • Minimize chemical treatments, such as coloring and perming, that can damage the hair shaft or root.
  • Allow your hair to dry somewhat before applying heat during the styling process.
  • Eat a diet rich in whole foods and avoid processed foods that are high in sugar and unhealthy fat. Because hair is made up mostly of protein, be sure to get plenty of high-quality protein in your diet.
  • Once or twice weekly, use the regimen described in the earlier entry “Strengthen Hair” to ensure that your hair receives adequate moisture.

9. Switch to a natural deodorant

Concerns about a possible link between the chemicals in deodorants/antiperspirants and breast cancer could be enough to make you switch to a natural product. Perhaps synthetic fragrances and other additives irritate your skin. Did you know that you can use coconut oil as a deodorant? Not only can the oil keep your armpits odor-free, it moisturizes your skin to help keep your armpits free of flakes, chafing, itching, and unsightly bumps.

Although many people neglect moisturizing their underarms, it is important to keep this sensitive skin moisturized just as you do the other parts of your body. Coconut oil not only softens your skin, its antibacterial, antifungal properties—inherent in lauric acid— kill bacteria and germs that can thrive in the armpits and cause body odor. The oil can also help heal small nicks that result from shaving.

Scoop up a teaspoon of solidified coconut oil and apply it to your underarm areas evenly. Your body’s natural heat will cause the oil to melt and supply your underarms with a healthy dose of moisturizing-packed, bacteria-fighting agents that will keep you smelling fresh all day and night. Be sure to allow the coconut oil to fully dry before dressing, as excess oil may cause slight discoloration or oil stains on your clothing.

Synthetic fabrics increase odor

Clothing made of synthetic materials can increase body odor by preventing air from reaching your armpits and trapping bacteria. This is especially true of fabrics used in athletic clothing, which are designed with tiny holes to wick away sweat. Those micro-holes are the perfect breeding ground for bacteria that can make you and your clothing stink. Instead of manmade fibers, wear cotton and other natural materials—you’ll feel more comfortable, too.

10. “Pull” bacteria from your mouth

Even though “pulling” is growing in popularity, most people are still unaware of the method or why people do it. Pulling is an ancient Indian therapy that involves swishing oils in the mouth for a brief time, allowing the oil to pull bacteria and germs from the gums, tongue, and teeth. You literally spit the harmful elements out of your mouth, thereby ridding your body of germs and impurities that could cause infections. In past centuries, a variety of oils were used for the pulling method, but recently coconut oil has become one of the most popular due to lauric acid’s potent germ-killing property.

To perform pulling, use:

  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil

Swish the coconut oil all around your mouth—teeth and gums, under the tongue—for 15 to 20 minutes. Spit the oil from your mouth into a sink and rinse the sink thoroughly. Immediately after spitting out the coconut oil, brush your teeth thoroughly. Repeat the process daily.

The mouth contains both good and bad bacteria. Coconut oil is one of the only oils that attacks the bad while promoting the growth of the good. Pulling with coconut oil helps to preserve the health of your mouth and safeguard teeth, gums, and tongue from infections that can result from plaque buildup and bad bacteria. Pulling with coconut oil can also improve the appearance of your teeth and gums by removing stains and preventing redness and irritation around the gums.

11. Remove makeup naturally

The most effective tool for taking off oil-based makeup is an oil-based remover. Some makeup removers contain chemicals that can actually damage your eyes, clog your pores, or irritate the skin of your face; therefore, they are not the best option for taking off your makeup at the end of the day. What you want instead is a makeup remover that not only cleans your face, but also contributes to the health and vitality of your skin. Coconut oil gently cleanses your skin and eyelashes, while also moisturizing your skin, safely and naturally.

This natural cleanser, with the antibacterial properties of lauric acid, clears your face of possible bacteria, dirt, and grime.

  • Coconut oil as needed

Soak a cotton ball in liquefied oil. Apply a thin coating of the oil to your face, eyelids, and lashes. Rinse with warm water to remove makeup and any dirt or bacteria that has deposited on your face throughout the day.

Additionally, coconut oil restores a healthy glow to your skin with circulation improving properties from its lauric acid and collagen-promoting capric acid. Use the following method to remove your makeup safely and to improve your skin’s health and appearance in the process. You can safely use coconut oil as often as needed to remove makeup and to brighten your complexion in the process.

After removing your makeup, you can opt to use the recipes in “Exfoliate Your Face Gently” and “Make a Fabulous Face Mask”  to nourish your skin further. Apply a small amount of coconut oil to your face before you start your day and before you head to bed to improve the texture and overall health of your skin.

12. Enhance eyelashes

Your eyelashes have a very important role to play. They protect your eyes from dirt and other particulate matter in the environment that could cause irritation or damage. Of course, they also highlight the beauty of your eyes, just as a decorative frame enhances a painting. Because your eyes are so incredibly important, you don’t want to subject them to just any old product—especially one full of chemicals that might harm your eyes. Err on the side of safety with this all-natural recipe that encourages lash growth.

Use this aromatic cleansing concoction to remove grime and buildup from your lashes while nourishing and conditioning them with health-promoting properties:

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 drop lavender oil

Thoroughly clean out a mascara tube and the brush. Combine all the ingredients in the clean tube. Dip the clean mascara brush into the mixture and apply to the lashes evenly. Apply 1 to 3 times daily, especially at night before bed.

Coconut oil combats microbes and stimulates growth. Astringent lemon juice provides cleansing properties. Lavender oil contains phytochemicals that can improve the growth of your lashes—and it smells nice, too. The unique blend doesn’t just enhance your eyes’ appearance temporarily, it can help make your eyelashes thicker, longer, and lovelier than ever. Be careful to avoid getting the concoction in your eyes, as the lemon juice can burn.

13. Love your lip balm

Cold weather, too much sun, and dry conditions can cause your lips to chap, crack, bleed, or become infected. Any products you apply to your lips to soothe them can easily be ingested, so when safeguarding your lips’ health, follow this simple rule: Don’t put anything on your lips that you wouldn’t eat. I don’t know about you, but I certainly wouldn’t nosh on anything unless I knew how it was made and what it contained. Luckily, coconut oil does double duty as the best moisturizing, chap preventative available and as a natural aid for dry, cracked lips.

Simply apply the oil in its liquid or solid state to your lips. Or, if you prefer, use:

Coconut oil in its liquefied state, as needed.

An empty tube of your old lip balm to hold the coconut oil.

Rinse the tube thoroughly, pour in coconut oil, and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Now you have the perfect all-natural lip balm to help soothe chapping, prevent infection, and beautify your lips. Keeping the tube stored in a cool, dark place that is consistently 75°F or cooler will help maintain the coconut oil’s solid state. Many varieties of commercial lip balm contain chemicals and synthetic fragrances or flavoring that can do more harm than good. Coconut oil, however, is packed with essential nutrients (including lauric and capric acids, and vitamin E) that protect your lips from environmental factors that can cause irritation, dryness, and blisters. Coconut oil is safe enough to consume on a regular basis. It also improves the health and appearance of your lips after just a few simple applications.

14. Enjoy a moisturizing bath

Almost 3,000 years ago, the Greek physician Hippocrates touted the healthful benefits of bathing. In The Scent Trail, Celia Lyttelton quotes him as recommending “the way to health is to have an aromatic bath and scented massage every day.” Throughout history, people around the world have flocked to sites renowned for their healing waters. Even today, millions of people look forward to their stress-reducing, relaxing baths that allow them to soak away daily cares in warm, soothing waters. Although the simple act of taking a bath can be enough to keep your stress at bay—as Hippocrates proposed—you can add to the enjoyment of your bath time by adding a healthy, moisturizing dose of coconut oil to your bathwater.

Put in some fragrant essential oils, such as lavender, myrrh, or sandalwood, to rev up the relaxing benefits and make your bath even better.

  • ½ to 1 cup coconut oil
  • Several drops of your favorite essential oil.

Add oils to warm water in your bathtub. Sit and relax in the tub for 15 to 30 minutes, reaping maximum benefits from the intense moisturizing capabilities from the naturally occurring vitamin E and phytochemicals of the coconut oil.

Coconut oil’s medium-chain fatty acids help to stimulate blood circulation and minimize the appearance of cellulite. The quickly absorbed, moisture-rich oil helps to eliminate dry patches of skin—and the oil’s tropical aroma provides comfort and relaxation when added to bathwater.

15. Reduce the appearance of cellulite

Few people have anything nice to say about cellulite. Referred to as “skin dimpling,” “crater skin,” and just plain “fat,” cellulite seems to plague almost every segment of the population, even skinny folks. Indiscriminate in terms of gender, height, weight, or level of fitness, cellulite attacks the stomach, thighs, and arms of genetically predisposed people. Coconut oil’s unique, medium-chain fatty acids can actually speed the body’s fat burning potential and reduce the appearance of cellulite.

To perform skin brushing (also known as “drybrushing”), use:

  • Coconut oil as needed
  • A natural-hair brush (soft bristles)
  • Apply coconut oil to the skin, then brush skin with a soft-bristle, natural-hair brush, using an upward motion. Do this for 10 minutes, 1 to 3 times daily.
  • To encourage your body’s fat-burning capabilities, use:
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons of coconut oil

Ingest the oil daily, alone or in food. Because cellulite is directly associated with the enlargement or engorgement of fat cells beneath the skin, increasing your intake of healthy dietary fat (such as the unique medium-chain fatty acids provided by coconut oil) can actually speed the body’s fat-burning potential and reduce your overall body-fat percentage, resulting in a lower incidence of cellulite.

Cellulite is believed to occur when fat cells in the form of a honeycomb striation get pushed to the surface of the skin by excess fat deposits beneath the skin’s surface. A number of contributing factors can exacerbate the appearance of cellulite; although genetics play a major part, certain lifestyle issues can contribute to the problem:

  • A poor diet heavy in processed foods
  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • A sedentary lifestyle

In addition to including coconut oil in your daily regimen, making some lifestyle changes can help you see dramatic results in as little as thirty days.

16. Minimize spider veins

Unsightly and sometimes uncomfortable, spider veins appear as purple, red, green, or deep blue lines that create a spider-web appearance just beneath the skin’s surface. Although they pose no real health threat, they mar the appearance of the skin on your legs. The all-natural healing properties of coconut oil have given some women relief from spider veins. Try this simple two-step approach:

1. Warm coconut oil and apply it topically to the site of spider veins.

2. Consume 1 to 3 tablespoons of coconut oil per day.

The anti-inflammatory properties in coconut oil help to alleviate the inflammation that can occur beneath the skin as a result of restricted blood flow or excessive pressure and lead to spider veins. Applied topically to the skin, the oil soothes the inflamed areas to help return the veins to their original state. Coconut oil’s lauric acid also improves blood flow, blood health, and circulation; this helps to reduce the appearance of spider veins by infiltrating the areas and relieving the veins of possible blockages. Chemicals injected into the veins may reduce the appearance of spider veins, and topical creams and dyes can mask the issue, but they often include questionable ingredients or uncomfortable processes. With coconut oil, you’ll soon gain relief from spider veins and help prevent them from occurring in the future—without the pain or side effects that can accompany commercial procedures and creams that promise to eliminate spider veins.

Improve your circulation

Spider veins are often a sign of poor circulation. By getting more exercise on a regular basis, you may be able to prevent or reduce the prevalence of spider veins. Low-impact activities such as walking, swimming, bicycling, and yoga are good ways to increase circulation without putting excess stress on your body. Also, elevating your feet for periods of time throughout the day and keeping your feet and legs warm can be beneficial. Taking regular hot baths can help, too.

17. Stimulate nail growth

In order to develop strong, healthy nails that are able to grow long without breaking, splitting, or peeling, you have to feed your body the nutrients it needs and pay attention to the environments to which you subject your nails. Exposing them to excessive water, harsh weather, and chemicals (as commonly occurs when washing dishes) can undermine the strength and growth of your nails. But protecting your nails alone may not be enough.

Stimulating nail growth requires internal as well as external methods. Coconut oil not only provides phytochemicals and vitamin E needed for proper body system functioning, but also aids in the absorption of these nutrients.

  • A dose of 1 to 3 tablespoons of coconut oil consumed daily can help improve the quality and growth of your nails from the inside out.
  • To strengthen your nails even more, soak them in coconut oil for 5 minutes before bed. Pat them dry, but don’t wash off the oil. Instead, allow your nails and the surrounding skin to absorb the oil throughout the night.
  • Massage your nails throughout the day with coconut oil to keep them free of dirt and to fight germs that can interfere with nail growth and health.

A diet comprised of whole foods that provide your body with calcium, magnesium, silica, and other essential nutrients can aid hair and nail growth, too. And because your nails are made up of protein, make sure to eat plenty of high-quality protein. Eliminate foods that are nutrient-void and provide little or no value, and that may actually inhibit the absorption and utilization of existing nutrients your body needs for proper nail growth.

18. Relieve cold sores

Cold sores that occur around and inside the mouth are the result of the herpes simplex 1 virus, which is thought to be present in more than two-thirds of the U.S. population. This virus has shown to respond well to oral medications prescribed by physicians, as well as creams and ointments that improve the condition of the cold sore—though powerful antiviral drugs and treatments can cause discomfort for some people. Coconut oil, however, with its powerful, naturally occurring antiviral properties inherent in lauric acid, can help to relieve the embarrassment and discomfort of cold sores naturally, without any chemicals or painful applications.

As an internal preventative and aid, use:

  • 1 to 3 tablespoons of coconut oil

Consume daily. Increase the dose up to double that amount when cold sores appear.

By ingesting the coconut oil, you can provide your body with immunity-boosting antiviral agents that can help to fight the virus within the body and alleviate the symptoms that result externally.

As a topical ointment, use:

  • Coconut oil as needed.

Apply directly to the site of a cold sore with a cotton ball multiple times a day and before bed. Do not reintroduce the cotton ball to the coconut oil once it has been in contact with the cold sore, to avoid contaminating the oil.

Without side effects, medications, or chemicals, coconut oil has been receiving more attention every year as the perfect antiviral application for reducing the incidence of the herpes simplex 1 virus in adults and children as well.

Coconut oil and herpes

In a 2012 article for Herpes Bulletin, Miguel Gonzalez, MD, reported a study that tested coconut oil’s effect on the herpes virus. The results? Coconut oil’s lauric and capric acids “caused a 100,000 fold reduction in the virus.” Dr. Gonzalez also pointed out in the article that two often-prescribed medications for herpes reduced symptoms, whereas “coconut oil [has]the ability to actually destroy the herpes virus, and also prevent secondary bacterial or fungal herpes infections.

19. Banish bruises

Bruising appears when a trauma to the skin produces broken blood vessels that can appear as green, brown, purple, blue, or even black marks. Based on the intensity of the injury, the bruising that results can remain for days to weeks. You can improve the rate by which your body heals itself and minimize the appearance and duration of bruising with coconut oil. Not only can the anti-inflammatory properties found in the lauric acid produced by the oil’s medium-chain fatty acids treat bruising after the fact, coconut oil can also prevent or reduce the severity of bruising prior to trauma.

Ingesting 1 to 3 tablespoons of coconut oil per day supports the body’s blood flow and circulation, while providing anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce pain and swelling at the site. This also helps your body to quickly and efficiently repair areas of damage resulting from trauma, and to restore your skin’s original appearance.

You can also use coconut oil topically to speed the repair process following bruising and skin damage:

  • 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of coconut oil

Apply directly to the skin and gently massage the area for 5 minutes multiple times per day.

This helps to redistribute the components of the broken blood vessels and make them more easily “carried away” in the blood stream for removal.

By consuming a diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals found in fruits and vegetables, you can improve your body’s functioning and support the recovery process activated after a traumatic experience that causes bruising. Vitamins C and E, iron and magnesium, and a number of phytochemicals that act as potent antioxidants combine to speed recovery while also reducing the incidence and severity of bruising.

20. Relieve diaper rash

The interior conditions of a baby’s diaper are damp, airless, and (more often than not) soiled with urine and/or excrement. These conditions create the perfect environment for chafing and skin irritations, commonly known as diaper rash. Once a diaper rash develops, the enclosed wet and/or soiled conditions further exacerbate the issue and can lead to skin breaks or sores. The open skin resulting from these irritations can become a breeding ground for bacteria and germs.

Fortunately, the lauric acid produced by the medium-chain fatty acids found in coconut oil not only relieves the discomfort of diaper rash, it also moisturizes baby’s sensitive skin with natural oils. Plus coconut oil’s antibacterial, antifungal properties help to fight the growth of bacteria, microbes, fungi, and viruses that can irritate a baby’s bottom.

If you see redness and irritation starting to develop in any part of the diaper area, bathe your baby in a mixture of warm water and coconut oil. Then coat the irritated area with coconut oil and allow your baby to enjoy an extended period of time without a diaper (at least one hour). As an ongoing preventative, apply a teaspoon of the oil (in its liquid or solid form) to your baby’s bottom after bathing and between diaper changes to help keep her free of rashes, irritations, and infections. In addition, you’ll want to check diapers regularly and remove waste and wetness as soon and as often as possible. Allowing fresh air to reach your baby’s bottom regularly throughout the day can also help reduce the incidence of diaper rashes and minimize the chance of infection.

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