Created for Greatist by the experts at Healthline. Read more
Since coconut oil is purportedly good for basically everything skin-related, it’s easy to wonder if the stuff might help with rosacea, too.
One key component to managing rosacea is moisturizing regularly. Since coconut oil is ultra-hydrating, it could be a good option for keeping symptoms in check. Emphasis on could be.
Research supporting coconut oil for rosacea is limited, but we organized all the pros and cons to help you make the right decision for your skin. Let’s take a look, shall we?
Quick recap: Rosacea is a skin condition that affects the face, especially around the nose and chin. It causes discoloration, or a flush, that ranges from red to dusky brown depending on your skin color.
It can also make blood vessels more visible and cause acne-like bumps that feel hot or sensitive.
Coconut oil is a thick, heavy oil that can help your skin retain more water so it stays hydrated. While there aren’t any studies looking directly at coconut and rosacea, the oil has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory and skin-barrier repair properties.
But wait — there’s more. Research suggests that oxidative stress — a fancy term for a chemical imbalance on your skin caused by particles in the air — can make your rosacea look worse, and it just so happens the coconut oil serves up plenty of antioxidants.
It also contains compounds like lauric acid which seem to be helpful for skin swelling — something that tends to accompany redness and flare-ups.
In short, researchers haven’t tested coconut oil directly on people with rosacea. But science does show that coconut boasts skin-soothing properties that could likely be helpful. So it might be worth trying, provided you get the green light from your doctor first.
Coconut oil is generally safe to put on your skin, but it’s not the best choice for everyone.
For starters, you don’t want to use the stuff if your skin is oily or acne-prone. Coconut oil is comedogenic, meaning it can to clog your pores and cause breakouts.
It can also trigger an allergic reaction in some people. If you’ve had a reaction from eating coconut, you shouldn’t put it on your skin. And proceed with caution if you have a tree nut allergy, since its possible that coconut could trigger a reaction too.
If you’re not sure whether coconut oil is a good option for you, either because of your skin type or an allergy, check in with your doctor.
A dermatologist can help you determine whether coconut oil is likely to make you break out, and your allergist can help you figure out whether coconut is okay if you have a tree nut allergy.
Before anything else, make sure you’ve got the right kind of coconut oil. Look for cold-pressed virgin or extra virgin stuff, which is made without additives and is processed so the oil retains more nutrients.
Avoid refined coconut oil — it’s processed with chemicals that could potentially make your skin angry.
Since rosacea-prone skin is susceptible to irritation, your next step is to do a patch test before slathering coconut oil all over your face.
Dab a small amount of the oil on an area of your face that’s near where you usually flare up, but not directly on it. Then wait a full 72 hours to see how your skin handles it. If you notice any burning, stinging, or redness during that period, you know that coconut oil isn’t for you.
If the patch test goes well? You’re in the clear to use more oil. If it’s solid in the jar, rub it between your palms for a minute to warm and melt it, then use your fingertips to gently apply it to your face.
Like with other moisturizers and skin products, coconut oil will penetrate most deeply if you leave it on overnight.
One last thing: Since coconut oil isn’t a proven treatment for rosacea, you should keep on using any other products or medications recommended by your dermatologist unless they says it’s OK to stop.
While there aren’t any studies looking directly at coconut and rosacea, there’s evidence to suggest that the oil contains properties that could help manage your symptoms.
Just be sure to use cold-pressed virgin oil and do a patch test before putting it all over your face. And if you have oily or acne prone skin, consider steering clear.