Coconut oil is commonly used in skin care because it is extremely effective at hydrating the skin. Unlike most commercial moisturisers, coconut oil doesn’t contain water or petroleum byproducts. This is important as water in your moisturiser will make your skin feel moisturised for a short time, but once it has dried out, your skin will once again be dry and in need of hydration.
A recent study of children with mild-to-moderate atopic dermatitis tested the effect of applying coconut oil on the skin compared with mineral oil twice daily for a period of 8 weeks1. The results showed that the coconut oil was more effective at improving the severity of symptoms, along with other parameters related to skin function and hydration. In people with mild-to-moderate dry skin, however, coconut oil and mineral oil have previously found to be equally efficient at helping re-hydrating the skin2.
The concentration of an ingredient is important for its efficacy, and therefore products containing the same ingredient may not necessarily have the same effect as in the studies mentioned above.
Updated: July 2017