Can You Use Coconut Oil for Acne?

by Mary Gray ; Updated July 18, 2017

Beyond being the secret ingredient in delicious curry dishes, coconut oil has plenty of creative uses. With its high concentration of fatty acids, it makes a fantastic moisturizer, either on its own or as an ingredient in cosmetic products. Though putting oil on an acne-prone face may seem counterintuitive, studies have shown that the all-natural oil has anti-inflammatory properties that can aid in acne treatment.

Benefits of Coconut Oil

Propionibacterium acnes, known as P. acnes, are pesky bacteria that can cause acne inflammation. Lauric acid, a fatty acid contained in coconut oil, has well-documented antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that fight P. acnes. Capric acid is another key acid found in coconut oil; one study published by the Journal of Dermatological Science indicated that it also combats P. acnes. In addition to reducing acne, coconut oil's moisturizing properties increase skin elasticity, giving your complexion that coveted youthful look. Keep in mind that though coconut oil clearly has acne-busting benefits, it can't cure acne on its own -- use it as part of a full skincare regimen, combining it with regular cleansing or, for more severe cases, medicines prescribed by a dermatologist.

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About the Author

A pop culture junkie, Italophile and chronic sufferer of the travel bug, Mary Gray is an arts, entertainment and travel writer. Based in Florence, Italy, she is the Tuscany news editor of "The Florentine" English newspaper, co-manages social media for an international tour operator, and has been published in Italian daily "La Repubblica."