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Drinking coconut oil for beauty

Reviewed by Sunil August 9, 2013 38 Comments

Supermodel Miranda Kerr is one of the most naturally beautiful women in the world. She’s always been known for her organic lifestyle which she believes contributes to her glowing skin and her always hydrated hair. Kerr’s one beauty secret that kind of puzzled me though was her use of coconut oil.

“I personally take four tablespoons of coconut oil per day, either on my salads, in my cooking or in my cups of green tea. I will not go a day without coconut oil."

I’ve heard about people using oil for various reasons, even in oil pulling, and I’ve even heard about natives of Greece ingesting large amounts of olive oil that has helped keep them healthy, but drinking coconut oil?

I had to do some digging.

It started in the 1930s with Dr. Weston Price. Price ventured to the South Pacific Islands and found some lean and healthy islanders. Their diet consisted of high dietary fat thanks to coconut oil but they were not falling ill to heart issues and dealing with obesity like Americans often do. People began to realize that coconut oil could do things like support your immune system, boost your thyroid, and help your metabolism. The makeup of coconut oil is primarily medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) which are easily metabolized by the body so you have less fat build up.

Don’t get me wrong, I fully understand that the American public at large doesn’t have the freshest diet and  don’t lead active lifestyles like islanders might, although when we look at the oil on its, own, it’s much healthier than the processed stuff we buy by the gallon at Super Food Mart.

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So we know it can help out our insides, but then there’s the skin. While searching for coconut oil’s benefits on the skin, I ran into individuals talking about using it for their acne. I’ve seen a lot of reviews of people claiming that the cheap and plentiful coconut oil has helped tame their acne. Apparently coconut oil has two powerful anti microbial agents in capric acid and lauric acid. Your body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, which has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-protozoa properties. However, there are those that claim that it caused them to break out because of their pores getting clogged while using it. But it should be noted that the success rate seemed to strongly outweigh those that had issues with it.

Perhaps this is how Kerr keeps her skin so clean and blemish free. The monolaurin helps eliminate bad bacteria in her body so she doesn’t have to worry about unsightly pimples, though we can’t say it works exactly like that.

Overall we can’t really say for sure just how good coconut oil is for you from a beauty standpoint, should you choose to ingest it. Looking at it as a beauty aid, tons of healthy food gurus will tell you that coconut oil is rich in vitamin E, it’s a moisturizer, it’s a sunscreen, and more. It kind of makes sense; coconut oil is a natural moisturizer factor which means that it is an ingredient that mimics the structure and function of the skin. But even in a double-blind study, coconut oil had just about the same moisturizing properties as mineral oil when applied to the skin.

From a scientific health standpoint, it seems as though coconut oil has enough in it to make it worth drinking on a daily basis. However, it’s hard to pinpoint if this stuff really does anything for your outer beauty. Miranda Kerr just seems to be naturally beautiful, she could probably drink four tablespoons of cake batter everyday and still remain as radiant. If coconut oil tasted more like chocolate syrup, I’d probably try this out but for now, I’ll stick to water as my only beverage.

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  • August 6, 2014

    by Dmoore

    I have a friend who has started putting (uncooked) dessert spoons of coconut oil in their drinking water so does drinking coconut oil have any beneficial attributes or is my friend nuts and on their way to an early grave?

    D

  • April 20, 2013

    by Julie Kay

    Linda- There are no "silly" questions; only those unasked. Oil pulling is a method of taking approx. half tablespoon of oil (sesame, sunflower, or coconut- cold-pressed, unrefined in all cases) in your mouth and swish it around for 15-20 minutes, not swallowing any, then spitting it out. Rinsing your mouth w hot water, then brushing your teeth. You can simply Google "What is oil pulling," or we've a couple links here: http://www.truthinaging.com/body/what-is-it-oil-pulling AND http://www.truthinaging.com/body/the-oil-pulling-paradox . At bare minimum the oral benefits from oil pulling are worth the effort. Personally oil pulling is "whole body" medical coverage. Have a good day! ~jk

  • April 19, 2013

    by Linda

    This may sound like a silly question but what do you mean by oil pulling

  • March 25, 2013

    by Julie Kay

    Jumping into "using coconut oil on your face" discussion. Coconut oil is a serious anit-bacterial oil. I was using it in areas of my body resistant to healing and easily chafed because I'm prone to dermalogical issues. The inner panty leg area is one. I quickly developed a adverse reaction to coconut oil in in this sensitive area. My belief is coconut oil is too strong of an anti-bacterial for those of us with sensitive skin- especially the face. For the face, I'd suggest olive oil or almond oil in their pure form; I've used both and prefer almond oil if one is looking for 100% pure and natural.

    I do, however, use coconut oil successfully as the carrier oil with tea tree oil for use on my legs for itching. Coconut oil is my first choice oil to use it for oil pulling.

    Peace ~jk

  • March 25, 2013

    by Lynne

    You don't need to heat it - eat it with a spoon or add it to cereal/soup/smoothies or cook with it etc.
    I'm taking it for arthritis and for the first time the pain is going away.

  • March 24, 2013

    by C

    Sabrina, you're totally wrong. Her skin isn't breaking out because of "toxins," the oil is clogging her pores. Toxins do not cause whiteheads in any way, its bacteria. You can't just MAKE UP things when you're giving out health advice to people, its very irresponsible.
    Nothing to do with the oil being refined, nothing to do with "toxins," at all.

  • March 11, 2013

    by Jenny

    How can I drink a coconut oil when it's so thick like a butter? should I warm it with microwave?
    Thanks

  • February 10, 2013

    by sabrina

    If you use coconut oil and claim you get break outs it is from 1 of two reasons. 1.) You need to use unrefined, unbleached, virgin, organic coconut oil. Others are processed using chemicals and heat to get the coconut oil out od the meet. It should be cold pressed. Good coconut oil will smell and have a faint taste of coconut, 2.) If you are breaking out/peeling on your face it is because the coconut oil is drawing out toxins in your skin causing white heads to form. DO not pick them and ride it out. FOr more info on this google "Healing Crisis" Coconut oil is basically naturally exfoliating. It sometimes will cause peeling of the dead skin that most cosmetic products will plaster back to your face to appear "smooth". Ironic. Anyways, be concious of the product you purchase and make sure it is good quality or you will waste money on a product that has absolutely no benefits to your body. Coconut doesn't usually cause an allergic reaction in people but it is possible.

  • January 29, 2013

    by Xiaomin Maggie Wu

    I use coconut oil daily on my face and body for over 6-mos. Overall, my skin becomes very tender and the boyfriend noticed. I would highly recommend it both for cooking and overall hydration. It is also featured in Dr Oz show last year.

  • August 11, 2012

    by ida

    Putting coconut oil on my face was a terrible idea that I ever done. It's good if you have a healthy diet, but not if you don't. Well, it depends on each person. For me, it causes a breakout. But I drink it, 1 tablespoon a day. I also do oil pulling with it. It works well.

  • July 15, 2012

    by kavita

    I grew up in fiji putting on coconut oil on our hair,skin and we drank coconut juice and ate the flesh and the flower in it. We also use mustard and sesame oil in cooking n for medicinal purposes. My hair is very thick n long. My skin hardly gets pimples etc. And I don,t look my age according to my patients n friends. However we never ingested coconut oil.

  • July 7, 2012

    by Julie Kay

    Tammy! stick w it, and you will see your whole body responding in ways you can't imagine. It is a life changer- oil pulling. I truly believe it can extend (and improve the quality, of course) lives. Good for you. And thanks for posting! Peace ~jk

  • July 7, 2012

    by Tammy

    I think some need to do more research on coconut oil. It has the same fatty acid chains as olive oil. Hence, it is good for you. It has a higher heat tolerance than OO. OO tolerates very little heat as it oxidizes when it is cooked so the good is destroyed when cooked with. best to use it as a dressing, uncooked. I use raw xvirgin coconut oil and my skin is great. I am 53 and most people can't believe I have a 33 year old son! I oil pull with it and my teeth are getting whiter.You will notice a difference in you teeth the first time you do this since it removes plaque. Tropical Traditions is a great brand and they run specials often.

  • June 27, 2012

    by Jerric Arnold

    I've been using ORGANIC EXTRA-VIRGIN COLD-PRESSED COCONUT OIL both as food and for use on my skin. I lost weight because of it specially in the mid-section. I've tried all types of diets and diet food but I always regain my weight and those stuff are expensive. My skin is great too. Go to your health food stores or Whole Foods or Trader Joe's to get a bottle of this oil. It will do you good even if you drink it everyday. They recommend taking one to 4 tbsp a day. Take a couple of tbsp first and allow your body to adjust for a few weeks then increase your dosage. I have to tell you though that because coconut oil raises or increases your metabolism you might get hungry than usual as a result because your body is burning your calories.

  • June 12, 2012

    by Shyama Dutta

    In India we do use coconut oil for massage and eating. For over 2 months I have been using a coconut oil and salt scrub and wow it has been fantastic. I am 45 years old with a problem of middle aged acne and it dissapeared.

  • May 3, 2012

    by Natalie Doyle

    My sister brought me back a bottle of coconut oil for my skin when she was in india. I use it on my dry skin after my shower and it works a lot better than most dry skin moisturisers. Now to find some in my own country..

  • April 6, 2012

    by Aravi

    Mix equal amout of coconut oil and sea salt, keep for 7 years and that can be use as a anti-vitiligo cream.

  • March 22, 2012

    by Shobha

    I grew up eating fresh coconut in food almost every day. also we use coconut oil on hair . usually leave it for halfan hour before washing the hair. We never drank coconut oil like suggested here. Also sesame oil and coconut oil bath is very common where I grew up. Means apply the warmed up oil on your body and hair and wait for half an hour and take shower. My skin and hair looks better than most of my friends my age..Hope this helps

  • March 9, 2012

    by Michele Watson

    I use pure organic coconut oil in my son's bath-he has psoriasis and this really works. I have also mixed a pure shea butter and coconut oil skin balm for him to dab on to his skin...with excellent results! This,after so many expensive creams etc! What he also appreciates as a boy is that it is fragrance free.

  • March 7, 2012

    by Ann R

    Bad idea, thanks for your comment as it brought me to this older article and also to the oil pulling information! Based on Julie's comments, however, I AM going to try Julie's recommendation of oil pulling. I've started to develop arthritis is my hands (my knuckles look all knobby and gross) as well as having trouble with my gums and teeth. Hopefully this treatment will keep me from having that dreaded periodontal surgery! Thanks for sharing...

  • March 6, 2012

    by Julie Kay

    I'm going to disagree with you, bad idea, and offer a couple sites to visit: http://www.coconutresearchcenter.org/ and http://www.organicfacts.net/organic-oils/organic-coconut-oil/myths-and-facts-about-coconut-oil.html . If you Google Coconut Oil Facts you'll get pages of such sites. I do wish you well, however, and posit that coconut oil and popcorn might not be a good marriage. Peace ~jk

  • March 6, 2012

    by bad idea

    This is great advice, if you want a heart attack. Seriously, women have been having heart attacks from trying this most bad idea.

    Popcorn used to be cooked in coconut oil, until the popcorn business got in trouble for the massive saturated fat levels.

    You might as well say: eat 20 bags of popcorn cooked in coconut oil a day, and you'll be beautiful while having your heart attack.

  • February 13, 2012

    by chris

    I have taken coconut oil for years with no change to my cholesterol levels, FULLSTOP.

  • January 19, 2012

    by Rena

    The taste is awful but when i start consuming coconut i noticed improvement on my skin. Aside from good benefits in your skin it also improves bowel movement.

  • October 26, 2011

    by Lauren

    I love coconut oil, especially spread on toast with a little sea salt sprinkled on top, but I'm one of the few that breaks out terribly when I apply either coconut oil or argan oil to my face.

  • August 17, 2011

    by Leigh

    This post is awesome! I am gonna start taking it right away! I am 27 and have had problems with acne since I was 15- my skin is really clear now, but has a tendency to go haywire for no good reason (although I have a feeling hormones and unnatural stuff in certain foods may be to blame). I also am really excited about this website. My mom loves it and I am loving it too- so many cool things to try. Keep it up, and I'll report back on the coconut oil stuff soon!

  • July 16, 2011

    by Julie Kay

    Sorry I've been out of town!
    I use Nutiva organic extra virgin coconut oil which I buy in a 2-pack on Amazon. I can't recall the price. It comes in (15 oz) jars and isn't as hard solid as others I've tried. Here is a link to Copley's TIA article on oil pulling: http://truthinaging.com/body/what-is-it-oil-pulling and there is also a demonstration here: http://truthinaging.com/body/video-oil-pulling-demonstration You can Google What is oil pulling to get all sorts of information on this ancient practice- that's what I did a couple years ago when a friend first mentioned it to me... =) I can't say enough about the benefits; as you'll see if you follow the links. Good Good luck!!! ~jk

  • July 15, 2011

    by deb

    i'm going to try the coconut oil as a topical treatment. i've been using olive oil for a couple of years now and it has been great for my skin.

    love these tips!

  • July 14, 2011

    by Laurel

    Oops, sorry, I missed the "h" in cholesterol in the first sentence.

  • July 14, 2011

    by Laurel

    To Sheila,

    Total colesterol means nothing. It is the ratio of HDL and LDL like Susan said. Coconut oil (organic, virgin, cold pressed only) is great for weight loss, skin health and brain function. In addition it is a mono-saturated fat so it is healthy for you - not harmfull.

    Coconut helps raise the good cholesterol and lower the bad so your "numbers" might be up but it's probably a good thing!

  • July 14, 2011

    by susan

    Sheila,

    The type of coconut oil you're consuming could be relevant. Only oil taken from fresh coconut meat and unprocessed should be ingested. Also, you could add a smaller amount to your drink.

    In terms of cholesterol values, your doctor probably broke down for you the ratio between your HDL and LDL points. This is crucial, as your total reading could be higher, but if HDL is high (contributing to your total), the result isn't nearly as critical.

    The passing of two years can cause your levels to increase. Exercise plays a vital role in keeping LDL levels down, especially as we age. Hopefully, you've been able to maintain good exercise habits.

    If you want to measure for coconut oil's contribution to your LDL level, you could decrease or eliminate the oil while not changing other contributing factors and have your cholesterol measured again in three months.

    Virgin coconut oil does have health benefits and it sure tastes good in a fruit smoothie.
    :)

  • July 14, 2011

    by Marta

    Hi Shiela, it is very likely that coconut oil was to blame. It has a lot of saturated fat. We wrote about it on our sister site, Truth In Slimming: http://truthinslimming.com/diet/the-coconut-diet-should-you-shie-away-from-it

  • July 14, 2011

    by Sheila H

    After using coconut oil for 2 yrs (1-2T in my morning smoothie), I went for a physical. Results - all good except that my total cholesterol had shot up 60 points. Previously, my number had always been below 200. I'm thinking it might be the coconut oil and have eliminated it because it's the only thing that I had changed in my diet.

  • July 13, 2011

    by Laurel

    About 8 months ago I started using coconut oil on my face because I heard someone say it was great for the skin. WELL...I have never gotten so many compliments on my skin, even using the $100 plus stuff! My sister came out from California (I hadn't seen her in over a year) and she accused me of having "something done" to my face!!

    My skin has a glow, it is blemish free and the wrinkles on my forehead are much less prominent already.

    After I finally convinced my sister that all I did was use coconut oil she insisted we stop at the local health food store to get a jar for her to take home.

  • July 12, 2011

    by JustD

    Very interesting and enjoyable to read. I was raised on cod liver oil, olive oil and coconut milk, to name a few, not sure how any of that has played out for me, I'm not a natural beauty,(snickers) but I do know that I wasn't as sick as a kid while I was ingesting those things. Never tried coconut oil, but I do know that some of the island based stores in my area carry various types of it. Julie Kay, what is oil pulling, I'm clueless! Please elaborate for me :)

    I enjoy coconut in the raw and powdered coconut milk as a creamer. Don't know that it has any special health pluses, but it tastes good to me. The gentleman down the street from me is Greek and brings back Grecian olive oil to sell every year, and it's wonderful. That I do ingest daily!

    Sunil, you never fail to impress when addressing unusual but interesting topics that always seem to hit home. Thanks for another great article!

  • July 11, 2011

    by Sandy

    Julie Kay - where do you get your coconut oil? I've been wanting to try oil-pulling but can't find sesame or sunflower oil anywhere. I'd like to try the coconut oil instead.

  • July 11, 2011

    by Sunil

    Sure thing Julie : ) Miranda Kerr really is a great role model for healthy living/beauty.

  • July 9, 2011

    by Julie Kay

    Since I restarted oil pulling (about 2 months ago) I now use coconut oil. I decided that sunflower (and/or sesame) oil was just too distasteful and why submit myself to that when the process is so good for me, but so hard to maintain. I also swallow a small chunk of the soft-solid oil now and then because I've heard of these health benefits and figure I'm doing no harm. I give a double thumbs up to Ms. Kerr! and thanks Sunil for the article. =) ~jk

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