National Eczema Association states that more than 31.6 million people in the U.S.A. suffer from some form of eczema.
Eczema or dermatitis is a skin condition characterized by a swollen, cracked- red skin with rashes and itchiness. A dry and sensitive skin is prone to eczema.
Dermatologists agree that coconut oil can soothe the irritation of eczema and keep infection at bay. Coconut oil is extracted from the meat or kernel of the giant nut- coconut. Our body doesn’t have an inflammatory response to this oil.
Clinical studies on coconut oil confirm of it’s therapeutic compounds, nutrients and vitamins. It is full of natural antimicrobial, fungicidal, antioxidant and antibacterial properties. It also contains lauric acid, vitamins E and K and healthy nutrients that are essential for a healthy skin.
In this article, you will learn the efficacy and uses of coconut oil for eczema relief.
Using Coconut Oil for Eczema or Dermatitis: What Research Says
1. Coconut Oil is a Great Moisturizer
Eczema victims suffer from an itchy dry skin which needs moisturizing. The clinical study proved that coconut oil as a moisturizer is superior to petroleum jelly products and mineral oils. Your skin tissues can absorb coconut oil easily. It softens and repairs the broken skins preventing the invasion of bacteria or fungi. This ideal moisturizer also brings ease to the irritation caused by eczema.
2. Coconut Oil is Nourishing
The difference between coconut oil and other animal-based oils lies in their fatty acids.
Animal-based fats comprise of Long Chain Fatty acids whereas coconut oil is made up of medium-chain fatty acids.
Due to this reason coconut oil can easily penetrate the layers of skin tissue and repair the damage of eczema. It nourishes the skin and gives you a supple, healthy skin.
3. Coconut Oil Relieves Itching
Itching is the worst thing that eczema brings along with it. Severe itching can lead to skin breaks and infections. Dry skin is prone to itching.
Coconut oil not only moisturizes the dryness of skin but also brings a soothing effect on itching itself. In fact, coconut oil is a home remedy for relieving the itching caused by insect bites
Application of coconut oil on eczema affected skin can create a protective layer. This layer can save the sensitive area from itching triggers such as; dust, allergens and other forms of pollutants.
4. Coconut Oil Battles Bacteria
Did you know that along with breast milk, coconut oil is the only other natural source of Lauric acid? This fatty acid is abundant with antimicrobial effects. This makes coconut oil a potent agent to fight the bacteria and fungi of infections that complicates eczema.
5. Coconut Oil has an Immune- Modulating Effect
An allergic reaction is one of the primary causes of eczema. This happens when a weak immune system overreacts to certain allergens. Doctors prescribe different steroid creams and immune suppression drugs to control the severity of inflammation and itching caused by an allergy.
These immune-modulating drugs are not effective and have serious side effects. They run the risk of damaging body’s natural immunity.
Coconut oil is a natural and safer source of immune modulating properties to control allergic reaction and fight eczema.
6. Coconut Oil is Anti-Inflammatory
Coconut oil is a potent source of anti-inflammatory properties that work for eczema relief.
Eczema-prone people may develop skin inflammations for many reasons; severe cold, dust, heat, UV radiation of the sun, contact with rough surfaces, chemicals of skin care products, etc.
All these may trigger inflammatory responses that may lead to eczema. Application of coconut oil on the skin can effectively set off such inflammation.
7. Coconut Oil is Safe
The colorless and pleasant scented Coconut oil is pressed from the edible, dried kernel of coconuts. In many tropical islands and coastal areas, coconut oil is used for cooking.
According to a study, these people enjoy excellent health and longevity compared to others. This natural oil is non-toxic, and its saturated fat isn’t harmful to the body either.
Allergic reaction to coconut oil is rare. It is very gentle and safe on tender and sensitive skins.
8. Coconut Oil is Cost Effective and Easily Available
Coconut oil is cheaper and easily available compared to other natural oils in the market. It’s like icing on the cake, given the many health benefits of this natural oil.
The Best Type of Coconut Oil for Skin
The oil industry introduced various types of coconut oil because of its popularity. Based on their purity, these different types of coconut oil fall into two major categories:
- Refined coconut oil.
- Unrefined coconut oil.
Refined oil goes through a long process of distillation in oil industries to make it light and germ-free. All these refining processes leave the end product with chemical substances.
These chemicals may pose to be harmful to the sensitive and damaged skin as that of eczema.
We should treat eczema with unrefined or raw coconut oil which is 100% natural.
Pure virgin coconut oil is the best for eczema treatment. It is unrefined and has strong nutty coconut smell and taste. But too much heat to achieve such taste and smell may result in the loss of beneficial bioactive agents in the oil.
That’s why you should be careful before picking up the oil bottles tagged ‘virgin coconut oil’ or ‘organic coconut oil’ in the store. You can test different samples of virgin coconut oil and choose one with a mild flavor for skin care.
Tips and Precautions:
- Children, pregnant and lactating mothers can use coconut oil without any risks and side effects. It is the safest form of oil for topical application or a message.
- You can replace all chemical based moisturizer and lotions with coconut oil.
- Stop scratching the dry skin patches of eczema. This may further break the skin and lead to infections.
- Tight or silk clothes increase the itchy feeling. Avoid wearing such materials. Wear loose clothes for the skin to breathe and avoid irritations.
- Stop using harsh skin care products or toiletries. These take away the moisture of your skin and worsen eczema.
- You can avoid dish-washing, swimming and frequent hand washing during your eczema hit days.
- Boost your immunity with vitamin D3 supplements.
- Keep junk and oily food at a distance.
When to See a Doctor
It’s important to see a doctor if you any experience any of the following:
- Excessive pain and inflammation of the skin
- Difficulty in getting enough sleep
- Impairment of daily activities
- Skin infection
- Impairment of vision
Sometimes the open rashes may ooze out pus and form ugly crusts. Bacteria and fungi may further worsen the condition causing infections. In such a case it’s recommended to visit a doctor for proper treatment.
Eczema is not life-threatening, but severe itching can cause extreme discomfort. A poor immune system is the major cause of eczema. It overreacts to dust, specific allergens, and skin care products on your skin. The result is flaring up of eczema. More often infants and children are the victims of this skin condition.
Coconut oil can relieve the symptoms of a mild eczema flare-up. You can use coconut oil in various ways for eczema treatment such as a moisturizer, cream, cooking oil, ointment, etc.