Nutritionists and skin pros alike extol the benefits of coconut oil for both your inner health and skin. But what kind of coconut oil should you be using? One Charlotte’s Book reader asked us to investigate the difference between the coconut oil that’s used for cooking vs. the kind you should slather on your skin. We reached out to Michelle Steele of Inner Glimmer to get the answer.
Q—CHARLOTTE’S BOOK READER:
Is there a cosmetic grade of coconut oil for topical use, or can you use the same coconut oil for cooking and your skin?
A—MICHELLE STEELE, ESTHETICIAN:
There are two types of coconut oils: extra virgin coconut oil (EVCO) and fractionated coconut oil.
The majority of people cook with EVCO. It’s the white, solid fat that’s extracted from the flesh of the coconut, typically through cold pressing. While this form of coconut oil is more whole, it’s not the best to use in skincare. That’s because the large molecular size can sit heavy on the skin and cause clogging of the pores, especially if you have oily skin.
Fractionated oil, on the other hand, is a fraction of the whole oil. It does not contain long-chain fatty acids and triglycerides, making it liquid at room temperature. This form retains the antioxidants and vitamins of the oil, but has a reduced molecular size. This makes it appropriate for use in skincare, especially for those with dry and/or mature skin.
Experts tout coconut oil as a miracle cure-all, from the healthier way to cook fish to the best way to naturally whiten teeth. Dedicated users even swear by coconut oil’s ability to cure eczema, thanks to its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
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