You’ve probably heard by now that extra virgin coconut oil is good for the skin. It is a fantastic moisturizer that softens and soothes skin, is highly absorbent, and is even full of antibacterial, anti-inflammatory compounds and antioxidants. It is almost unanimously agreed to be excellent for the body. But whether it is good for the face is debated. People have mysteriously mixed results, from the coconut oil clearing up acne for many to it causing breakouts for others. So what’s the verdict? Is coconut oil good for the face? Does coconut oil clog pores?
Does Coconut Oil Clog Pores?
Coconut oil seems to block some people’s pores but not others. Why? Coconut oil is considered to be fairly comedogenic. A comodegenic substance is one that is likely to block pores of susceptible people. Comodegens aren’t guaranteed to block or clog pores, but they could. On a scale of four where four is “most comodegenic”, coconut oil rates as about a two. However:
Whether a person is susceptible to getting clogged pores boils down to their skin type. First of all, pores are clogged when debris like dead skin cells, natural skin oil and bacteria get blocked in, resulting in a blackhead or whitehead. Large pores are easier to clog than small ones: If you have large pores and tend to get blackheads, then yes, coconut oil might clog your pores if you use it as a face moisturizer — especially if you don’t exfoliate first.
You can tell you have large pores if you have oily skin. Small pores, on the other hand, are too narrow to secrete enough of the skin’s natural oil and often mean dry skin. For that matter, small pores aren’t big enough to hold much debris at all, and therefore don’t have much to clog in the first place. People with small pores and non-sensitive skin will likely have better success with coconut oil.
Why Coconut Oil is Good for Face Skin
But not so fast! Why is it that for many people, coconut oil is a dream facial moisturizer?
Extra virgin coconut oil has compounds that prevent acne bacteria from replicating, which is why when it works the results are so dramatic. Studies have shown that coconut oil’s fatty acids are actually 15 times better at this than benzoyl peroxide. Coconut oil is also soothing and heals redness, and is packed with antioxidants than can prevent aging damage to the skin. Its ferulic acid is even more effective than Vitamin E in this, reducing age spots, preventing aging of skin, and repairing damage from UV rays.
How to Make Coconut Oil Work for Sensitive Skin
Using coconut oil as a leave-on facial moisturizer has its benefits but can be risky for some. Luckily though, if you have sensitive skin you have other options to reap the benefits of coconut oil for your face. Here are a couple of solutions if you are concerned that it might clog your pores:
- Mix it with a less comodegenic oil (a carrier oil) to make a less risky moisturizer.
- Exfoliate first. This is key, as it gets rid of the build-up in pores that any oil could potentially block in the first place. (Pure Fiji Spa Coconut Sugar Rub)
- Use it not as a moisturizer at all but as a cleanser! This can be done with coconut oil alone, or mixed with carrier oils as above. Simply apply and massage into the face for several minutes, then remove then a clean washcloth and warm water. This is related to the Oil Cleansing Method, which is based on the reasoning that oil attracts oil and is therefore best for cleaning the pores of facial skin.
Virgin coconut oil has many incredible documented benefits for the skin, but whether or not one can expect coconut oil to work on their face just depends on their skin type and history with trying heavy oils. It will vary from person to person, so many people just choose to experiment and track their progress. Some people will feel safer getting the moisturizing properties of coconut oil for face through a cleanser or scrub that contains it, rather than leaving it on. So even if coconut oil clogs pores for some, it’s not that way for everyone. In fact, it has helped many people get rid of acne or just condition the skin, making it smooth, even-toned, and less wrinkled looking. Best of luck!