Coconut has become the superfood of today. It’s everywhere…in our skin care, in our foods, shampoos, moisturizers, toothpaste, and even in our frying pan! (Coconut oil can withstand higher heat without going rancid like other healthy oils, such as olive oil).
Due to its content of medium chain fatty acids, coconut oil has studies to back its benefits from boosting brain health to its use as a snack to maintain healthy weight. Coconut oil has also been touted to be antiviral, immune regulating, thyroid supporting, heart healthy, and a beauty enhancer.
In fact, I’ve been recommending it to eat for ages…until recently. Now, I note a word of caution.
Since October, I’ve added coconut to part of my beauty regime. Also, since October, I couldn’t figure out why my skin, which was so clean and clear after years of cleansing and natural living, had become bumpy and prone to breakouts.
First I would get these red bumps that were itchy or painful, then they would turn white.
Oh no! I was a naturopathic doctor in a clinic with a top aesthetician and was starting to get bad skin!! Thankfully, the connection was recently made.
After showering with my new coconut shampoo, my face would become inflamed. I called Resia and she recommended that I avoid coconut and explained that everyone was different relative to what their skin was sensitive to.
Still, being the nerd I was, I wanted to research for myself to find out why this amazing “miracle food” was affecting me so negatively. My mom shared an article by Carla Hernandez, Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, that explained why. I learned that coconut oil is actually one of the most cosmodogenic ingredients. This means the ability of something to produce or aggravate acne, usually tending to clog pores on a topical level.
Many foods look great on paper, but how they react inside each individual will vary greatly, and depending on one’s ethnicity, will dictate how well they can tolerate them.
This means some may fare well but not everyone’s immune and digestive tract will find this non-native food beneficial to their immune system or skin.
This demonstrated the concept of bio individuality to a whole new and deep level for me.
I am happy to report that it’s now been almost two weeks since I removed coconut oil from my life. After one week, my skin cleared quickly. Then I accidentally ingested a new supplement with coconut oil and had an intense reaction. This is because once the immune system remembers what triggered a nasty response it comes back with a vengeance. (AKA memory B cells for the immunologists out there).
So, the next time you want to try rubbing something on your skin or taking something internally that seems to work for everyone else, take a step back and listen to your body. I recommend trying something for three days and then stopping to observe an effect.
Also, here’s the link Carla provided “products that contain comedogenic ingredients continue to cause pimples for acne prone skin, no matter the nationality or gender of a person.”
Shameless plug: We only use the most natural and organic ingredients in our clinic and focus on bio-individuality. 😀
Carla Hernandez. When Coconut Oil May Not Be Right for You. The Healthy Home Economist. April 13, 2014.
Mercola, J. Countless Uses for Coconut Oil – The Simple, the Strange, and the Downright Odd. Mercola.com. November 18, 2013.
Hassan, A. The Skin Healing Properties of Black Seed Oil. GreenMedinfo.com. April 14, 2014.
West, Bruce. Health Alert, April 2009, Volume 26, Issue 4
Novel antibacterial and emollient effects of coconut and virgin olive oils in adult atopic dermatitis.Verallo-Rowell VM, Dillague KM, Syah-Tjundawan BS. Dermatitis. 2008 Nov-Dec;19(6):308-15.
Partial replacement of dietary (n-6) fatty acids with medium-chain triglycerides decreases the incidence of spontaneous colitis in interleukin-10-deficient mice. Mañé J, Pedrosa E, Lorén V, Ojanguren I, Fluvià L, Cabré E, Rogler G, Gassull MA. J Nutr. 2009 Mar;139(3):603-10. Epub 2009 Jan
Antioxidant capacity and phenolic acids of virgin coconut oil. Marina AM, Man YB, Nazimah SA, Amin I. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2008 Dec 29:1-10.
Matthan NR, Dillard A, Lecker JL, Ip B, Lichtenstein AH. Effects of dietary palmitoleic acid on plasma lipoprotein profile and aortic cholesterol accumulation are similar to those of other unsaturated fatty acids in the F1B golden Syrian hamster. J Nutr. 2009 Feb;139(2):215-21. Epub 2008 Dec 23. Erratum in: J Nutr. 2009 Apr;139(4):793.