Can Coconut Oil Be Absorbed Through the Skin?

The versatile coconut provides a healthy food and a moisturizing oil.

Photo: Hemera Technologies/ Images

Ladies living in Southeast Asia and the Pacific isles of Polynesia have long used coconut oil to moisturize their skin and hair, as well as to flavor their food. The essential fatty acids in the coconut you eat provide your body with nutrition, and coconut oil possesses moisturizing and antimicrobial effects to give you major benefits when it's absorbed by your skin. You can buy lotions and moisturizers that contain coconut oil, or go the pure and natural route by using virgin coconut oil as a moisturizer.

Health Benefits

Your skin will quickly absorb coconut oil, thanks to the oil's small chemical composition. The oil provides significant moisturizing benefits without a heavy or greasy feel. Much of the fatty acid in coconut oil consists of lauric acid, which possesses antimicrobial properties to fight germs while it moisturizes your skin.


An array of organic skincare product manufacturers sell lotions and creams that contain coconut oil. These moisturizers use the emollient effects of coconut oil combined with other skin-silkening ingredients like glycerin, shea butter and olive oil to help the moisture sink into your skin and stay locked in. Most of these lotions are reasonably priced, especially compared with other offerings from natural product makers.

Virgin Coconut Oil

If you want to avoid extra additives, you can check in with your favorite all-natural or health food company for pure, virgin coconut oil moisturizers. Companies sell jarred, cold-pressed virgin coconut oil to use for cooking and to moisturize your skin and hair. "Elle" magazine recommends coconut oil to moisturize your dry winter hands. These potions carry reasonable price tags, so your skin can stay moist year-round without impacting your pocketbook.

Slight Allergy Risk

According to the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network, a small number of people may be allergic to coconut and coconut products. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has classified coconut as a tree nut, but the FAAN stresses that coconut allergies most often show up in those who aren't allergic to other nuts. Before slathering coconut oil all over your skin for the first time, test it on a small area on your forearm or lower leg to see whether you experience an allergic reaction.

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