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NMU 114 – Topical Application of Coconut Oil for Your Hair

Nutrition / Natural Medicine Update No 114 (December 14, 2018)

with Dr. James Meschino


Topic: Topical Application of Coconut Oil for Your Hair and Skin Outperforms Many Expensive Cosmetic and Topical Medicinal Agents 

Sources: Various Scientific Journals – see References at end of Newsletter


Clinical studies show that ingesting coconut oil raises total blood cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol, the kind of cholesterol that clogs arteries and leads to heart attacks and stroke. As such, I don’t recommend ingesting coconut oil or other foods that contain high amounts of long-chain saturated fats shown to raise cholesterol and increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular problems. However, for those of you who are fans of the coconut oil movement, I have some good news. Studies in major journals have shown that applying coconut oil to your hair and skin, topically, can provide significant benefits to the health, appearance, and integrity of these tissues.

With respect to hair, coconut oil can penetrate the scalp and hair follicles to nourish them with rich fatty acids to replace what cold and dry temperatures remove and deplete. During the winter months, when dry heat is a major factor when temperatures drop, and furnaces are running full time to warm the air, coconut oil can be a real savior to keep your hair silky smooth, with great sheen and frizz-free, according to published data. Coconut oil does this as well or even better than many hair conditioning products that are much more expensive. It doesn’t require daily application, but rather once every two weeks (twice a month) simply apply coconut oil to the base of the scalp right down to the tips of hair at night, while massaging it in. Then, cover your hair with a towel wrap before going to bed. I recommend putting a towel or two over pillows as well. Wash your hair when you wake up in the morning, and rinse well. This deep conditioning approach has been shown to be very successful in restoring damaged hair and protecting hair from cold and dry environmental stressors.

Topical application of coconut oil also nourishes the skin and can be used to prevent skin from drying and cracking when the air is very dry. It is especially helpful for cracked heels, which can be painful when you walk. Simply massage coconut oil into your feet at night, where the skin is dry and/or cracked. Put on a pair of socks to insulate it as you sleep overnight.  Then wipe the excess oil off in the morning. The antioxidants in coconut oil also help to speed up healing and other phytonutrients in coconut oil can help prevent infections from occurring in areas where the skin is cracked, dry or chaffed. This is because coconut oil contains natural antimicrobial agents. Topical application of coconut oil may also help to diminish scars on the skin, eye puffiness, and can be used to moisturize lips as well.  In fact, you may want to keep all of your skin better hydrated by applying it to your entire body after showering, as many people now do.  But be careful not to overdo it, as you need only a small amount to get this hydrating benefit. Applying too much can make your skin itchy and uncomfortable.

So, topical application of coconut oil has been shown to provide preventive, therapeutic and even anti-aging benefits to skin and hair when applied judiciously. The research backs up these claims and I have provided some key scientific references in the text below should you wish to explore this in more detail. Remember, though, that some people can be allergic to coconut oil, even when applied topically. It’s rare but more likely to occur in people who have other food or environmental allergies, contact dermatitis problems, and especially in those with tree nut allergies.



Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,
Dr. Meschino

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