Is Coconut Oil Good For Acne Scars?

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It seems coconut oil can solve so many problems.

Coconut oil is said to boost fat burning and coconut oil is said to provide your brain with quick energy. Coconut oil is said to kill harmful micro-organisms in your gut. Coconut oil can reduce your hunger, raise your good cholesterol and protect your teeth. But can coconut oil be used on acne scars?

Avoid the Acne Scars

Well let’s try and avoid those acne scars before they even occur. First, have an anti-acne regimen. Wash your face, keep those dirty hands from your face and if you have an acne breakout, don’t pick! But if an acne breakout happens and an acne scar does form there are lots of options for treatment and coconut oil may be one of them.

Acne Scars Are Complex

Acne scars are complex and so is acne scar treatment. Acne scars, according to the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, are the result of inflamed blemishes caused by skin pores engorged with excess oil, dead skin cells and bacteria. The pore swells, causing a break in the follicle wall. Shallow lesions are usually minor and heal quickly. But if there is a deep break in the wall of the pore, infected material can spill out into the surrounding tissue, creating deeper lesions. The skin attempts to repair these lesions by forming new collagen fibers. These repairs usually aren’t as smooth and flawless as the original skin; thus acne scars.

Acne scars come in many shapes and sizes. Ice-pick, boxcar and rolling scars are common types. Ice-pick are deep, narrow and pitted; rolling scars are broad depressions with a long sloping edge; boxcar scars are broad depressions with sharply defined edges. According to New York dermatologist Dr. Deborah Jaliman, most acne scars fall into two categories atrophic and hypertrophic. Atrophic may be identified by a loss of skin and hypertrophic by too much tissue. 

But if the acne scar was caused by excess oil is adding coconut oil, more oil, really a good idea?

Treating the Breakout

Well, according to Teen Vogue, you can think of an acne breakout as an infection in your pores, just like an infected wound.  So, an acne breakout needs to be treated with something anti-bacterial, and that’s where coconut oil comes in. The lauric acid contained in the coconut oil contains natural anti-bacterial properties and is just the kind of thing you may want to treat acne. Coconut oil, extracted from the meat of mature coconuts, is also filled with medium-chain fatty acids, a type of saturated fat that can help soothe and moisturize, dry, inflamed skin, according to Anthony Youn a board-certified plastic surgeon and author of The Age Fix. Dr. Youn also says, coconut oil is filled with anti-oxidants, which fight free radicals and inflammation. 

Treating The Scar

But what about skin that is already scarred?

Coconut oil can moisturize the skin and make it feel smooth. And massaging a scarred area, with coconut oil, or any moisturizer, is an effective way to decrease scar tissue build up and help make scars less noticeable. Dr. Bav Shergill, a dermatologist recommends the following: Once an acne burst is fully healed, a new scar often looks red and is annoying but over time it will fade and you can help it along with 5 to 10 minutes of moisturizing massage every day for newer scars (this is whereto coconut oil comes in). This will help stimulate blood flow. You may choose coconut oil as the best product to moisturize this skin.

Types of Coconut Oil

When choosing a coconut oil for acne scars be picky (no pun intended)! Dr. Lortscher, a California based dermatologist and CEO of Curology warns not all coconut oils are created equal. He says different sourcing and processing methods of coconut oil effect its quality. As a person trying to improve skin already scarred from acne, look for the least processed coconut oil. Minimal processing will ensure the coconut oil retains its vitamins and nutrients.

Buying the Best

So how do you know if you are buying the best acne scar fighting coconut oil?

When buying an acne scar fighting coconut oil, look for organic. Organic coconut oil comes from coconuts made without harmful pesticides. Look for virgin coconut oil that will get its acne scar fighting properties from fresh coconuts and is non-hydrogenated. Make sure your anti-acne scar coconut oil comes from cold- or expeller-pressed processes. This means no heat or chemicals were used to extract the oil again keeping the anti-acne scar benefits intact in the coconut oil.

Another thing to look for is seals of approval. Fairtrade Certified or Non-GMO are seals indicating a higher standard of processing for the coconut oil product you are buying.  Your skin has already been through enough. Make sure to give it the best coconut oil!

Positive Side Effects of Coconut Oil

Coconut oil oil is also said to help boost collagen production which, if proven, would not only help with fine lines, but also, minimize scarring by binding new tissue together. 

Yes, that’s right, I said “if proven”. Many of the claims about coconut oil and its benefits for healing acne scars are anecdotal at this point. Although marketers often make claims about coconut oil, more research is needed to actually back the claims up. So before you try coconut oil and a solution for your acne scars consult a dermatologist or at the least, do a spot test. Apply a small amount to your arm to make sure you don’t have an adverse reaction.

Coconut Oil: Go For It!

If your dermatologist says its ok to try the coconut oil for a few months. Go for it! Make sure you take a before picture to compare your skins acne scars and if you see positive changes keep up with the coconut oil regimen. 

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