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 to provide your brain with quick energy, and 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, first let’s try to avoid those acne scars before they even occur. 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. According to the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, acne scars 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, resulting in 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, and 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 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 in 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. In addition, 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.

Dermatologist Dr. Bav Shergill 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. You can help it along with 5 to 10 minutes of moisturizing massage every day for newer scars. 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 affect 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.

Alos, look for 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!

What Do The Experts Say?

As a coconut oil ingredient, lauric acid has revealed itself as a potential helper in the reduction of specific bacteria inclusive to some forms of inflammatory type acne.

Coconut oil is plentiful in vitamin E, which is recognized for its therapeutic benefits. Vitamin E has been thought to pitch in to the typical operation of the sebaceous glands, which generate sebum on the skin.

Is There A Difference Between Various Brands of Coconut Oil?

Extra Virgin or Virgin?

As with many products we ingest or use on our bodies, it’s best to investigate the best brands and types of coconut oil for your particular usage. Bottles labeled “Extra Virgin” are more desired as they haven’t been processed or refined to the point of eliminating the beneficial properties of the oil itself.

Valuable fatty acids are destroyed during processing. Generally, this type of coconut oil will be in a solid form. Choose an organic brand if possible. In several studies, this type was used by researchers and may be the most effective.

Three Types

Coconut oil is available in three categories: liquid, unrefined, and refined.


Coconut oil in the liquid form is used in food preparation. Quality varies in commercially produced coconut oils. You will want to delve deeper into the chemical process to make a decision on the end product. Coconut oil used for cooking is not appropriate for use on the skin. It could be harsh and wouldn’t deliver any therapeutic elements.


To collect unrefined coconut oil, the edible flesh is pressed. No chemicals are added. This type is generally the best for use on your skin. Because there is very little processing, more compounds and fatty acids remain in the oil. The majority of higher grade coconut oil is solid at temperatures under 75 degrees Fahrenheit. It will melt when warmed.


Copra is dried coconut kernel which is bleached and deodorized. A heated hydraulic press is used to extract approximately 60% of the weight of the coconut when dry. At this point, the coconut oil is not fit for consumption as it consists of toxins and pollutants. To rid the product of these, it must continue to be heated and purified. Refined coconut oil has no scent.

You are able to purchase coconut oil in stores or online. You can purchase it mixed with other products or in its raw form.

Positive Side Effects of Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is also said to help boost collagen production which, if proven, would not only help with fine lines but would 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 as 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.

Best Method For Success

As with any product you put on your skin, you should test a patch to see if there could be an allergic reaction. To do this, choose a small spot on your forearm and apply the coconut oil. Cover with a clean bandage. Wait at least 24 hours to check for an allergic reaction or other issue before moving on to use the coconut oil on larger areas and your face.

According to beauty experts, you’ll achieve better results from employing the oil in the morning and in the evening. As a side note, you can improve the texture of the coconut oil and turn it into a luxury lotion by whipping the coconut oil with a mixer or putting it in a blender. The resulting product is silky and soft. Some prefer adding their favorite essential oil when using it elsewhere on their bodies.

Begin with cleansing your face and patting it dry with a clean, soft towel. Smear ¼ teaspoon of coconut oil on your acne scars with clean fingers. Give it time to absorb into your skin. Leave it on overnight, and wash your face as you normally do the following morning. Wear sunscreen everyday. This helps prevent scars from darkening as well as protecting from hyperpigmentation.

Who Shouldn’t Use Coconut Oil?

Coconut Oil: Go For It!

If your dermatologist says it’s ok to try the coconut oil for a few months, go for it! Make sure you take a before picture to compare your skin’s acne scars. If you see positive changes, keep up with the coconut oil regimen. 

If not used correctly, coconut oil can cause clogging of pores, resulting in acne. Starting with a clean face and fingers will help prevent this. It is beneficial for those suffering from very dry or chafed skin. Research suggests that it boosts collagen and helps promote skin renewal.

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