Should You Use Coconut Oil for Your Eczema?

In looking for a natural treatment for eczema, you may have considered using coconut oil. Eczema affects approximately 15 million people. It is a common condition that leaves the skin bumpy, scaly, discolored, and dry. There is damage to the skin barrier in eczema, making the skin sensitive to dryness and infection.

There are different types of eczema, and it is not contagious. The main causes of eczema include genetics, the immune system, and environmental factors. For people who have this condition, their immune system is known to be affected by allergens or irritants, resulting in skin inflammation.

Individuals who have a family history of eczema are at a higher risk of getting the condition. Environmental factors are also a cause. Air pollutants, certain fabrics, and dry air can cause the skin to become irritated and dry. In addition, stress can increase the risk of eczema or worsen the condition.

This article will discuss how eczema is treated, how coconut oil may be used for eczema, and potential risks.

Applying coconut oil

Anna Efetova / Getty Images

How Eczema Is Treated

There are a few options for eczema treatment. To get a proper diagnosis, make an appointment with your doctor. They can also help you determine a treatment plan that is right for you.

Eczema may be treated in the following ways:

  • Use mild soaps.
  • If the air is dry, use a humidifier.
  • Use personal care products that are fragrance free and do not contain alcohol and dyes.
  • Use lukewarm water while bathing rather than hot water, which may be irritating.
  • Use an ointment or cream to moisturize the skin.
  • Over-the-counter ointments and creams that contain hydrocortisone can help decrease discoloration and redness.
  • Prescription medication includes shots, steroid creams, or pills.
  • Phototherapy is a treatment that uses ultraviolet waves that are found in sunlight. This treatment generally uses ultraviolet B light.

Coconut Oil for Eczema

Coconut oil is a popular option to use on the skin due to its moisturizing properties. It is known to absorb into the skin quickly, which can improve the hydration and elasticity of the skin.

Virgin or cold-pressed coconut oil is ideal, because chemicals are not added when the oil is extracted. One of the components in coconut oil is lauric acid, which is a fatty acid found in breast milk.

Lauric acid has properties that are known to fight yeast, viruses, bacteria, and fungi. The strong moisturizing, anti-inflammatory properties that coconut oil offers can help reduce and bring relief to eczema symptoms.

Eczema affects people differently. There is no confirmed research that coconut oil fully cures the skin condition, but it can offer relief and reduce some of the symptoms.

Potential Risks

Coconut oil is typically safe to use. In rare cases, some people have allergies to it.

To find out if you are allergic to coconut oil, you can conduct a spot test:

  1. Clean the area of the skin you will use to do the test.
  2. Put coconut oil on that area.
  3. Put a bandage or patch on it.
  4. After a day, see if there is a reaction.

You can also consider seeing an allergist who can assess you for a coconut allergy, among other potential allergens, especially if you have a history of sensitive skin. They may wait two to three days in the event that the allergic relation is delayed.

If you are taking medication for eczema or using an ointment specifically for the condition, don’t stop taking the medication that your doctor prescribed. Coconut oil should not be used as a replacement for your prescribed medication. Contact your doctor to discuss options when it comes to using coconut oil.

How to Use Coconut Oil for Eczema

When using coconut oil for eczema symptoms, look for cold-pressed or virgin coconut oil. Apply the oil when the skin is slightly damp. When coconut oil is at room temperature or higher, it is liquid, and if it is cooler than room temperature, it is solid.

To get the best benefit from using coconut oil, applying it in liquid form is ideal. You also can use it as an overall body oil while using generous amounts on the areas that have eczema symptoms that are both mild and extreme. You can apply coconut oil during the day and at night on the skin.

Summary

Coconut oil is an option that may help relieve some of the symptoms of eczema. It has properties that can reduce inflammation, itching, and dryness. Coconut oil also absorbs into the skin, giving it more moisture. It can be used daily to moisturize, and it is rare to have an allergy to it.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take for coconut oil to work for eczema?

Coconut oil may relieve symptoms due to its moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties. One study confirmed skin hydration for children with eczema improved within eight weeks of using virgin coconut oil.

How do you use coconut oil for eczema?

You can use coconut oil on skin areas where you have eczema symptoms. Apply room temperature oil (which will be liquid) in generous amounts. You can apply it both day and night.

Is coconut oil or Vaseline better for eczema?

Coconut oil absorbs into the skin and has agents that naturally moisturize the skin. It also has anti-inflammatory properties. Vaseline seals in the moisture that is already on the skin; it doesn’t add moisture to the skin. For people who have eczema, the affected areas are typically dry and itchy. Coconut oil may help reduce the symptoms.

A Word From Verywell

If you want to try coconut oil to help relieve some of the symptoms of eczema, contact your doctor first and make sure it is the right option for you. In addition, check to see if you have allergies to coconut oil.

Eczema is a common condition. The proper treatments and lifestyle habits can help the outcome.

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