Coconut oil is composed of medium chain fatty acids - MCFA - containing 6 to 12 carbon atoms. Most of the oils we've been looking at are long chain fatty acids containing 16 or more carbon atoms (hence the C16 for palmitic acid or C18 for stearic acid). It contains a lot of saturated fats - those fats without double bonds - with 47.5% lauric acid (C12), and some unsaturated fats with 18.1% myristic acid (C14), 8.8% palmitic acid (C16), and a titch of stearic, oleic, linoleic, and arachidic acids. Because of this saturation, this is a very long lasting oil.
Coconut oil offers a ton of wonderful polyphenols such as ferulic acid, which you might remember from rice bran oil and borage oil. Ferulic acid is a very effective anti-oxidant, more powerful than Vitamin E, that can prevent skin aging, reduce age spots, and help repair light and radiation induced damage. It penetrates skin to soften and moisturize, soothes wind chapped and sun burned skin, and reduces itching and inflammation. Like mango butter, coconut oil contains caffeic acid, which is also a good anti-oxidant.
Coconut oil contains very little Vitamin E (36 ppm), but you really don't need to add it for anti-oxidizing purposes as this isn't an oil that goes bad quickly - you've got up to a 2 year life span! - and you've got all that ferulic acid!
Coconut oil also contains catechins, a polyphenol found in tea and chocolate that can offer antibiotic properties as they disrupt a stage of bacterial DNA replication. You can't use this as a preservative in your lotions, but it's a great benefit to your skin! Lauric acid can also act as an anti-bacterial, but again, not enough to be a preservative!
Here's the bad news - it's not only considered comedogenic but acnegenic as well, meaning not only can it clog pores, but it can make acne pustules worse! So this probably isn't the best choice for someone with very sensitive facial skin.
I find coconut oil to be a great addition in a lip balm (click here for my lip shimmer stick recipe) at 25% of the recipe (so it replaces most of the shea butter and some of the mango butter) as per the MMS suggested starting point recipe.
Coconut oil is a fantastic moisturizer with an up to 2 year shelf life. It is a fantastic oil you can use where you might want to use a butter at a fraction of the cost! Sugar scrubs, solid scrub bars, and other less liquidy-more solid products works well with coconut oil. It will go liquid at 76F - about 23C - so you might want to consider the 92 F - about 31C - if you want to use your products in the summer!
Join me tomorrow for coconut oil in hair care products!