The diverse uses and applications of coconut oil in the kitchen and as a cosmetic are widely recognized. However, many people are unaware that one of its key active constituents, lauric acid, is also used to treat acne.
As a result, in addition to its advantages as a moisturizer for the skin and hair, coconut oil may aid in the treatment of skin disorders. However, this is not the only way to get this fatty acid; it may also be gotten through palm oil and ordinary cow's milk.
Where does lauric acid originate from and what is it?
This is a medium-chain saturated fatty acid that is also known as dodecanoic acid (according to the number of carbons in its formula) and more often as lauric acid. It occurs naturally and is found in the human body's tissues in solid and insoluble form. It may also be present in a variety of animal and vegetable diets that include saturated fats. Among the most frequent sources are:
- Coconut oil is one of the richest sources, with an estimated 40% lauric acid content.
- The almond of the Elaeis guineensis palm is used to obtain palm kernel oil. Its share is substantially larger, approaching 80%.
- Cow's or goat's milk: 0.25 gram per cup; lauric acid accounts for 3% of total fat in milk.
Lauric acid use and advantages
Coconut oil has several applications, ranging from culinary to cosmetic. On the other hand, it is thought that lauric acid has a number of qualities that make it useful for illness treatment. Let's see what happens.
Because of its stability and insoluble in water, this saturated fat is added to food goods to help preserve them. However, when polished, some of its qualities are lost.
Because this acid is said to have moisturizing characteristics, it is used to battle skin dryness by increasing the function of the lipid barrier and aiding in the fight against xerosis. It is also a frequent element in anti-aging lotions and other treatments to diminish or minimize the indications of aging. According to a 2013 research, merely adding a little virgin coconut oil to skin lotion enhances moisture and suppleness.
Because of its hydrating and anti-inflammatory characteristics, coconut oil is also used to treat skin diseases such as psoriasis. In this way, it aids in the management of the symptoms of this ailment.
Several investigations have revealed that lauric acid has the capacity to impede the growth of harmful organisms. As a result, it may aid in the treatment and prevention of many diseases, such as colds and flu. When consumed, it converts to monolaurin, a molecule having broad-spectrum antibacterial action that kills Staphylococcus aureus in the lab.
The consumption of this fatty acid has been linked to a number of advantages. Polynesian people, whose major source of energy is coconuts, live longer and are healthier, with low rates of obesity and diabetes, according to studies. It is also thought to aid in weight reduction and be a preventive factor against Alzheimer's disease. However, many of its uses are still being researched.
How to Use Lauric Acid for Acne?
It is believed that various variables contribute to the appearance or development of acne. Excessive sebum production, pores clogged by this oil, dead cells, the presence of bacteria (Cutibacterium acnes), and inflammation are among them.
Considering its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities, lauric acid might be utilized to successfully treat acne. This is supported by the findings of many investigations. A 2009 research, for example, discovered that this fatty acid decreases both inflammation and the number of microorganisms on the skin. Similarly, another research published in 2016 validated same features.
It should not, however, be used directly. It is advised to get and utilize a product containing the component, among other things. The hazards are fewer in cases of skin moisture issues or psoriasis, thus it may be used more freely.
A dermatologist should be consulted for enhanced safety. This skin health specialist can advise on the best dose for the person. Similarly, it is possible to include substances such as coconut oil into the diet. This manner, the advantages of lauric acid may be obtained not only for acne or skin, but also for age and lifestyle.
Contraindications and possible negative effects
To begin, it should be mentioned that lauric acid may be irritating, thus it should be consumed in the form of coconut oil or fresh coconuts rather than on its own.
However, there is little evidence on the potential impacts. If it is to be administered topically, a patch test is recommended. If there are no responses, it may be used sparingly.
However, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has designated monolaurin as a generally safe chemical, however no dose instructions are provided. People with sensitive skin, however, should use it with care. Those who are allergic to lauric acid, coconut oil, palm oil, or any of its components should also refrain.
Finally, it is important to note that coconut oil has certain contraindications. In this respect, it is not suggested for persons who have excessive cholesterol, hypertension, or indigestion.
Consult your physician
Despite all of the positive research, it has not been established if lauric acid operates alone or whether the advantages are the consequence of the combined activity of all of the other components present.
Now, if you're thinking about putting coconut oil or palm oil in your acne diet, keep in mind the overall quantity of fat you eat. And, whether for ingestion or topical use, the first step is to contact a dermatologist.