Nourish your skin naturally

India is rich in traditional remedies that have been used for various conditions as well as in routine maintenance products for the skin. One of the most popular, long standing natural ingredients has been the coconut, also called as the Tree of Life in the Caribbean islands. Coconut is one of the most useful trees to man, with every part of it helpful in some way or the other.

In the beauty context, the use of coconut oil is associated with beautiful hair. In fact, Indian women are known for their beautiful, dark hair, attributed to the regular use of coconut oil.

However, a lesser-known fact is that, in many parts of South India, coconut is also a very popular skin care ingredient. Coconut, apart from being used for nourishing the skin in Ayurvedic massages, is also used in the treatment of boils, sores, viral infections, abscesses etc. in Ayurveda.

Now, the question arises whether coconut really is full of benefits for the skin or is it just coincidental that it is used for skin care in a lot of indigenous areas like India, the Caribbean and Philippines?

Well, the good news today is that science is once again proving that not only is tradition right, but coconut is truly a fantastic skin care ingredient. It nourishes, moisturizes and hydrates the skin in unique ways, thereby adding to the beauty and health of the skin.

But, what is so special about coconut oil that makes it such a wonderful skin care ingredient?

Also read: Know your skin type | Food for healthy skin

Coconut is rich in fatty acids like all oils but its most unique property is that it is rich in medium chain fatty acids (Lauric acid) which make it a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant ingredient.

Coconut has a unique mechanism of moisturizing and hydrating the skin by locking the moisture right into the skin without occluding the surface, which makes it not only effective but also long acting.

The molecular size of these fatty acids is also small, thereby ensuring excellent penetration into the skin.

The other unique feature of coconut is its similarity to the skin’s natural lipids. Since lipids actually cement the skin’s cells and ensure that the barrier is intact, coconut helps to rebuild the skin’s barrier function.

This coupled with its hydration capabilities make it a fantastic and natural skin care ingredient for moisturizing.

In today’s modern world, fraught with external irritants like pollution, sun exposure, chlorinated swimming pools etc. which deplete moisture and destroy the skin barrier, there is definitely a need to routinely moisture the skin all over the body. Coconut oil and cream moisturize the skin most effectively because of their unique structure and mechanism of action and are ideal for daily use in tropical countries like India.

Dr. Aparna Santhanam. The author is a cosmetologist, dermatologist and hair expert. If you have a query for Dr. Aparna, send it to us at now!

Image: Wikimedia Commons