Let’s Talk About Coconut Oil

I am a fan of coconut. However, I mostly stayed away from it during college once my roommate found out she had a tree nut allergy. Tree nuts include almost all nuts, except peanuts and black walnuts. While the variations and severity of the allergy vary from person to person, my roommate’s allergy included coconut, so we avoided it whenever possible. Now that our four years of living together are over (for now, at least), I’ve been soaking up the coconut. Literally. 

I had heard of and seen coconut oil in a number of places and became curious, though slightly apprehensive, to try it for myself. And it has quickly become my favorite oil. It’s different from the other oils I’m used to because coconut oil is solid at room temperature. It softens easily with some heat, so don’t let its form scare you off.

For as long as I can remember, I have dealt with eczema and sensitive skin. I recall a particular day when I was around six years old and fighting my mom as she tried to put me in a dress and tights. The dress, I’m sure, was pretty and twirly and I had no problem with that. It was the tights that irritated me. In an attempt to soothe my legs, she tried slathering me with pear-scented lotion. It was a failed attempt, and my mom thought I was just being difficult.

We found out about the eczema a couple years later when I had a bad reaction to the shin guards I wore for soccer. Between myself, my parents, and my dermatologists, we could never figure out exactly what caused my flare ups. They happen during the summer and winter, autumn and spring, when I’m stressed, when I’m not, if I wore shin guards or goalie gloves, when I wash my hands too frequently, when I don’t drink enough water.

I first tried the coconut oil as a moisturizer, hoping it would ease my dry skin during this past very, very cold winter. After a shower, I rub about a tablespoon or two of coconut oil into my skin. (No need to melt it ahead of time. It will soften up in your hands.) A little bit goes a long way, so don’t go too crazy. Be aware that it is an oil, so I advise letting it soak in or at least pat yourself dry before getting dressed. It keeps my skin moisturized all day, so I love it.

Coconut oil makes a great hair mask because it softens your hair and smells great. I’ve used it as a mouthwash a couple of times; in this case, it’s known as “oil pulling” and it works for cleaning your teeth because the bacteria in your mouth are oil-soluble, not water-soluble. Anyway, just swish it around in your mouth for fifteen minutes or so when you first get up in the morning.

I like to use coconut oil for cooking and baking too (substitute 1 cup of butter with 3/4 cup of coconut oil). I have used it for cookies and banana pancakes, plus one or two smoothies, so far. We were at the grocery store the other day and even saw coconut oil in a spray can!

The point is, coconut oil is wonderful and natural and super healthy. I love coconut oil mostly because it helps with my eczema, but it’s good for much more than that. It works wonders for your body, hair, and skin.

If you love coconut flakes, coconut chips, or coconut milk, try adding some coconut oil into your life. (Sorry for all the coconut-love, JacJac!)


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