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They argue that coconut oil is an effective moisturizer and cleanser. It also has anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties and can protect the skin from fungal, viral, and bacterial infections and other skin irritants.
While experts may not have strong objections against the use of coconut oil to treat eczema, they point out that coconut oil might not be beneficial for all people with eczema because every person’s eczema triggers are different.
They also warn that coconut oil might cause allergic reactions in some people. Hence, people who are allergic to coconut products should not use them on their skin.
Opinion in favor of using coconut oil to treat eczema:
Experts that support the use of coconut oil for eczema believe that coconut oil can treat eczema because it contains lauric acid, a medium-chain fatty acid that has strong antimicrobial properties and hydrating properties.
They agree that frequent application of the oil on the affected areas can reduce dryness, itchiness and the risk of infection.
Research has shown that coconut oil is beneficial for eczema. The study, “The effect of topical virgin coconut oil on SCORAD index, transepidermal water loss, and skin capacitance in mild to moderate pediatric atopic dermatitis: a randomized, double-blind, clinical trial” shows that coconut oil was more effective than mineral oil at increasing skin hydration in children with eczema.
Opinion against using coconut oil to treat eczema:
Many medical experts agree that coconut oil has beneficial hydrating and antimicrobial properties, however they oppose its use for eczema. They point out that coconut oil isn’t suitable for all skin types and argue that every person’s eczema is different.
Accordingly, people have different eczema triggers, and their skin might not respond positively to coconut oil.
Some experts also believe that adding coconut oil to the skin might delay the body’s natural healing processes. This is because coconut oil tricks the body into believing the affected area is moisturized and doesn’t need extra nutrients or moisture.
Plus, healthcare experts argue that some people might be allergic to coconut or some compounds in it. Hence, they do not recommend coconut oil to people with a coconut or a salicylate sensitivity or allergy because coconut oil is high in salicylates.
Salicylates are phytonutrients found in fruits and vegetables that are designed to ward animals, bugs, and other insects away from the plant and discourage them from eating it.
If salicylates build up in the body, people may begin to experience symptoms similar to those of allergies such as itching, the appearance of hives, and swelling in different areas of the body.
People who are sensitive to salicylates may have particularly strong adverse effects to coconut oil and other products that contain salicylates such as soap, lip balm, toothpaste, and some medications like aspirin.
Furthermore, healthcare experts argue that there is not enough evidence supporting the theory that coconut oil is beneficial for eczema. They point out that although coconut oil did benefit many eczema patients, that does not mean that it will work for all eczema patients. This is because they believe that eczema can be different from one person to another. Hence, they call for more research on the topic to better reinforce this claim.