Rosacea can be a devastating skin condition. It can rob you of your confidence, and it can have a major impact on your quality of life. Even though there is no one-size-fits-all rosacea treatment, there are powerful medications as well as natural options that can help treat the symptoms. Instead of resorting to powerful medications during a major flare-up, many sufferers would rather turn to safe, natural options to address their problem. Using coconut oil for rosacea is one such option.
There is some evidence suggesting coconut oil might help with symptoms of rosacea. Here’s some information on rosacea, as well as information on how coconut oil could help.
Rosacea 101: What is Rosacea?
If you have to deal with the redness on your skin or face from rosacea, you’re definitely not alone. It’s actually a common condition that affects not only the face, but also the back, ears, and chest. The condition can range from mild rosacea to severe, and a bad flare-up of the condition can even lead to swollen eyelids and red, severely irritated eyes.1
The most common symptom of rosacea is redness on the face, due to broken blood vessels.
Skin affected by rosacea can be extremely sensitive to the touch, very dry, and it may also sting. Dryness and scaling can occur. People with rosacea will also often experience acne-like breakouts (rosacea is also known as acne rosacea). Skin will often not only have a bumpy texture, but it can also thicken in certain areas, and scales can form on the cheeks, ears, forehead, and chin.2
Rosacea is much more than a cosmetic problem. It’s a painful, chronic condition that can cause emotional issues, including feelings of embarrassment and frustration. Many people with the condition suffer from low self-esteem and self-confidence. It isn’t unusual for some people to also experience anxiety and depression.3
A Major Mystery
Rosacea causes remain unclear. Though what causes rosacea is unknown, research has uncovered several interesting clues. For example, rosacea is often inherited from previous generations. Also, sufferers tend to be of Celtic or Scandinavian descent, fair-skinned, and 30-50 years old. Women are more likely than men to develop the condition.4
It is also believed that the immune system could contribute to rosacea.
Specifically, it’s thought that those with the condition may negatively react to a specific bacterium known as bacillus oleronius.5
Among other possible rosacea triggers is a type of mite known as Demodex, which could contribute to a rosacea flare up. This microscopic mite, which is found on everyone’s skin, may accumulate in greater numbers on the cheeks and nose – areas where rosacea commonly appears. This could trigger an allergic reaction in those with rosacea. But the jury is still out regarding whether or not the Demodex mite causes the condition.6
How Coconut Oil Could Help
Research indicates coconut oil for rosacea not only has anti-inflammatory properties but also fatty acids that can help repair skin.7 It also contains lauric acid, which has been shown to soothe irritated skin.
Coconut oil also has antioxidant properties.8
These antioxidant properties are important because oxidative stress can make a rosacea breakout worse – especially when it comes to breakouts on the face.9
Oxidation occurs when an element mixes with oxygen. While this is a normal process your body needs to survive, it’s a double edge sword, because oxidation can also cause problems. For example, oxidation can form free radicals, dangerous molecules that can damage cells and tissues.10
Eating Coconut Oil?
What’s not as clear is whether ingesting coconut oil will help a sufferer deal with the symptoms of rosacea. Coconut oil does contain antioxidants, but to get those benefits, you’d likely have to ingest an unreasonable amount of oil. And since coconut oil contains a great deal of fat, so any benefits you might see from using coconut oil for rosacea would be countered by the weight you might gain.11
Using Coconut Oil Topically
Rosacea is a sensitive condition, so never use anything to address your rosacea symptoms without first talking to your doctor. If you’re already taking medication for your condition, keep taking it.
If you’re allergic to coconuts, you should obviously not try using coconut oil for rosacea. Also, use caution if you have an allergy to hazelnuts or walnuts. Some people with these allergies could have a reaction to coconut oil – even if they’re not allergic to coconuts.12
You need to stay on the safe side and do a patch test before using coconut oil for rosacea – even if you don’t have any sort of food allergy. Try applying coconut oil to a small patch of skin on your arm, then take a look at the area 24 hours later. If you don’t notice any sort of reaction, and the area is not irritated, then it will probably be safe to use on your face and other areas affected by rosacea.13
There are various coconut oil options out there, but try to only use virgin coconut oil. It contains fewer additives and preservatives than other types of coconut oil. You should be able to find it in your nearest health food store, but it might also be available at your local pharmacy or grocery store.
Coconut Oil for Rosacea: The Bottom Line
There is no clinical evidence coconut oil will get rid of your rosacea symptoms completely. Some people swear by coconut oil, while others say it’s a big waste of time. Again, you should never apply it to your face, or any other part of your skin, until your doctor says it will be completely safe for you to do so.