Coconut oil has become a wonder oil recently because of its various properties that can enhance one’s health both internally and externally. One of the benefits of coconut oil is the curing of eczema, a skin condition that causes severe itchiness from red scaly rashes on the skin especially the cheeks, wrist, elbow, knees, hands, and feet. Eczema is considered by the medical field to be related to asthma and allergies as people with asthma will have eczema from a very young age. The skin condition, more evident in infants and young children, is said to clear up with age.
Eczema is not life-threatening but the itchiness causes great discomfort leading to irritability and sleeplessness. The condition is physically characterized by dry and rough skin that becomes swollen, red, itchy and sore and in extreme conditions can bubble, crack, and bleed. The itchiness exacerbates the condition of the skin as the scratching of the skin leads to the worsening of eczema. In extreme conditions from the scratching, the rashes open up with gaping wounds oozing ugly yellow crusts. This can affect one emotionally as social ostracism results leading to an isolated life. The open wounds can lead to further infection from bacteria and fungi growth. It is not a nice experience especially for young people who need to socialize and mix with others in order to build healthy relationships and a stable personality.
There are various topical creams for eczema but in most cases, the creams provide a superficial, temporary respite from the pain and itching. The long terms effects of these creams can be harmful as most of the creams contain chemicals and steroids. This is particularly harmful to young children and teens as their bodies are still developing internally and steroids can impair its development.
Coconut oil is one of the few natural oils considered as a natural remedy containing healing properties that reduces redness and irritation and keeps away infection from bacteria and fungi. Coconut is a remarkable moisturizer as it is absorbed internally into the skin layers because of the properties of its fatty acids. Coconut oil relieves itching by keeping the skin constantly moisturized.
Coconut oil is extracted from the nut of the coconut tree. The oil, colourless, pleasant smelling and light in texture is the main cooking oil in tropical countries. As the oil is very stable from high saturated fatty acid content, it does not require additives to increase its shelf life. The safety, versatility and health properties of coconut oil are evident from its use both internally and externally on people of all ages including infants. The people who traditionally consume cooking oil have excellent health and live long lives.
All oils that are vegetable and animal fat contain smaller components called fatty acids. However, as compared to other oils that contain long-chain fatty acids (LCFAs), coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) or medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). As they are smaller in size, they have a better chance of permeating the skin’s cell membranes. The acids get activated immediately to strengthen connective tissues which make skin elastic and supple.
Coconut oil contains lauric acid which contains antimicrobial effects against bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and fungi. The application of coconut oil is effective against a major infection, Staphylococcus aureus, that is known to complicate eczema. Allergic reactions such as eczema are the result of an overactive immune system. Coconut oil possesses immune modulating properties that control the immune system and it is anti-inflammatory for moderating sudden skin inflammations.
The application of warmed coconut oil before bedtime ensures children get a good night’s sleep as the oil will keep the skin moisturized throughout the night. Similarly, an application of a thin layer of oil on eczema patches before going out of the house prevents dust and pollutants from coming into contact with exposed skin thereby reducing itchiness and sense of discomfort.
Gentle reminder: The information on this article is not meant to replace a qualified healthcare professional and should not be considered as professional advice. Please seek appropriate medical help when necessary.