How to Use Coconut Oil for Dry Skin

How to Use Coconut Oil for Dry SkinDoes your skin always feel dry, itchy and rough even though you follow a basic skincare routine? Dry skin appears dull, coarse, dehydrated and scaly in texture. Some people may have dry skin naturally, while others may develop it due to certain environmental factors.

Sebum, an oily substance produced by the sebaceous glands, forms a protective layer on the skin to keep it hydrated. If the skin doesn’t have enough sebum, it loses its moisture content and tends to become dry. Some factors that can trigger dry skin are cold and dry weather, frequent washing or hot baths, excessive sun exposure, dehydration or simply ageing of the skin.

If dry skin is not treated properly, it may become inflamed, start peeling and even develop painful cracks that bleed in severe cases. A number of medicated creams, lotions and ointments in the market claim to cure the problem of dry skin. However, it is much better to use natural DIY home remedies like coconut oil, honey or avocado to effectively moisturize the skin and provide deeper, long-lasting hydration.

Coconut oil works as a natural and non-greasy moisturizer for dry skin. It gets easily absorbed in the skin and also helps to exfoliate the outer layer of dry and dead skin cells, resulting in soft and glowing skin.

What Makes Coconut oil Effective for Dry Skin?

  • Coconut oil contains saturated fats in the form of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA’s) and triglycerides (MCTs). They help to retain moisture content in the skin and eliminate moisture loss through pores.
  • Coconut oil is also a major source of Vitamin E, an oil-soluble nutrient that restores lost moisture and strengthens the connective tissues of the skin.
  • Capric and caprylic acids are major constituents of coconut oil that have anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties. They help to prevent any skin infections as dry is more prone to skin infections.
  • Coconut oil is a rich source of proteins, which contribute to cellular health and tissue repair in the skin and help keep it nourished and healthy.
  • Coconut oil is well-known for its anti-aging effects on the skin as a natural moisturizer and toner, reducing dryness and the resulting fine lines and wrinkles.

How to Use Coconut Oil for Dry Skin?

Coconut oil can be massaged in directly on dry skin to hydrate and soften it. It can also be used in combination with other natural ingredients as face masks to nourish dry and dull skin.

Note: Wash the affected area with cool water and a mild cleanser before following these remedies. Pat dry akin with a soft cotton towel and do not rub too hard.

1. Direct Application of Coconut Oil

Coconut oil works as an excellent moisturizer for dry skin, since it can penetrate deep within the skin layers to hydrate it. It is also a natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, helping to prevent infections on dry and damaged skin.

  • Wash face with warm water and a mild cleanser. This helps to open the pores and unclog them.
  • Again wash with ice cold water to let the pores close.
  • Pat dry with a soft cotton towel and leave to air dry for 5 minutes.
  • Apply a very thin layer of coconut oil on the dry skin.
  • Massage it in gentle circular motions for 2-3 minutes.
  • Leave it on for 15 minutes.
  • Use a wet cotton towel to gently wipe it off. Do not rub.
  • Repeat the process thrice in a week.

2. Coconut Oil and Glycerin

Glycerin is a viscous sugar-alcohol compound that acts as a humectant and seals in moisture when applied to dry skin. It also helps as a cleanser, toner and gives dry skin a soft and supple feel.

  • In a small bottle, add 1 tablespoon each of coconut oil, glycerin and water.
  • Secure the cap and shake well.
  • Apply the mixture on your dry skin and gently massage for 5 minutes.
  • Leave it on for about 15 minutes.
  • Rinse it off with cool water and pat dry.
  • Repeat the method once in 2 days.

3. Coconut Oil and Sugar

A coconut oil and sugar scrub helps to remove dead and dry skin cells by exfoliation, leaving your skin softer and smoother.

  • Mix 1 tablespoon coconut oil and 2 tablespoons raw sugar in a bowl.
  • Mix thoroughly until it forms a thick paste.
  • Apply on dry skin evenly with your fingers.
  • Allow it to sit for about 5 minutes.
  • Using your finger, gently massage in circular motions for about 30 seconds.
  • Wash off with cool water.
  • Repeat the method thrice a week.

4. Coconut Oil and Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a natural humectant that helps the skin to retain moisture. It contains a number of beneficial polysaccharides and healthy fats that form a protective layer on the skin to prevent moisture loss.

  • Mix 3 tablespoons oatmeal, 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and some warm water to make a paste.
  • Gently massage in the mixture on your face using circular motions.
  • Leave on for about 15 minutes.
  • Rinse face with cool water and pat dry.
  • Follow this method twice a week.

5. Coconut Oil and Baking Soda

Baking soda is a good exfoliating agent that helps remove dead skin cells and making way for new ones.

  • Mix 2 tablespoons each of coconut oil and baking soda together.
  • Apply the mixture all over your face.
  • Gently massage for 2-3 minutes and leave it on for 10 minutes.
  • Wash off with cool water.
  • Repeat 1-2 times a week until you achieve the results.

6. Coconut Oil and Honey

Honey is a natural humectant which hydrates the dry skin cells (1). It is also a good source of anti-oxidants that protect and repair dry, damaged skin.

  • Mix 1 tablespoon coconut oil and 2 tablespoons raw honey together in a bowl.
  • Apply a thick coat of the mixture on your dry skin.
  • Let the mask stay on for 20 minutes.
  • Wash face with cold water and pat dry.
  • Repeat thrice a week.

7. Coconut Oil and Vitamin E Oil

Vitamin E rejuvenates dry skin by restoring its lost moisture content. It is a fat-soluble anti-oxidant that helps protect the skin cells from damage by free radicals.

  • Add 1 teaspoon Vitamin E oil into a cup of coconut oil.
  • Whip on high speed in a blender till it forms a light, airy consistency.
  • Store it in an airtight jar at room temperature.
  • Apply every night before bedtime and leave it on overnight.
  • Wash off with cool water in the morning.
  • Repeat every alternate day for a fortnight.

8. Coconut Oil and Castor Oil

Castor oil is an effective emollient and natural moisturizer for dry skin. It is highly viscous and penetrates deep into the skin tissue to nourish it.

  • Mix 1 tablespoon each of coconut oil and castor oil in a bowl.
  • Apply the mixture on dry skin.
  • Massage it in with your fingers for 3-4 minutes.
  • Rinse off with lukewarm water and pat dry.
  • Continue following the method twice in a week.

9. Coconut Oil, Epsom Salt and Essential Oils

Epsom salt is rich in minerals and helps to exfoliate dry and dead skin cells, resulting in smoother and softer skin. A combination of Epsom salt and coconut oil has a hydrating effect on dry, scaly skin.

  • In a glass jar, combine 1 ½ cup Epsom salt, 2/3 cup coconut oil and about 15 drops of an essential oil of your choice (lavender is a good option).
  • Apply on affected areas of the skin and leave it on for 20 minutes.
  • Wash off with cool water.
  • Repeat the method thrice a week.

10. Coconut Oil, Honey and Lemon Juice

Lemon juice contains citric acid and vitamin C which smoothens the roughness of dry skin. It also contains skin brightening properties which helps to lighten blemishes that appear on the skin as a result of extreme dryness.

  • Mix 1 tablespoon coconut oil, 2 teaspoons raw honey and ½ teaspoon lemon juice together.
  • Apply a thick coat of the mixture on your face.
  • Wait for 10 minutes.
  • Wash off with cool water and pat dry.
  • Repeat on alternate days.

11. Coconut Oil, Honey and Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil soothes and reduces itchiness and dry skin. In combination with honey and coconut oil, it works as an effective deep hydrating mask for dry skin.

  • Combine 1 tablespoon each of coconut oil and honey, 2 drops of tea tree oil in a bowl.
  • Apply the mixture on dry skin.
  • Leave it on for 15 minutes.
  • Rinse with cool water and pat dry.
  • Apply thrice in a week.

12. Coconut Oil, Yogurt and Lemon Juice

The lactic acid in yogurt helps to dissolve the dead skin cells and tightens up the open pores. When applied topically on the skin with coconut oil and lemon juice, it increases the moisture content of the treated area.

  • Mix 1 tablespoon yogurt, ½ tablespoon each of coconut oil and lemon juice
  • Apply a thick layer on the dry areas of the skin.
  • Allow it to stay on for 15 minutes.
  • Rinse off with warm water and pat dry.
  • Apply daily for a fortnight.

13. Coconut Oil, Honey and Yogurt

The lactic acid and proteins in yogurt nourish and strengthen the connective tissues of dry skin. Honey and coconut oil together have a deep moisturizing effect on dry skin.

  • Add 1 tablespoon each of coconut oil, honey and yogurt to a bowl.
  • Whisk them together till they are thoroughly blended.
  • Apply to the dry skin and leave on for 10-15 minutes.
  • Rinse with cool water and pat dry.
  • Repeat thrice a week.

14. Coconut Oil, Banana and Turmeric

Banana is a hydrating and moisturizing agent for dry skin. Curcumin present in turmeric has powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. It neutralizes the harmful free radicals and helps to heal dry skin.

  • Mash up ½ a ripe banana using a fork or a masher.
  • Add 1 tablespoon coconut oil and a pinch of turmeric to it.
  • Stir in to make a thick paste
  • Apply the paste on your face.
  • Let it stay on for 15 minutes.
  • Wash off and pat dry.
  • Repeat the application thrice a week.

Note: You can also use a simple coconut oil and turmeric face mask to hydrate and moisturize your dry skin. If turmeric stains your nails yellow while applying, scrub a little lemon juice on them to get rid of the stains.

15. Coconut Oil, Nutmeg and Avocado

Nutmeg is a potent exfoliating and moisturizing agent for dry skin. Avocado contains natural oils that penetrate deep into the skin, helping to soften and hydrate it.

  • Mash ¼ of an avocado (ripe) into a smooth paste in a bowl.
  • Add 1 tablespoon coconut oil and ½ teaspoon nutmeg to it.
  • Stir till you get a thick paste.
  • Using circular motions, massage it onto your face.
  • Allow it to stay on for 15 minutes.
  • Wash with cool water and pat skin dry.
  • Repeat twice a week for best results.

Note: A face mask made out of avocado and coconut oil (without the nutmeg) also works to hydrate and nourish dry skin.

16. Coconut Oil, Banana and Frankincense Essential Oil

Frankincense essential oil helps in treating dry, cracked or parched skin. It enhances healthy cell regeneration and keeps existing skin cells hydrated and nourished.

  • Combine 2 tablespoons coconut oil, ¼ of a ripe banana and 3 drops of frankincense essential oil.
  • Spread the mixture on the dry skin.
  • Rinse off the application after 20 minutes.
  • Apply daily for a week.

17. Coconut Oil, Aloe Vera and Shea Butter

Aloe vera is rich in Vitamins C, E and beta-carotene, which help to moisturize dry skin and keep it nourished (2). Shea butter is a good source of natural fatty acids that soften and hydrate the skin.

  • Combine 1 tablespoon each of coconut oil, aloe vera gel and shea butter in a bowl.
  • Using your fingers, spread the mixture on dry skin.
  • Leave it on for 15 minutes.
  • Rinse off with lukewarm water and pat dry.
  • Repeat thrice a week.

18. Coconut Oil, Olive Oil and Aloe Vera Gel

Olive oil works like a natural humectant that attracts moisture to dry skin. Aloe vera gel contains auxins and gibberellins that have natural anti-inflammatory properties, which help heal dry and patchy skin.

  • Into a blender, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 tablespoons aloe vera gel and ½ cup coconut oil.
  • Blend at a high speed till it attains a whipped consistency.
  • Store in an airtight glass jar.
  • Apply on dry skin every night.
  • Wash off in the morning.
  • Repeat every alternate day for a month.

19. Coconut Oil, Shea Butter and Jojoba Oil

Shea butter is a rich source of vitamins and nourishing fatty acids that work as a great moisturizer for dry skin. Jojoba oil acts as an emollient and moisturizes dry skin, helping to keep the oil levels balanced in the skin.

  • In a glass bowl, add ½ cup each of shea butter, coconut oil and jojoba oil.
  • Take some water in a saucepan and heat it on medium heat.
  • Place the glass bowl in the saucepan.
  • Mix the oils and continue heating till they melt into a smooth consistency.
  • When the mixture becomes semi-translucent, turn off the heat.
  • Refrigerate in an airtight glass container.
  • Apply on dry skin thrice a week.

Note: You can also add 5-6 drops of an essential oil like lavender to the mixture.

20. Coconut Oil, Green Tea, Honey and Lemon Juice

Green tea has antioxidant property that neutralizes harmful free radicals, prevent skin damage and keep it hydrated. It also improves the elasticity of the skin by retaining moisture within.

  • In a bowl, add 1 teaspoon coconut oil, 1 tablespoon green tea leaves, 2 tablespoons each of fresh lemon juice and honey.
  • Whisk them together with a fork.
  • Spread the mixture evenly on your face using a cotton ball.
  • Allow it to stay on for 5-10 minutes.
  • Rinse off with warm water and pat dry.
  • Re-apply once a week.

21. Coconut Oil, Brown Sugar, Tea Tree Oil and Spirulina

Brown sugar is a natural humectant and exfoliator for dry skin. Spirulina is rich in Vitamin A, E, B-12, calcium, iron and phosphorus, which are all essential to keep the skin nourished and hydrated.

  • Combine 1 tablespoon coconut oil, 1 teaspoon brown sugar, 2-3 drops of tea tree oil and 1 teaspoon spirulina powder in a bowl.
  • Apply liberally all over your face and leave it on overnight.
  • Wash off with cool water in the morning.
  • Repeat the process twice a week.

22. Coconut Oil, Turmeric, Banana, Aloe Vera Juice and Coffee Powder

Coffee is an excellent source of anti-oxidants which help to repair the damage caused by free radicals. The curcumin in turmeric has an anti-inflammatory effect on dry, itchy and irritated skin. Banana and aloe vera juice act as natural humectants to retain adequate moisture within the skin, preventing dryness.

  • Mix 1 tablespoon coconut oil, 1 pinch turmeric powder, ½ mashed ripe banana, 1 tablespoon aloe vera juice and ½ teaspoon coffee powder together in a bowl.
  • Apply the resulting thick paste on affected dry areas of the skin.
  • Wait for about 20-25 minutes.
  • Wash off with cool water.
  • Repeat the process once in every 3 days.

23. Coconut Oil, Lemon Juice, Honey, Cocoa Powder and Carrot

Cocoa is an excellent source of natural anti-oxidants and saturated fats that help to heal flaky and dry skin. Carrots are rich sources of potassium and beta-carotene that help in skin hydration and keep the tissues of the skin nourished.

  • Add 1 tablespoon coconut oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, ½ teaspoon honey, ½ teaspoon cocoa powder and ½ a grated carrot to a bowl.
  • Mix vigorously to make a smooth mixture.
  • Apply in gentle circular motions all over your face.
  • Wait for 10-15 minutes and rinse off with cool water.
  • Repeat the method once a week for two months.

24. Coconut Oil Lotion Bars

  • In a saucepan, add 1 cup coconut oil and 1 cup pure beeswax.
  • Heat on low flame till the ingredients are melted.
  • Add a few drops of essential oil (lavender or vanilla) and mix well.
  • Remove from the flame and pour the melted hot mixture into muffin tins or molds.
  • Allow them to sit till they get cooled.
  • Rub the lotion bar between your hands for 2-3 minutes to warm it.
  • Once warm, apply it directly on the affected areas of the skin.
  • Repeat the application once daily.

Tips and Precautions

  • Before using coconut oil for your dry skin on a regular basis, carry out a patch test on the inner arm to make sure you aren’t allergic to it.
  • It is better to opt for organic, unrefined, cold pressed extra virgin coconut oil instead of processed coconut oil. The processed oil may contain additives which can cause unexpected allergic reactions to the skin.
  • Excessive application of coconut oil to the skin may result in clogged pores and acne breakouts. Use only as much quantity as mentioned.
  • Sometimes stored coconut oil solidifies by itself. In such a case, take some of it in a bowl and use a hair dryer over it for 2-3 minutes to melt it. You can also place the same bowl in a larger container of hot water for 3-4 minutes.
  • Always use a soft cotton towel and dab gently after rinsing off the masks. Do not rub hard as it can worsen the skin condition.
  • Ensure that coconut oil doesn’t get into your eyes while application. Though it won’t harm the eyes, your vision can turn blurry for a little while. Wash eyes multiple times with cool water in such a case.
  • Adding coconut oil to your bathwater helps to hydrate and moisturize the dry skin even in difficult to reach areas. In a tub of lukewarm water, add a cup of coconut oil and swish it around to dissolve. Soak in for 10-15 minutes. Repeat once or twice a week for a few weeks.
  • Usually, coconut oil doesn’t stain the clothes. However, it is better to use old/spare sheets if leaving the application overnight.
  • Never use coconut oil applications over cuts or open wounds. Allow them to heal first.
  • Hot water strips off the skin’s natural moisturizing oils faster than warm water. Hence, taking a short, warm water bath can help reduce the problem of dry skin.
  • Use a light moisturizer to hydrate your dry skin immediately after a bath.
  • Exfoliation benefits every skin type, even dry skin. It removes dead and dry skin cells from the surface and increases blood circulation, resulting in healthy, glowing skin. You should exfoliate 2-3 times a week with a natural homemade scrub for best results.
  • It is completely safe to use coconut oil during pregnancy for treating dry skin and prevent stretchmarks.
  • Applying sunscreen before going out in the sun and drinking plenty of water throughout the day can help keep the skin hydrated and reduce the symptoms of dry and itchy skin.
  • If your skin is getting drier or experiencing increased irritation, itching, cracks or sores, it is recommended to consult a dermatologist.

Did these natural coconut oil remedies help to soften your dry skin? Do you know of any other remedies that have helped your dry skin heal better in the past? Do share your experiences, suggestions and thoughts with us in the comments section below.

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