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Does Coconut oil work on melasma ?

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What is coconut oil?

The coconut tree is glorious – all its parts can be used to make things, and the meat and milk are used to create coconut oil, which can be used in cooking, cosmetics, and to treat a variety of issues. The oil is created by sun-drying the flesh of the fruit and then pressing it. Coconut oil has a distinct coconut aroma, but is relatively colorless and highly viscous.

What is it best for?

Coconut oil can be used as a great base for many skincare products, but it has beneficial properties on its own.  Coconut oil is an excellent hydrating ingredient when used topically, and it has been shown to reduce inflammation and redness. This makes coconut oil beneficial for those suffering from acne or eczema. It is readily absorbed by the skin, making it one of few oils that don’t feel, well...oily. 

Coconut oil is also a great ingredient to protect your skin and hair from environmental elements, as it is an excellent source of antioxidants that protect the skin from damage from free radicals.

Coconut oil is also touted to smooth uneven skin and to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by improving the elasticity of skin, making it great for anti-aging skincare products.

What is the drawback?

Coconut oil is highly comedogenic, which means it can clog pores and lead to acne in people with oily skin. It can also cause blackheads, pimples, and whiteheads if left on the skin for too long. 


If you’re not sure whether coconut oil is the right ingredient for your particular skin type and concerns, take our Skin Quiz!


What is melasma?

Melasma is a specific example of hyperpigmentation. Melasma looks like whole patches of brown or darker skin across the parts of the face and neck. Melasma is common among women who are pregnant - it’s even referred to as “the mask of pregnancy.”  But melasma can occur in both men and women who are not pregnant, too. Melasma can be caused by UV damage, but there are also genetic, hormonal, and medication-induced causes for melasma, too.

What ingredients are best for melasma?

There are a variety of topical ingredients that can be used to lighten the skin from melasma or reduce its appearance. Each ingredient works in different ways, and each has their own benefits and drawbacks.  hydroquinone, arbutin, vitamin C (ascorbic acid, and tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, etc) are some of the most commonly used ingredients for melasma treatment. 

Hydroquinone is a skin lightening cream that works by suppressing the production of melanin. There are drawbacks to using hydroquinone, however, including cancer risks demonstrated by recent scientific studies, as well as  hydroquinone-induced ochronosis. 

Arbutin is a synthesized derivative of hydroquinone. It acts as a powerful skin lightening ointment that works a bit differently than hydroquinone. It blocks the production of melanin instead of “bleaching” the skin. 

Vitamin C can be used as a brightening agent to lighten the hyperpigmentation of your sunspots or melasma. It works by inhibiting the enzyme tyrosinase, preventing the formation of melatonin. 

Ascorbic Acid is actually the formal scientific name for one form of Vitamin C.  It can refer to either a naturally occurring Vitamin C found in foods such as citrus, or a synthetic form of ascorbic acid created to be more shelf-stable for skincare products like discoloration repair lotions and creams. 

Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate is another form of Vitamin C.  By synthesizing this compound from Vitamin C, dermatologists are able to give us all the benefits of Vitamin C in a more shelf-stable form that can also be soluble in oil to make more effective, deeper penetrating skin products.  (Herndon 2016)

Ingredients in the vitamin A family (ie. Retinol, tretinoin, etc) and acids (glycolic acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid) help damaged pigmented skin cells shred faster, so they also help with melasma. 

Does Coconut oil work on melasma ?

Coconut oil may be effective for melasma, but there are many other factors that may affect whether this ingredient would work on your skin or if there are better ingredients that may work for you. Take this skin quiz to find the best ingredients for your skin and build your skincare routine.

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