by Brian Shilhavy
Health Impact News
A study published in the Philippines compared the topical effects of virgin coconut oil and mineral oil on 117 children suffering from atopic dermatitis (AD). The study was published in the International Journal of Dermatology.
In this randomized, double-blind clinical trial, virgin coconut oil was the clear winner: “among pediatric patients with mild to moderate AD, topical application of virgin coconut oil for eight weeks was superior to that of mineral oil based on clinical (SCORAD) and instrumental (TEWL, skin capacitance) assessments.” Abstract here.
No surprises in this study, as the healing properties of coconut oil in treating various skin conditions are quite well known in tropical climates where coconuts grow, and supported by several other studies published in recent years. A similar study, published in the Philippines in 2008 with adult patients suffering from atopic dermatitis, compared virgin coconut oil with virgin olive oil. They found virgin coconut oil was superior, probably due to the presence of lauric acid, which is not present in olive oil.
Another study published earlier this year (2013) in Malaysia showed that topical formulas containing coconut oil in a gel base was a superior treatment for wounds and bacterial infections.
In 2009, a study was conducted in the Division of Dermatology, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, and published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, showing that lauric acid in coconut oil was effective in treating inflammatory acne.
In Asia, it is common to massage newborn babies with coconut oil, and a study published in India in 2005 compared mineral oil with coconut oil massages of full-term and pre-term babies. Babies massaged with coconut oil gained more weight and grew more than those massaged with mineral oil.
It is important to note that in the two Philippine studies examining dermatitis, virgin coconut oil was used, as opposed to just refined coconut oil. This may be significant for topical skin applications, as other research shows that virgin coconut oils havehigher amounts of antioxidants, particularly virgin coconut oils produced by traditional methods. Refined coconut oils can also contain chemical residues from the processing, which could be create sensitivity in certain skin types or conditions.
One “coconut oil” product that should avoided if one is seeking similar results as represented in these studies, is “liquid coconut oil” or “MCT oil,” as this product, a coconut oil derivative, is missing lauric acid. Lauric acid is known to be a powerful antimicrobial germ fighter, but is missing in “liquid coconut oil” or “MCT oil.”
Of course we have been hosting Internet discussions and testimonials regarding virgin coconut oil for well over ten years now, and you can read many testimonies on the healing power of virgin coconut oil, including fungal/yeast infections, acne, eczema, keratosis pilaris, psoriasis, and rosacea in our article here.
About the authors: Unlike many people who write about coconut oil by simply reading about it, Brian and Marianita Shilhavy actually lived in a coconut producing area of the Philippines for several years. Marianita Jader Shilhavy grew up on a coconut plantation in the Philippines and in a culture that consumed significant amounts of coconut fat in their diet. She later went on to earn her degree in nutrition and worked as a nutritionist in the Philippines. Brian Shilhavy also lived in the Philippines for several years with Marianita and their 3 children observing firsthand the differences between the diet and health of the younger generation and those of Marianita’s parents’ generation still consuming a traditional diet. This led to years of studying Philippine nutrition and dietary patterns first hand while living in a rural farming community in the Philippines. They are authors of the best-selling book: Virgin Coconut Oil: How it has changed people’s lives and how it can change yours!