Using Coconut Oil In Your Skin Care Regimen? Stop It.

by Sara Farrell Baker
RUSS ROHDE / Getty Images

Raise your hand if you’ve been using coconut oil as a moisturizer.

Great. Now take that same hand and use it to take the coconut oil out of your bathroom cabinet and place it firmly back in your kitchen pantry.

I get the appeal of coconut oil. Truly, I do. All the crunchies worship at the altar of their bulk-size jars from Costco and use it for everything from greasing a pan to healing the cracks in their feet after a long day in Birkenstocks. But using it as a facial moisturizer is big on the list of skin care oh-no-nos.

Coconut oil is occlusive. This means it creates a barrier that traps moisture beneath the skin. And that’s not all it’s trapping. When you spread coconut oil all over your face, you’re also trapping dirt and bacteria while clogging the ever-loving hell out of your pores. And let me stop you before you chime in about using it as an oil cleanser or makeup remover.


No matter what purpose you’re using it for, coconut oil on your face is going to be comedogenic. It’s super comedogenic. It gets a 4 out of 5 on the comedogenic scale.

It’s. Going. To. Block. Your. Pores.

If you think you are rinsing it all off when you use it as a cleanser or a makeup remover, I’m sorry to tell you that you’re likely wrong. (Except I’m not sorry because this is accurate and helpful information to have.)

So why do so many people rave about it? Some people with normal to dry skin, or skin that isn’t prone to acne, may have anecdotal success with coconut oil. That’s really it. When you take something as popular as coconut oil — something a shit ton of people have started using all at once — you’re bound to have outliers.

Are you an outlier? Maybe. But the odds are against you on this one.

If you’re hellbent on skin care shopping in the baking aisle of your grocery store, olive oil is going to be a better choice as a makeup remover or oil cleanser. Jojoba oil is excellent for moisturizing combination or oily skin. Grapeseed oil is another great choice that is mildly astringent and a high-quality one can confer antioxidants.

As with most fads, coconut oil may be popular right now, but it will eventually overstay its welcome from even its most ardent supporters. If you’re looking for a solution to problematic skin, your best bet is to see a dermatologist or licensed aesthetician. They will not recommend coconut oil for your beautiful face, I promise.