Smooth skin is always in season, but anyone with less-than-perfect skin knows summer is the worst time to have outbreaks of chronic skin issues. All those shorts, tank tops and sleeveless dresses hang in the closet mocking you as you cover up bumps and red patches with long sleeves and pants. And it’s not just about vanity. Higher temperatures and sweaty skin can make conditions like acne, pityriasis rosea and keratosis pilaris look and feel worse. Using coconut oil for keratosis pilaris and similar types of skin irritations can help clear your skin, creating more comfort and more confidence all year long.
What is Keratosis Pilaris?
Keratosis pilaris (KP) is a non-contagious, harmless skin condition that’s common in children, teenagers and adults. KP shows up as small, hard bumps on the buttocks, thighs and upper arms. Sometimes it also appears on the face though that’s less common. Affected areas may feel like sandpaper to the touch; swelling and redness may also occur.
People who have other certain skin conditions, like eczema, those with naturally dry skin and those who live in dry climates are especially vulnerable to keratosis pilaris. The condition is caused by a buildup of a naturally occurring protein called keratin, though doctors aren’t certain what causes the buildup. If too much protein plugs the hair follicle opening, it can cause the small, firm bumps known as keratosis pilaris.
There’s no diagnostic test needed to confirm if your skin condition is KP. Your primary doctor can diagnose keratosis pilaris with a simple visual exam.
Coconut Oil for Keratosis Pilaris and Other Skin-Care Tips
Unless it’s causing itching or swelling, your doctor probably won’t prescribe medicine for treating KP. The best treatments are simple:
- Avoid harsh cleansers
- Keep skin moisturized
- Shower and bathe in warm instead of hot water
- Don’t scratch skin (dab itchy spots with apple cider vinegar or witch hazel)
- Use a humidifier to combat dry air inside the home
There are two ways to use coconut oil for keratosis pilaris: as a scrub to gently cleanse clogged follicles and as a moisturizer to sooth inflammation.
Coconut Oil – Sugar Scrub
A gentle homemade exfoliating scrub can do wonders for your skin’s health and texture—even if you don’t have KP or other conditions. As always, use an unrefined organic coconut oil, to be sure you’re not applying unwanted chemicals to your skin.
- ¼ cup Coco Treasure Virgin Coconut Oil
- ¼ cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 5-10 drops of clary sage or lavender or sweet basil essential oil if available (All three are excellent for unclogging pores and are gentle for all skin types.) Essential oils aren’t necessary for this scrub to be effective but they are an extra-helpful ingredient if you have them.
Wet skin in the shower and gently massage the scrub into your skin. Pay special attention to affected areas. Rinse with warm water.
Keeping skin moisturized is another key to preventing or treating KP. But you don’t want to use lotions and creams with harsh or synthetic ingredients that may further irritate your skin. Coconut oil is the perfect moisturizer because it naturally relieves inflammation, and it actually provides skin with important antioxidants that keep it healthy and supple. Use coconut oil straight from the jar or make a batch of coconut oil body butter for an extra treat.
- ¼ cup organic unrefined coconut oil
- ¼ cup unrefined shea butter
- 1 tablespoon vitamin E
Place ingredients in a bowl and chill in the refrigerator until the coco oil and shea butter are firm but still pliable, about 10 minutes. Beat with a hand mixer on high speed until the mixture becomes light and fluffy. Add a few drops of lavender, rosemary, basil or calendula essential oil if available. Slather on this beautiful homemade moisturizer as needed. Both coconut oil and shea butter are safe to use from head to toe.