Coconut Oil for Acne Treatment : 6 Natural Remedies

Don’t you just hate looking at the mirror and seeing pimple-ridden skin?

You’re not the only one who feels this way.

Acne is in fact the most prevalent skin condition that affects up to 50 million people in the United States alone, reports the American Academy of Dermatology.

Teenagers are the most usual victims of acne, with a prevalence rate of up to 87 percent [1].

However, even younger children and adults can suffer from this skin condition as well.

It’s good to know that there are many natural remedies that can help combat acne.

One of these is coconut oil.

In this article, you’ll find the following:

  • Basic information about acne along with its symptoms and causes
  • Why and how to use coconut oil for acne treatment

READ MORE: 14 Essential Oils for Acne That You Should Try

An In-Depth Look at Acne

Acne refers to a skin disease that is caused mainly by obstruction in the hair follicles [1].

The small holes on the surface of your skin called pores are connected to the oil glands, which produce sebum, an oily substance [2].

The follicle is the link between the pores and the oil glands, and when this gets plugged with dead skin cells or oil, that’s when acne occurs [2].

Acne can appear anywhere on the body but it can usually be found on the face, chest, back, neck and shoulders [2].

This condition comes in different types, which include:

  • Whiteheads and blackheads
  • Papules
  • Pustules
  • Nodules
  • Cysts

Apart from follicle plugging, a bacterial strain called Propionibacterium acnes is known to activate the onset of acne.

Experts also agree that the following factors can trigger a breakout:

  • Surge in hormones, particularly among adolescents
  • Certain medications, which contain lithium, corticosteroids and androgens
  • Dietary choices such as foods rich in dairy and carbohydrates
  • Increased stress levels

Contrary to popular belief, acne is not caused by dirt or greasy foods.

READ MORE: 13 Evidence-Based Remedies to Get Rid of Pimples

Properties of Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is extracted from a tree that grows in tropical regions.

coconut oilSince most parts of the coconut tree have countless uses in culinary, traditional medicine and local industries, it has been hailed many times as the “tree of life”.

When it comes to resolving health problems, coconut oil has been used by traditional healers for curing ailments.

There was a time in the recent past when coconut oil earned a negative reputation in medical circles, as it was believed to cause an increase in levels of bad cholesterol.

All these changed when it was finally confirmed that the natural saturated fats in coconut oil did not increase bad cholesterol but instead converted it into good cholesterol [3].

With this, coconut oil has been found to promote heart health and at the same time, reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

It has many other positive effects on the human health, which include:

  • Boost in brain function
  • Maintenance of blood pressure levels
  • Better liver health
  • Reduction in the risk of urinary tract infections
  • Prevention of Alzheimer’s disease
  • Alleviation of inflammation-related diseases
  • Stronger immune resistance
  • Healthier hair and skin
  • Lower risk of certain forms of cancer
  • Higher energy levels
  • Better digestion
  • Fewer oral problems
  • Proper management of diabetes
  • Hormonal balance

Why Use Coconut Oil for Treating Acne

Coconut oil works in various ways in combating acne:

1. Fights off Bacteria

Lauric acid, a type of medium chain fatty acid (MCFA), is abundant in coconut oil.

This active compound is in fact a powerful antibacterial agent that can suppress the activities of pimple-causing Propionibacterium acnes [4].

In 2009, researchers from California, USA examined the bactericidal effects of oleic acid, palmitic acid and lauric acid on P. acnes [4].

Results reveal that among the three compounds, lauric acid had the “strongest bactericidal activity”, making it a suitable treatment for this skin condition [4].

It worked by fusing with the bacterial membranes and killing the bacteria almost instantaneously [4].

Another MCFA in coconut oil called capric acid has been found to have similar effects on P. acnes, as reported in a study published in the Journal of Dermatological Science [5].

Its effects, however, are not as profound as that of lauric acid [5].

2. Clears Blockage

Coconut oil is abundant in many vitamins, and one of these is vitamin E.

As you’ve probably heard, vitamin E is beneficial for the skin, warding off signs of premature aging by neutralizing free radical damage.

When it comes to acne, what it does is to ensure that the sebum glands are functioning optimally [6].

This way, blockage can be prevented [6].

As discussed earlier, obstruction in the oil glands is a precursor to acne.

READ MORE: 8 Vitamins for Acne Prone Skin That You Should Know

3. Reduces Inflammation

Infection with P. acnes leads to the stimulation of monocytes, which in turn trigger the production of pro-inflammatory mediators [7].

Simply put, bacterial infection leads to inflammation.

It’s important to control acne inflammation as this results in scarring, which can be difficult to get rid of [7].

Instead of relying on expensive skin treatments such as dermabrasion and chemical peels, it’s more cost-effective to use coconut oil.

A study featured in the Pharmaceutical Biology Journal confirms that coconut oil has moderate anti-inflammatory properties, and that it works on both acute and chronic cases of inflammation [8].

READ MORE:Coconut Oil for Herpes: How Effective?

How to Use Coconut Oil with Other Ingredients for Acne Treatment?

Use these methods for treating acne and alleviating its symptoms.

#1. Coconut Oil and Aloe Vera Juice Acne Buster

Aloe vera contains many nutrients that can help boost skin health. It is also a strong antibacterial agent that can help neutralize pimple-causing microorganisms.

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 tablespoons of fresh aloe vera juice
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil

Recommended Directions:

  1. Combine aloe vera juice and coconut oil.
  2. Spread a thin layer of the mixture on your face.
  3. Leave it on for 20 minutes.
  4. Wipe it off.
  5. Rinse with warm water.
  6. Use this face mask two to three times a week.

READ MORE: 11+ Health Benefits of Aloe Vera Oil (Backed by Scientific Evidence)

#2. Combat Acne with Coconut Oil and Essential Oils

Essential oils like tea tree oil and juniper oil are strong antibacterial agents. Lavender oil, meanwhile, can help soothe the skin.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 bowl of hot water
  • 1 teaspoon of coconut oil
  • 3 drops of tea tree oil
  • 2 drops of lavender oil
  • 2 drops of juniper oil

Recommended Directions:

  1. Cover your head with a towel.
  2. Lean closely to the bowl of hot water for five to 10 minutes to open up facial pores.
  3. Combine coconut oil and essential oils.
  4. Massage oil blend on your face.
  5. Soak a clean cloth into the hot water.
  6. Squeeze to get rid of excess water.
  7. Put this on your face for one to two minutes.
  8. Wipe off your face using the towel.
  9. Repeat remedy three times a week.

#3. Coconut Oil and Baking Soda Pimple Fighter


Baking soda is an effective facial cleanser. It can also help maintain proper balance of flora on the skin.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda

Recommended Directions:

  1. Form a paste using the two ingredients.
  2. Apply on the skin and rub gently for 10 minutes.
  3. Rinse with cool water.
  4. Do this technique daily until acne clears.

#4. Coconut Oil and Oatmeal for Acne Relief

Oatmeal is a natural exfoliant that can help get rid of dead skin cells, and at the same time, boost skin regeneration.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 tablespoon of oat meal
  • 3 tablespoons of coconut oil

Recommended Directions:

  1. Mix coconut oil and oatmeal.
  2. Spread a thin layer on your skin.
  3. Massage gently for a few minutes.
  4. Wait for 20 minutes before rinsing with warm water.
  5. Follow remedy daily for two to three weeks.

#5. Coconut Oil and Turmeric for Smooth Skin

Inflammation is one of the most common symptoms of acne, which turmeric can help tone down.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil

Recommended Directions:

  1. Add turmeric powder to coconut oil.
  2. Mix well.
  3. Slather a generous amount on your face and neck.
  4. Let it sit for 20 minutes.
  5. Wash it off with cool water.
  6. Pat it dry with a clean towel.
  7. Repeat procedure every other day for two weeks.

#6. Coconut Oil and Honey to Get Rid of Acne

As a natural humectant, honey can help draw moisture from the atmosphere and keep it locked into the skin. This is one of the many ways it can help fight acne.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil

Recommended Directions:

  1. Spot apply honey on your pimples.
  2. Let it sit for five to 10 minutes.
  3. Wipe it off with a cotton ball soaked in coconut oil.
  4. Let it sit for 30 minutes.
  5. Rinse it off with cool water.
  6. Use a clean towel to pat it dry.
  7. Do the same process everyday for three to four weeks or until acne clears.

Bottom Line

Acne is not a serious medical problem.

It can however lead to serious consequences such as a drop in self-esteem and even depression.

Make sure that you get rid of these unsightly skin marks before it affects your well-being.

Do this with the help of coconut oil, which works well as an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory.

These home remedies require the use of other equally beneficial ingredients like honey, aloe vera, and essential oils.

Most of these are safe to use topically, but just make sure that you follow instructions carefully.

In the event of an allergic reaction, stop using the remedy immediately, and consult your dermatologist.

READ NEXT: 20 Home Remedies for Acne & Pimples (Backed By Evidence)