Beauty Review: Coconut Oil Treatment for Keratosis Pilaris

This All-Natural Product Helps to Reduce the Inflammation

Coconut Oil
Phú Thịnh Co/Flickr/CC By 2.0

When you think of coconut oil, you probably either think of cooking or of people who didn't get the memo that tanning is bad for their health. But sufferers of keratosis pilaris (charmingly known as "chicken skin") have another reason to look into this all-natural, super-cheap organic wonder product.

Simply put, it's one of the single cheapest, most effective products I've ever tried for those little bumpies on the back of my arms.

And while it won't work for folks who are looking for oil-free remedies, it's a great alternative to slathering on alpha hydroxy acid. And that's good news when beach season rolls around, because the downside to alpha hydroxies is that they make you burn more easily.


Does coconut oil work on keratosis pilaris?

Like a charm! Within three weeks of daily coconut oil use, my arm bumps were almost gone.

It's slightly less effective than my other favorite product, Lac-Hydrin 5, at reducing redness, but I found it easier on my skin in the long-term. And, as previously mentioned, it's probably better for you come summer time, as long as you apply it in the evening after your shower, and cover up with a good sunscreen during the day. (In other words, do not put oil on, skip sunscreen, and go out and sunbathe. You'll regret it.)


Texture, Feel, and Smell

This is where this product loses a star. It's a personal preference issue, to be sure, but I cannot stand the smell of coconut or the feel of super oily products.

If you're like me in this regard, you're going to be annoyed for a few minutes after you apply it. Fortunately, though, neither the fresh-baked macaroon smell nor the oily sensation sticks around for long after application.

And on the upside, if you love coconut, you'll be super happy for those 15 minutes.



Ease of Use

In colder weather, be prepared to warm the oil in your hands for a minute before applying. It hardens to a solid until heated, but there's no need to melt this in the microwave or anything like that. Simple body heat will return this to liquid form in seconds.

I found that it was best to apply the oil after my shower. Typically, I'd towel off, gouge out a chunk of solid coconut oil, and warm it in my hands for a few seconds. Then I'd apply in the same way as a moisturizer.

The only drag was that I'd then have to stand very still not touching any of my clothes for a few minutes while the oil sunk in. So you may find that you want to apply this and then rinse off, so that you don't have to haunt your bathroom for awhile after applying.


Bang for Your Buck

This is the absolute best part of this product: At about $8 for a 16-ounce jar, you're paying about two bucks an ounce for this. I defy you to find me a cheaper product that works this well!

Price: $8 or under, although huge tubs of coconut oil are also available, which can save you even more money.


Is It Worth It?

Despite the scent and the inconvenience, I wholeheartedly recommend this using coconut to help treat keratosis pilaris.

It's easy to find, cheap to buy, and it actually works. Plus, there's something very satisfying about buying, essentially, a grocery item and using it as a beauty product. You sort of feel that you've gamed the system.

My only caveat is that folks who suffer from keratosis pilaris on their faces might want to investigate another option, preferably with the help of a dermatologist. I'd never recommend that anyone with skin issues apply oil straight to their faces. Ask your doctor for a recommendation instead.