Does Coconut Oil Cause Acne?

Coconut oil, which has long been a popular product in tropical countries throughout the world has seen a surge in sales over recent years.  Many advertisements and even consumers promote that coconut oil has a multitude of health benefits.  These benefits include promoting healthy growth in hair while also giving it that shine everyone is after.  Producers also state that coconut oil helps with digestion and weight loss.  Some believe that coconut oil can even give immunity to certain infections by strengthening the immune system.  With all of these bold statements about the positive effects of coconut oil, many have also said that coconut oil has had positive benefits on their skin by using the oil as a moisturizer, while others have stated that it can even help with acne.  This article aims at examining whether or not coconut oil has a positive or negative effect on acne.

Does it cause acne?

When coconut oil hit the cosmetic market in the United States many believed it could be a panacea for acne and other skin related problems.  Natural is always better right? Well not necessarily.  When examining the affects that coconut oil has on acne there were many mixed reviews.  Some stated that placing a small dab of the coconut oil directly on a pimple caused a decrease in redness while others gave horrifying testimonies as a result of using coconut oil and their entire face broke out more as a result from using the oil. Here are the basic facts that we found about coconut oil and their results when used on skin:

  1. Coconut oil is a dry oil

Because coconut oil is a “dry” oil rather than a wet oil, this means that coconut oil can actually make any present acne or inflammation worse.  Many suffer dry skin with acne, and a dry oil is only going to make one’s skin even drier.  As a result, your body will compensate by producing more oil.  This will in turn cause more pores to be clogged – leading to an increase in breakouts.

  1. Coconut oil is comedogenic 

You might ask what is comedogenic to start off this section.  Well let me give you the definition: comedogenic is defined as tending to cause blackheads by blocking the pores of the skin.  Kristina Holey who is a skin specialist and has numerous articles posted about skin health in regards to acne states that “the molecular structure of coconut oil is simply too large for the skin to absorb.  Therefore, instead of benefiting the skin, coconut oil sits on top of the skin and clogs pores.” She goes on to state that coconut oil is not a bad oil for the body, it’s just the molecular structure for this oil may not be the best sorted cure for acne.  (See the diagram below and how high the comedogencity of coconut is compared to other oils)


So after that analysis many might say that they have still had great success with coconut oil and that there is no way that it causes acne.  If it works for you then that is great – but with any home remedy it is important to analyze the scientific facts about the make-up of the product.  What we currently know is that coconut oil is very fatty and can undoubtedly clog pores.  It is also a dry oil that can result in your skin producing more oil than it already is; making breakouts exponentially increase.  Although if you still want to give this natural home remedy a chance for helping with acne I’d suggest using a journal and monitoring your face and the acne present before and after using coconut oil and stopping immediately if you see a breakout.



Does Chocolate Cause Acne?

For years there has been a myth that parents told their kids: chocolate causes acne.  Many did not seem to care and continued to binge on their love for chocolate while others may have stopped in an effort to try anything to decrease their current breakouts.  This article aims to look at the scientific side of whether or not chocolate can really cause acne.

Does chocolate cause acne?

When looking at a certain food group such as chocolate many people have stated that they have had breakouts as a direct result from eating chocolate, while others see no side effects after eating a snickers bar… or two.  Although triggers that produce acne are different for everyone, in understanding the correlation between acne and chocolate the only way to definitively answer this question is to look at one of the few studies that sought to answer this question: does chocolate cause acne?

The University of Miami published an article in the May 2014 issue of the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology that sought to answer this question.  The study specifically focused on the results of binge consumption of chocolate.  The dermatology clinic of Miami recruited 14 men between the ages of 18 – 35 and gave each participant six capsules to consume every day.  These capsules were either filled with pure cocoa (chocolate) or gelatin (no effect).

After only four days of consuming the pure cocoa there was a tremendous spike in the amount of acne present on the participants face.  Comparing the amount of acne, the participants have from day zero to day 4 and 7 the number of pimples increased by 140% on day 4 and 160% on day 7.


The University of Miami Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology (2014)


So you may ask what does this study mean for me? Can I not eat chocolate or should I drastically reduce my chocolate consumption to less than one chocolate bar a month?! The short answer to this question is no.  This study, although important to the progress on answering the question if there is a correlation between chocolate and acne has inherent flaws:

  1. Firstly, there was a small sample size.  With only 14 participants being used this could be coincidence that there was an outbreak after consuming chocolate.
  2. The study specifically looked at binge eating chocolate. Anyone that goes from eating next to nothing of a certain food item and drastically increases the consumption in a matter of days will react to this product.  Also many people do not eat the amount of chocolate that these participants consumed during the seven-day study.
  3. Dark chocolate may be worse for the skin than regular milk chocolate. With the extremely high amounts of cocoa that were being consumed, this study may point to the fact that consuming dark chocolate and inherently more cocoa could cause an increased chance of acne breakouts.

Like with any specific cause for acne chocolate can only be placed on the maybe, or even suspect list.  This study proved that you can result in having an outbreak if you eat chocolate, but the amount of chocolate would have to be at least half a dozen candy bars on a daily basis.  It is best to closely monitor your skin and if you think that you are having a breakout as a result from the amount of chocolate you consume to slow your sweet tooth and see if you have any positive results.

8 Skin Care Tips for Rosacea

Rosacea is a common skin disease that affects more than 14 million people in the United States every year.  Rosacea often begins with blushing or the tendency to flush more easily than others.  Overtime though this redness can spread from the cheeks and nose throughout the body.  Although rosacea currently has no cure, these 8 tips will help to control the rosacea, making your skin less blushed and red.

  1. Know Your Triggers: Michele Green, MD who is a dermatologist in New York City stated that certain foods such as alcohol or spicy food, along with extreme temperature and even stress can trigger an increase flare in rosacea. It is important to keep a journal of the certain flares that one encounters and can help to prevent an outbreak of rosacea in the future.
  2. Sunscreen: Your mom wouldn’t let you go outside with sunscreen on as a kid, so get back to that habit now. Sunlight on the skin of someone who suffers from rosacea can be another trigger.  Sunscreen can help to prevent this trigger and keep your skin from becoming irritated.  It is critical though to use physical block sunscreen instead of a chemical blocker, as this can sometimes irritate the skin also.
  3. Warm Water: As we stated early hot temperatures can be a trigger for rosacea, so can hot water. Therefore, when taking a shower or cleaning your face use lukewarm water.  This will also prevent your skin to dry out as a result from hot water.
  4. Moisturize: Using a good moisturizer on a daily basis can help ease redness and irritation that rosacea commonly causes. Seemal Desai, MD, FAAD recommends using creams over lotions.  This is because lotions often have alcohol-based liquids that can further dry out your skin.
  5. Exercise: Normally exercise helps with making certain conditions better or go away but rosacea is not one of them. This does not mean to completely give up exercising but to follow these steps to help control your rosacea during a workout:
    1. Avoid heavy exertion or high intensity workouts: this can help prevent flushing
    2. Exercise for shorter intervals: rather than doing that 2-hour long work out, exercise for 15-20 minutes a day three different times of the day
    3. Exercise outdoors in the morning or evening when the temperatures are cooler
    4. Drape a cool, wet towel over your face, neck and drink cold fluids during your workout. This will help to control the flushing that working out brings.
  6. Relax: stress is another trigger that is can commonly flare up rosacea. To help prevent daily stress eat healthy and increase the amount of sleep that you get.  Along with this anytime you feel stressed or overwhelmed take a moment to practice deep breathing exercises.  A common exercise is to inhale and count to 10, then exhale and count to 10.
  7. Shaving: This one is for the guys. Shaving with an electric razor can help prevent the irritation that a razor blade brings on.  After you shave try using some post-shave balm or any moisturize to help soothe the skin from the irritation that shaving brings.
  8. Cleanse Your Skin: It is important to clean your skin on a daily basis if you suffer from rosacea. Cleansing your skin one-two times per day can help remove excess oil and bacteria and help your skin begin to heal from the rosacea. Make sure that when you cleanse your face you use your finger tips and lukewarm water as stated above. This will help prevent further irritation and flaring of rosacea.


10 Tips for Relieving Dry Skin

Although dry skin is not normally a serious condition it can be incredibly uncomfortable. Dry skin is a result of either external or internal factors. External factors could be things such as cold temperatures and low humidity; while internal include family history, overall heath, or age. It is important to realize what factors are affecting your dry skin and use these following 10 tips to help relieve dry skin and prevent dryness in the future.

1. Moisturize

Lotions or moisturizers work by trapping the already present moisture inside your skin. Therefore, it is necessary to make sure that you moisturize regularly and immediately after drying off from a shower or washing your face and hands.

2. Warm is better than hot

Warm water can dry out your skin more than it already is. Prevent your skin from becoming worse by using lukewarm water and limiting your showers to anywhere between 5 to 10 minutes.

3. Use gentle skin products

Certain skin care products actually make sensitive or dry skin worse. Therefore, it is important to avoid certain product such as deodorant soaps, skin care products that contain any amount of alcohol, or alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA). Making sure that you avoid these products will help keep your skins natural oils and help to maintain hydrated skin.

Instead of using products such as AHA, deodorant soaps wash your face and body with soap less cleansers that are free of any fragrance.

Also if you chose to exfoliate your face make sure that you do not scrub hard. It can help to exfoliate to remove dry skin, but aggressively scrubbing the exfoliating liquid on your face can irritate skin further and increase dryness.

4. Invest in a humidifier

Using a humidifier can help relieve and prevent dry skin by adding moisture to the air. These are especially useful in winter months in dry or high altitude areas.

5. Lather up with sunscreen

Sun damage further extracts moisture from your already dry face. Wearing sunscreen year round will help your face feel smooth and hydrated.

6. Use lip balm regularly

Your lips are the hardest part of your face to keep moisturized. Using lip balm overnight on a daily basis will help prevent your lips from being dry and cracked.

7. Shave with care

Shaving can irritate already dry sky. During the process of shaving you can also scrape off natural oils which prevents your skin from maintain moisture. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends to shave in the shower as the warm water makes hair softer and therefore shaving much easier.

8. Hydrating mask

Hydrating masks can help the skin fight dehydration and as a result relieve dry skin. It is important though that after you use a hydrating mask to always rinse with cool water to help seal your pores and keep the moisture in.

9. Drink more water

Drinking eight or more glasses of water a day will result in not only your body being more hydrated but also fight the dry skin across your body.

10. Rinse after a swim

Taking a swim during a hot summer month will not dry out your skin immediately, but regularly swimming in a chlorinated pool can dry out your skin over time.

To avoid chlorine’s drying effects, try and use a pre-swimming lotion that can block chlorine and protect your skin. You can also treat dry skin as a result from swimming in a pool by immediately rinsing your entire body and applying a heavy amount of moisturizer after your swim.

12 Tips for Clear and Healthy Skin

Acne is everyone’s worst nightmare.  From the small pimple that pops up on your important day to a major breakout at the worst possible moment; these 12 tips will help you get ahead of an outbreak and help maintain clear, healthy skin on a daily basis.

  1. Hands off your face! Bacteria covers your hand. Think about all the things you touch in a day: doorknobs, keyboards, elevator buttons, subway doors.  Touching your face after it is covered in bacteria from these places just means that bacteria is transferred to your skin.
  2. Eliminate greasy foods – you are what you eat, right? One of the major causes of acne is excess oil and clogged pores on your face. Cutting back and ultimate eliminating greasy foods from your diet will help you prevent future pimples and also help promote a healthy lifestyle altogether.
  3. Relax – A huge cause of acne is high stress. From an overload of homework at school to personal issues that can overtake your life, try to relax and prevent the stress.  Practice yoga, take a walk through a park or listen to calming music just before bed – reducing stress will significantly improve your skin.
  4. Use a separate towel on your face – Don’t use that same towel you dry your hands with to wash your face.  If you are doing this that only means you are putting that excess bacteria back on your face.  Using a separate towel only for your face can prevent any extra bacteria being put back on your face.
  5. Exercise, Exercise, Exercise – Not only does exercising promote a general healthy lifestyle it also helps to reduce acne! When you exercise your body increases its blood flow, which in turn means you are getting a ton more oxygen to your skin. This will help to keep your skin clean and prevent a buildup of any toxins or bacteria.
  6. Wash your pillow case – if any bacteria or toxins do make it to your face before you go to bed they end up right on your pillowcase. Washing your pillowcase regularly guarantees that you are preventing any excess bacteria to reenter your pores while you are sleeping at night.
  7. Don’t overdo it – It can sometime be hard to just let a pimple linger around but over washing your face can ultimately do more damage than good. Make sure you keep your face clean and wash regularly but irritating acne can have negative side effects in the long run.
  8. Drink water – It may seem like an easy thing to overlook but drinking water everyday regularly helps to promote healthy and clear skin.
  9. Keep your hair back – this one is mainly for the girls, or any guys with long hair. Letting your hair touch your forehead and face can transfer the grease in your hair to your pores.  Sit back from your computer and do not let your hair fall on your face, or just keep it tied back.
  10. Cut back on dairy – limiting your consumption of cheese, milk and ice cream can drastically improve your skin. Animals are fed hormones these days which can upset your own internal hormone balance – making your skin break out.
  11. Keep the temperature of the shower low – a hot shower feels great to you but is terrible for your skins. The hot water can dehydrate your skin making the acne worse.
  12. Be patient – Last but not least is to be patient! I know it can be tough to give up on these techniques after a few days when nothing seems to change, but your body needs time to adjust accordingly.  Try these tips out for a few weeks and you’ll see a drastic difference in your skin.