Journal of Indian System of Medicine

REVIEW ARTICLES
Year
: 2022  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 86--89

A narrative review on use of virgin coconut oil in dermatology


Nishigandha Umate, Vaishali Kuchewar, Shweta Parwe 
 Mahatma Gandhi Ayurveda College Hospital and Research Centre, Datta Meghe Institute of Medical Sciences (Deemed to be University), Sawangi (M), Wardha, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Vaishali Kuchewar
Mahatma Gandhi Ayurveda College Hospital and Research Centre, Datta Meghe Institute of Medical Sciences (Deemed to be University), Sawangi (M), Wardha, Maharashtra
India

Abstract

Background: Coconut oil is of two varieties: virgin and refined oil. Virgin coconut oil (VCO) is made by cold-pressing the liquid from the fresh part of coconut meat. It has a milky appearance. This oil extraction method prevents the loss of vitamin E, pro-vitamin A, and polyphenols. It has various properties such as analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer. Skin is the general structure of the body. It is the first line of protection against traumatic injuries and microorganisms. Aim: This review is focussed on the existing data on the effect of VCO on the skin. Materials and Methods: PubMed and Google Scholar were searched for citations for keywords “virgin coconut oil and dermatology” and “virgin coconut oil and skin.” In search of the various databases, 13 articles were found on VCO related to skin. Result: Virgin coconut oil is used as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, as skin protector, in Alzheimer’s disease, in wound healing and as moisturizer. Conclusion: From this review, it can be concluded that VCO is beneficial for various dermatological disorders. It is antifungal and antibacterial and also acts as an immunomodulator. It also has anti-inflammatory, angiogenic, wound-healing, and skin protective properties.



How to cite this article:
Umate N, Kuchewar V, Parwe S. A narrative review on use of virgin coconut oil in dermatology.J Indian Sys Medicine 2022;10:86-89


How to cite this URL:
Umate N, Kuchewar V, Parwe S. A narrative review on use of virgin coconut oil in dermatology. J Indian Sys Medicine [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 Dec 7 ];10:86-89
Available from: https://www.joinsysmed.com/text.asp?2022/10/2/86/348476


Full Text



 Introduction



Coconut (Cocos nucifera) is termed “Kalpavriksha” in Sanskrit because it has multiple nutritional and therapeutic values. Coconut oil is of two varieties: virgin and refined oil. Virgin coconut oil (VCO) is made by cold-pressing the liquid from the fresh part of coconut meat. It has a milky appearance.[1] VCO is of two types as per its preparation method: the cold compression method and fermentation method. The cold compression method is better than the fermentation method because the moisture level is higher, and the oil can get stale very fast with the fermentation method.

It is taken out directly from coconut meat at low temperatures. This oil extraction method prevents the loss of vitamin E, pro-vitamin A, and polyphenols. It has a pleasing fragrance and taste. It contains essential vitamins and healthy fatty acids. It has various properties such as analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer.[2],[3]

Skin is the general structure of the body.[4] Skin inflammation is caused due to infections and tissue injury of the skin.[5] It is the first line of protection against traumatic injuries and microorganisms. Usually, coconut oil is used as a moisturizer and treats dermatological infections. Though VCO is beneficial, it is not commonly known in the population. This review is focussed on existing data on the effect of VCO on the skin.

 Materials and Methods



PubMed and Google Scholar were searched for “virgin coconut oil and dermatology” and “virgin coconut oil and skin” from 2003 to 2020. Original studies in English indicating the effects of VCO on the skin were included.

Observations

Some observations were found regarding VCO and skin dermatology. Among 12 studies, 5 were in-vitro studies, the remaining 7 studies were on conditions such as xerosis, atopic dermatitis, Clostridium difficile, skin moisturization, Staphylococcus aureus, preterm newborns, and COVID situation.

Thirty-four patients with mild-to-moderate xerosis were investigated by Agero et al.+[6] For 2 weeks, these 34 people were given the option of applying coconut or mineral oil twice daily to their legs. Corneometer CM825 was used to assess quantitative skin hydration outcomes at the start of the study and each subsequent visit. A Sebumeter SM 810 was used to test skin lipids; a Tewameter TM210 was used to detect transepidermal water loss, and a Skin pH meter PH900 was used to assess skin surface hydrogen ion concentration. Dryness, scaling, roughness, and pruritus are quantified using a visual analog scale and xerosis grading.

In clinical specimens delivered to the Medical Microbiology Laboratory at University College Hospital in Ibadan, Nigeria, Ogbulu et al.[7] discovered 52 unique Candida species isolates. Researchers used the agar well diffusion method to test their susceptibility to VCO and fluconazole.

In a double-blind controlled trial done in two outpatient dermatology clinics, adults with Alzheimer’s disease were randomly allocated. Adults were advised to apply VCO or virgin olive oil (VOO) twice daily at two non-infected sites. S. aureus cultures, photography, and a SCORAD severity index (O-SSI) rating were done at the baseline and 4-week time intervals.[8]

Nevin and Rajamohan[9] looked at wound closure time, antioxidant status, and metabolic indicators in three groups of six female Sprague-Dawley rats. Groups 2 and 3 were given 0.5 and 1.0 mL VCO for 10 days, respectively, 24 h after the wound was formed. Throughout the 14-day healing phase, the antioxidant level was monitored periodically.

Shilling and Matt[10] looked at the lipid components of VCO to see if they could help manage C. difficile. VCO and its most active individual fatty acids were tested in vitro for their antibacterial properties against C. difficile.

UD Sinar Nias manufactured the VCO used in this investigation by Silalahi et al. Enzyme and sodium hydroxide were used to carry out the hydrolysis. Enzymatic hydrolysis with lysozyme was carried out for 3, 6, 9, and 12 h. Alkaline hydrolysis was performed using NaOH concentrations of 25%, 50%, and 75% based on the saponification value of coconut oil.[11]

The formulation, characterization, and penetration of VCO-solid lipid particles have been investigated by Noor.[12]

Ibrahim[13] examined the effect of fermented VCO on wound healing in Sprague-Dawley rats.

Varma et al.[14] investigated VCO’s anti-inflammatory and skin-protective effects in vitro.

According to Cahya et al.,[15] a mastitis milk crossbreed Etawa goat from Riau, Indonesia was isolated and identified with S. aureus. The broth dilution method was performed to assess S. aureus susceptibility to VCO.

Konar et al.[16] conducted a randomized controlled trial on preterm babies divided into two groups: group A received VCO treatment. In contrast, group B received body massages without any treatment. On the 3rd, 6th, and 12th month, and the 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th day, respectively, neurodevelopmental status and neonatal skin condition were measured.

Subchan et al.[17] devised a post-test control approach for an experimental investigation. Fifty diabetes male Wistar mice were separated into five groups to create an ulcer wound model, with 10 non-diabetic mice serving as a control group. The treatment groups also received topical ozonated VCO with different flow durations, whereas the control groups just got routine care (0 min, 90 min, 7 h, 14 h). The wound was macroscopic in appearance and was shrinking.

Saraogi et al. enlisted the help of 60 volunteers for a 15-day intervention. In the test group, 6–8 drops of VCO were applied overnight, followed by six ABHS applications per day; in the control group, six ABHS applications per day were used. This leg comprised a dermatological examination and the WHO Skin Health Self-Assessment Scale. A non-invasive instrumental assessment of the forearms of 12 individuals (ages 25–60) with and without VCO application and regular alcohol consumption is also included as a measurement component (Moisture and TEWL Probes, Tape Strip for protein and IR spectroscopy for protein and lipid content).[18]

VCO was found to be as effective as mineral oil as a moisturizer, and coconut oil at 100% concentration proved effective against specific kinds of Candida when compared with the usual antifungal fluconazole. Another finding is that VCO and VOO are beneficial in the treatment of atopic dermatitis Its broad-spectrum activity was discovered in an in-vitro study. When comparing the growth of S. aureus, fungi, and viruses, fibroblast propagation, and vascularization in the VCO group to the control group, the medium-chain fatty acids of VCO inhibited the growth of C. difficile. The antibacterial activity of hydrolyzed VCO was discovered, and the cutaneous transport of VCO was increased thanks to micro-structured lipids. The wound-healing and angiogenic properties of fermented VCO were discovered. Inflammatory indicators are suppressed by VCO, and the skin is protected. As a result, it can be utilized as an anti-inflammatory and skin protector, inhibiting the growth of S. aureus. It also improves phagocytic immune cells’ ability to fight S. aureus. VCO enhances neurodevelopment and is advantageous to mature dermal cells. There was a considerable “improvement in the wound and increased levels of wound-healing biomarkers” in the diabetic ulcer mice model. The use of VCO overnight helps prepare the skin for the benefit of alcohol-based hand sanitizer the next day.

 Discussion



The VCO contains 90% saturated fatty acids and 10% unsaturated fatty acids. It also comprises antioxidants such as beta carotenes and tocopherol. It has properties to moisten the skin.[6]

In search of the various databases, 13 articles were found on VCO related to skin.

Traditionally, coconut oil is mainly used to moisturize and treat skin infections.

VCO is commonly used for hair oil preparation. It hydrates as well as softens the hair. Natural hair nourishment is due to its contents such as vitamins, fatty acids, and minerals. It has multi-benefits such as moisture retention, smoothing, and protection. Various studies showed that it blocks the ultraviolet sun rays and eventually protects the hair from damage. Since coconut oil contains lauric acid, which has a great attraction for hair proteins, because it has a low molecular weight and a straight linear chain, it has a high penetration ability inside the hair shaft. In contrast, mineral oil has no affinity for proteins and cannot penetrate the hair shaft.[19]

The various actions of VCO might be due to its chemical constituents such as lauric acid as an antiviral, antibacterial, and antiprotozoal agent. Myristic acid is a flavoring agent and also helps in stabilizing many proteins. Caprylic acid and caproic acid are potent antifungal agents. Oleic acid is an antioxidant. Linoleic acid is a powerful immune system enhancer.[20]

The VCO will also be used to treat lung cancer. VCO reduced cancer cell growth and promoted cell death via the apoptosis pathway in studied lung cancer cell lines. However, the method by which VCO stimulates the apoptotic pathway is uncertain. As a result, the author suggested that more research should be done.[21]

Ear edema, paw edema, and granuloma development were all reduced significantly by VCO. The VCO suggested that both acute and chronic inflammation have anti-inflammatory properties.[22]

Due to its higher polyphenolic concentration, the VCO contains antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, lipid-lowering, and cytoprotective activities.[23]

VCO oil pulling has been demonstrated to reduce plaque formation and plaque-related gingivitis successfully. The results show that coconut oil is a simple-to-use, safe, and cost-effective medication with few adverse effects that can be used as an adjuvant in oral hygiene maintenance. The antibacterial properties of coconut oil help to fight microorganisms.[24]

VCO contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant characteristics, and it may help rats avoid developing arthritis after being given adjuvants. When used as an adjuvant, PV may also have an anti-arthritic effect in rats.[25]

There was preliminary evidence for preventing or treating Alzheimer’s disease, bone loss, and glycemic management. Nonetheless, the author recommended that the study be conducted on larger sample size. Evidence regarding weight loss and cardiovascular disease has been discovered.[26]

Rather than being stored as fat, most lauric acid eaten is transported directly to the liver, which is metabolized into energy and other metabolites. Extrahepatic tissues, such as the brain and heart, can utilize ketone bodies as a quick energy source. It has been investigated how lauric acid affects blood cholesterol levels. The results, however, have been conflicting. Among the saturated fatty acids, lauric acid has been shown to have the most negligible impact on fat production. Lauric acid and monolaurin have antibacterial action against Gram-positive bacteria, fungi, and viruses.[27]

 Conclusion



From this review, it can be concluded that VCO is beneficial for various dermatological disorders. It has antifungal and antibacterial properties and also acts as an immunomodulator. It also has anti-inflammatory, angiogenic, wound-healing, and skin protective properties.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

References

1Marina AM, Che Man YB, Amin I Virgin coconut oil: Emerging functional food oil. Trends Food Sci Technol 2009;20:481-87.
2Winarsi H, Purwanto A Virgin coconut oil (VCO) enriched with Zn as immunostimulator for vaginal candidiasis patient. HAYATI J Biosci 2008;15:135-9.
3Intahphuak S, Khonsung P, Panthong A Anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antipyretic activities of virgin coconut oil. Pharm Biol 2008;2010:151-7.
4Weiss R, Fintelmann V Proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines as mediators in the pathogenesis of septic shock. Chest 1997;112(Suppl. 6):133-65.
5Harlinanda SN Optimasi Formulasi Krim Antioksidan Vitamin E (DL-Alfa Tokoferol Asetat) dengan VCO (Virgin Coconut Oil) (Variasi Kadar VCO 15%, 30%, dan 45% dalam Basis Cold Cream). Doctoral dissertation, University of Muhammadiyah Malang; 2017.
6Agero ALC, Verallo-Rowell VM A randomized double-blind controlled trial comparing extra virgin coconut oil with mineral oil as a moisturizer for mild to moderate xerosis. Dermatitis 2004;15:109-16.
7Ogbolu DO, Oni AA, Daini OA, Oloko AP In vitro antimicrobial properties of coconut oil on Candida species in Ibadan, Nigeria. J Med Food 2007;10:384-7.
8Vermén MV-R. Novel antibacterial and emollient effects of coconut and virgin olive oils in adult atopic dermatitis. Dermatitis 2008;19:308-15.
9Nevin KG, Rajamohan T Effect of topical application of virgin coconut oil on skin components and antioxidant status during dermal wound healing in young rats. Skin Pharmacol Physiol 2010;23:290-7.
10Shilling M, Matt L Antimicrobial effects of virgin coconut oil and its medium-chain fatty acids on Clostridium difficile. J Med Food 2013;16:1079-85.
11Silalahi J, Permata YM, Putra ED. Antibacterial activity of hydrolysed virgin coconut oil. Asian J Pharm Clin Res 2014;7:90-4.
12Noor NM Empty nano and micro-structured lipid carriers of virgin coconut oil for skin moisturisation. IET Nanobiotechnol 2016;10:195-9.
13Ibrahim AH Angiogenic and wound healing potency of fermented virgin coconut oil: In vitro and in vivo studies. Am J Transl Res 2017;9:4936-44.
14Sivaprakasam T, Varma SR, Arumugam I, Prabhu S, Rangesh P. Anti-inflammatory and skin protective properties of virgin coconut oil in vitro. J Ravishankar Univ 2016;29.
15Widianingrum DC, Noviandi CT, Salasia SI. Antibacterial and immunomodulator activities of virgin coconut oil (VCO) against Staphylococcus aureus. Heliyon 2019;5:e02612.
16Konar MC, Islam K, Roy A, Ghosh T. Effect of virgin coconut oil application on the skin of preterm newborns: A randomized controlled trial. J Trop Pediatr 2020;66:129-35.
17Yuniati R, Subchan P, Riawan W, Khrisna MB, Restiwijaya M, Dyan Kusumaningrum NS, Nur M. Topical ozonated virgin coconut oil improves wound healing and increases HSP90α, VEGF-A, EGF, bFGF and CD34 in diabetic ulcer mouse model of wound healing. F1000 Res 2021;9:580.
18Saraogi P, Kaushik V, Chogale R, Chavan S, Gode V, Mhaskar S. Virgin coconut oil as prophylactic therapy against alcohol damage on skin in COVID times. J Cosmet Dermatol 2021;20:2396-408.
19Rele AS, Mohile RB Effect of mineral oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil on prevention of hair damage. J Cosmet Sci 2003;54:175-92.
20Pehowich DJ, Gomes AV, Barnes JA Fatty acid composition and possible health effects of coconut constituents. West Indian Med J 2000;49:128-33.
21Kamalaldin NA, Yusop MR, Sulaiman SA, Yahaya BH Apoptosis in lung cancer cells induced by virgin coconut oil. Regen Res 2015;4:30-6.
22Intahphuak S, Khonsung P, Panthong A Anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antipyretic activities of virgin coconut oil. Pharm Biol 2010;48:151-7.
23Narayanankutty A, Illam SP, Raghavamenon AC Health impacts of different edible oils prepared from coconut (Cocos nucifera): A comprehensive review. Trends Food Sci Technol 2018;80:1-7.
24Peedikayil FC, Sreenivasan P, Narayanan A Effect of coconut oil in plaque related gingivitis—A preliminary report. Nigerian Med J: J Nigeria Med Assoc 2015;56:143.
25Vysakh A, Ratheesh M, Rajmohanan TP, Pramod C, Premlal S, Girish Ksumar B, et al. Polyphenolics isolated from virgin coconut oil inhibits adjuvant induced arthritis in rats through antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action. Int Immunopharmacol 2014;20:124-30.
26Dumancas GG, Viswanath LC, de Leon AR, Ramasahayam S, Maples R, Koralege RH, et al. Health benefits of virgin coconut oil. Vegetable Oil: Properties, Uses and Benefits. Burleigh, Australia: NOVA; 2016. p. 161-94.
27Dayrit FM The properties of lauric acid and their significance in coconut oil. J Am Oil Chem Soc 2015;92:1-5.