Friday, December 14, 2012
Coconut Oil: Response To Email Questions On Comedogenicity, Shelf Life And Rancidity
While coconut oil can be a great oil to use, there can be a few issues with it. It is considered to be comedogenic, including fractionated coconut oil, on a number of online lists for cosmetic ingredients, supported here, and here regarding acne. Lauric acid is stated to be comedogenic on several such lists as well.
Regarding coconut oil going rancid, in spite of its shelf life being touted as long and it can be depending on the type of processing, shelf life is about unopened oil. Once opened, it depends on how the oil is used, possible contamination and how it is stored. In spite of a number of vendors saying it needs no special storage, there are numerous reports online of various brands of virgin coconut oil becoming rancid or going bad, even the more costly ones. Virgin coconut oil can become rancid.
I store unopened virgin coconut oil in a cool, dark cupboard, away from any heat source and moisture. That linked information on storage is fairly standard for the most part and can be found on several reputable websites that go into detail on the topic. I keep virgin coconut oil in the fridge after opening it, to be on the safe side. I use it in food. For oil shampoo, I scraped off what I needed with a clean spoon, put it into a small plastic scoop to mix with shampoo and melted it, by running warm water on the sides of the scoop and then tilted it, to warm the bottom of the scoop. That worked in less than 30 seconds or so. For use in food, I place the oil jar from the fridge into the same storage cupboard until the coconut oil has softened, spoon out what I need and put the rest back in the fridge.
With any cosmetic, or products for cosmetic use, I do not dip my fingers into a container. I use a clean implement, like a small plastic spoon or spatula made for such use, or in the case of coconut oil, a metal teaspoon, to avoid contamination, even if my hands are just washed. To me, it is a precautionary habit now. Years ago, I had a cream eye shadow palette become contaminated after continuous use with my fingers for application, instead of an applicator and I had a resulting problem with a minor eye lid infection.
I have read quite a few reports on forums and elsewhere online, about coconut oil smelling bad, when it has been used on hair, after a period of time, between hair washes, while in the jar, it may have looked, tasted and smelled perfectly fine. To me, either the coconut oil was close to going rancid, or the conditions once on the hair, promoted that happening. For such conditions, See this blog post.
A comment about coconut oil used topically for treating acne, with results being different seasonally can be found in response to this very interesting article, with a video, on "bio nanotechnology"and lauric acid. The comment supports the information in the blog post, linked above.
Update June 4, 2013. That comment is now gone. The gist of it was that while pure coconut oil worked well otherwise, it had the opposite effect on acne during the summer.
See Also this blog post.