Fractionated Coconut (Cocos nucifera) oil is a very popular oil suitable for massage therapist, aromatherapists, and manufacturers for skin care products. It is the preferred oil for high quality cold process soap making. Coconut oil is expressed under high pressure from the coconut kernel, and then filtered. It is actually solid at room temperature but melts easily at body temperature. It may cause skin sensitivity in people who have nut allergies. This article discusses its healing properties for skin care.
Coconut oil is an ingredient in many cosmetic products, especially suntan lotion, shaving creams, soaps, and some shampoos, because it lathers well and is a good conditioner for scalps.
Refined coconut oil is very close, in substance, to human subcutaneous tissue and is thus more compatible with skin than other vegetable oils. Massage therapists and aromatherapists note that it does not clog pores, making it an ideal carrier oil for troubled skin or oily skin.
What in the world does "fractionated" mean, anyway? This process removes some of the saturated fatty acids from the oil by heat, to make it softer and more liquid, while also taming it's overwhelming natural odor. (This is not hydrogenation, which actually forces hydrogen into oils making them more solid). Some naturalists question if fractionated oils should be used since it is not a "whole product". Most aromatherapist prefer natural oils. Certainly this is true for essential oils. However, many find that fractionated coconut oil has proved very satisfactory as a carrier, and prefer it to the unrefined oil, which tends to go rancid more quickly.
Coconut oil is an edible oil that has been consumed in tropical places for thousands of years and was prevalent in the United States as a favorite in the baking industry. However the campaign against saturated fats led to many manufacturers abandoning coconut oil.
Coconut oil is perfect for moisturizing both hands and body. It is light and easily absorbed into the skin, leaving it satin smooth. It can also be used as an intensive treatment to moisturize and condition brittle, dull or dry hair. It is great to use in or after a bath or shower for moisturizing the skin. It is a wonderful oil to use after sunning. It is excellent for scalp treatments. Massage it into the scalp and leave it on as long as possible. Some use it as a replacement for their conditioner. It can also be used for dryness, itching, and for sensitive skin.
If stored properly (cool environment out of direct light) its shelf life is very long. Its light texture makes it a good oil to use when heavier oils seem too sticky on the skin. It will also easily wash out of sheets and towels, making it a favorite of massage therapists. It may cause sensitivity in individuals who have nut allergies.