In recent years, the rise of coconut oil as a one-stop-shop for a variety of health and beauty treatments has been at the forefront of the wellness industry. However, recently, the buzz around this alleged cure-all is starting to diminish. And using coconut oil for acne scars is no exception.

Coconut Oil for Acne Scars "Reviews"

The hype began when numerous bloggers and other product reviewers jumped on the coconut oil bandwagon. After announcing the product as a solution for a variety of needs, the popularity of the venerable plant-based oil exploded. Despite many influencers swearing by the miracle product, the evidence shows that coconut oil doesn't actually improve acne scarring.

Most of the reviews and advice are anecdotal. Additionally, no evidence supports if coconut oil is making any difference. Because people experimenting with coconut oil are also likely to be trying out a wide variety of additional products, it is possible that it is the other items that may be making the difference.

Does Coconut Oil Fade Acne Scars?

One of the many claims made by coconut oil advocates is that coconut oil cam help reduce the appearance of acne scars. However, numerous studies have proven that there is no scientific evidence that coconut oil can fade acne scars. The following two recent studies have refuted the claims made supporting coconut oil and the active ingredient vitamin E in the treatment of scar reduction.

The Role of Topical Vitamin E in Scar Management: (September 2016)

This study looked at a variety of scars in its research as well as if the vitamin E was used as a monotherapy or combination therapy option. Six articles were looked at for the comprehensive study to ensure that a wide variety of studies were included in the data. One of the studies included children and there were three times as many male subjects compared to females.

Two of the six studies actually demonstrated adverse reactions to the use of the topical treatment. After reviewing the results of the six separate studies, the researchers concluded that there is no consistent benefit shown to improve the appearance of scars when using vitamin E as a topical agent.

The Effects of Topical Vitamin E on the Cosmetic Appearance of Scars: (April 1999)

This study looked at 15 patients who had recently undergone surgery to treat skin disease. The double-blind study gave half of the patients a placebo made with plain Aquaphor while the second half received the Aquaphor mixed with vitamin E. Both the patients and doctors reviewed the appearance of the scars at weeks one, four, and 12. The results showed no conclusive evidence that the mixture containing vitamin E worked better to reduce the scar tissue than the plain Aquaphor.

Coconut Oil for Surgical Scars

According to the April 1999 study, the use of vitamin E might actually lead to a deterioration of the skin. 33 percent of the patients who received the Aquaphor mixed with vitamin E developed contact dermatitis. Because of this high amount of occurrence, the experts in the study recommended that people do not use vitamin E as a treatment for scars since the side effects can actually be worse than any possible benefits it may provide the patient.

What About Coconut Oil for Dark Spots on Skin?

Although coconut oil can be an effective moisturizer to soothe dry skin because of its vast emollient properties, it is not the best choice to minimize the appearance of dark spots on the skin. Dark spots are caused by a variety of issues, including sun damage and uneven pigmentation. Similar to its effects on treating acne scars, coconut oil does not contain any special ingredients that will help to lighten dark circles and pigmentations. If you are looking for a miracle skin treatment, leave coconut oil off your list.

Alternatives to Coconut Oil

Fortunately for people suffering from skin discolorations and scars, there are a variety of products on the market that have been proven to be helpful as a treatment. Before reaching for the coconut oil in your pantry, take a look at these options instead:

1. Sunscreen

The regular use of sunscreen has been shown to be effective in protecting the skin from brown or pink discoloration. Additionally, sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 may help the scar heal faster by preventing further damage. And at the very worst, you will feel good knowing that you are protecting your skin from harmful UV rays.

2. Daily Exfoliation

It sounds too good to be true, but a simple exfoliation (with AHAs) can do wonders for the appearance of the skin. Alpha hydroxy acids work to aid the skin in desquamation. Desquamation is the natural process in which skin cells are created, sloughed away and replaced. Ultimately helping to reduce signs of aging, put moisture back into the skin, and help to even out the skin tone.

3. Chemical Peels

Chemical peels are a popular and relatively effective method of treatment. In short, they work to remove scarred tissue and cells. Once the scarred skin has been removed, healthy cells begin to grow in their place. A glycolic acid peel is known as a superficial chemical peel because it does not penetrate below the outer layers of skin. Because it is not as strong as some of the other chemical peels available, it is most effective at helping to reduce the appearance of minor scarring problems. This simple and inexpensive acid peel can also be effective at lessening the redness that often comes with acne scars.

4. Hydroquinone

This ingredient works by limiting the ability of the skin to produce melanin. It is the melanin that gives skin its color and too much of it can lead to excessive brown spots. By interrupting this process, hydroquinone will allow the brown spots and discolorations to fade.

5. Retinoids

This group of powerful ingredients provides immense value to the skin. Retinoids can help reverse the signs of aging by smoothing wrinkles and firming up skin elasticity. Additionally, tretinoin has shown to significantly decreased the depth of atrophic scars in 94% of the study subjects.

6. Vitamin C

Sometimes all you need is a little good ole vitamin C for all of your skin care ills. Most skin care products use the L-ascorbic acid form of the wonder vitamin. Ascorbic acid helps create a more youthful skin appearance. Furthermore, it helps by reducing the effects of exposure to harmful external elements and stressors. The potent antioxidant benefits of vitamin C will ensure that you face the day with brighter skin.

7. Niacinamide

Also known as vitamin B3 or nicotinic acid, this powerful ingredient can be combined with vitamin C to deliver one of the best combination therapies available. Niacinamide is helpful in improving the look of large pores while also helping to reduce fine lines and brighten the overall skin tone. This ingredient can also form a barrier to protect the skin against harmful environmental elements.

Does Coconut Oil Work for Acne Scars: Summary

  • Can coconut oil get rid of acne scars overnight? No
  • Does Coconut Oil Fade Acne Scars? Unfortunately not, according to studies, coconut oil does not contain any benefits to remove acne related scarring
  • Coconut Oil For Dark Spots? Nope! In studies, coconut oil shows no improvement in helping with dark spots compared to the placebo

What Actually Helps With Acne Scars

  • Sunscreen
  • Exfoliating with AHAs
  • Chemical Peels
  • Hydroquinone
  • Retinoids
  • Vitamin C
  • Niacinamide