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What is in coconut oil and what to look for when buying?

Coconut oil is a popular substance for cosmetic products. It is labeled on the packaging as Cocos nucifera. What exactly is in it and what should you look for when buying? An overview.

What is coconut oil?

Actually, it should be called coconut oil, because it is creamy at room temperature (20 degrees Celsius) and becomes liquid only at about 25 degrees Celsius. Coconut oil is obtained from the dried pulp of the coconut and consists of about 90 percent saturated fats. The main component of coconut fat is the fatty acid lauric acid. It is said to have positive properties, including an effect on the cardiovascular system and cholesterol levels, as well as boosting the metabolism. Allegedly, coconut fat should therefore even help you lose weight. The caprylic acid also contained in coconut fat has antibacterial properties. It also contains vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps the skin fight premature aging.

What is it good for?

Coconut oil contains numerous substances that act as natural moisturizers in skin care, explains the German Cosmetic, Toiletry, Perfumery and Detergent Association (IKW). Due to its high content of saturated fatty acids, it is particularly suitable for dry skin. Hair can also benefit from coconut oil, as it provides even more shine and soothes a sensitive scalp.

What do I have to consider when buying it?

The properties attributed to coconut apply exclusively to pure, cold-pressed coconut oil. This is important in order to preserve all the ingredients and fatty acids. Coconut fat with the following labels is the right one: "extra virgin", "cold pressed", "extra virgin". A good, cold-pressed coconut fat in organic quality costs about 20 euros per kilo. If "bleached", "tasteless", "refined", "deodorized" or "hydrogenated" is written on the label, the coconut fat has been heavily mechanically processed and heated – and is ineffective.

Even with cosmetic products that advertise coconut, you have to study the ingredients carefully to see whether they really contain virgin coconut oil. Often they contain at most the typical, exotic coconut scent and hardly any of the positive caring properties of the fat.

With material from dpa