Fact or fiction? Coconut oil makes scars disappear

We asked the medical experts about hyped-up health trends to help you separate myth from miracle.


Photo, iStockphoto.

The hype

Forget pricey designer skin creams: Hollywood’s beauty treatment du jour — coconut oil — can be found in the supermarket for $5 a jar. Emma Stone uses it to remove the day’s makeup, Kourtney Kardashian applies it as a body lotion and Channing Tatum rubbed it on his wife’s baby bump to reduce her stretch marks. Beauty bloggers praise its ability to reduce scars.

But is it true?

Because coconut oil is, well, oily, it does have moisturizing properties, says Dr. Diane Wong, a cosmetic physician in Toronto. “But not everyone’s skin reacts the same to coconut oil,” she cautions. “It doesn’t provide enough moisture for very dry skin and can cause clogged pores for those who have very oily skin.” The healing properties of coconut oil for stretch marks and scars are not backed by studies, she adds, citing a long list of DIY scar remedies — vitamin E, aloe vera, cucumber paste, gooseberry (or alma) paste, honey and baking soda, and tea tree oil — that came (and went) before it.

“The idea behind coconut oil for scars is that it helps stimulate cellular turnover and builds collagen for faster healing,” says Wong. “But there’s no research to prove or disprove this.” Still, there’s no harm trying it out, she says, as long as the area you apply it to is healed and not infected.

Other health myths:
The myth of PMS: your period isn’t making you moody
Going gluten-free? Dispelling six nutrition myths
The Mayo Clinic busts four common medical myths

Other ways to include coconut oil in your beauty routine