Coconut Oil VS Olive Oil — The Better Skincare Agent

Coconut Oil VS Olive Oil — The Better Skincare Agent

Choosing skincare like moisturisers is a sacred process that involves much experimentation to discover what works for individual skin. What if we tell you that you don’t have to look further than your pantry and save yourself the trouble of experimentation? Enter olive oil and coconut oil.  In ancient times, olive oil was used as a moisturiser for skin and hair, while coconut oil spans from haircare to coconut pulling – it can supposedly do it all. Which of the two serves better for skincare – to deliver moisturisation and glow? We compare and contrast between the oils and disclose everything you need to know about these oils for skincare below.

The Skincare Benefits of Coconut Oil vs. Olive Oil

Moisturising

Coconut Oil

If you look at the ingredients of your skincare or haircare product, chances are, coconut oil  is part of it, with it being a natural moisturiser. It conveys a supple skin texture that glows beautifully. There are two types of moisturisers — occlusives and humectants. Oils, including both coconut oil and olive oil fall under the occlusive category. Occlusives blankets the skin and traps moisture within so it doesn’t evaporate. The latter, or humectants attract moisture from the ingredients in a product or environment and absorb it in the skin. Examples of popular humectants popularly employed in skincare products are hyaluronic acid and glycerin. With high amounts of linoleic acid in coconut oil, this fruit is also beaming with omega-6 fatty acid that acts as an emollient that soothes skin, leaving it supple and granting anti-aging benefits, too.

Olive Oil

Akin to coconut oil, olive oil is also an occlusive, so applying olive oil to the skin makes it feel rich and moisturising. Besides moisturisation, olive oil and all its fatty acids, together with oleic acid, palmitic acid and linoleic acids is extremely beneficial for those with dry skin. Using olive oil’s emollient properties leaves the skin smooth as a baby’s butt and moisturised to boot.

The Verdict

Both coconut oil and olive oil are stellar at retaining moisture within the skin. Both occlusive and emollients, they moisturise, soothe and smooth the skin wIthout permitting moisture to evaporate. To DIY your own wholesome moisturiser,  it with another product that contains a humectant.

Antimicrobial

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil doesn’t cease to amaze with all its impressive properties, including antimicrobial. The medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil, a variation of saturated fat, comprise 65% of its total composition. Lauric acid, making up 49%, is especially effective at ridding harmful microorganisms and bacteria. An interesting study was conducted comparing the efficacy of olive oil and coconut oil on individuals with atopic dermatitis (also known as eczema) caused by Staphylococcus aureus bacteria on the skin. Results revealed that 5% of subjects who used coconut oil were still positive, compared to the 50% using olive oil. This determines that coconut oil can be used on skin infections caused by bacteria or fungi, like athlete’s foot, folliculitis and acne.

Olive Oil

EVOO is inherent with its fair share of antimicrobial properties. The main polyphenol compounds found in this oil include oleuropein, hydroxytyrosol, and oleocanthal. All of which boasts anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. With all of its good properties, research suggests that olive oil can ward off acne-causing bacteria. More research needs to be carried out to support this topic as the sample size was relatively small.

The Verdict

The lauric acid found in coconut oil, one of the medium-chain fatty acids, has powerful antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties. Its treatment ranges from athlete’s foot to other mild skin maladies. When pertaining to antimicrobial and antibacterial properties in skincare, however, these are targeted to fight acne. Acne thrives on bacteria — and the fatty acid prevalent in olive oil unfortunately feeds these bacteria and promotes yeast growth. Therefore, plant oils like olive oil may not be suitable for acne-prone skin. Olive oil can also cause a breakout on acneic skin. Instead of lathering olive oil onto your face, first patch test to determine if there’s any reaction on your skin.

Antioxidants Components

Coconut Oil

Antioxidants keep oxidative stress in check — a process that emits free radicals that are detrimental to the body as it damages cells and could lead to the development of cancer. Coconut oil does contain antioxidants, but not as much as extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). EVOO, on the other hand, is relatively less refined, so it boasts an impressive amount of antioxidants.

Olive Oil

Brimming with antioxidant goodness, olive oil can protect the skin the same way the cooking oil protects the heart and helps with cholesterol. Said antioxidants, especially the omega-3s and vitamins A and K in olive oil is believed to prevent premature ageing when applied topically. Curious research findings suggest that applying olive oil after sun exposure could defend against cancer-causing cells. In this particular study, olive oil was employed to the skin of mice that had been exposed to potentially dangerous UV rays. The mice with olive oil showed significantly less tumor growth compared to the mice that did not have olive oil on the skin. While more studies need to be carried out on the effects of olive oil on human skin, these revelations are exciting.

The Verdict

It’s been established that coconut oil has antioxidants, however, the refining process doesn't necessarily help deliver the antioxidants to you, thus leaving olive oil the victor in the antioxidant regard.

The Better Oil: Coconut Oil or Olive Oil?

To conclude, neither supersedes the other, especially since coconut oil and olive oil share plenty of similarities in regards to skin care benefits. In terms of specific benefits, there are a few key differences to note, like how olive oil boasts more antioxidants than coconut oil. Coconut oil is inherently potent with more antimicrobial properties, making it a better agent to fight against fungus and infections. Since coconut oil is denser than olive oil, some may find it too potent for the face. Others might enjoy the velvety smoothness it conveys. It of course boils down to preference, at the end of the day.

Coconut Oil Application

In order to reap the benefits of coconut oil, you’ll need 100% pure, unrefined, organic coconut oil. Apply the occlusive coconut oil under your sunscreen, as the last step to your skincare routine and it’ll keep everything in place. Coconut oil tends to harden at room temperature, so massage it between your palms and fingers before topical application. For stubborn makeup like mascara and eyeliner, use coconut oil as a makeup remover.

Olive Oil Application

Consider starting with an organic, non-GMO extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), which boasts the highest concentration of antioxidants and vitamins like vitamin E, and doesn’t use preservatives. As olive oil is an occlusive moisturiser, you would want to layer it after cleansers, serums and even moisturisers to lock in all the goodness. During the day, it should be your last product before sunscreen. Alternatively, you could mix olive oil with your favourite moisturiser while your skin is fresh from showering. For stubborn, more waxy products such as sunscreen, employ olive oil as a makeup remover. A little goes a long way so a thin layer would do the trick. Applying too much can clog pores, especially for acne-prone skin or oily skin conditions.