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Lauric Acid: Why Will Your Dry Skin Love It?

Lauric Acid

Do you have dry skin? Do your hands turn into these wrinkly, sandpaper covered fists every winter? If you struggle to keep your skin moisturised, then you might give lauric acid a try.

Naturally antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, lauric acid is a moisturising agent that prevents dryness, making it perfect for people suffering from dry skin and dry skin conditions such as psoriasis, and xerosis cutis. 

Skincare is a multi-billion dollar industry with numerous fatty acids that have a curative effect on the skin. In this blog post, we’ll tackle one of the most talked-about lipids in the beauty business, lauric acid and what it can do for your skin. 

What is Lauric Acid?

Lauric acid, also known as dodecanoic acid, is a saturated fatty acid that belongs to lipids. Inexpensive, safe to handle with a long shelf life, white, powdery lauric acid is produced by saponification from oils rich in lauric acid. It is commonly used in the soap making industry, making soap bars hard and lathery. 

The primary natural source of lauric acid is tropical oil such as palm kernel oil (48%), coconut oil (45%-53%) and babassu oil (40%-48%). Otherwise, you can also find it in human breast milk, cow’s and goat’s milk. 

Primary Natural Sources of Lauric Acid

Babassu oil

Lightweight, mild and easily absorbed to the skin, babassu oil is a versatile emollient suitable for a range of cosmetic products. Abundant in lauric acid, myristic acid, and antioxidants, babassu oil promotes healthy, hydrated skin, prevents frizz and relieves dryness in hair. 

Coconut oil

Coconut oil is a bounteous source of lauric acid in nature. It has been used for millennia due to its antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial action. It has been applied in skincare to treat skin infections such as athlete’s foot and cellulitis. It is also beneficial in reducing inflammation in skin disorders such as psoriasis, eczema and dermatitis. Furthermore, coconut oil is a natural emollient that can relieve dryness, keeping the skin moisturised. 

Palm kernel oil

Palm kernel oil is extracted from the African oil palm kernels and used in the cosmetic industry to make soap and other toiletries with a leathery feel. Although palm oil is well established in the beauty industry for its various benefits, public concern about deforestation has forced cosmetic companies to look for more environmentally friendly alternatives in their formulations. As a result, coconut and babassu oil are common substitutes for palm kernel oil.

Milk

Milk is also a source of lauric acid. Both cow and goat milk contains lauric acid. However, the high amount of lauric acid present in human milk makes it very beneficial for infants. 

Benefits of Lauric Acid on Skin

Naturally moisturising, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, lauric acid hydrates the skin. In addition, it prevents dryness, making it suitable for people suffering from dry skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, and xerosis cutis. 

Let’s take a closer look at lauric acid’s skin benefits: 

Can reduce signs of ageing

Coconut oil is indisputably one of the most common and sought after ingredients in the beauty industry, and for a good reason. Rich in saturated fatty acids, coconut oil acts as an anti-ageing agent used extensively to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and sagging skin, improve elasticity and the overall look and feel of the skin.

Treats acne 

Clogged pores, excessive sebum production and Propionibacterium bacteria can all cause havoc in acne-prone skin. Lauric acid is an effective antimicrobial that is as effective as benzoyl peroxide in treating acne and sebum regulation. It relieves symptoms by killing acne-causing bacteria and reducing inflammation.

Note: Although lauric acid can treat acne, that doesn’t mean you should apply coconut oil to your face. In fact, coconut oil scores 4 on the comedogenic scale, meaning applying coconut oil to your face could worsen acne. The research was conducted using pure lauric acid, which could be used to develop into antibiotic therapy in the future. 

Relieves psoriasis symptoms

It is a condition in which the skin becomes red, flaky, and crusty. The silvery scales and patches appear on the elbows, knees, and scalp and appear on any body part. It can cause skin inflammation and can be painful. Coconut oil helps treat this skin condition, and it is the lauric acid that gives the skin moisturising effects. In addition, the anti-inflammatory properties of lauric acid help to reduce swelling and redness.   

Improve xerosis cutis  

Various factors can cause abnormally dry skin. Extended sun exposure, taking long baths or showers in hot water, lack of moisture in the air or living in cold areas are just a few examples. Furthermore, as we age, our skin produces less oil. So, naturally, it loses its ability to retain moisture, which can cause dry, flaky skin. Coconut oil is an effective moisturiser that can help rehydrate and repair dry skin by creating a protective barrier, trapping the moisture in and protecting it from TEWL. 

How to Use It?

To make the most of lauric acid in its natural form, you can apply oils such as coconut oil directly onto your skin. Although this oil might not be suitable for those with acne or oily skin, it is perfect for dry skin and those who have psoriasis and xerosis cutis symptoms. 

Use of Lauric Acid in Cosmetics 

Natural oils rich in lauric acid are excellent moisturisers. That makes them suitable for use in body lotions, lip balms, hand creams, shampoos, body wash, soaps, scrubs and butter. 

Summary

Lauric acid offers many skin benefits. Suppose you would like to incorporate it into your skincare. You can either go for coconut or babassu oil which is readily available in the market. But, if you’re not keen on adding a new ingredient to your skincare routine. In that case, you can still get skincare products with coconut oil included in them. 

Resources

  1. Fatty Acids and Derivatives as Antimicrobial Agents
  2. The antimicrobial activity of liposomal lauric acids against Propionibacterium acnes
  3. Anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antipyretic activities of virgin coconut oil
  4. Antimicrobial Property of Lauric Acid Against Propionibacterium acnes: Its Therapeutic Potential for Inflammatory Acne Vulgaris
  5. Treatment of Xerosis with a Topical Formulation Containing Glyceryl Glucoside, Natural Moisturizing Factors, and Ceramide
  6. Transepidermal Water Loss
  7. A randomized double-blind controlled trial comparing extra virgin coconut oil with mineral oil as a moisturizer for mild to moderate xerosis

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