There are three types of coconut oils: unrefined or virgin coconut oil, refined coconut oil and fractionated coconut oil. All of these are readily available today and you can easily buy them online or from your local grocery or health food stores. In this article, we will be talking about the difference between the three types of coconut oils, and focusing on the medicinal benefits of fractionated coconut oil in health and beauty today.
Coconut oil is a versatile oil obtained from Cocos Nucifera or the coconut fruit. It is full of healthy antioxidants and natural saturated fats that benefit us in numerous ways. The medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil make it an excellent cooking medium. Coconut oil is also a wonderful ingredient in skin and hair care formulations. It is excellent as a carrier oil in aromatherapy blends, and as stated above, the three main types of coconut oils are unrefined/organic/virgin coconut oil, fractionated coconut oil and refined coconut oil. Here are the major differences between them:
As the name indicates, this is ‘virgin’ or untouched coconut oil that undergoes the least amount of processing of any of them. It has very few chemical contaminants, thus making it excellent for cooking and in skin and hair care. Virgin coconut oil tests the highest in antioxidants and that is why many top cosmetic companies prefer using it in their skin care products. Unrefined coconut oil is also great for cooking because it doesn’t contain any chemicals and additives. However, many people do not prefer it in baking and sautéing, as it retains its sharp coconut flavor and aroma. Also, the virgin type of coconut oil usually remains solid at temperatures below 76 F. Manufacturers of virgin coconut oil typically use the cold-pressing technique to derive the oil, since this process ensures that it retains its beneficial health and medicinal properties.
As the name suggests, refined coconut oil is the type of coconut oil that undergoes maximum processing. Manufacturers use refining techniques that may include the use of heat, chemicals and additives to help remove the aroma and flavor of coconut oil. You can use this type of oil for cooking and in your homemade beauty recipes, but make sure you only select heat or steam refined coconut oils. This way, you can ensure avoiding chemicals that could be absorbed by your skin or ingested through consumption. Refined coconut oil is usually solid at room temperature.
In fractionated coconut oil, a process called hydrolysis via steam distillation removes the long chain fatty acids such as lauric acid, leaving it with medium chain fatty acids and the ability to remain liquid--even at room temperature. This is why fractionated coconut oil is also known as "liquid coconut oil". Since the long chain fatty acids are removed, this oil also tends to have a naturally longer shelf life, and thus makes it attractive for those wanting to formulate natural skin and hair care products.
Fractionated coconut oil is considered a saturated fat since its carbon atoms are fully saturated with hydrogen atoms. The word fractionated means that only a fraction of the original fat found in coconut oil is found in the oil. Besides its naturally long shelf life & stability, it is also perfect for beauty products where you do not want the hardening or solidifying effect. The oil is also particularly beneficial in cooking, especially for those wanting to to avoid the strong coconut flavor and aroma--although some experts may differ on this, as they say the lauric acid content of coconut oil (which renders it so beneficial for heart health), has been removed during the fractionation process.
Although fractionated coconut oil does not have long chain fatty acids such as lauric acid, it is not without its beneficial fatty acids, as it still contains capric, caprylic, myristic & palmitic medium chain fatty acids. All of these contribute to incredible moisturizing capabilities, plus it still comes packed with antioxidants, such as vitamins A, C and E!
If you love making your DIY beauty recipes using coconut oil and essential oils, go for fractionated oil, especially if you live in cooler climates. One of the great advantages of using this oil in soap and cosmetics is that it can withstand high temperatures apart from having a long shelf life.
Fractionated coconut oil is excellent for all those applications where you require a light, non greasy and easy-to-absorb oil. It has a lightness and stability that is not present in other kinds of coconut oil. You can blend any essential oil with it and use it on your skin or hair as a massage oil. The light oil gets easily absorbed by the skin imparting all the medicinal benefits of the essential oils you have used. Use the oil to treat rashes, cuts, wounds, ulcers, insects bites and stings, etc.
If you suffer dry, chapped lips in winter, use fractionated coconut oil to heal them. The oil is easily absorbed by the lips, where it heals, protects and nourishes the delicate skin. Fractionated coconut oil also relieves cuts and cracks while creating a thin, protective barrier against harsh weather elements.
Many aromatherapists use fractionated coconut oil in their healing essential oil blends. Fractionated coconut oil works wonderfully as a carrier oil and is especially suitable for massage since it is clear and virtually colorless and odorless. This property also makes it an excellent ingredient in deodorants and insect repellents.
If you have recurrent toenail fungus or cracked, dry, and brittle nails, then the use of fractionated coconut oil can help greatly. Simply massage the oil (mixed with a few drops of Tea tree or Lavender essential oils) into the fingernails/toenails, cover your hands/feet with old socks or gloves, and let the oil work on them overnight. Wash off with warm water the next morning. Use regularly to enhance nail health.
Our products that contain organic fractionated coconut oil:
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