• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • Whenever you search in PBworks, Dokkio Sidebar (from the makers of PBworks) will run the same search in your Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, Gmail, and Slack. Now you can find what you're looking for wherever it lives. Try Dokkio Sidebar for free.


Coconut Oil in Cosmetics 0708

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 6 months ago
Coconut Oil in Cosmetics


Description and Rationale


Coconut oil is tropical oil which can be positively used in various ways. It is very abundant in the Philippines since this country is the largest exporter of coconut oil in the world and has lots of coconut trees. Coconut oil has many applications. It can be used in cooking, manufacturing, skin treatments and even in diesel engines. Although there are many ways that coconut oil can be used, it is very effective when used as cosmetics and skin treatments.

 Fractioned coconut oil is used in making essences, massage oil and many kinds of cosmetics. It helps keeping skin smooth and silky; it can be very good for dry and chapped skin without any adverse reactions unlike common cosmetics made of chemicals.

 Can coconut oil really be treatment for some skin diseases? What are some skin diseases that many Filipinos have and that could be cured by coconut oil? Would it be good for people to make organic cosmetics such as coconut lip balm or facial cream? Are there possible ways to sell the cosmetics that people made? Would there be other health effects of coconut oil? Which type of coconut oil would be the best for skin health? Would RBD (refined, bleached, deodorized) oil be better than other types of coconut oil?

 The purpose of this project is to research the properties and usages of the coconut oil which are useful for the skin health and the life of the people, by searching for more information about the oil from both written resources and interviewing the people who actually deal with coconut oil such as coconut oil manufacturers and ordinary people who usually use this oil. These would help me to have in-depth idea about how to use coconut oil by the best methods and how to help the livelihood out of it.

 The strength of coconut oil is that it has many kinds of positive effects and that it can be used easily in everyday lives of people. It seems like many Filipinos do not use coconut oil that much or do not know how good it is. It is hoped that people could really use this abundant and useful oil to its fullest.



table of contents...



Common Names and Synonyms


The scientific name for coconut is Cocos nufifera. It is called Niyong or Buko in Filipino; Buko actually refers to green unripe coconut. Spanish explorers called it coco, which meant “monkey face” since the three holes on the hairy coconut looks like the face of a monkey. Synonyms for coconut oil are cocoanut oil and copra oil; copra is a name given to lower grades of coconut oil. Other synonyms for coconut include Kelapa or Nyiur (Malay); Maprao (Thailand); Niu (Hawaii).






Kingdom: Plantae (plants)*

Phylum: Magnoliophyta (flowering plants)

Class:  Liliopsida (monocotyledons/monocots)

Order:  Arecales (palm family)

Family: Arecaceae (palm family)

Genus: Cocos/Coco (“monkey face”)

Species: C.nucifera / Nufifera Nucifera (nut-bearing)

*Words in parenthesis are the literal meanings.

Genus Cocos is commonly known as Coconut Palm. Coco is a member of the Family Arecaceae (Palm Family).



table of contents...


Morphology and Physical Description


Coconut belongs to the palm family (palmae), which includes the lower group of flowering plants such as the monocotyledons. It is indeed a tall palm since it grows to a height of 12m to 24m. Generally, a coconut has slow growth, and its stout and flexuous trunk has very thick base for the rigidity. It also makes gradual curves. The stem of a coconut tree is cylindrical, erect and pillar-like. The leaves of coconut are feathery, large, long and glossy; they are firmly attached to the stem.

The most rapidly growing part of a coconut tree is the soft and fragile bud in the center of the crown; the bud is rich in phosphates and has a ‘nutty’ flavor. There is a terminal bud called ‘cabbage,’ which can grow even without tap root. Stipules, which make a kind of fibrous bandage for the tender leaves, protect the bud. The bud produces leaves in succession, too. Firstly, the young leaf appears in the center, and all the leaflets are held together. Then, the top leaflets open out as the leaf grows. At the time when the tip of the leaf is in the center of the crown, it is in line with the stem.

The stem of a coconut tree is visible when its trunk has gone over all the stages of the development. The solidity of the stem depends on three main elements: the strength of the tree itself, hereditary mutation and the condition of soil. The stem grows straight under regular condition. However, there are many trees, especially those on the plantations, which tend to lean away toward light.

The root system of a coconut tree is adventitious since it is a monocot. It has a lot of thick roots from the bottom of the stem. The main roots roughly measure 6m in length; they can grow even up to 25m. An interesting thing about the main roots is that the main roots and the branch-roots are mostly long-lived at the same time that the rootlets are short-lived. Moreover, coconut roots are given with many outgrowths and ventilators that are called pneumatophores, the ‘breathing roots’ that help the exchange of gases.

A coconut fruit is considered as one-seeded drupe. The outside of the fruit is the husk, which is originally brown and later turns brown after being dried. The outer coat of the fruit has the mesocarp packed with vascular bundles. The seed coat is very thin and has white flesh (copra) with coconut milk. The copra and the milk are the endosperm of the seed.


table of contents...



Getting Food


Since a coconut tree is a plant, it gets nutrition from a process called photosynthesis. Plants use the energy from sunlight to produce sugar, which cellular respiration converts into ATP, the energy used by all living things. The conversion of unusable sunlight energy into usable (chemical) energy is with the actions of chlorophyll, the green pigment.

Coconut trees are likely to grow well in a wide variety of soil types. Soil which is well-drained and has wide pH range, from 5.0 to 8.0 is appropriate. Windiness increases the transpiration rate and helps in the uptake of more nutrients in the soil solution.


Medium sucrose has an effect on the pigment concentration of old leaf parts of coconut trees. The concentration of chlorophylls and cartenoids can be enlarged in tissues from plant in sucrose-rich medium.




The pollinators of coconut tree cannot pollinate themselves, so the pollination is done by wind. The tree bears fruit at seven years of age. The fruit of a coconut tree is 25-30cm long and has three sides. The color of its immature fruit is green, but when the fruit is mature enough, it turns brown. There is a thick and fibrous husk which encases the hard shell. The tree would be living up to hundred years of age. For the propagation, a whole tree must be planted top side up, and the cover should be partially kept moist. Then, germination would occur in four of five months.


Environmental Factors


The amount of rainfall and temperature are the most important one among all the climatic factors that affect the coconut. The coconut tree can grow and bear fruits with a well-distributed rainfall of 100 cm. However, for better cultivation, 100 cm to 225 cm per annum would be enough. The optimum mean annual temperature for best growth and maximum yields is stated to be 270°C with a diurnal variation of 60°C to 70°C. The annual temperature should be about 27°C (80.6°F). Coconut trees can tolerate with temperature of 28-37°C (82.4-98.6°F) during summer and 4-12°C (39.2-53.6°F) during winter.  Also, the coastal climate is always more humid and less subject to wide fluctuations of temperature and these conditions are favorable to the palm.



table of contents...



Origin and Distribution


There is a controversy about the origins of coconut tree. Some researchers claim that it is originally from South Asia, but others say that it is from northern-western Southern America. There are fossil records that look like small coconut-like plants in New Zealand, and older fossils were found in many places in India.  In spite of the controversy about its origin, the coconut has spread almost all over the tropics. It is assumed that many sea-faring people contributed the spread of coconut because fruit of coconut is very light and buoyant enough to be transferred by marine currents.


Importance to People


Every part of coconut tree can be used. Especially in the Philippines, the country which is the largest exporter of coconut oil in the world, the coconut is considered the “Tree of Life”. A lot of people make living out of coconut trees.

First, for culinary purposes, a coconut has drinkable juice and edible fleshy part. They are variously used in cooking. People make salads, pie, etc. out of the coconut flesh. The juice (coconut water) is very good for health, because it has sugar, fiber, proteins, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals which give high nutrition to human bodies. There are also processed products made out of this fruit. There are coconut milk, coconut cream, coconut butter and coconut oil. The milk is usually used for the production of virgin coconut oil, which is used for cosmetics. The leftover fiber gotten from these processed products is used for feeding livestock.

Secondly, for non-culinary purposes, the leaves of coconut trees are used as materials for traditional way of roofing thatch. Also, the husk or the shells could be good source for charcoal. In the Philippines, people use the dried half coconut husks for sweeping floors. Moreover, the roots are used as a natural dye and even a medicine.


Survivability and Endangered Status

 Coconut palm is known as one of the most resilient and most abundant trees in tropical regions and Southeast Asian countries such as the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, etc. The Philippines is one of the leading countries of the coconut industry; it is the second to Indonesia as the top coconut products producer in the world. This country is the largest exporter of coconut products based on the fact that 64% of the world’s coconut oil is from the Philippines. In the Philippines, there are about 3.5 million coconut farmers and about 25 million Filipinos are directly and indirectly involved in coconut industry. Furthermore, almost 1.14% of the Philippines’ Gross National Product (GNP) is benefited from the coconut industry.




table of contents...



Potential Solutions


Even though coconut oil is commonly used in cooking, it brings impressive results when used as cosmetics for skin treatments. Fractioned coconut oil is the one used in manufacturing of skin essences, massage oils and cosmetics. It works as a skin moisturizer. Especially extra virgin coconut oil has great effects for both hair and skin care. Most commercial creams and lotions are predominantly water. The process that they enter the skin and makes skin feel smoother is only temporary. However, pure virgin coconut oil is different. It thwarts destructive free radical formation and protects against them. It also has effects of maintaining connective tissues strong and supple. When the oil is absorbed into the skin and the cell structure of connective tissues, it can limit the damage which may be caused by sun exposure. Therefore, it is very good for the people living in the Philippines since they are often exposed to strong sunlight. Below are 3 possibilities with an analysis of the advantages and disadvantages for each.  Along with each possibility is a current status report of progress made to date on each of the possibilities.


Possibility 1



Some cosmetics companies have started making organic cosmetics without any chemicals which might cause adverse reactions. One of the most important ingredients they use is coconut oil, because this oil can keep skin smooth and soft and help relieve dry and chapped skin. However, coconut oil skincare products sold in local cosmetics stores are very expensive for poor people since these stores (such as The Body Shop, Lush, Beauty Bar, etc.) are the branches of foreign companies. Thus, coconut oil products sold at those skincare stores are actually imports although the Philippines is the largest exporter of coconuts; it is a very ironic fact. Therefore, developing recipes for home-made organic cosmetics would be a good solution.


1. First of all, because of the absence of chemicals which might be toxic to skin, cosmetics made from coconut oil protect skin from skin diseases or side effects. One of the best properties of coconut oil is moisturizing and soothing effect and Coconut oil contained lip balm sooths dry and cracked lips. If this oil is used in making ointments, it will be very effective because of its sterilizing function. It can also be developed as a deodorant with its function of deodorization. Moreover, it is helpful for damaged hair, too. Coconut oil can be applied on all parts of skin including face. It is very good for skin with pimples as it helps reduce allergies.

2. Making organic cosmetics with coconut oil is very simple, does not cost a great deal, and does not take a long time to make. Also, not many ingredients are needed.


1. If there is no assistance from professional dermatologists, some mistakes can be made when making organic cosmetics by one ’s self, due to lack of profound background knowledge about skin itself.


2. Chemical cosmetics on the market mostly include antiseptics for long-lasting use. However, as organic cosmetics are made only with natural ingredients, they definitely do not have antiseptics. Thus, the term of validity may be shorter than other ordinary cosmetics although it may be helpful to store them in refrigerators. If an organic cosmetic is too large in quantity, it may be unusable soon as it can be spoiled in a short time.




table of contents...


Possibility 2



Psoriasis is a skin disease that many Filipinos have. It is a disease which affects the skin and joints. It commonly causes red scaly patches to appear on the skin. Skin rapidly accumulates at these sites and takes a silvery-white appearance. Plaques frequently occur on the skin of the elbows and knees. This may be cured by virgin coconut oil.


1. Dermatologists suggest applying medicated ointments or creams as a first step. If coconut ointments and facial creams are applied on the skin with psoriasis, it will be efficacious with its sterilizing effect and allergy reducing function.

2. Coconut oil creams and ointments applied directly to psoriatic plaques can help reduce inflammation, remove built-up scale, reduce skin turn over, and clear affected skin of plaques.


1. Applying ointments can be time consuming; it may not show effects quickly. Also, this may not be the final solution for the disease. There is another strong way to cure by exposing the skin in ultraviolet light.

2. It would be difficult for people who have this disease to continue applying ointments and creams if there is no effect shown rapidly. Even though coconut oil itself is not harmful, the other ingredients included in ointments may cause irritation.


table of contents...


Possibility 3



It seems like not many Filipinos know the effects of coconut oil. Even though it is often used in cooking, it is not usually used for cosmetic and skin treatment purposes. Making brochures about coconut oil's effects for skin care and the methods of how to make coconut oil cosmetics and distributing them to townspeople would be a good way to teach the good of this oil. It is also a good idea to show sample home-made products and to demonstrate the process of making coconut oil cosmetics.

It serves to ends if the chance of introducing the word of God and the Gospel is taken while teaching the wonderful ways of using coconut oil. Explaining the biblical rationale and principles regarding coconut oil would help spreading the Gospel. Although there are many ways to teach the word of God, it will be easily accepted by people if it is related with something that is relevant to their everyday lives.


1. People would be interested to know more about coconut oil and various ways to use this oil, and if they develop some more home-made cosmetics out of coconut oil, they might get chances to sell the products for the budget.

2. There would be no better result than the people’s acceptance of Jesus Christ. If they become Christians, their lives will be changed; it will eventually lead them to share the Gospel and the effects of coconut oil at the same time to other people as well.


1. If thorough explanations about coconut oil and about how to use it are not given, people might use it in a wrong way. One of the most important things to remember when teaching is to give correct and accurate directions.

2. The process of sharing the Gospel with coconut oil will not be able to give deep understandings about God; it might be temporary. People might easily forget it if there is no one to continue teaching the Bible and more things about God.



table of contents...




“Ancient Polynesians knew secrets of healthy skin.” archives.pireport.org. 3 May 2008.



“Coconut.” Wikipedia.org.  1 May 2008.


 “Coconut - cosmetics” in Plantcultures.org May 2008.


“Coconut oil.” Wikipedia.org.  2 May 2008.


“Coconut oil for your skin: Not all coconut oil is the same.” tiana-coconut.com. 2 May 2008.



“Coconut, the Soul Food of the Tropics.” vegparadise.com.  2 May 2008.


 “Coconut Tree.” blueplanetbiomes.org.  1 May 2008.


Cris, MsYas. Personal Interview. 3 May 2008.

Emma, Ms Araneta (Sr.Sales Consultant of LUSH). Personal Interview. 3 May 2008.

“Manufacturing Organic Coconut Oil.” organicfacts.net.  3 May 2008.

http://www.organicfacts.net/organic-oils/organic-coconut-oil/manufacturing organic-coconut-oil.html

“Planting & Care of the Coconut Palm.” ambergriscaye.com.  1 May 2008.


“Planting Coconut Trees.” belizebreeze.com.  1 May 2008.


“Psoriasis.” Wikipedia.org.  2 May 2008.


Ros, Oliart. “Meeting Abstracts.”   FASEB Journal   May 1998.

Shilhavy,  Brian and Marianita. “The Health Benefits of Virgin Coconut Oil” in Coconutoil.com.  1 May 2008.


 “Virgin Coconut Oil and Your Skin.” coconut-connections.com.  3 May 2008.





table of contents...

Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.