Natural Remedies

Coconut Oil Cure For Acne

| Modified on Sep 17, 2023

While acne may seem more common in teenagers, it is also a common adult skin condition. Although a number of conventional remedies are available, many of these options only contribute to skin irritation and inflammation. With that realization, we have looked for a variety of other natural cures for acne and have found one we think is particularly effective - coconut oil.

The Problem - Acne

Acne is a common skin condition that occurs as the pores in the skin become clogged or plugged with oil and dead skin cells. While the condition is considered most common on the face, it also often appears on the neck, chest, back, and shoulders. The condition appears in different forms but typically involves reddish bumps and even lesions on the skin. Other forms of acne may present as a more white-colored raised spot or whitehead or a black or darkened spot in the pore known as a blackhead.

The Solution - Coconut Oil

A number of factors contribute to acne; however, the overproduction of oil, inconsistent shedding of dead skin cells, and buildup of bacteria are the most common contributing factors. As such, an effective remedy must be able to compensate for each of these factors. Coconut oil is a natural product that combats infection, soothes the skin, and naturally heals acne and other skin conditions.

What Is Coconut Oil?

Coconut oil is a substance derived from the meat of matured coconuts. The oil is a healthy fat that can be used for treating a wide variety of health conditions, including skin maladies.

How Does Coconut Oil Work?

Coconut oil is naturally an antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, and antioxidant. These properties make it effective for eliminating bacteria and other factors that may contribute to the development of acne. The oil also reduces inflammation and delivers important nutrients to the skin including vitamin E, vitamin K, caprylic acid, lauric acid, and capric acid.

How Do I Use Coconut Oil to Treat Acne?

To use the coconut oil externally, cleanse your skin with a mild cleansing agent. Then apply a small amount of oil to the skin as you would a moisturizer. This treatment is best done at night, so the oil can absorb into the skin for an extended period. You may also want to use the oil internally by taking 1 tablespoon by mouth with each meal.

Coconut oil is one of the most effective options for naturally healing acne. Give it a try and let us know how it works for you. Continue reading below for reviews from our readers who have tried coconut oil for acne!

Related Links:

12 Proven Natural Remedies for Acne
Coconut Oil Benefits, Side Effects and Reviews
Glowing Skin Remedies
Natural Blackhead Remedies: Clear Skin Solutions
Natural Remedies for Cystic Acne
Natural Remedies for Rosacea

18 User Reviews

5 star (17) 

Posted by Jessica (Statesboro, Georgia) on 01/29/2014

I have been plagued with terrible skin since I was a teenager and I only recently (within the last year and a half) began washing my face with a coconut oil scrub. I also moisturize with coconut oil that stays in liquid form even if you refrigerate it. I can't even remember the last time my skin broke out. It's such a relief and so much better than any other medicinal product I've ever tried, which usually only irritated my sensitive skin and made my problems worse. I've also tried olive oil, but the coconut oil really seems to work much better, and it smells great.

Coconut Oil
Posted by Mike (Madison, Ms) on 07/06/2013

At about 44 I started getting persistant acne on my forehead. Although I have a pretty good natural and organic food diet this became a problem for me. I tried many things including apple cider vinegar ingested and applied topically.

What seems to have made a dramatic difference is coconut oil taken orally. I came upon this purely by accident as I began adding a tablespoon of cocnut oil to my morning coffee each day just because I wanted to get the other health benefits of cococnut oil in my diet. After a couple of weeks of doing this I noticed that the acne had cleared quite considerably. That was the only dietary change that I can recall making so I am assuming it has helped. I would say it has given me about 75% improvement in the facial acne.

Coconut oil in my coffee also has given me a great boost and feeling of wellness in the morning. It seems to be a simple change with great benefits and I like the taste as well.

Coconut Oil
Posted by Kat (Ashland, Or) on 06/06/2012

I have been suffering from a severe round of cystic acne caused by a hormonal IUD. I was preparing to start taking antibiotics and have cortisone injections in my face, but decided to try something natural first. After much trial and error, I have found the perfect regimen for my skin. I made a kind of salve using coconut oil, teatree oil and epsom salt. Using a double boiler, I brought about 6tbsp coconut oil to an almost boil, I added about 4 drops of teatree oil, a few tablespoons boiling water then just poured the epsom salts until about half of the liquid was absorbed. I use this as a cleanser, and it works like magic to exfoliate and to remove makeup and dirt from my skin. Then I put a thin layer over my face and go to sleep. If I do get a pimple (which has become rare) I dissolve some extra epsom salts in hot water and pat it over the area. It is also very important to drink lots of water and to remember that problem skin is not your fault!

Coconut Oil
Posted by Cb (S, Sc) on 11/07/2011

I have started using Coconut oil for acne and I have always had OILY skin.... I was very reluctant to try it but had several (non-acne) spots I wanted to see what the coconut oil would do for my skin after looking up effects of coconut oil. I slowly expanded the areas I treated with coconut oil and eventually (after about a week) I was using it on my entire face after I washed it. I now use it every morning and night after I wash my face and I have NOT had any acne since I started using it. I did have several areas that seemed to be like clogged pores around my nose but they never got real red like before I used coconut oil taking at least 7-10 days to get rid of instead I was able to squeeze the stuff out of the pores very easily (not to mention I was quite surprised). I'm sure not everyone will have the same experience but I'm quite pleased and will continue to use it on my skin as long as I can get it.

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Posted by Drew (Reno, Nevada) on 08/29/2011

I always had acne problems scince high school but, after following a routine and keeping m face clean I haven't scene a pimple sense.

First I started my morning with washing my face with just a plain non-foaming hand soap. Later in the afternoon I would Wash my face with just plain water. Finally at night I would put some coconut W/ Aloe lotion and just go to sleep. Thats It! I was so excited when I first saw results!

Coconut Oil
Posted by Caitlin (Austin, Tx) on 12/05/2010

I had back acne with dark spots. After using coconut oil (having my husband rub it into my back most nights), in 3 months, my back became totally clear of all blemishes.. Coconut oil is also clearing dark spots & long-term acne scars on my face and legs. Takes a good year but, it does work. For example: I've had a keloid scar on my leg from a deep gash I got while climbing a fence when I was a 13 year old tomboy. I'm 50ish now and with continued use of coconut oil, the keloid scar has flatened, lightened, and is barely noticeable. In fact, most of the scars on my legs are disappearing. My husband said my skin is getting flawless. My face is not quite there yet because I have not totally eliminated my worst allergy/candida foods: milk, wheat, & sugar. These products ravage my skin. But... Work is in progress. (:

Replied by Caitlin
(Austin, Tx)

This is an update on my skin: I have finally accepted how badly reative my skin is to not only my allergic foods (milk, wheat, sugar) but also the chemicals in the soaps I once used. Now, coconut oil and baking soda are my ONLY cleaning products for my face and body. Here's how I exclusively clean my body: I oll down for 5 minutes with warm 2 TAB of VCO; then buff with a clean, white, DRY cloth. In the shower, I follow with a baking soda & water mixture scrub-down. This is follwed by a very lukewarm water rinse (winter) or cold shower rinse (summer). Afterward, I lightly spray on organic cologne and I'm good to go. I'm very clean AND my husband says I feel soft and smell great! My skin looks AMAZING, having lost most of the wrinkles and dryness that plagued me, even on my hands! This took many months of consistancy before I detoxed and achieved such astounding results. I also became committed to drinking 3/32oz jars of water daily and that surely helps. My face is a problem all its own, what with scars, rashes, dryness, large pores.... Well, the VCOs is getting rid of it all and in particular, wrinkles. It is unbelievable! Of course, not rashing at all still depends upon what allergic foods I avoid. Here's what I do for my face: I rinse a cotton round with warm water and add 1/4 tsp of VCO to the round. I rub over my face. (I add straight baking soda with the VCO once a week for exfoliation). Using another damp round, I wipe off the excess oil. I then rinse my face with cold water & while leaving the water on, I dot & smooth on pure Vit-E (a very small amount). I do this twice a day, upon awakening and before bed. That's it. I only wear organic eye liner, blush, and lipstick now when I need to dress up a little. I frequently oil pull before bed. I brush my teeth with a mixture someone else suggested of VCO, BS, mint oil, Hydrogen Peroxide. I now eat mostly a low carb diet of Meat, Veggies, low-carb fruit and if I must cheat, I make sure it is 1 meal, once a week. I'm learning that consistancy wins the day, rather than expecting instant results. I sign off with a blessing to all seeking answers. Good luck on this journey of learning.

Replied by Jojo
(London, Uk)

I think you have done a great job. It is hard sticking with a routine, but you have had brilliant results. I am inspired to try your method. Did you detox with supplements or just top using commercial products?

Replied by Caitlin
(Ausin, Tx)

To Jojo from London: Yes indeed, it is hard sticking to a pattern you decide works best for you. Well, as of today 8/23/2013, I have lost 15 pounds in 3 months (slow by some standards but perfect for me). My skin has improved even more. Lately, people are asking me if I'm using a skin lightener as my face has gotten much brighter. I attribute this to the baking soda masks and the coconut oil cleansing as I don't use any lightening products. The same is happening to the rest of my body, albeit at a slower pace. Further cleaning, I believe, is due to the 32oz mason jar of water I drink 3 times a day (8-12, 12-4, 4-8). The main focus for me, however, is keeping the 3 "deadlies" (milk, sugar, wheat) out of my diet except for that one meal every Saturday which I believe stimulates (by challenge) my immune system. Never eating the things I like, grew up with, celebrated with family and friends was making me extremely depressed. Once a week works for me and I'm now a very happy camper while seeking ultimate health for my body. Thanks for your commit... purrrrrr

Replied by Caitlin
(Ausin, Tx)

I omitted answering if I use commercial internal cleansing products....I don't... I tried but get severe reactions. I only internally cleanse with water or green juice fasts with 1 tsps VCO 3 times a day. The VCO keeps me functional!

I made one change to my facial cleansing routine, I nixed using Vit-E due to an allergic reaction. Could it possibly have had soy in it? This was a good nix as I found that CO was getting great results. I use simple LouAna coconut oil on skin and face; both look 90% better. When I also drink my 3-32oz jugs of water and eat MY healthy way, I look gorgeous. It's scary how quickly "gorgeous" happens when you do what you should have done years ago!

I love that you can use Dr. Bonner's soaps. I've repeatedly tried them all and still get extremely dry and rashy. But, I live with a super sensitive body to all soap mixtures except my own. However, my family tolerates Dr. Bonner's well, over most anything we have ever used. And, like you, I love my green smoothies! There's such a big difference when you drink them for breakfast, right? However, I tend to get super hungry about 2 hours later so I take a tsp of VCO after mine and I'm good to go till around 3pm.

Here's what I currently do:

Morning and Bedtime Daily face wash:

Scrub LouAna CO onto face, neck, & around ears with damp cotton pad; wipe off with another damp round. Splash with cold water. I'm makeup-allergic, so, I'm good to go!

My Daily or every other day "Body Oil-down" & shower:

First Pre-mix wash solution in empty liquid dish-soap bottle

1. 3 TABs of Baking soda

2. 5 drops of a favorite organic scent

3. Fill to top with lukewarm water and shake

Next: Smear body down with 2-4 Tab of coconut oil. Let sit 5 minutes. Scrub off with DRY, rough, white cloth. Throw out cloth. (I purchase 12-24 pack in automotive)

Total time: 10 minutes

Next: Get into shower and apply wash solution to clean, damp bath cloth. Rub down well. Rinse with very LUKEWARM water. Yes, you're clean because the oil got the dirt!

Total time: 5-7 minutes.

Thanks to a poster, I use ACV as a deodorant. Smell DOES go away in 15 minutes.

I honestly spend less time bathing (and conserving water) than I ever did when I took standard showers and baths with extremely hot water damaging my skin.

As far as ingestion of VCO, I take a teaspoon when I have a tummy ache (infrequently now), or need a better nights rest. I use the LouAnan tub for cooking and my precious organic VCO as mainly medicinal. This is way more affordable for me. I now take ACV (2Tsp) twice weekly.

Thanks for the question. Peace To All, I'm out! Caitlin

Coconut Oil
Posted by Tasha (East Coast, Usa) on 09/23/2010

I have suffered from acne for over 18 years, I'm 31 now and am dealing with the worst of it in the last few years. Mine is cystic so it is painful regardless of the size and it scars. I have found what works for me. I cleanse my face morning and night with aveeno scrubbing clothes and then at night apply a very THIN layer of virgin coconut oil with a single drop of Tea Tree Oil. Once a week I will swab my face with Apple Cider Vinegar right before applying the VCO. My skin is glowing, clear and by morning my pores are small and my face is smooth and supple. I also drink ACV every 3 to 4 days in blueberry/pom juice, but I doubt I owe it the benefit.

Coconut Oil
Posted by Jessica (Oshkosh, Wi Usa) on 05/11/2010

I have suffered from extreme acne for over four years. I am very anti-medication and always look for alternative medicine (ie. natural oils, silver water, ect). I finally was fed up enough that I made an appointment to see a dermatologist. My body was covered in huge, painful pimples. Mostly my back and some on my face. It was by word of mouth, from a friend equally as commited to alternative medicine, that I heard about Coconut Oil. I saw immediate results. Some go through a detox stage, as I did from taking internally, but saw clearing of my back acne within 24 hours of topical use. AMAZING!!! It also got rid of my candida (an over production of yeast in the digestive system that makes you extremely bloated after meals) - This stuff is a God-Sent!

Replied by Vanilla
(New York, Ny)

Response to:Jessica from Oshkosh, Wi Usa: I have also been suffering from back acne for years. Currently, I have back acne plus blemishes/scars all over my back (mostly the top area near the shoulders)from previous acne that hasn't perhaps healed properly. I just wanted to know in detail how you apply the coconut oil (i.e. topically? internally?) and how often (only after shower? 2-3 times a day?), and how long you leave it on (i.e. Overnight? 15mins?) and in what quantity (1 teaspoon?). I have decided to give coconut oil a try with my back acne. Yesterday, I applied an ample amount (well, just enough to cover the area in a thin filament) of coconut oil on my top back area after a shower and left it on. Today, I haven't noticed much change except my shoulder area feels a bit bumpier (whiteheads?) and no signs of clearing of the blemishes(maybe too early to tell?). I don't know if the appearance of an increase in bumps is a good thing (pulling toxins out?) or a bad thing (bad reaction?)

I will continue to apply coconut oil on my back everyday after each shower for at least 2-3 weeks to give it a fair shot. Any suggestions or comments or helpful tips/techniques are always welcome! :)

Coconut Oil
Posted by Adele (New York, New York) on 12/03/2008

I had acne for over 15 years and tried everything from alcohol witch hazel, neutrogena,and even a doctor had prescribed glycolic acid, all of which worked slightly but then stopped. I had dermatologists suggest using dial soap to kill bacteria but what was I to moisturize with. I think within those 15 years I have spent about $1200-$3000 in skin/acne wash and moisturizers.

The simplest solution for me, only realized after hyperpigmentation and awful bumps in centralied areas:

1. daily jog/use trampoline and drink green smoothie (kale, apple, carrot) in the mornings
2. wash face with Dr Bronners peppermint soap
3. moisturize with COCONUT OIL.

That's it!! and this works regardless of stage in life (puberty, older age)...very simple and effective.

Coconut Oil
Posted by Tumbleweed (Los Angeles, California) on 11/01/2008

For moisturising after acne treatment (H2peroxide) i have gone to using coconut oil, because vasaline is a petroleum byproduct. I keep a big pot available at all times and slather it on at night.You think your skin could never absorb this amount of oil,but it does and you dont smell like a coconut. It is amazing stuff and is part of my acne treatment, as its also antibacterial. Personally i think acne has more to do with overstressed liver organ, and working on that as well as skin is a good plan.

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Posted by Lavonne (Sydney, Australia) on 10/08/2008

I have had acne all my l life and have tried everything. AFter getting very frustrated I decided to do what my grandma always suggested. I started using coconut oil on my face, as a moisturiser, a couple of months ago and I am loving it. When using it you may get put off in the first week or so as the initial couple of weeks you will break out (some bad some very bad). Basically it's the coconut oil detoxoing your skin. That happened to me and I had to just keep up with it so as to see the long term results. Now my skin is clearer and scars are lighter. Remember that pure coconut oil is antibacterial, antiviral and best of all it's not bad fat.I have started taking the EVCO (3 tbsps per day) and am noticing the difference internally as well. I have a very low immune system and I am noticing that I don't catch colds easily, I am more active, clearer mentally and overall wonderful.I am glad I gave it a go and now am seeing the results. It is also great used in the oil cleansing method used by a lot of people (including me). I am so happy that I don't use chemicals any more.. It feels so much better. My grandma was right and I owe this to her.

PS: you have to have a healthy diet. I experiented with my foods as well and noticed what made me break out.... sweets (all kinds), fried foods, caffeine, alcohol and dairy products especially cheese. I now know if I have any of these foods i will break out.

Replied by Sheila
(London, England)


I would like to know from any body if bad skin breakouts is normal when using coconut oil.I started using coconut oil & for the first week my skin was great. But the next week my skin just flared up so bad, spots everywhere even on places that I never had spots before. So for fear I stopped. If I continue will it get better? If so how long must I use it to see a result or how long does the flare ups last? I would like to continue if there is light at the end of my dark tunnel. Thanks

Replied by Cat
(Austin, Tx)

I had the same experience and was not sure if it was ACV or CO. I quit both for about 2 months as the rash seemed to get worse. I still used the coconut oil (CO) on my body, but not my face. Finally the rash cleared up but my face was left a mess. Then, I went back to using it; just a dab to moisturize instead of a slather and it worked fine. As Now and finally, I use CO alone to cleanse my face and I tolerate it very well; which lets me know that I was going through a detox/cleanse. Now I put a small glob on a large cotton round and clean my face with it before I cold shower in the morning and the last thing at night before bed. I'll never wash my face with soap again. I don't use anything else except I exfoliate with cayenne pepper and a dab of CO once a week, careful not getting the cayenne pepper into my eyes. This does work for me. My skin has lost the darker spots, is softer and the lines are slowly disappearing. I'm also back to taking ACV but only 1 tablspoon in 32 oz mug I sip for about an hour in the morning. The ACV is slowly brightening up my face and mood, helping my vision, increasing my thinking process. My advice: go slowly with these remedies. Don't take in or put on too much at first or you will experience a detox. If you have to, break it off a bit until your body adjusts; then, slowly reintroduce and see its affect. Your body; your way. Peace out!

Coconut Oil
Posted by Crystal (Ohio) on 05/02/2008

I started taking extra virgin coconut oil in order to asisst in losing weight-it has not done that but I do notice a massive difference in my complexion. I have had acne since highschool-since taking EVCO, I do not break out anymore. for a month my skin has been clear! Crazy but true.

Coconut Oil
Posted by Rachel (Pittsburgh, PA) on 08/21/2007

Coconut oil used as a daliy and nightly moisturizer instead of chemical riden synthetics healed my dry, acne-prone skin!

Coconut Oil
Posted by C.J. (Rossford, Ohio) on 06/26/2007

I developed adult acne at age 18 despite dry skin. Recently, I was told to take zinc for my acne, but was already taking 200% and didn't want to risk overdosing, so I thought I'd crush a tablet and make it into a mask with coconut oil. Coconut oil sounded really good to me as it would moisturize and fight acne at the same time. Using this mask daily has made my acne much less red and started the healing process on my lingering acne scars. The zinc promotes healing and the coconut oil is supposed to have antibiotic properties. I crush one zinc tablet and add the contents of one coconut oil capsule to make a mask. Leave it on for 20-60 minutes. The longer the better, in my experience. Rinse it off with water and a mild soap. Follow up with a balancing toner.

Coconut Oil
Posted by Amy (Boise, Idaho) on 01/17/2007

I have been using topical prescription acne meds for 2 years and have done pretty well. This winter I have had a terrible time with dry skin and acne. I have tried exfoliators and lots of moisturizer to relieve the dry skin flakes and have seen no improvement. Just more pimples and flakes. One morning I woke up with a large rash on my neck where I had used an exfoliator. That night I started using coconut oil on my face and neck. (not virgin, Spectrum brand refined) My neck looked much better the next day and I did not wake up with any new pimples which I was very surprised. It was scary putting something so oily on my face! My large pimples under my neck went away in 3 days. My flaky skin was gone in one day. My skin looks great, soon I will try the virgin coconut oil for my face and to include in my diet. This is the first time I have ever been able to say that something natural and possibly a fad REALLY worked for me.

Coconut Oil
Posted by Mia (USA) on 03/22/2006

Organic Unrefined coconut oil cleared my face of blemishes and marks. I started breaking out on my face a couple months ago and I didn't know what to do. I tried everything. Then my dad told me about coconut oil and the health benefits it has. I did alot of research for it and it seemed like a good skin remedy. I decided to try it. I noticed a HUGE difference the next day. It has cleared my skin incredibly. It has made my skin soft and glowing just like it had been before. Coconut oil has also made me more energetic and even healthier. IT IS AN AMAZING MIRACLE CURE!!

Coconut Oil
Posted by Ann (Reading, England) on 02/08/2006

I suffered from acne, tried most products in the shelf but nothing seemed to work. A friend told me about coconut oil which i have been using for the last five months all the acne cleared and the marks are clearing gradually. alt is a miracle cure!

Coconut Oil
Posted by Samantha (Moravia, IA) on 10/17/2005

I got some coconut oil from a friend that told me to put it on at night before i went to bed. I do not know what kind of coconut oil it is, but i put it on every night. I have always had a problem with acne and red blemishes on my face. The coconut oil cleared my face within days. I was stunned. I have tried face cleansers, proactive, skin buffers, etc. nothing worked for me. I will forever be grateful for the tip to use coconut oil.