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Coconut Oil: THE DEFINITIVE SCIENTIFIC GUIDE for Hair and Skin

Famous and ubiquitous, coconut oil is in fashion and everywhere: in food, drink, skin and hair. Good guy or villain, scholars have not yet entered into an agreement, since the ingredient in question has advantages and disadvantages, and only recently, has it been gaining prominence and, consequently, has been studied in more depth. For more references, check out: dht blocking shampoo reviews

As we are a beauty blog, in today's post, we will then talk in more detail about the properties of coconut oil and its effects on hair and skin, under a more scientific bias, as opposed to the rest of the literature that is found on the internet today, which gives priority to a more superficial aspect of the theme.

Understanding a little more about your chemistry

Coconut oil is extracted from the core or pulp of the ripe fruit from the coconut tree (Cocos Nucifera) and is a complex lipid mixture composed mainly of fatty acids and triglycerides. One of the main characteristics of this oil, which makes it so special, is its chemical composition, with a high concentration of medium chain saturated fatty acids (between 50 to 60%), which are: lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid.

What are fatty acids?

Fatty acids are predominantly polar hydrocarbons (organic compounds) that have, in their molecular structure, a chemical group called carboxylic acid (OOH).

Such acids, due to the same chemical attributes described above, have hydrophobic characteristics (repel water) and are therefore classified as lipids.

What is the difference between Saturated and Installed?

Fatty acids can have in their molecular structure, single bonds (known as saturated) or double bonds (known as unsaturated).

• Saturated bond: contains a sufficient number of hydrogen atoms capable of saturating all carbon atoms, therefore having only simple bonds between them.

• Unsaturated bond: does not contain enough hydrogen atoms to saturate all carbon atoms, which therefore form double bonds with each other.

What are the sizes of your chains and their importance?

1. Short Chain: they have in their molecular structure a number of up to 6 carbon atoms.

2. Medium Chain: have in their molecular structure 8 to 14 carbon atoms

3. Long Chain: molecules with up to 14 carbons

4. Very Long Chain: molecules that have more than 22 carbons.

Short and medium chains have reduced molecule sizes and therefore penetrate the skin more effectively than long or very long structures. The presence of unsaturated bonds also makes permeation even more difficult, since they cause an angulation in the shape of the molecule.

Now that you have understood what fatty acids are and their biochemical characteristics, let's see some examples present in vegetable oils.

How does coconut oil interact with hair structures?

Studies show that these medium chain saturated fatty acids (lauric, capric and caprylic), present in coconut oil, due to their smaller size and linear conformation of the molecules, are able to penetrate the cuticle and cortex of the hair more effectively, diffusing through the intercellular cementum, preventing water from penetrating the fiber, causing its swelling and subsequent rupture. Thus, the protein loss of the hair is considerably reduced, both in healthy hair, as well as in bleached and chemically treated hair. In addition, its lubricating effect reduces the friction caused during the brushing or combing process of the hair, reducing tension and the consequent breakage of the strands.