In almost every tropical destination, a coconut is destined to be found. They sway in the palm-frond trees that provide shade, they’re crafted into refreshing drinks and bowls for your acai, and through their oil, they provide the bolstering properties in our Aloe Cream.
But the question arises: Each time you apply Aloe Cream to the parts of your skin that need TLC, how does coconut oil truly help?
Where’d It Come from?
The coconut is so world-renowned that it has not one place of origin but two: the Pacific basin and the Indian Ocean basin. In the Pacific, coconuts were first cultivated on islands in Southeast Asia, meaning the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the continent as well. In the Indian Ocean, the predominant center of cultivation was the southern periphery of India, including Sri Lanka, the Maldives, and the Laccadives. Historians believe that the coconut had grown in popularity through India’s trade routes, their introduction to Europeans, and their ability to float to both hemispheres.
Once discovered, coconuts took the world by storm. With their multipurpose properties as wood, oil, sap, and coir, they could be used to build civilizations and aid in transportation; they were also consumed for their protein and electrolyte properties.
Surprisingly, coconuts aren’t native to Hawaii and were introduced by early Polynesian voyagers hundreds of years ago.
How Do They Grow?
When we think about coconuts, we usually imagine a round, hairy, brown shell that encases ivory meat. However, this is only a variation of the coconut. There are 10 varieties total and they all range from green, orange, yellow, and brown with maturity.
Coconut trees are planted commercially in tropical lowlands, meaning they prefer humid temperatures. They tolerate a wide range of soil types if they are well-drained. Trees are resistant to salt spray and do well along shorelines, but can be grown inland. A minimum average air temperature of 72°F, annual rainfall of at least 30 inches, and full sunlight are required for successful cultivation.
The trees are classified as dwarf or tall; the average height for tall trees is 50 to 60 feet tall and 25 feet for dwarf trees. Coconut palms, which contain the seed or nut surrounded by the husk, can grow up to 18 inches in length and 12 inches in diameter. The nut itself can reach 6 to 8 inches in diameter with three sunken soft tissue spots called “eyes” at one end.
A coconut tree can be easily grown in your very own backyard, but they take about 15 to 20 years to fully grow and reach their capability to bear fruit. When grown from the fruit, a seedling should appear in three to six months.
Why It’s Fantastic for Our Bodies
One of the coconut’s best uses is its medicinal oil. Coconut oil is fat extracted from raw coconuts or dried coconut flakes. Thus, its emollient properties may make it beneficial for certain skin types, such as dry or normal-to-dry skin.
Coconut oil contains nourishing fatty acids that help hydrate and protect the skin. These include linoleic acid, which helps skin retain moisture, and lauric acid, which has antibacterial properties. Coconut oil also reduces inflammation by improving its antioxidant status. These antioxidants work by stabilizing free radicals in the body, neutralizing the reactive atoms that can contribute to inflammation. The anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties of coconut oil and its components can even help treat acne. The medium-chain fatty acids found in coconut oil also possess antimicrobial properties that can help treat acne and protect the skin from harmful bacteria. When treating wounds, coconut oil speeds up the healing process, improving antioxidant status and increasing levels of collagen, a protein that aids in wound healing.
That’s a whole lot of skin protection!
Why Does Surf Soap Use It?
By many cultures, the coconut is recognized as “the tree of life” for its plethora of benefits. Here at Surf Soap, we aim to be “the tree of life” for your hair and skincare - or the versatile product that suits your self-care needs.
Coconut oil is found in our Aloe Cream, a restorative cream that works to heal and protect your skin. It bolsters your skin’s protective barrier layer, trapping moisture inside so the skin remains supple and hydrated - this means that each time you use our Aloe Cream, you’re giving your dry or damaged skin the hydration it craves after a long day at the beach. You could also reinforce this protective barrier to prevent your skin from becoming dry and arid. It’s also found in our Dawn Patrol products - including All-In-One and Rehab Balm. That’s a whole lotta coco-love!
Not only does coconut oil protect what we can’t see, but it plumps the skin, serving as an anti-aging moisturizer - so you can look as young as you may feel. ;)
So the next time you see a coconut on vacation, thank it for its wide range of benefits!