Health Benefits of Coconut Oil for Lips

Medically Reviewed by Debra Jaliman, MD on July 23, 2023
3 min read

If you’ve ever had dry, chapped lips, you know that finding relief is a top priority. There are many lip products on the market, but you may want to take a more natural route. What are the benefits of coconut oil for your lips?

Coconut oil is extracted from the coconut and retains beneficial components from the fruit. With a mild and sweet taste, coconut oil has natural properties that are good for your skin. Dermatologists often recommend coconut oil for its moisturizing and anti-aging properties, and it has a lot to offer.

Fat content. Though the concentration isn't high, coconut oil does contain trace amounts of vitamins or minerals. It has a 100% fat content, with 80% to 90% of that being saturated fat. This type of fat isn't healthy to eat in high quantities, but it gives coconut oil a firmness not found in other oils. Coconut oil is a solid at room temperature and begins to melt around 78 degrees Fahrenheit.

Fatty acids. Lauric acid represents 47% of the fatty acids in coconut oil. When eaten, lauric acid can contribute to bad cholesterol levels in your bloodstream. When applied to your skin, however, lauric acid has antimicrobial properties that are good for wounds and preventing bacterial infection. If you have an open wound, coconut oil may help to kill bacteria, preventing them from causing further damage.‌

Understanding the formulation. Many studies have shown the benefits of coconut oil for skin. It’s important to keep in mind that the primary base of those findings is for one particular coconut oil preparation, one that is specially designed for quick absorption that has medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). This is different from the jarred kind that is commercially available. 

MCTs have a smaller chemical structure than other types of coconut oil. A larger chemical composition cannot seep into your skin as easily, so it may remain on the surface. If you’re looking for an easily absorbed coconut oil, make sure you read labels to determine the refinement of your coconut oil choice.

Provides a barrier. Even though coconut oil doesn’t have a high nutrient content that provides specific benefits when applied topically, it does protect your skin. The barrier created by coconut oil blocks bacteria and irritants from causing more damage. This is especially helpful if your lips have an open sore that is exposed to air.

Moisturizes. The lauric acid in coconut oil has nourishing properties that seep into your skin. Some coconut oils absorb quickly, providing moisture to heal dry, chapped lips. Keep in mind that coconut oil can only do so much. You’ll want to determine the cause of your chapped lips so you can prevent it again in the future.

No additives. There should only be one ingredient in coconut oil. Always check the label to make sure that's all your getting. With no additives, it is safe for use around your mouth and is safe for ingestion. Baby and children’s skin is especially sensitive. Lip balm with added ingredients may irritate their skin. If your baby or young child needs something for chapped lips, coconut oil is a safe option.

Anti-inflammatory properties.Inflammation happens on your skin when you have a scrape, wound, or even a virus that causes damage. When your body senses damage, it floods the infected areas with white blood cells for protection and healing. This can lead to:

  • Redness
  • Warmth
  • Swelling

Coconut oil soothes these symptoms and provides relief to your skin.

Limitations in effectiveness. If you have a more severe skin condition, medication may be required for treatment. Coconut oil has limitations since it has no active ingredients. If your symptoms continue without improving, talk to your doctor.

Potential allergen. There's always the chance of an allergic reaction. If you apply coconut oil to your lips and notice signs of an allergic reaction, call your doctor immediately.