Coconut water: is it really the elixir of life? The drink’s recent surge in popularity has many curious about its wide-ranging list of health and beauty benefits. In an effort to find the truth, we asked the experts to dive into some of these claims, specifically about coconut water for skin.
Coconut water is an organic product rich in nutrients and vitamins. Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Stacey B. Schulman, MS, RDN, CEDRD, CDN points to the vitamin C, which helps with collagen formation. Coconut water also contains vitamins A and K and is “an excellent source of the B-complex vitamins.” Antioxidants are a vital component as these will work to remove toxins from the body. In addition to protein and iron, coconut water has high levels of potassium, which Schulman says promotes hydration balance and calcium, which promotes skin growth. Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Erin Gilbert, MD, PhD says that, in order to systemically absorb the nutrients in coconut water, one needs to maintain a healthy gut.
Schulman explains that coconut water “acts an anti-inflammatory, detoxifier and an anti-microbial—all of which work to decrease incidences of acne.” Additionally, she notes, “coconut water can decrease the excess oils on your skin, which reduces breakouts.”
Dr. Gilbert says the vitamins in coconut water have been “shown to decrease the rate of skin aging, allowing the skin to repair and restore itself more effectively.” The proteins (cytokines) present are responsible for encouraging cell growth and cell activation. Additionally, Schulman points to the vitamin C, which can protect against and repair sun damage.
Coconut water has incredible hydrating qualities and is highly effective as a cleanser. As Dr. Gilbert notes, “A lot of people are not adequately hydrated,” which has extremely adverse affects on the skin (dryness, itchy patches, dark circles, fine lines). Coconut water naturally moisturizes without adding excess oil and, as Schulman says, the presence of potassium helps with hydration balance for the fluids and electrolyte levels in your body.
Drinking coconut water is a healthy habit that, as Dr. Gilbert explains, can inspire more healthy behavior. She says, “It’s getting people to move away from beverages that are higher in sugar,” and drink more water, which is often directly associated with healthier skin nutrition.
Be wary of how much coconut water you drink. As Schulman points out, “drinking too much coconut water could cause an increase in sugar content in blood.” Also, high levels of potassium (aka hyperkalemia) are very dangerous and can lead to life threatening heart conditions.