Over the years I have come across people who have experienced side effects when switching to using virgin coconut oil, both in cooking and in beauty treatments. In most cases these have been very minor and can usually be avoided by taking a few simple steps. I have heard of more serious cases where there has been an allergic reaction but this is very rare.
Before you panic, most people never notice any coconut oil side effects at all, unless you count the benefits they enjoy by using it. The most common side effect when people start using coconut oil for cooking will be either diarrhea or constipation – and usually quite mild cases. When you think about this it sort of makes sense. Most of us are sensitive to changes in our diets – the change of food or water when traveling abroad is a good example.
The way to reduce this occurrence is to slowly make the transition to using coconut oil. Don’t just suddenly stop using your old olive oil or whatever and go straight to nothing but coconut oil – not unless you want to spend some extra time in the bathroom! Do things gradually over a few weeks. It is usually the change which causes any side effects rather than the coconut oil itself.
A similar situation can sometimes occur when people start using a beauty product made from coconut oil – most commonly coconut oil shampoo, body lotions and moisturizer. Here the symptoms are usually mild skin irritation and itching. Normally this will settle down in a few days. Again it is the body adjusting to a new substance and some people are more sensitive than others.
One common complaint I have received is when people are using it to treat spots or mild acne. Some people find that the condition gets worse immediately after treatment but if they continue, it will soon settle down and the coconut oil begins to clear up their skin. Again this is not unique to the oil but more to do with the change – any new treatment can have this side effect.
Can Coconut Oil be Bad for You?
For the vast majority it is a very safe natural ingredient with many benefits. In a very small number of cases there can be an allergic reaction so some care should be taken. I always recommend you try using coconut oil slowly at first and for beauty products, try using it on a small area first to see if there is any reaction. If you suffer from common allergies it may be wise to seek professional advice before using any different products – just to be safe.
For most people, just starting to use coconut oil slowly should avoid any unwanted side effects. Keep focused on the good things this oil can do for you but don’t try to be Mr. or Mrs. Coconut oil overnight, or you could be scratching on the toilet for a while!