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MCT Oil: What Is It, and Where Did It Come From?
Remember the coconut oil craze of 2016-2017?
The stuff was everywhere.
And those stats are proof. Wow!
With coconut oil being a go-to for just about anything these days, I wanted to explore one of the components of the ever-so-popular coconut oil: MCT oil.
I keep hearing it as a sort of buzzword in the health and wellness industry, so I wanted to learn more about it and why it's growing in popularity.
Well, after doing some serious research, I decided to make MCT oil the star of the newest product in my skincare line.
Ta-da! I'm introducing the Alana Mitchell Organic MCT Facial Oil!
This is one of the first beauty products of its kind on the market, and I'm really proud of it.
I'll get more in-depth about why MCT oil makes such an awesome skincare ingredient later, but the formula absorbs seamlessly into the skin as a moisturizer and can also remove makeup and serve as a lip oil.
Seriously, though - what can't coconuts in skincare do?
I've also chosen to include coconut oil in Alana Mitchell Night R1 Retinol Facial Oil, Alana Mitchell Daily OC Cream Cleanser, and Alana Mitchell Daily Vitamin C Moisturizer for its moisturizing and soothing properties.
So, without further ado, let's jump into what MCT oil is, where it came from, and why it'll be a skincare ingredient here to stay!
What Is MCT Oil?
MCT stands for “medium-chain triglycerides.”
Coconut oil is the most common source of MCTs.
So - you guessed it - MCT oil is derived from coconut oil.
MCT oil looks very similar to coconut oil, but the consistency of it is thinner - more like a traditional oil.
MCT oil is generally composed of the C8 and C10 medium-chain triglycerides.
Although MCT oil is man-made in the sense that it's extracted manually, it's a pure oil overall.
Full-fat dairy, such as extra heavy whipping cream, and palm kernel oil are two more examples of medium-chain triglyceride food sources.
You may have heard of the ketogenic (keto) diet that's been popular as of late.
It basically consists of replacing net carbohydrates with higher amounts of healthy fats and protein.
Influencers recommend that 30-60 percent of the fat intake in the diet comes from MCTs, like butter and cheese.
MCT oil can also be found in ingestible liquid and powder forms at most major nutritional supplement stores and online.
This has slowly spread into mainstream health and wellness trends to become a lifestyle change.
Forget What You’ve Learned About Fats
If you’ve been trained to fear saturated fat, you’re not alone.
It’s been practically pounded into our heads that saturated fats are scary.
But new research shows that not all saturated fats are created equal or deserve their bad reputation.
The fat found in pure MCT oil is rapidly absorbed, and therefore, the body metabolizes it for fuel.
It's like a natural energy boost!
Who knows - MCT oil might just start replacing my morning Starbucks runs!
As for fats found in longer-chain fats like butter, olive oil, and beef fat, those aren’t so much used for fuel as they are stored in the body.
Think of those types of fats as “slow burners,” unlike MCT oil.
MCT oil provides a higher burn rate, meaning your body is able to quickly metabolize the fat, giving your metabolism some extra "oomph" in the process.
In fact, most of the health benefits surrounding the new MCT oil craze are founded on weight loss and metabolism.
One study, in particular, found that people saw more weight loss and decreased body fat from consuming MCT oil rather than olive oil.
Isn’t that crazy?
In the study, 49 overweight men and women between the ages of 19-50 used either MCT oil or olive oil as part of a weight loss program for 16 weeks.
Their body weight and circumference were measured and recorded on a weekly basis.
Additionally, MCTs pass directly from the digestive system to the bloodstream without being altered.
This means they're easy to digest, which can be beneficial to those who suffer from gastrointestinal problems.
If you’re interested in adding MCT oil as a dietary supplement to your own personal nutrition, it’s important to consult with your doctor first.
MCT oil is part of a healthy diet, but it's not a miracle cure!
The Health Benefits of MCT Oil
MCTs may also help with balancing hormones.
Research suggests that medium-chain fats can be beneficial for maintaining a healthy weight by helping to stabilize hormones and improve insulin stability.
And, like probiotics (a popular favorite for restoring and maintaining gut health), MCTs have natural antiviral and antibacterial properties.
There's limited evidence that they may help balance gut bacteria, combat pathogenic bacteria, and improve gut health over time.
Healthy fats are a vital component to overall immune function, and since MCTs can be more easily used by the body, it might be especially beneficial for those who have trouble absorbing fats and for those who may struggle with immune function.
Other studies also link MCTs to decreased cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer's, but that research is pretty limited so far.
MCT Oil vs. Coconut Oil: What's the Difference?
Well, to put it simply, coconut oil doesn’t offer the same benefits as pure MCT oil - even though MCTs are found in coconut oil.
It sounds kind of confusing, I know!
But it all comes down to the kind of saturated fat found in those medium chains.
Plus, you don't have to wait for MCT oil to turn into a liquid from a solid, and it's not as thick or greasy as coconut oil.
What Are the Skincare Benefits of MCT Oil?
This is the question that I'm sure you've been waiting for!
I decided to start testing MCT oil as a skincare ingredient because of the popularity of coconut oil.
Since they're so similar, they should have similar benefits, right?!
Well, first of all, it contains those healthy fatty acids that I've been talking about.
Plus, it's naturally rich in antioxidants an antibacterial properties.
My favorite part is that MCT oil provides lightweight moisture and conditioning to the skin.
And, it has multiple beauty uses, which I'll explain in just a second!
Let’s Talk Lips
Dry, chapped lips are an issue year-round, but especially during drier, colder months (speaking of which, when will this winter end?!).
And for those of us who prefer our skin to be adequately moisturized, there’s nothing worse than cracking, peeling lips.
Since lips don’t have their own oil glands, using a skincare oil creates a barrier against the drying effects of weather and indoor heat.
Applying 1-2 drops of MCT oil to the lips provides gentle moisture to make them softer.
And it's not greasy or sticky!
Here's a pro tip: Before applying lip oil, exfoliate your lips gently.
You can do this by using a new, clean toothbrush and gently rubbing the surface of your lips in a circular motion to remove flakiness.
Another tip from yours truly: Try applying lip oil at night before you go to bed.
Oil treatments work wonderfully when they have time to sink in overnight.
I bet your lips will be extra moisturized, smooth, and ready to smooch in the morning (if you should feel so inclined)!
Cleansing and Makeup Removal in One
You may have heard about the 10-step skincare process as part of Korean beauty.
The first step is an initial cleanse with either micellar water or an oil-based cleanser to remove makeup and prep the skin.
More people are beginning to use this in their everyday skincare routine.
You can use MCT oil as a first cleanse before continuing on to your traditional gel or foaming cleanser.
Here's how I do it: Apply 1-4 drops of MCT oil into hands, then rub it into your face in circular motions.
Use a washcloth or facial tissue to remove, then rinse your face with water.
Your makeup should be gone, and your skin will be ready for the next step of your routine!
MCT Oil = Moisture
If you're looking to add some lightweight moisture to your skin, MCT oil has got you covered!
And it works for all skin types!
I love applying it before bed and feeling how soft my skin is in the morning.
Simply apply 1-4 drops directly to your skin, or add 1-4 drops per application to your favorite moisturizer to relieve dryness.
My Other Favorite Products That Contain Coconut
Eminence Coconut Age Corrective Moisturizer
Contains: Coconut Water, Coconut Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride
Winner of The Best "Youth-Boosting Moisturizer" in the 2018 New Beauty Awards! Coconut-centric ingredients work to reverse the aging process and rejuvenate the appearance of your skin. This daily cream moisturizer is a great way to rejuvenate your skin and revive a youthful glow.
Rhonda Allison Amino Peptide Moisturizer
Contains: Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride
This moisturizer is formulated with natural amino acids, vitamins, and proteins to promote elasticity and encourage the healing process within the skin. Added hydration and nourishment will leave your skin looking healthy, glowing, and youthful!
Clayton Shagal Hydra Light Cream
Contains: Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride
This lightweight, nourishing cream soothes oily, combo, and normal skin types. It helps to restore moisture levels within the top layers of the skin while adding hydration and suppleness. Skin will feel softer and appear more radiant!
Generally speaking, coconuts make great skincare ingredients!
So, let's recap: Basically, MCT oil is a more lightweight version of coconut oil that has multiple health and beauty uses.
I hope you enjoyed learning about it just as much as I did!
I think this is one trend that could be here to stay, and I definitely think we'll be seeing more MCT oil products pop up as the year goes on.
I'm so excited for you to try my new MCT Facial Oil!
If you're considering supplements, just remember to consult your doctor before incorporating it into your daily diet.
Beauties, have you tried MCT oil? What's your experience? If you haven't tried it yet, are you curious to? Share your thoughts in the comments!
MCT C8 will not clog pores, neither should C10, fatty acids with a chain length between 11-24 (C12+) will though. Caproic & Caprylic Acid is fine for pores whereas Lauric acid and anything longer is not pore-safe. Coconut oil as a whole should not be used on acne prone skin.
How interesting!! Thank you for the suggestion!
I’m not one to normally comment or read these types of blogs, but I have a suggestion: make homemade mayonnaise out of MCT oil then put it on… whatever it is you put skincare products on. There’s dozens of YouTube videos on how to make mayo with a hand blender in about a minute, and a 32oz bottle of MCT oil can be had for under $20 (the rest of the ingredients [a dab of mustard, salt and lemon juice and an egg] are functionally free).
Great question!! My MCT oil is fractionated, which means the coconut oil is divided into “pieces” (think of the distillation process). I really do think this makes it less pore-clogging. That being said, you may find that it breaks you out if used too often, but as a lady with drier skin, I can use it every day. :)
Since this can me derived from coconut does that mean it shares the same comodogenic properties becuase coconut can clog up pores and create blackheads. Just wondering
Hi, Lisa! No, the MCT oil doesn’t leave an oily feel or a film after makeup removal. My skin actually feels quite smooth!
The study they did between olive oil and MCT oil is interesting. I think you are right, we will start to see more products with MCT oil popping up, considering all the benefits. You said you can use MCT oil for cleansing and makeup removal Does this leave an oily feel to the skin? Just curious.