Coconut Oil for Skin Whitening: Does it Work & How Do You Use it?

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If you’re trying to lighten and whiten your skin, then chances are that you’ve already familiarized yourself with the many skin whitening products available on the market, along with their ingredients.

It doesn’t take long to realize that many of those ingredients have natural origins, making it easy to create your own version of those expensive whitening creams at home.

One ingredient that’s a staple in many skin whitening recipes is coconut oil. Why? And how can you use coconut oil to lighten your skin tone? Read on – you’re about to find out…

The Benefits of Coconut Oil for the Skin on Your Face & Body

Coconut oil is extremely beneficial for the skin for a few different reasons:

Organic coconut oil

Lightens & Brightens the Skin

When it comes to skin whitening, coconut oil doesn’t have a huge number of studies to back it up.

However, the ingredient is loaded with vitamin E, an ingredient that has been proven to help whiten and balance an uneven skin tone [1].

It also acts as a natural sunscreen, making it great for preventing sun damage.

You’ll also find several essential fatty acids in coconut oil. Just like vitamin E, these help coconut oil lighten skin, which can improve skin complexion overall.

Moisturizes the Skin

One of the reasons why coconut oil has become such a cult favorite among those with dry skin is because of its hydrating effects. Thanks to its saturated fat content, it not only increases the skin’s moisture levels but also helps to prevent transepidermal water loss, leaving you with glowing skin.

Antioxidants Reduce the Appearance of Fine Lines & Wrinkles

Coconut oil is packed with a number of powerful antioxidants [2]. If you’ve done your research into anti-aging skincare, then you’ll know that antioxidants are vital for repairing and protecting skin cells from oxidative stress.

This helps to slow down the skin aging process, keeping fine lines and wrinkles at bay for longer.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties

From acne to eczema to rosacea, inflammation in the skin can manifest in so many different ways. However, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, coconut oil is able to soothe irritated, sensitive skin. It’ll calm redness to keep your overall skin tone looking clear and healthy.

Treatment of sensitive skin

Antimicrobial Properties

Ever wondered why people use coconut oil to treat skin infections and blemishes? It’s because of the ingredient’s antimicrobial properties, which enable it to heal microbial infections.

These properties can be attributed to three specific fatty acids in coconut oil; lauric, capric, and caprylic acids.

What Type of Coconut Oil Should You Be Using on Your Skin?

Before you rush to your kitchen and start whipping up some of the recipes we’re about to share, it’s important that you understand the difference between the various types of coconut oil for skin whitening.

When it comes to your skin, stay away from refined coconut oils. Instead, look for raw, virgin coconut oil – this ensures that the oil has retained all of its potent compounds, rather than losing them during processing.

Organic coconut oil would be a bonus too, as this saves you from exposing your skin to the chemicals used to produce non-organic coconut oil.

9 Best Ways to Use Coconut Oil for Skin Whitening

Now that you know how coconut oil can benefit your skin, along with how to choose the best coconut oil to use on your skin, you’re ready to give the ingredient a try. How? Here are nine ways to use coconut oil for skin whitening:

A Mixture of Coconut Oil & Lemon Juice Will Fade Hyperpigmentation

Coconut oil mixture with lemon extract

When it comes to DIY skin whitening ingredients, lemon juice is one of the best. Whether you go for fresh lemon juice or the bottled kind, lemon juice is packed with citric acid, an alpha-hydroxy acid that’s revered for its ability to exfoliate and lighten skin.

All you need to do is mix together 2 tablespoons of pure coconut oil with 10 drops of lemon juice. Then, use a cotton ball to dab this onto your skin, focusing on areas with dark spots.

Leave the lemon juice mixture on your face for 10-15 minutes before rinsing off with lukewarm water. Apply coconut oil and lemon juice daily and you’ll soon notice lighter and brighter skin.

A Coconut Oil & Honey Face Mask Will Give Your Skin a Glow

Honey is another natural ingredient loved for its skin brightening effects. It also acts as a skin moisturizer and is packed with active enzymes that boost skin health in so many ways.

Our favorite way to use honey on the skin is through a face mask. To make a mask, mix together 1 tablespoon each of raw honey, coconut oil, and lemon juice.

Apply the resulting paste to your face and then relax for 10-15 minutes while it works its magic. Then, rinse your face with lukewarm water to reveal a lighter skin complexion beneath.

A Natural Scrub Made From Coconut Oil & Sugar Can Be Used on the Skin & Lips

If you’re trying to lighten skin, then you need to understand the importance of exfoliation. This technique not only enables you to slough off dull and discolored skin cells but also speeds up natural cell turnover.

This is the rate at which your skin produces fresh, new, and evenly-colored skin cells. The faster this happens, the sooner you’ll be able to sport a more even complexion.

Cosmetologist applying lip treatment on patient

There are many ways to exfoliate, but if you’d like a method that uses only natural ingredients, mix up a homemade scrub using half a cup of virgin coconut oil and a few tablespoons of granulated sugar.

Massage this into your skin after cleansing, before washing off, and continuing on with the rest of your skincare routine.

This mixture can be used as a lip scrub too to give you a smoother and softer pout.

Coconut Oil & Baking Soda Will Tackle Areas of Discoloration

Baking soda is another popular skin brightening ingredient, and coconut oil works very well when combined with it. Not only does baking soda have its own skin whitening properties, but it acts as an exfoliant too.

You’ll need to mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda with half a tablespoon of lemon juice and a quarter tablespoon of pure coconut oil. You can also add in a few drops of essential oil, such as tea tree or lavender.

Once you’ve mixed this into a paste, apply it to your skin, focusing on the discolored areas. Let it sit for 4-5 minutes and then rinse it off with lukewarm water.

Coconut Oil & Turmeric Can Be Used for Bleaching Dark Spots

Turmeric essential oil for skincare and dark spots

Research has found that turmeric has powerful skin brightening effects [3]. In fact, it can work in as little as three weeks, so long as you use it regularly.

Even better, turmeric is bursting with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that will leave your complexion clear and smooth.

There are a few ways in which you can use turmeric and coconut oil for skin whitening, but here’s our favorite: mix together 2 tablespoons of turmeric powder with enough pure coconut oil to form a thick paste.

Apply it to any dark spots on your skin and leave it overnight. In the morning, rinse it off with lukewarm water.

A Scrub Made From Coconut Oil & Rice Flour Evens Skin Tone

We’ve already discussed the importance of exfoliation when it comes to skin whitening. However, if you have very sensitive skin, you may find the sugar scrub we featured earlier to be a little too abrasive.

If that’s the case, we’d recommend trying this rice flour-based scrub instead. It’s much smoother, so won’t irritate your skin. Rice is also rich in amino acids that can help to boost skin elasticity and slow down the aging process.

The easiest way to make this scrub is by adding all of these natural ingredients into a jar and then shaking them to mix. You’ll need 1 teaspoon of coconut oil, 4 teaspoons of rice flour, and 1 tablespoon of rice oil.

Incorporating 1 teaspoon of rice starch as well can help to give the mixture a creamier texture. Combine all of the ingredients and then use the grainy mixture on your face as a scrub.

A Mask Made From Coconut Oil & Yogurt Will Keep Your Face, Neck, and Underarms Bright & Fair

Lactic acid is a popular skin whitening ingredient. This alpha-hydroxy acid is great for exfoliating and lightening the skin, yet it also has hydrating properties that make it suitable for all skin types, including dry skin.

However, rather than purchasing pure lactic acid, turn your attention to yogurt instead. It contains this AHA in its natural form, making it the perfect way to lighten skin at home.

The best way to apply coconut oil and yogurt to your skin? By turning them into a face mask. Simply mix 1 tablespoon of plain yogurt with 2 teaspoons of virgin coconut oil.

You may need to microwave the coconut oil for a few seconds first to liquify it. Then, apply this to your face and leave it on for 10-15 minutes before rinsing off.

How to Make an Overnight Coconut Oil Moisturizer at Home

Most of the coconut oil for skin whitening recipes that we’ve featured so far have been masks and scrubs – formulas that are designed to be rinsed off. However, if you’d like to make the most of coconut oil’s hydrating effects, you can use it as a moisturizer instead.

Simply use it on its own and slather only coconut oil over your skin before going to bed. Alternatively, add some to a blender, along with some grapeseed oil or another essential oil of your choosing, before whipping it up and applying it to your skin.

Use it regularly to experience lighter and brighter skin in a matter of weeks.

Woman pouring homemade moisturizer

A Coconut Oil Bath

Want an easy way for your entire body to benefit from the skin whitening effects of coconut oil? Try adding it to your next bath!

We would recommend using a quarter cup of coconut oil, adding this directly into hot water so that it melts in. For extra skin benefits, stir in a quarter of a cup of Epsom salts as well.

How to Use Coconut Water for Skin Whitening

Coconut oil for skin whitening works well, but so do other coconut-derived ingredients. If you have access to coconut water, mix this with some honey or yogurt to create a mask. Alternatively, use coconut water as a cleanser the next time you’re washing your face for a skin lightening boost.

And yes, coconut milk and cream work just as well too!

Are There Any Side Effects When Using a Coconut Oil Treatment for Skin Lightening?

The only downside to using coconut oil for skin whitening is that this ingredient is considered to be highly comedogenic. This means that there’s a big chance that it could end up blocking your pores.

This won’t matter so much for those with normal or dry skin, but if you have oily and acne-prone skin, then you’ll know that clogged pores mean that a breakout won’t be too far away.

That said, coconut oil does also offer up benefits for those with acne-prone skin, making it worth trying at least once.

After all, everyone’s skin reacts differently to ingredients. So, start off with a very small amount of coconut oil to see how your skin tolerates it before adding the ingredient to your daily skincare routine.


Woman applying homemade moisturizer after shower

Q: Which oil is best for skin whitening?

For skin whitening, coconut oil is one of the best ingredients to use, especially when mixed with lemon juice.

Q: Is the application of coconut oil good for complexion?

Yes, coconut oil is packed with vitamin E and fatty acids that’ll improve skin complexion with their skin brightening properties.

Q: Does coconut oil whitening skin?

Yes, coconut oil works to whiten dark spots and discoloration.

Q: Is coconut oil good for skin whitening?

Yes, coconut oil is great for skin whitening, especially when combined with lemon juice.

Q: How can I whiten my skin with oil?

Use coconut oil to make a face mask or a scrub and apply this to your skin regularly to enjoy its skin whitening effects and experience a radiant glow.

Q: How can I whiten my face in 2 days?

Exfoliating your skin and using lemon juice as a spot treatment can help to whiten skin in 2 days.

Q: Does coconut oil brighten skin?

Yes, coconut oil can leave your skin complexion clear and brighter.

Q: Can coconut oil make you darker?

There is no evidence to show that coconut oil has skin darkening effects. Instead, the opposite seems to be true.

Q: How long does it take to see results and effects when using coconut oil for skin whitening?

If you mix coconut oil with other lightening ingredients, such as lemon juice and turmeric, you should notice your dark spots beginning to fade in just 3 weeks.

Q: What ingredients can be used with coconut oil for DIY beauty products?

Coconut oil mixes well with other natural oils, such as olive oil, grapeseed oil, and tea tree oil.

Conclusion: Is it Worth Using Coconut Oil for Skin Whitening?

When it comes to natural skin whitening ingredients, coconut oil comes out on top. This humble ingredient not only helps to lighten dark spots and dark circles, but will also hydrate your skin, reduce the appearance of wrinkles, and give you a luminous glow from head to toe.



Avatar for Megan Foley

Megan has been a freelance writer and editor since 2016. In that time, she’s penned a diverse collection of articles for online publication, with a focus on skincare and beauty. From in-depth product reviews to concise marketing content, Megan is passionate about developing content that informs, entertains, and inspires.