Refined vs. Unrefined Coconut Oil: What’s the Difference?

Posted by Michael Ogbebor on


Many people have heard of razor bumps, also called pseudofolliculitis barbae. Razor bumps are benign skin lesions that are caused by shaving. Not all men get razor bumps, but those who do can suffer from redness, inflammation, and itching along with the bumps.

Coconut oil on the other hand has been used for thousands of years by the people of the tropical islands that grow the plant. It’s been used for cooking, helping with digestion, and even beauty products, such as soaps, shampoos, and moisturizers. Coconut oil is highly sought after because of its high levels of lauric acid, which has anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral properties.

Coconut oil also has several other uses that you may not know about. One of these is the treatment for razor bumps. 

To find out if refined or unrefined coconut oil works better for this purpose, let’s take a look at how coconut oil can help with razor bumps and which kind is better for this purpose.

What are Razor Bumps? 

Razor bumps are small red bumps on the skin when you shave. They can be itchy and uncomfortable but are usually harmless unless left untreated. They are not contagious and do not spread from person to person.

Razor bumps happen when hair follicles become irritated near the skin's surface. The irritated follicle then releases an irritant that causes inflammation and swelling in the epidermis (the top layer of skin). This irritation can be caused by bacteria, poor hygiene, shaving too close to the skin, or even wearing tight clothing that rubs against your skin.

Production of Refined Coconut Oil vs Unrefined Coconut Oil 

Coconut oil has become a popular natural remedy for many skin conditions, including razor bumps. But what is the difference between refined and unrefined coconut oil, and which is best for treating this condition? Both have their benefits, but which one is right for you? 

Let’s start by saying, the major difference between refined and unrefined coconut oil is how they’re produced, which in turn affects some of their physical properties, such as flavour and smoke point. 

Unrefined coconut oil also known as virgin oil is the one that’s pressed directly from the coconut meat and hasn’t undergone further processing. 

Unrefined Coconut oil can be extracted from coconuts using one of two methods: dry or wet.

Dry extraction uses a machine to press coconut oil out of dried coconut flesh, or copra. This method is less common, as it produces a lower quality oil.

Wet extraction, on the other hand, involves pressing both coconut milk and coconut oil out of fresh coconuts and then separating the two. This technique results in a higher quality oil, which is why most unrefined coconut oils are extracted using the wet process.

Refined Coconut oil is pressed from copra as this process is similar to the dry extraction of unrefined coconut oil. However, for manufacturers, processes differ but most oil processes undergo 

  1. Degumming: Degumming removes gums from the coconut oil, which can change its texture and quality. To separate gum from oil, manufacturers wash it in water.
  2. Neutralizing. Sodium hydroxide, or lye, is added to the oil and forms a soap with free fatty acids in the oil. The oil is then washed with water, removing the soap and free fatty acids. This reduces the risk of rancidity, as free fatty acids are prone to oxidation.
  3. Bleaching. The oil is “bleached” by filtering it through an activated clay filter. 
  4. Deodorizing. The oil is heat-deodorized to remove any remaining coconut scent or taste.

Refined coconut oil having gone through processing is flavourless and odourless which makes it preferable to most of its users. 

Benefits of Unrefined Coconut Oil and Refined Coconut Oil For Treating Razor Bumps.

Using either unrefined coconut oil or refined oil for treating razor bumps is solely dependent on its user. Both are well capable of doing a great job as they possess identical nutrient profiles but personal preference may determine which to go for. 

Unrefined coconut oil is considered by some to be healthier since it hasn’t undergone much purification and most of its natural constituents are still intact such as fatty acids, lauric acids and a strong scent. While refined coconut oil has been processed to remove impurities, a milder scent and a neutral flavour. 

Regardless of their similar nutrient content, both refined and unrefined coconut oils are great sources of healthy fat and contain antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties which are great for treating razor bumps. 


Razor bumps are a common condition that affects many men and women who shave, especially those with curly hair. There are different natural ways to treat this condition without needing to buy expensive medication and Coconut oil has been proven to be extremely effective at preventing and treating razor bumps. 

You should try it out!



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