Benefits of Fractionated Coconut Oil
To understand the benefits of fractionated coconut oil (FCO), it may be best to explain what it is and how it is different from regular coconut oil. This oil may also be listed as Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, which reflects the name of the medium chain triglycerides (MCT) it is composed of.
The regular coconut oil you may be familiar with has a melting point of about 76 degrees F. It is also composed of long chain fatty acids (carbon chains which are 16-20 carbon units long) which are mostly unsaturated, meaning there are carbon to carbon double bonds. Regular coconut oil remains a solid, yellowish-white butter at room temperature and begins to liquify around 76 degrees F.
In contrast, the benefits from fractionated coconut oil come from its shorter fatty acid triglycerides, 8 (Caprylic) to 10 carbons (Capric) long MCTs, without the double bonds. This means the oil is totally saturated, and without the double bonds which are prone to oxidation and susceptible to rancidity, fractionated coconut oil has a much longer shelf life (indefinite). Fractionated coconut oil remains a clear liquid and has very good emollient and moisturing properties.
The process of separating the shorter 8 to 10 carbon chains from the longer ones is a completely chemical free process. This adds to the benefits of fractionated coconut oil in that there are no chemical residues to be concerned about. The MCTs are separated through stream distillation.
Animal studies suggest that caprylic acid may aid in reducing various bacteria and act as an efficient antimicrobial agent. Further research will be needed to test these results on human. http://www.cabi.org/animalscience/Uploads/File/AnimalScience/additionalFiles/WPSAStrasbourgAug2007/12.pdf
Skin friendly benefits of fractionated coconut oil include that is has a non-greasy feel, absorbs quickly, is non-staining, and nearly odorless. This makes FCO a very good oil to combine with essential oils as it doesn't compete with the fragrance and helps to penetrate the skin better. FCOs liquid state adds to the benefits of fractionated coconut oil in that it is a good carrier for transdermal therapeutic ingredients and a frequent oil of choice among massage therapists.
Instead of an oily or greasy feel to the skin, FCO contributes a more smooth, silky feel and helps formulations feels less heavy. It also helps to build a barrier on the skin to prevent moisture loss without clogging pores.