Date of Award


Degree Type

Selective Evidence-Based Medicine Review

Degree Name

Master of Science in Health Sciences - Physician Assistant


Physician Assistant Studies

Department Chair

John Cavenagh, MBA, PhD, PA-C


Objective: The objective of this selective EBM review is to determine whether or not coconut oil is effective in treating dermatologic conditions, particularly acute tungiasis and atopic dermatitis, which cause xerosis, skin atrophy, and lesions.

Study Design: This is a systematic review of a cohort study and two double blind randomized control trials written in English, published between 2008 – 2015.

Data Sources: Resources for this review were found through peer reviewed articles published on PubMed databases

Outcomes Measured: Appearance of the lesions caused by atopic dermatitis or acute tungiasis were assessed in regards to size, erythema, edema, and oozing, as well as subjective factors such as the intensity of the pruritis, sleep loss, and pain.

Results: Out of the three studies analyzing the effects of coconut oil, all found that coconut oil is effective in improving dermatologic conditions. In Evangelista et al.’s study, using a SCORAD (scoring atopic dermatitis), significant improvements (CI=95%; p=0.001) in pediatric atopic dermatitis group using coconut oil were noted. There was a 68.23% and 38.13% improvement in the coconut oil group and mineral oil group respectively1. In Verallo-Rowell et al.’s study, there was a significant improvement (CI=95%, p=0.004) in the SCORAD for adult atopic dermatitis, with a 46.8% and 30.% improvement in the coconut oil group and the control mineral oil group respectively6. In Gitau et al.’s cohort study, from baseline, there was a significant improvement (p=0.001) in acute tungiasis symptoms by 67.8% from baseline2.

Conclusions: These studies show that coconut oil can significantly improve symptoms of atopic dermatitis and acute tungiasis. Though studies did not include several other dermatologic conditions, coconut oil shows to improve lesions and discomfort.