Should You Be Replacing Your Coconut Oil with Croc’ Oil?

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images


Each year, a new — typically botanic — oil surfaces as the magic potion for dry skin. Argan, coconut, almond, olive, and vitamin E are in the top tier. However, in a recent article by The Telegraph, it’s been proposed that the latest cure for scaly, lizard-like skin just might be sourced from the crocodile itself. And as the temperature drops this fall, you’ll likely turn to just about anything to keep your skin from turning crepe-y as a result of the upcoming moisture-zapping frigid weather. In that case, here’s everything you need to know about the bizarre beauty ingredient.

What does crocodile oil even mean?

“Crocodile oil is oil extracted from crocodile fat, which contains linoleic acid and omega fatty acids, ingredients that have been used to treat eczema and psoriasis,” says California-based dermatologist and author of Asian Beauty Secrets Marie Jhin, MD. If you find yourself shedding tears for the crocodiles, perhaps the ingredient isn’t for you. However, it should be noted that brands like Repcillin (the South African beauty brand The Telegraph noted manufactures Nile crocodile oil), work with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) ensuring that the animals they are sourcing the oil from are not nearing extinction. “Skincare brands like Repcillin describe their products as being humanely derived,” says New York City-based dermatologist Richard Mizuguchi, M.D. of Manhattan Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery. “There are many crocodile meat farms in South America and Africa that throwaway unwanted byproducts of their butchery. The fat is collected and processed into various components of moisturizers and soaps by these companies.” Repcillin’s press officer Helen Lebedeva confirmed this point with The Telegraph, also noting that the company’s oil is tested by the South Africa Bureau of Standards (SABS).

Why should you consider it?

“Humans have been using animal fat to make skin products and soaps for thousands of years,” says Dr. Mizuguchi . Dr. Jhin agrees referring to the animal fat commonly used in the wildly popular K-beauty market. “Donkey or horse oil is used in Korea,” she says. “It contains a lot of vitamins, which can have antioxidative properties.” So, what’s to love about the reptile elixir? “Crocodile oil contains more of the beneficial ingredients for human skin as compared to other animal-based products — or even coconut oil,” says Dr. Mizuguchi. “Long chain fatty acids, omega 3s, as well as antioxidants that are not usually present in mammals, are very abundant in crocodiles.”

How can you work it into your skincare regimen?

Just like coconut oil, crocodile oil’s moisturizing properties are rich enough to hydrate your skin and hair. Though it may not be as readily available as your beloved jar of coconut oil (which can be purchased at a local grocery or health food store), crocodile oil is becoming popular in products sold on Etsy and international online beauty shops. Head over to Repcillin’s site to shop around for crocodile oil-based hair and skincare products for you.

crocodile oil

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