Coconut oil is as effective and safe as mineral oil when used as a moisturizer for mild to moderate xerosis (dry skin) and was shown in one study to reduce protein loss when used in hair. Before the advent of electrical lighting, coconut oil was the primary oil used for illumination in India and was exported as cochin oil.
Coconut oil is an important base ingredient for the manufacture of soap. Soap made with coconut oil tends to be hard, though it retains more water than soap made with other oils and therefore increases manufacturer yields. It is more soluble in hard water and salt water than other soaps allowing it to lather more easily. A basic coconut oil soap is clear when melted and a bright white when hardened.
A repellent made from coconut oil may be effective to prevent tungiasis-causing sand fleas from penetrating the skin.