Can Coconut Oil Make Your Nails Grow Overnight? Here's What We Know

Something about quick results is fascinating for us humans. This is why we look for instant weight loss methods or overnight cures for acne. Your nails can be another area in which you're searching for speedy results, and we can see why. Long nails can sometimes feel like a privilege only a few people enjoy, while the rest of us are stuck with talons that chip easily or short claws that seem insistent on staying that way. 

Enter a home remedy that has been circulating on the internet for quite some time now — using coconut oil on your nails to make them grow faster (in fact, overnight). Is this true? Well, not necessarily. Experts maintain that there is no magic potion that will speed up your nail growth process. There are a lot of factors that go into nails that grow at a healthy rate — like the hand your nails are on, your age, hormone levels, your nail habits, nutrition, and overall health. As explained by dermatologist and trichologist Dr. Vandana Punjabi (via The Indian Express), "Younger people tend to have faster growing nails than older people, and men and pregnant women tend to experience faster nail growth than others. The average rate of growth of our fingernails is 3.77 mm per month and if you lose a fingernail, it may take about six months to grow back." 

Still, coconut oil can help your nails, even if it can't directly influence how quickly they grow.

Coconut oil can help keep your nails healthy, moisturized, and strong

Coconut oil can be an important ingredient in keeping your nails healthy and happy, which, in turn, can aid nail growth. 

According to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Orit Markowitz (via Byrdie), if you're looking to treat brittle and cracked nails, coconut oil can help. Dry and brittle nails break off a lot easier than moisturized ones, and this, of course, impacts nail growth. Everything from washing your hands several times a day to exposing your nails to harsh cleaning products can cause your nails to become dry. In addition to hydrating your nails, coconut oil can be used as a moisturizer for damaged cuticles, per Dr. Markowitz. "It's an ideal skin barrier that contains multiple fatty acids, which act as transepidermal water loss barriers," shared the expert. Paying attention to your cuticle health is an important part of growing healthy nails. 

Do you get a lot of hangnails? Coconut oil can help in that department too. Hangnails are another sign that your nails are in need of moisturizing. What's more, moisturizing your nails with coconut oil can help keep them from cracking. Cracked nails can invite fungi growth and lead to infections, according to Dr. Markowitz. Fungal infections can affect your nail bed and thereby also negatively impact nail growth. 

How to use coconut oil for your nail health

If you want to try the coconut oil home remedy for healthier nails, there are a few things to keep in mind, especially if you're thinking about leaving the oil on overnight. While the oil is considered largely non-allergenic, it can lead to clogged pores in people who are acne-prone. In a measure of how pore-clogging an ingredient can be, also called the comedogenic rating, coconut oil ranks at a 4, which is considered fairly high. While this is not a concern for your nail area, it can become a concern elsewhere in your body — like your face — if the oil were to get on your pillowcase or bedsheets.

Using coconut oil on your skin overnight involves warming the liquid for about 20 seconds and massaging the oil on to your nails and cuticle area. Take your time and make sure you apply the oil to all the areas that need some extra attention. When you're done, you can wear a pair of thin cotton gloves to avoid the oil from getting on your bedding and to keep the moisture in. If you want to skip the overnight process, you can simply soak your nails in warm coconut oil once a week, per dermatologist Dr. Sam Ellis