Coconut water is a clear liquid that is derived from the young, still-ripening nuts of Cocos nucifera, the coconut tree. Although this tree grows throughout all of the tropical areas of the world, this is the only accepted species of this type of palm. Coconut water is created in the interior of the coconut as it develops. Its purpose is to cushion and protect the endosperm – the very central part of the coconut – as the nut ripens, much as an egg white protects the yolk. As the coconut develops, the water begins to be absorbed into the fibers as the white coconut flesh or meat is created on the inner side of the shell. While still young and green, however, the coconut can contain between 300 and 1,000 millimeters (approximately 1¼ cups to 1 quart, in English measurement), depending upon the size of the coconut. Coconut water should not be confused with “coconut milk,” which is made from ripened coconuts and has a white color; this is a combination of liquid and fibers of the coconut "meat."
The constituents of coconut milk are, in addition to water, primarily a range of electrolytes – specifically, potassium, sodium, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus – but also traces of iron and copper. Because coconut water comes from the coconut before it is fully ripened, it has very low levels of fat and protein. Throughout the world, particularly in tropical countries, coconut water is prized as a beverage. It is often served directly from a freshly opened green coconut, but packaged brands of coconut water are also available. The taste is very mildly salty and refreshing. One of the remarkable features of coconut water is that it is completely sterile as it comes out of the coconut and has a very similar pH range and electrolyte levels as human blood. As such, it does not harm blood cells. Therefore, coconut water has actually been used many times as an emergency source for blood transfusions to maintain blood volume until an injured person can be given human plasma. Coconut water has also been found to be very beneficial as a drink to help rehydrate patients suffering from cholera or other debilitating diseases.
Aside from these uses, coconut water has also been found to have some important benefits for skin care. The most obvious reason for using coconut water from Cocos nucifera is its absolute purity and sterility; coconut water is filtered by the roots, trunks and developing fruit of the tree, after all. As an ingredient in skin care products, coconut water can provide much-needed moisture to thirsty skin. In addition, the electrolytes and other trace minerals will help contribute important minerals for the continued health of the skin cells and underlying tissue layers. Although coconut water is extracted from young coconuts, while they are still green and have not yet developed the rich while layer, there still are some traces of important amino acids in this ingredient. Of particular importance are lysine and proline, amino acids included in coconut water which help to strengthen the important collagen layer of the skin.
As an ingredient in skin care products, coconut water can provide much-needed moisture to thirsty skin.
As a gentle, healing ingredient in skin care products, coconut water helps to provide pure moisture, add necessary electrolytes and other trace metals and add important amino acids to help develop and strengthen the collagen layer of the skin. The results are a soothing reaction for red, inflamed and dehydrated skin caused by over-exposure to the sun, topical reaction to environmental pollutants and even just wind and cold. By helping to strengthen the collagen cells, long-term skin strength and smoothness can help to minimize the development of fine lines and wrinkles.
Since coconut is certainly a tree nut, anyone with a tree nut allergy may have a reaction to coconut products. Although coconut water has such low level of coconut proteins – which are usually the source of an allergic reaction – it is unlikely that use of a skin care product containing coconut water will cause any problems. Still, anyone with a history of tree nut allergies should contact their physician before using a skin care product containing coconut water. If any rashes, reddening, inflammation or other skin reactions occur during the use of such a skin care product, immediately case use and contact a physician.