For the last several thousand years, people in tropical locales have used the coconut both for dietary and medicinal purposes. Modern research into the properties of coconuts, especially its oil, has supported ancient notions that the coconut is a healthy food.
It turns out that coconut oil is composed of an uncommon type of fat. Most animal and plant fats are made up of long-chain fatty acids. Coconut oil is made of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), which our bodies metabolize differently than long-chain fats. Most notably, unlike fats composed of long-chain fatty acids, coconut oil doesn't increase cholesterol in the blood stream. In fact, it also decreases the presence of cholesterol in the tissues of organs like the liver, effectively lowering cholesterol [source: Fife].
Coconut oil has also been found to possess other healing properties, including boosting the health of skin -- including improving dry lips. Because of its MCFAs, coconut oil is easily absorbed by the skin. It serves as an emollient (a softening agent) and a moisturizer. Even more, coconut oil allows for easier absorption of vitamins, including the fat-soluble vitamin E, an antioxidant that reduces the formation of free radicals that damage cells.