I heated up the coconut oil quite a bit because I was afraid it might harbor bacteria, then added essential oils. There was a big puff of smoke and now I’m afraid that I vaporized the effective part of the essential oils. Should I be concerned and start over? Should I wait until the coconut oil cools off more before adding the oils next time? And is my concern about the coconut oil potentially harboring bacteria valid?
Coconut oil does not harbour bacteria – bacteria actually don’t like living in oil at all, which is why you shouldn’t bother combining probiotics and the essential oils in any vaginal treatments. You just need to use hot water (either run the jar under hot water or sit whatever portion you are using in a glass cup or jar in hot water) for the coconut oil to warm it through to make it liquid. You should never heat it on the stove or under direct heat for vaginal applications.
When you heat oil up to smoke point, you actually change the oil for the worse, making it carcinogenic – this is why we are taught not to fry with virgin cold-pressed olive oil, which has a low smoke point, but to fry using oils that have a higher smoke point. Coconut oil has a very high smoke point, but once it smokes, it’s done for, so I would advise getting yourself a new jar of organic cold-pressed coconut oil. Non-organic coconut oil is sometimes extracted using chemical methods, while organic generally means cold-pressed – check the label. This preserves the antibacterial qualities of coconut oil (the lauric acid).
Also, never ever heat essential oils – you have vapourised the most important bits!