Cocoa Butter Benefits:
Cocoa butter is a popular product that is used in many bath and beauty products. Specifically skin care, to help promote skin and body health. Cocoa itself has researched healing properties and has been used in conjunction with other natural medicines for over 3000 years. Cocoa butter benefits will be explored more within this article.
According to published literature, cocoa usage dates back many years, and has a “rich history of human use”. In fact, it’s been noted to be used for nutritional and medicinal purposes by Mayan and Aztec civilizations.
Cocoa consumption and specific compounds have been associated with reduce risks of chronic diseases. Furthermore, having anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, according to one annual review published in NIH, 2013.
It has also been reported that consumption of cocoa rich phytochemicals may help skin health.
Some research focuses on cocoa powder, and compounds called phytochemicals, in cocoa itself. The cocoa plant contains a wide range of beneficial components. However, the process of extraction, roasting, and fermentation, may change the chemical profiles of cocoa components.
In this post, we’ll talk about cocoa butter, and it’s potential benefits when added to your skin and health care regimen.
Related Article: Let’s Make it “Butter”: All about Shea Butter and its Benefits for the Skin and Body
What is Cocoa Butter?
Cocoa butter (also called theobroma oil) is a type of fat found in cocoa beans. The fat is extracted from these beans and turned into a butter-like substance. It can be extracted in a multiple step process which includes fermentation, drying, roasting and then finally, pressing.
The purpose of this is to separate the fat, which is your cocoa butter. The resultant is a pale yellow, actually edible vegetable fat.
This butter is used in many types of beauty and health products. For example;
- skin creams,
- even homemade soaps.
Like other natural butter’s, cocoa butter is actually available to the average Joe. Oftentimes, cocoa butter is a go to, or staple, for home DIYer’s of “all-natural” skincare products.
Cocoa Butter Benefits:
Whether or not you prefer cocoa butter, shea butter, or any other skin additive, is very subjective, in nature. Factually, certain compounds makeup cocoa butter. However, whether or not a person likes the feel of it, is certainly a personal preference.
Below are some potential benefits of using products containing cocoa butter on the skin.
Dense Moisturizing For The Skin:
Cocoa butter is rich in fats, more so than many other types of extracted “butters”. The moisturizing properties of this ingredient, makes cocoa butter one of the more sought after products.
Cocoa butter is high in fatty acids, which have been noted for there ability to hydrate and nourish the skin. Fatty acids can help retain moisture, as well as create a barrier for the skin.
Anecdotal Evidence Suggests it has use in Reducing The Appearance of Stretch Marks:
Many “stretch mark diminishing” creams and lotions contain cocoa butter. Cocoa butter is believed to help reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
However, what does the literature say?
One Ex-Vivo study demonstrated that cocoa polyphenols can improve skin elasticity and skin tone.
Polyphenols are a high quality antioxidant found in cocoa.
Some experimental and epidemiological evidence even suggests that the intake of cocoa polyphenols has other health benefits. For example, reducing the risk of cardiovascular events, blood pressure lowering activity, anti-inflammatory, and improving endothelial function.
One can imagine, evidence such as this, has brought cocoa itself more to mainstream media and production on how manufactures and companies can harness the power of cocoa through butters, oils etc.
It’s important to note however, that other studies like this one in 2008, found that when applying lotion containing cocoa butter to reduce developing striae gravidarum in pregnant women, no reduction was noted.
Works As a Good Lip Balm:
Cocoa butter is an all natural, (actually) edible substance. Along with it’s dense, thick, smooth texture, and the facts it’s an emollient, makes it a popular ingredient for lip balm.
Cocoa butter is an effective moisturizer that can penetrate into the layers of your skin. When it is applied to the lips daily, it can help prevent cracking and a chapped-lip appearance.
Protects Your Skin:
Cocoa butter creates a formidable barrier between your skin and the outside world. Notably, due to it’s thick, dense structure. With this butter on your skin, contaminants and UV rays may be decreased (potentially helping decrease the signs of aging), as well as helping to lock-in moisture.
Do not use this as a sunblock agent, however, by itself!
Cocoa (itself) consumption with high amounts of flavanol, also help with dermal blood flow. Furthermore, it increases photoprotection and can help with overall skin health, according to one study in 2007.
However, we are left with the imposing question as to whether once altered and extrated into cocoa butter, is the effectiveness of the benefits from consumed cocoa, retained?
Related Article: Let’s Make it “Butter” Series: All about Mango Butter and its Benefits for the Skin and Body
Great For Your Scalp:
Finally, with the fatty acid chains and dense texture of cocoa butter, it may be a good alternative to some other products for helping with dry skin and scalp health. These fatty acids help to increase the melting point of cocoa butter as well. Thus, resulting in a longer deeper penetration into the skin.
This may help prevent conditions such as dandruff, and promote healthy hair follicles.
Many extracted “butters” being marketed do in fact, promote healthy skin. However, the results that one gets from using them, can be very subjective. Broad claims on butters such as cocoa butter, need more research. It’s up to the individual to test specific products, seeing what works best for them.
Please share any of your experiences with products containing cocoa butter and your results!