Whether you know it or not, you’ve definitely consumed cocoa in one form or another.
It is a popular ingredient in many beverages all over the world and is found in most chocolate spreads.
But cocoa offers much more to man than edible delights, it is used in producing cocoa butter.
Cocoa butter is a common ingredient used in many lotions and skin care products.
You may not know it, but, you’ve also probably used soap or cream that contains cocoa butter.
So when I mention cocoa butter, don’t confuse it with the same ingredient used in making your favorite decadent chocolate dessert.
Although they’re related in a roundabout way, raw cocoa butter is a natural product that is used topically and offers many significant benefits to the skin.
For ages, people have praised cocoa butter for its fantastic skin rejuvenation qualities.
Even though there aren’t that many scientific studies to prove its efficacy, the consensus is that cocoa butter is excellent for the skin.
Is this true or false?
You will find out in the next few paragraphs and for those of you that are looking for a stretch mark remedy that is effective – make sure to read on!
What is Cocoa Butter
Cocoa butter is a fragrant solid butter derived from the roasted seeds of the Cacao tree and further processed to produce a soft butter with a delightful odor.
Cocoa butter softens at warm temperatures and adds a creamy, rich, and thick texture to lotions, soaps, creams, and toiletry.
It helps reduce dry skin and is used in the promotion of skin elasticity.
Cocoa butter is a fantastic natural product and is also called “Theobroma Cacao.”
It has a light yellow color and is made from the cacao bean.
Just in case you’re wondering, yes, this is the same bean used in making chocolate!
It is a by-product of the process used to obtain cocoa solids known as the Broma process
Developed in 1865, the Broma process is arguably the most widespread and best method for separating cocoa solids and cocoa butter.
By hanging bags of ground cacao beans in a warm environment, the cocoa butter separates and drips away, leaving behind the cocoa solids that are then used to create the cocoa powder.
The cocoa butter is then collected and hardens into blocks at room temperature.
It can then be shipped around the world to create many different products!
One astounding attribute of cocoa butter is that it’s a high-antioxidant substance.
This is because it contains a significant amount of polyphenol and flavonoid – powerful antioxidants.
In fact, the beans of cocoa are one of the most significant suppliers of polyphenols in the human diet.
After processing, some of the antioxidants are left in the cocoa butter.
The effect of these antioxidants is that your cocoa butter becomes a potent agent that helps improve immunity, lower inflammation and promote a healthy heart — all these benefits in spite the fact it was a once feared saturated fat.
Cocoa butter is a healthy vegetable fat and is saturated just like coconut oil.
It contains between 57%-64% saturated fat out of its entire fat content. This will mostly depend on the exact type of cocoa used.
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Uses & Benefits of Cocoa Butter
Raw cocoa is an edible vegetable fat that has many uses in everyday life.
It can be used to make chocolate, other baked goods, and create pharmaceuticals and toiletries. Most importantly it is a useful remedy for stretch marks.
As a stretch mark removal agent, cocoa butter raw or processed is used as a significant ingredient in creams to increase its effectiveness.
For the sake of clarity, I’ll be referring to the cocoa butter used for topical application in this article and not edible cocoa.
Let’s have a look at the different uses of cocoa butter:
Cocoa Butter for Skin
Cocoa butter is used as a moisturizer because it has natural antioxidants, which will not only soften your skin but can heal it from the inside out.
As a naturally hydrating substance, cocoa butter will cause you less irritation since it’s free from additives, colors, fragrances, and dyes.
One of the most popular uses of cocoa butter on the skin is as a stretch mark treatment.
For decades it has been touted as being great for the prevention or treatment of stretch marks.
But are these claims valid?
Many users have reported visible improvements after using cocoa butter.
So there’s no harm in using it and finding out how it’ll affect your stretch marks.
One thing is for sure, cocoa butter is excellent for dry skin, and this means that it will reduce the formation of new stretch marks.
I will delve more into the benefits of cocoa butter for your skin later in this article.
It is used as an emollient, which means that it will provide a protective layer on your skin.
This is especially useful for blocking the effects of harsh weather temperatures like indoor heat, sun damage or wind.
Research has shown that polyphenols can help improve skin elasticity and tone.
Because cocoa butter contains polyphenols, it is used in diminishing signs of aging.
Polyphenols can work in two ways: topically or internally.
So whether you eat cocoa or smear cocoa butter, you’ll still reap the benefits of this fantastic antioxidant.
Soothes burns, rashes, and infections
The healing properties of cocoa butter make it a perfect choice for burns, rashes, and infections.
So long as it’s pure and doesn’t contain any additives like alcohol or fragrances, it will help reduce inflammation and promote healing.
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Don’t restrict the moisturizing benefits of cocoa butter to only your skin.
It does wonders for hair and has also been associated with a lower incidence of dandruff.
It provides healthier hair follicle and can help reduce hair loss.
An excellent way to unwind after a stressful day is to take a long bath.
You can add cocoa butter to your bath and set the scene for an amazingly simple aromatherapy session.
Not only will the vanilla and chocolate fragrance of cocoa butter relax you, but your bath will feel silky smooth on your skin.
Cocoa butter is perfect for use as a shaving cream. Because it helps hydrate the skin, you will be bump-free.
The butter melts in warm water making it pretty easy to use.
It’s also a good idea to apply a bit of cocoa butter before shaving to prevent nicks and soften the skin.
After washing up, you can slather some cocoa butter on since your pores are open and can absorb products better.
Cocoa Butter Raw Benefits
There are two types of cocoa butter: refined and unrefined.
Unrefined cocoa butter is the butter that is extracted directly from the Broma process.
It still retains more of the healthy fats because it hasn’t been heated to high temperatures.
Also called pure cocoa butter, unrefined cocoa butter has more beneficial compounds that are naturally occurring in cocoa beans.
It is creamy yellow and merely is cocoa butter in its purest form.
In some stores, you’ll find it under the organic section being sold as raw or pure cocoa butter.
It has a robust nutty smell, which is why many manufacturers prefer not to use it because they don’t want to mask the fragrances in their products.
Refined cocoa butter, on the other hand, has been stripped of many nutrients.
The scent and color will most times be gone, and this makes it a preferable choice for skin care manufacturers.
And just in case you’re mixing up your butter, here’s the difference between cocoa butter and shea butter.
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Cocoa butter vs Shea butter
I’ve gotten quite a few questions about cocoa butter and shea butter over the years.
These two different moisturizing substances offer very similar benefits.
While they come from entirely different trees located on entirely different continents, they work remarkably well to prevent and hide stretch marks.
As an avid user of both products, I have experienced the benefits of both.
These natural substances are fantastic, and because they offer almost the same benefits, people tend to confuse them with one another.
Both shea and cocoa butter contain antioxidants, but in shea butter, the primary antioxidant is vitamin E, while in cocoa butter, the primary antioxidant is polyphenol.
Both kinds of butter are made of fats that are quite similar, but with varying compositions.
Oleic acid (40%-60%)
Stearic acid (20%-50%)
Linoleic acid (3%-11%)
Palmitic acid (2%-9%)
Oleic acid (29%-38%)
Stearic acid (24%-37%)
Palmitic acid (24%-30%)
Myristic acid (0%-4%)
These fats are what make shea and cocoa butter very effective moisturizers.
However, cocoa butter is the go-to butter for stretch mark removal.
Since stretch mark removal is a big issue in the beauty industry, I’ll take a closer look at why cocoa butter for stretch marks is the number one choice.
Cocoa Butter For Stretch Marks Benefits
Stretch marks, also known as striae are scars on the skin. Unfortunately, most stretch marks show up with a darker red or purplish color, which makes them unsightly and unappealing.
They occur mainly as a result of weight loss, weight gain or pregnancy.
Some teenagers also develop stretch marks from a rapid growth spurt.
The scars appear in the dermis, which is the second layer of skin, it is impossible to remove stretch marks, but there are many ways to reduce their appearance, so they’re almost invisible!
Familiar places for stretch marks to appear are any high-fat areas of the body, including the stomach, breasts, back, thighs, hips, and buttocks.
If you have a lot of stretch marks, don’t lose hope. You’re not alone.
Many men and women develop stretch marks during puberty, and 8/10 women develop them to some degree during pregnancy.
There is no need for fancy and overpriced laser treatment or costly surgery. Cocoa butter is a practical solution.
Cocoa Butter Soap For Stretch Marks
Cocoa butter soaps are an excellent choice for many reasons.
Because cocoa butter is a natural antioxidant, emollient as well as a moisturizer it does wonders for your stretch marks.
Many soap brands will add other beneficial ingredients such as Vitamin E and Aloe Vera.
A cocoa butter soap with added Aloe Vera is great for your skin.
It will moisturize the skin, help to heal dry areas, and is also a great way to prevent stretch marks.
Not only that, but it is also very effective against things such as eczema and dermatitis.
This kind of soap is known for being rich and creamy when it is lathered.
It feels great to wash with and leaves your skin feeling fresh, clean and soft once it is rinsed off.
When you are choosing a cocoa butter soap, keep the following things in mind:
- Some brands will mix shea butter and cocoa butter to create a superior soap product. Give these a try if you like, they are really great.
- If you have very dry or damaged skin, consider buying soap that has Vitamin E and Aloe Vera added to it.
Cocoa butter soap on its own is a great moisturizer, but these added ingredients can go a long way to heal cracked and dry skin.
- Don’t ignore the cheaper bars of this kind of soap in favor of the expensive ones- there are a great many brands that will cost you very little and feel fabulous on your skin.
- If you are a DIY junkie, or even just partially interested in the soap making process, there are many kits that you can buy online to make your cocoa butter soap at home.
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This may sound like quite a bit of work, but it is a pretty easy and fun process.
Not only can you make soap that feels perfect for your skin, but you can buy all sorts of molds to make your final product any kind of shape that you please!
In any case, you will never regret buying or making your own cocoa butter soap.
It is leaps and bounds above the standard bars of soap that you would buy at the grocery store.
The feel of it on your skin while washing and the resulting healthier skin afterward will keep you making more – guaranteed.
Cocoa Butter Lotion
Pure cocoa butter or store-bought cocoa butter lotion is a great choice for stretch marks.
It has so many natural benefits for your skin that make it worthwhile.
Some other notable benefits are that it is used to ease many dermatological issues and helps your skin to retain more moisture naturally.
Here is a better breakdown of several of the natural benefits of using cocoa butter on your skin:
Cocoa butter lotions and creams can be beneficial for dealing with conditioners like eczema and dermatitis.
It contains “cocoa mass polyphenol (CMP),” which can help to lower the creation of immunoglobulin (IgE).
Immunoglobulin is known to cause various skin problems such as eczema, dermatitis, some skin allergies as well as psoriasis.
Different types of cocoa butter lotions have been used for many years to moisturize skin because of the high amount of natural fats that are in them.
It is important to remember that the more natural that the cocoa butter lotion that you use, the better it will be absorbed into your skin.
Also Read: 12 Powerful Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
Cocoa Butter for Body Massage:
Massaging your body with cocoa butter will relax your muscles and helps to reduce stress.
When you massage with cocoa butter lotion, you are also provided with an aromatic therapy.
The pleasant scent of the cocoa butter helps to promote feelings of deep relaxation and general well being.
Which cocoa butter cream is better and works well for stretch mark removal?
There are a lot of stretch mark treatments available on the market these days.
Some treatments are more effective in fading or even eliminating stretch marks, but the success of the treatment depends on a few different things.
First of all is the color and age of the stretch marks.
If they have faded to a flesh color, they will be much harder to heal. Second, ethnicity and heredity play a role in which creams, oils, and butter will be more effective in healing stretch marks.
The most effective stretch mark products available are useful because they contain ingredients like cocoa butter.
These creams heal and rebuild damaged skin just because of polyphenol and other fat compositions.
While they may not be able to eliminate stretch marks, they will at least make the stretch marks fade to a barely visible scar.
Another popular and useful product that you might want to consider is Strivectin.
It has a bioactive topical formula that has a combination of skin firming agents to reduce visible wrinkles and make skin appear firmer
You have to find one that works for you, and this will require several trials.
More Reasons To Choose Cocoa Butter
Are you still undecided about pure cocoa butter? If so, here are some more excellent reasons to choose cocoa butter over other natural butter.
The shelf life cocoa butter can be up to 5 years. Its antioxidant properties help keep it fresh for longer.
It is a very stable fat and goes solid when left at room temperature.
Cocoa butter has a pleasant nutty, vanilla smell. You’ll love how long the natural fragrance lasts.
Although prices can vary depending on the brand of cocoa butter you choose, it is cheaper than other kinds of butter because it is produced on farms.
The benefits and uses of cocoa butter are vast and varied.
For stretch mark removal, using cocoa butter raw is the best way of eliminating or reducing the unappealing look of your stretch marks.
Because no product can offer 100% guaranteed removal of stretch marks – cocoa butter or not – you are better off treating your stretch marks with unrefined cocoa butter.
If you do settle for a refined product with additives, know that you may not experience the full power of cocoa butter