Cocoa butter is derived from the seed (or beans) of the cocoa tree. Being a by-product of chocolate, it is a popular ingredient for chocolatiers and bakeries. but the benefits don't stop there! Cocoa butter is likewise a favorite of skincare enthusiasts for its numerous benefits to healthy, glowing, youthful skin. Dive in with us as we explore the 10 health benefits of Cocoa butter for skin!
What is Cocoa Butter?
Cocoa butter is the pale-yellow fat of the cocoa bean grown in South and Central America. The cocoa tree produces large, green fruits that contain up to five seeds (or "beans"). Each bean is wrapped in a bitter-tasting fruit coat called the cocoa pod. When fermented, dried, and roasted, these beans are ground into the cocoa mass from which chocolate liquor is produced.
The liquor solidifies into unsweetened cocoa butter. It is commonly used as an ingredient in chocolate and chocolate products (including milk and white chocolate), giving them a pleasurable, creamy texture and preventing them from melting quickly. Cocoa butter has a unique molecular structure that helps it to retain its natural antioxidants. Cocoa butter has a high melting point, so it melts on the skin for easy absorption.
What are the Uses of Cocoa Butter?
Cocoa butter has many uses which include: making chocolate, helping chocolate retain its flavor and texture, preventing other ingredients from separating in processed foods, as an additive to lipsticks and skincare, and as an ingredient in baby products.
What Are Some Products that Use Cocoa Butter?
There are lots of products that use Cocoa butter as a primary ingredient. From Chocolate to lipstick to skincare products (facial moisturizers, eye creams), it's got a wide range of uses!
1: Cocoa Butter Promotes Skin Elasticity
Cocoa butter works to keep the skin hydrated and supple, which reduces fine lines and other signs of aging. It also helps to prevent the formation of wrinkles by boosting collagen production in the skin. This can help smooth out any remaining wrinkles and improve elasticity.
How Skin Loses Elasticity
Skin loses its elasticity in numerous ways. We're talking everything from negative environmental factors, like UV rays, to the natural process of aging one day at a time. As we get older, our skin naturally produces less collagen and elastin. If you don't know much about collagen and elastin, here's the deets:
Meet Collagen and Elastin
Collagen is a protein that's naturally found in the connective tissue of our skin. It helps keep the skin strong and firm which gives it its elasticity. (Bonus, it's also great for promoting hair growth!)
Collagen is having a moment of fame right now, as it happens. If you've been shopping the protein and supplement section lately of Target, you've probably seen a LOT of collagen drink add-ins. As we age, our skin naturally produces less collagen. This explains why our skin becomes thin and more susceptible to tears and wrinkles as we get older. Some health experts believe drinking more collagen can help boost your body's stores of this special protein.
Elastin, on the other hand, is the netting that gives our skin its flexibility and elasticity. The job of elastin is to provide a bounce-back so that the skin can recoil easily after being stretched. If you haven't guessed it by now, elastin is also produced naturally by our skin as we age. But if our skin isn't producing enough collagen or elastin to begin with, that's where all the problems can start!
These two proteins are very important for keeping skin tight, healthy, and youthful! But when collagen production slows down over time, elastin loses much of its integrity too. This leads to insufficient elasticity in the dermis layer which creates wrinkles. You may have noticed this when your skin has become less bouncy over the years.
How Cocoa Butter Helps Replenish Collagen and Elastin
Cocoa butter is rich in vitamin E and fatty acids, which, among other benefits, help maintain and promote healthy collagen and elastin production in your body.
2: Cocoa Butter Prevents Wrinkles
Cocoa butter has anti-irritant, moisturizing, and antioxidant properties that help reduce the appearance of existing wrinkles. For centuries, women have lathered themselves in this creamy butter to slow the signs of aging and prevent wrinkles. They massage it into their skin and scalp every day to keep them looking young and vibrant. Now, research is beginning to prove them right! In a study published in the journal "Skin Research and Technology," researchers found that cocoa butter not only improved skin hydration but also reduced the number of wrinkles on the face.
Another study, this one published in the "Journal of Cosmetic Science," discovered that topically applying cocoa butter improved skin elasticity and reduced wrinkles. Cocoa butter is not just for your grandmother anymore! It's a powerful weapon against the signs of aging and dry skin. Cocoa butter is believed to plump up fine lines and keep skin hydrated, which can prevent future signs of aging.
3: Cocoa Butter Is Rich in Vitamin E
One of the best benefits of Cocoa butter? It's rich in Vitamin E! If you know your vitamins, you're aware of the significant role played by Vitamin E in maintaining your skin's natural vibrancy and health.
Vitamin E is Your Skin's Health Rockstar!
Vitamin E is essentially a "moisture-magnet." It acts as a powerful antioxidant, fighting the effects of free radicals in your skin, which decrease collagen production. Water molecules are always breaking down into smaller components that help to decrease surface tension in your cells and create better cell membrane function. Vitamin E is their bodyguard, fighting off free radicals and keeping your cells healthy and happy!
In fact, Vitamin E is so crucial to healthy skin that some experts actually recommend applying pure Vitamin E directly onto the skin as a natural remedy for eczema, psoriasis, and other skin ailments. (Remember your mom applying those little Vitamin E capsules to her skin at night? Yup, that's what we're talking about!)
Got Vitamin E?
There are lots of natural sources of vitamin E, such as:
- Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, Hazelnuts, Sunflower seeds, Sesame seeds, etc.
- Green Leafy Vegetables: Spinach, Chard, etc.
- Fruits: Kiwi fruit
- Olive Oil
- Oh, yeah, and Cocoa Butter!
Because cocoa butter has such high vitamin E content, it also acts as an anti-inflammatory! That's because Vitamin E helps support your immune system and regulate your other cells' inflammation response. This is great for helping to reduce redness, rosacea, dermatitis, and other conditions that come from excessive inflammation. Heck ya!
4. Cocoa Butter Contains Antioxidants (i.e. Nature's Protection Against Free-Radicals)
Another wonderful benefit of Cocoa butter lies in its high antioxidant content. Cocoa butter naturally boasts large hoards of flavonoids found in unrefined cocoa beans. This makes it great as an anti-aging treatment as well as a general hydrator. But what is an antioxidant?
Cocoa Butter's Anitoxidants
Antioxidants are the wonders of the natural world. They help protect your cells against damage, which means they can prevent premature signs of aging and actually play a role in helping to fight cancer.
Cocoa butter is full of these antioxidants, including polyphenols and catechins. The amount decreases as the chocolate becomes more processed. The darker the chocolate, the higher the concentration of antioxidants. So, when looking for a great cocoa butter, remember: refined cocoa butter is still healthy, but unrefined is much more beneficial!
5: Cocoa Butter Protects Skin from Harmful UV Rays
As previously mentioned, the high vitamin E content in cocoa butter is great at preventing damage due to sun exposure.
It is a well-known fact that UV light causes oxidative stress in the body, which can lead to premature aging and cancer. Antioxidants help your cells fight off this dangerous UV radiation before it does any harm.
The best part? The antioxidants in cocoa butter also prevent damage from even short periods of sun exposure! So when you go on vacation or even just take a stroll outside, cocoa butter will protect your skin from the UV rays that are invisible to the human eye. Vitamin E acts as a protective barrier for skin, blocking up to 67% of harmful UV rays.
6: Cocoa Butter Diminishes the Appearance of Scars
Cocoa butter is a great emollient for the skin, which makes it an effective moisturizer to help reduce the appearance of scars. This is because cocoa butter helps to soften the skin, which in turn reduces the appearance of scars by filling in unevenness on the surface of your skin.
Vitamin E also has firming properties that help reduce scarring and stretch marks on the body. Actually, there are several studies that show how vitamin E can be an effective natural treatment for scars.
7. Cocoa Butter Prevents Acne and Eczema
Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, cocoa butter can be helpful in preventing breakouts caused by acne or eczema. It can heal inflamed skin because of its high levels of antioxidants that counteract the effects of free radicals. At the same time, this will keep moisture locked into your skin. Some people find cocoa butter can clog their pores, however, so make sure, when using it for your face, it's lower down on the ingredients list.
8. Cocoa Butter = Your Go-To Solution for Treating Dry Skin
Cocoa butter moisturizes the skin deeply because its consistency is very similar to the oils naturally produced by our body. This makes it an effective treatment for dry or rough areas of skin, as well as chapped lips and even cracked heels. Cocoa butter also goes on smooth and is absorbed easily into the top layers of your epidermis, making it a great ingredient for facial moisturizers.
Cocoa butter as a moisturizer is probably its most common usage. Skincare brands love it for the rich, creamy texture, as well as the protective barrier it provides to the skin.
9: Cocoa Butter Diminishes the Appearance of Cellulite
Because cocoa butter has no cholesterol and contains high levels of antioxidants such as catechins, flavonoids and procyanidins it is very effective in reducing the appearance of cellulite. Don't know what any of those fancy words mean? We've got ya, babe!
Catechins are a group of antioxidants found in unrefined cocoa butter. They help regenerate the skin's protective barrier against free radicals and improve blood circulation, which can result in smoother-looking skin when it comes to cellulite. Studies have shown they can reduce the appearance of cellulite by increasing blood flow and reducing inflammation, thus strengthening and toning skin to produce firmer skin.
Flavonoids are a group of antioxidants that inhibit enzymes from breaking down collagen. In other words, Flavonoids are super effective for strengthening connective tissues. We love them for improving micro-circulation and strengthening the collagen and elastin fibers in your skin. The result is firmer and tighter skin. Sounds great, right?
Procyanidins in cocoa butter reduce cellulite by increasing blood flow and improving circulation, which can ease fluid retention and break up fatty deposits under the skin.
Put all those babies together and bam! Cellulite doesn't stand a chance!
10. Cocoa Butter Diminishes and Prevents the Appearance of Stretch Marks
One of the more beloved benefits of this chocolatey bean's butter is its ability to blur the appearance of stretch marks. This makes cocoa butter a great moisturizer for pregnant women, as it can reduce the risk of stretch marks developing on their rapidly rounding bellies. Since unrefined cocoa butter also improves elasticity in pregnant women's skin, it can prevent stretch marks from forming during pregnancy. Win-win!
Best Uses of Cocoa Butter for
Now that we've covered 10 of the best benefits of cocoa butter for skin, let's talk about how you can add it into your skincare regime.
Use Cocoa Butter as a Body Moisturizer
Since Cocoa butter is a superstar at healing dry skin, it's a must for using as a body moisturizer. Get yourself a natural, unrefined cocoa butter without synthetic fragrances or dyes. You don't need that junk, just the natural goodness of cocoa! We like this unrefined cocoa butter bar made by Better Shea Butter.
Get a Shave Bar Made with Cocoa Butter
Shaving can be really drying to skin! Instead of opting for those dye-filled foams, try a natural alternative instead! I love this shave bar made with cocoa butter. It's silky and leaves my legs feeling hydrated and smooth after every shave.
Find a Cocoa Butter Facial Moisturizer
Since Cocoa butter is anti-inflammatory, it makes a great ingredient in your moisturizer for skin prone to breakouts. I love this oil control moisturizer for that very reason! It's filled with great ingredients like peppermint, aloe vera, and, you guessed it, cocoa butter!
So Many Benefits to Cocoa Butter
I hope you've uncovered what a great ingredient this little cocoa bean's butter is! Cocoa butter is a popular treatment for dry, cracked, or irritated skin because of its deep moisturization and antioxidant properties. It can help protect the skin against sun damage and prevent wrinkles by fighting free radical damage to cells on a molecular level. Cocoa butter also helps improve buttery or rough areas of skin, as well as chapped lips and even cracked heels. Its usage is not limited to the top layers of skin and can be used for deeper treatment, especially when pregnant. What's your favorite benefit of Cocoa butter?
🌿 Cheers and Cocoa Butter At-Home Spa Nights,