1. Style
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Benefits of Cocoa Butter to Your Skin


Cocoa pods and beans
TinaFields/E+/Getty Images
If you're not familiar with cocoa butter, the first thought you might have when hearing the words might be some decadent chocolate dessert, but think again! It has many benefits to your skin.

What is Cocoa Butter: Cocoa butter comes from the cacao bean which is found inside the cocoa pod that grows on from the cacao tree. (pronounced ca-cow) The cocoa pod (pictured here) is a large gourd-shaped fruit an inside, 30 to 40 cocoa seeds are found. These seeds must be fermented in banana leaves, dried, roasted and pressed, releasing the vegetable fat from the beans, which we know as cocoa butter.

Benefits to Skin

  • Antioxidants: Cocoa butter is high in antioxidants, which help fight off free radicals. Free radicals are causes of skin stressers and signs of aging.
  • Stretch Mark Reducer: Cocoa butter is widely noted to help reduce stretch marks. There are no guarantees, but it seems like the secret tip is shared with every pregnant woman in the world. And many women claimed regular use of cocoa butter was what kept their stretch marks away. We're not entire convinced anything can keep them away, but you'll find many anti-stretch mark cocoa butter products to choose from. In fact Palmers, a line devoted to cocoa butter has a product just for stretch marks. People also say it has helped heal scars.
  • Deep Hydration: Cocoa butter is high in fatty acids and hydrates the skin deeply.
  • Sensitive Skin Healer: Again, no guarantees, but cocoa butter has been noted to help skin irritations such as eczema and dermatitis.

Where Can You Buy Cocoa Butter? Cocoa butter is easy to find and inexpensive, as well. You can buy little solid cocoa butter sticks for around two dollars (compare prices). You can also buy raw cocoa butter in larger batches online as well. (compare prices)

Using Cocoa Butter: Cocoa butter melts at skin temperature, but is rather hard at lower temperatures. As an occasional soap maker, I can tell you that I have to chip away at the big block of cocoa butter with a knife. But put a piece of butter in your palm and it will soon start melting. This is why it makes a great additive to products like lip balm. It helps keep it thick, but melts and moisturizes deeply upon touch.

Refined vs. Unrefined Cocoa Butter: You can buy cocoa butter in two ways: refined or unrefined.

  • Unrefined: Creamy yellow in color, unrefined cocoa butter is simply cocoa butter in its raw form. It's easy to find organic raw unrefined cocoa butter and all of the above benefits naturally comes with the unrefined product. (compare prices) It smells pretty strongly of chocolate, which some cosmetics manufactures feel masks the scent of fragrance they are adding to their products. Many of them go with...

  • Refined: Refined cocoa butter strips the cocoa butter of its scent and color, making it easier to fit into cosmetic recipes without standing out. There are claims that due to the processing to eliminate color and scent, the "good things" are also stripped.

Skin Care Recipes with Cocoa Butter

  • Cocoa Body Scrub and Body Butter: The blog, Keeper of the Home, shares two amazing cocoa butter recipes - a scrub and a body butter. (Go to recipes.)
  • DIY Body Butter: The blog, Our Little Green Dot, shares a recipe that uses cocoa butter, coconut oil and sweet almond oil. (Another one of my favorites!) (Go to recipe.)
  • Lip Balm: Hello Giggles blog shares this super easy recipe to make lip balm. Double or triple it to make a stockpile of lip balm tubes ready to use.

Like that? Try this.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.