Benefits of Cocoa Butter
Cocoa butter might bring to mind decadent desserts like chocolate bars, fudge layer cake, and chocolate chip ice cream. Yet this tasty ingredient is also a staple in skin creams and other health and beauty products. Unlike the cocoa butter in your dessert, the one in your skin care regimen won’t make you gain weight. But can it improve your appearance?
Cocoa butter is a type of fat that comes from cocoa beans. To harness cocoa butter, the beans are taken out of the larger cacao plant. Then they’re roasted, stripped, and pressed to separate out the fat—the cocoa butter. The remnants are then processed into cocoa powder.
Cocoa has been used in medicine for around 3,000 years. It was a favorite ingredient of the ancient Aztecs and Mayans, who even used cocoa for currency. More recently, researchers have discovered that compounds called phytochemicals in cocoa might help keep both your body and skin healthy.
Cocoa butter is high in fatty acids, which is why it’s often touted for its ability to hydrate and nourish the skin and improve elasticity. The fat in cocoa butter forms a protective barrier over skin to hold in moisture.
Cocoa butter is also rich in natural plant compounds called phytochemicals. These substances may improve blood flow to the skin and slow skin aging by protecting against damage from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
One common use of cocoa butter is to smooth scars, wrinkles, and other marks on the skin. Many women believe cocoa butter creams and lotions can be used during and after pregnancy to prevent and minimize the appearance of stretch marks. Cocoa butter has also been promoted to heal rashes from conditions like eczema and dermatitis.