The Benefits of Cocoa Butter For Your Skin

How This One Ingredient Can Transform Your Skin

Cocoa pods and beans
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If you're not familiar with cocoa butter your first thought when hearing those words might be that we are referring to some decadent chocolate dessert, but think again!   Though related to the chocolate we eat in a roundabout way, this natural product has many great benefits for your skin.  

What Is Cocoa Butter?

Cocoa butter comes from the cacao bean (pronounced ka-kow)  which is found inside the cocoa pod that grows on the cacao tree.

The cocoa pod (pictured here) is a large gourd-shaped fruit; inside the pod there are 30 to 40 cocoa seeds. These seeds are dried, roasted, and pressed before releasing the vegetable fat from the beans; you can even do this at home if you want.  That fat is what we know as cocoa butter.  And yes, this is the same plant that the cocoa powder we all love and eat comes from.  It is solid at room temperature and has a low melting point.  It also has a long shelf life of between two to five years.

How Cocoa Butter Benefits to Skin

  • Antioxidants: Cocoa butter is high in antioxidants which help fight off free radical damage to the skin. Free radicals can cause skin aging, dark patches, and dull skin.  Protecting your skin from free radical damage is a must if you want healthy and younger-looking skin.  This skin care ingredient is also anti-inflammatory which makes cocoa butter an anti-aging skin care ingredient as well.
  • Stretch Mark Reducer: There are many women who claim that the regular use of cocoa butter was what kept stretch marks away while they were pregnant. We're not entirely convinced anything can keep stretch marks away, but you'll find many anti-stretch mark cocoa butter products to choose from. In fact, Palmers, a skin care line devoted to cocoa butter has a product just for stretch marks. People also say that cocoa butter helps to heal scars.
  • Deep Hydration: Cocoa butter is high in fatty acids and hydrates the skin deeply, making it a wonderful addition to body moisturizers and lip balms.  It contains oleic acid, palmitic acid, and stearic acid all of which nourish 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?

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 rawest form. It's easy to find organic raw unrefined cocoa butter and all of the above-mentioned skin care benefits naturally come with the unrefined product.  It smells pretty strongly of chocolate, which some cosmetics manufacturers feel masks the scent of the fragrance they add to their products while other people may really ​like that scent.
  • Refined: Refined cocoa butter strips the cocoa butter of its scent and color making it easier to incorporate into cosmetic recipes without standing out. There are claims that due to the processing to eliminate the color and scent the "good things" in cocoa butter are also removed.

Cocoa butter is easy to find and inexpensive as well.

 You can purchase cocoa butter in convenient and easy to use sticks.  We recommend trying Cococare Cocoa Butter Stick because it is made of 100% cocoa butter and is very affordable.  You can use it on your lips, cuticles, elbows, and all over your skin.

You can also buy raw cocoa butter in large batches online if you prefer the DIY route when it comes to your skin care. We recommend Aspen Naturals raw cocoa butter, as it’s unrefined and perfect for making your own lip balm and lotion if you like to do that. 

Using Cocoa Butter 

Cocoa butter melts at skin temperature but is rather hard at lower temperatures; put a piece of cocoa butter in your palm and it will soon start melting. This is why it makes a great additive to products like lip balm. Cocoa butter helps to keep lip balm thick but melts and moisturizes deeply upon touching lips.

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: Mother Earth Living shares this super easy recipe to make cocoa butter lip balm. Double or triple the recipe to have a stock of lip balms at hand, even give them out as gifts.

If you prefer to purchase your skin care products instead of make them you can find cocoa butter in Vaseline Intensive Care Cocoa Radiant Lotion or The Body Shop Cocoa Butter Lip Care Stick.

Updated by Hanah Tetro