Is your body lotion giving up in a few hours? After having changed so many lotions, you’re still ending up with dry skin? Try massaging your skin with cocoa butter.
With the cosmeceutical industry gradually turning to natural ingredients, cocoa butter has gained popularity for its immense therapeutic benefits. It is rich in antioxidant phytochemicals that form a protective barrier over your skin, guarding it against diseases, sun and environmental damages.
Read on to know the detailed skin benefits of cocoa butter and how to best include it in your skincare routine.
Our Ayurvedic Doctor Speaks
“Cocoa butter is rich in polyphenols and other bio active compounds that makes it a prized ingredient in skin care and hair care formulations. Its richness may increase Kapha promoting qualities like hydration, smoothness and retexturizing of skin and hair. ”
Dr. Zeel Gandhi (Bachelor Of Ayurveda, Medicine & Surgery), Chief Ayurvedic Doctor, Vedix
What Is Cocoa Butter?
Cocoa butter, also known as Theobroma oil , is the pure fat extracted from cocoa beans, during the process of making cocoa powder. Cocoa butter is touted for its ability to enhance your overall skin health.
It prevents premature skin aging, keeps your skin moisturized and helps prevent various inflammatory conditions. Hence, you may often find cocoa butter as a primary ingredient in moisturizers, soaps and body creams.
Since cocoa butter is a novel skin ingredient, there is no mention of its use in the ancient texts of Ayurveda. However, its ability to calm the skin can help balance Pitta aggravations, which lead to redness, itch and inflammation.
It is also effective in treating Vata kustha rogas (skin diseases caused by excess Vata) such as dry skin, flaking and dermatitis.
As per Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix, “Cocoa butter is rich in polyphenols and other bio active compounds that makes it a prized ingredient in skin care and hair care formulations. The high fat content and strong anti-inflammatory benefits may make cocoa butter a Vata and Pitta balancing ingredient in your beauty routine. Its richness may increase Kapha promoting qualities like hydration, smoothness and retexturizing of skin and hair. ”
- Unrefined cocoa butter has a pale yellow color and a sweet chocolatey smell. It is more preferred for treating skin conditions. However, in the refined state (as it is added to most cosmetic products), there is a reduction in its antioxidant values.
Benefits Of Cocoa Butter For Your Skin
1. Treats Dry Skin
Being the outermost organ covering your entire body, your skin is most exposed to environmental wear and tear. Dry skin occurs when your epidermal barrier is damaged.
The gaps in your skin barrier allow transepidermal water loss and leave your skin feeling rough, dry and itchy. Cocoa butter contains various saturated fatty acids such as stearic, palmitic etc. and unsaturated fatty acids such as oleic, linoleic and others.
These essential fatty acids along with vitamin E nourish dry skin, repair the skin barrier and improve your skin’s moisture retention abilities. Thus, skin appears softer and smoother after the application of cocoa butter.
2. Prevents Skin Aging
Skin aging is inevitable, but you’d prefer your skin to age gracefully. Premature skin aging is often the result of free radical damage. Cocoa products are rich in polyphenolic compounds, especially flavanols. These naturally-occurring antioxidants help restore your skin’s antioxidant-oxidant balance and delay signs of aging.
Further, according to research published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science on Cocoa polyphenols and their influence on parameters involved in ex vivo skin restructuring, cocoa polyphenols influence collagen synthesis and thereby help reduce wrinkles and improve your skin’s elasticity.
3. May Lighten Scars And Stretch Marks
Though the evidence is anecdotal, it is believed that using cocoa butter as a pre-treatment during the first few months of pregnancy can prevent the appearance of stretch marks. Further, cocoa butter’s ability to enhance skin hydration and elasticity help fade existing scars and stretch marks on your skin.
4. Prevents Skin Inflammatory Conditions
Conditions like eczema and psoriasis occur when a dysfunctional immune system mistakenly attacks the healthy tissues of your body. This gives rise to a red, inflamed, scaly rash on your skin.
According to a study named Cocoa Bioactive Compounds: Significance and Potential for the Maintenance of Skin Health published in 2014, it was seen that cocoa compounds are rich in bioactive plant nutrients. These are capable of down-regulating pro-inflammatory cytokines and aid the treatment of inflammatory skin diseases.
5. Protects Against Sun Damage
Frequent exposure to the sun can ruin more than just your complexion. UVB rays cause an increase in free radicals, resulting in skin cell damage from oxidative stress.
The application of cocoa butter improves your skin’s antioxidant  defense. Though the theory is still under research, there are claims that the phytonutrients in cocoa butter may have photoprotective abilities that protect your skin from direct sun damage.
6. Anti-Carcinogenic Activity
The active compound theobromine  in cocoa butter has amazing cancer prevention abilities. Its efficacy in reducing tumor formation in colon cancer  patients and inhibition of angiogenesis in ovarian cancer  has been frequently studied.
Thus, with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, cocoa butter may help reduce the chances of skin cancer.
Rough elbows and knees and dry, chapped lips can be effectively treated with cocoa butter.
How To Use Cocoa Butter For Skin?
1. As A Moisturizer
You can use pure cocoa butter as a dry skin moisturizer. Put a sufficient amount of solid cocoa butter in a glass jar and let the jar sit in hot water for a couple of minutes.
Once the butter melts and reaches room temperature, you can either directly apply it to your skin or add your choice of oils (almond, olive, coconut) to it for enhanced benefits.
2. As An Additive
Cocoa butter is added to various body creams for its sweet smell and skin benefits. You can also add it to your existing moisturizer or body oil to treat conditions like dryness, eczema, scars and wrinkles.
3. As An Anti-Stretch Marks Cream
Mix castor oil and cocoa butter in equal quantities to make an excellent anti-stretch mark home remedy. Apply generously every day to lighten your stretch marks and prevent the appearance of new ones.
4. As A Face Mask
A. Cocoa Butter, Almond Oil And Avocado
Mix 2 tablespoons of ripe avocado paste with ½ tablespoon each of unrefined cocoa butter and almond oil. Apply on your face, neck and hands to treat dry, flaky skin. Wash off after 20 to 30 minutes.
B. Turmeric, Sandalwood, Honey And Cocoa Butter
For treating skin allergies, inflammation and itchiness, mix 1 tablespoon each of turmeric and sandalwood powders. To this add ½ tablespoon of honey and 1 tablespoon of cocoa butter. Mix well and apply on your face and other affected areas. Leave it on for 30 to 40 minutes and wash off.
C. Gotu Kola, Hibiscus And Cocoa Butter
To prepare an anti-aging face pack, mix 1 tablespoon each of gotu kola and hibiscus powders. Add sufficient cocoa butter to it to make a paste. Wash off after 1 hour for quick treatment of your wrinkles and fine lines.
Are There Any Side Effects Of Using Cocoa Butter?
There are no known side effects of cocoa butter when it comes to topical application. However, if you have sensitive skin, it is always advisable to do a patch test before applying cocoa butter for the first time.
Being packed with fatty acids, cocoa butter is highly comedogenic and must be used in moderation on oily skin. It is better to dilute cocoa butter with a light carrier oil such as safflower or jojoba before applying on oily skin.
Can You Use Cocoa Butter On Your Face?
Cocoa butter is great for your skin and has the potential to battle various skin conditions. You can add it to your moisturizer or face mask to enhance your overall skin condition. However, it is advisable not to leave cocoa butter overnight on your face since it may clog your pores.
How Long Does It Take For Cocoa Butter To Even Skin Tone?
Cocoa butter can make your skin glow in a few weeks by fighting dryness, repairing the skin barrier and reducing wrinkles and fine lines. While cocoa butter is known to improve skin texture, there is little evidence of its skin brightening properties.
The Last Word
Cocoa butter has become a common ingredient in moisturizing products owing to its hydrating properties. Using a little every day can fight dullness and readily restore your skin’s health. Due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, it can also be used as a combination treatment with other drugs to treat dry, inflammatory and allergic skin conditions.
While cocoa butter has a long list of skin benefits, using it as per your skin type and requirement is the best way to reap maximum benefits from this natural skin healer.Know Your Dosha Now
1. Theobroma Oil, 2021
2. The Physicochemical And Antioxidant Potentials Of Theobroma Cacao L. Seed Oil (Malvaceae) Obtained From Southern Nigeria *Corresponding Author, 2019 February
3. Cocoa Phytochemicals: Recent Advances In Molecular Mechanisms On Health, 2014
4. Effectiveness Of Theobromine On Inhibition Of 1,2- Dimethylhydrazine-Induced Rat Colon Cancer By Suppression Of The Akt/GSK3β/β-Catenin Signaling Pathway, 2020 December
5. The Influence Of Theobromine On Angiogenic Activity And Proangiogenic Cytokines Production Of Human Ovarian Cancer Cells, 1998 Mar-Apr
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