Does cocoa butter conjure up images of chocolate bars and chocolate ice cream in your mind? Well, this ingredient has a place in skin creams and beauty products too. Consuming cocoa butter might make you pile on calories, but applying it to your skin doesn’t! Why should you use it on your skin? How does it help? Keep reading for the answers.
Table Of Contents
- What Is Cocoa Butter?
- How Does Cocoa Butter Benefit Your Skin?
- How Else Can You Use Cocoa Butter?
- What Is The Nutritional Profile Of Cocoa Butter?
- How To Make Cocoa Butter At Home?
What Is Cocoa Butter?
Cocoa butter is a type of fat extracted from cocoa beans. This fat is used in the production of confectionery and cosmetics. The beans are initially taken to the larger cocoa plant, where they are roasted and stripped and pressed. The separated fat is made into cocoa butter.
Cocoa has been in use as a medicine for over 3,000 years. The Aztecs and the Mayans used cocoa beans as currency. In recent times, research has discovered bioactive compounds in cocoa and their potential for skin health (1).
Cocoa butter has a composition of different fatty acids, which include:
- Oleic acid, 34.5 %
- Stearic acid, 34.5 %
- Palmitic acid, 26.0 %
- Linoleic acid, 3.2 %
Just like coconut oil, cocoa butter is mostly saturated fat – which makes for 57 to 64 percent of the total butter content. How healthy it is to consume the butter can be debated in a different article, but for now, we will see how cocoa butter can do wonders on your skin.
How Does Cocoa Butter Benefit Your Skin?
1. Delays Signs Of Aging
Due to its high fat content, cocoa butter is thicker and denser than other moisturizers. It melts at your body temperature – getting absorbed into your skin easily and moisturizing it. Hence, it prevents dry skin and helps keep your skin soft and youthful.
Cocoa contains polyphenols that may help diminish the signs of aging. They help prevent skin sensitivities and degeneration. The influence of cocoa polyphenols on skin elasticity was comparable to that of commercially used products (2).
Cocoa may also help with better collagen production, thereby preventing the early onset of wrinkles and fine lines.
2. Works As An Under-Eye Cream
We know that cocoa butter can improve skin elasticity. This property works especially well with the skin under the eyes, which is particularly delicate and more prone to wrinkles and fine lines. The butter helps tighten the skin around and under the eyes.
Cocoa butter may also help treat under-eye dark circles. The moisturizing properties of cocoa butter can help fade dark circles.
3. Can Heal Chapped Lips
Cocoa butter works as an emollient, i.e., it adds a protective layer of hydration on your lips. This prevents your lips from drying out or becoming chapped. Since the butter is edible, you don’t have to worry about toxicity.
Keeping your lips moist and hydrated with cocoa butter can treat mouth sores as well (3).
As per reliable sources, these are the ways cocoa butter can benefit your skin.
A large body of anecdotal evidence suggests cocoa butter can benefit your skin in other ways as well. These include:
- Reduces Stretch Marks
Cocoa butter moisturizes the skin. It can help improve skin elasticity and may reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
- Assists In The Treatment Of Eczema And Other Skin Allergies
The vitamin E in the butter can help. The antioxidant vitamin can fight the microbes causing the allergies and assist in treating the condition. It can also make the affected skin soft and supple.
- Treats Tattoo Wounds
The moisturizing properties of the butter may help heal tattoo wounds. But we recommend you exercise caution as some anecdotal evidence suggests otherwise.
There is no evidence that cocoa butter can offer these benefits. Do talk to your dermatologist before you use it for these purposes. However, there are a few other ways you can use cocoa butter.
How Else Can You Use Cocoa Butter?
1. To Soothe Burns
For this, you must ensure the cocoa butter is pure. It should not contain any alcohol or other fragrances or additives. Gently apply the butter to the affected areas for a soothing effect. Of course, this cannot be a replacement for mainstream medications.
2. As A Shaving Cream
You can use it to shave and hydrate your skin in your bathtub. A handful of the butter would do. You can again use it after bath as heat opens up your skin pores and allows the product to get absorbed better.
You saw how cocoa butter could make your life easier. What makes it what it is is its nutritional profile.
What Is The Nutritional Profile Of Cocoa Butter?
|Amounts Per Selected Serving||%DV|
|From Carbohydrate||0.0(0.0 kJ)|
|From Fat||1927(8068 kJ)|
|From Protein||0.0(0.0 kJ)|
|From Alcohol||0.0(0.0 kJ)|
|Fats & Fatty Acids|
|Amounts Per Selected Serving||%DV|
|Total Fat||218 g||335%|
|Monounsaturated Fat||71.7 g|
|Polyunsaturated Fat||6.5 g|
|Total trans fatty acids||~|
|Total trans-monoenoic fatty acids||~|
|Total trans-polyenoic fatty acids||~|
|Total Omega-3 fatty acids||218 mg|
|Total Omega-6 fatty acids||6104 mg|
|Amounts Per Selected Serving||%DV|
|Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol)||3.9 mg||20%|
|Vitamin K||53.9 mcg||67%|
Guess what, you can even make cocoa butter at home. Here’s how!
How To Make Cocoa Butter At Home
What You Need
- Cocoa beans, as needed
- Cold water
- An oven, for roasting
- Coffee grinder
- Clean cloth
- Clean the cocoa beans with fresh cold water. This will remove the unwanted residue. After cleaning, air-dry the beans.
- Roast the beans at 100oF to 135o F for about 90 minutes. The heat must be applied evenly among all the beans.
- Cool the beans under the fan. Do this quickly to prevent scorching.
- Tap each bean lightly with a hammer to remove the inner nib from the outer shell. The outer shells will have already loosened due to the roasting.
- Pour the crushed cocoa beans into a sieve with a bowl underneath. Gently shake and press the beans such that the nibs fall into the bowl underneath. The shells will remain on the top as they are too large to go through.
- Grind the cocoa nibs in a grinder. The heat from the grinder will melt the fat in the nibs. The powdery nibs would have turned into a liquid.
- You can now strain this liquid through a cotton cloth. You have filtered out the cocoa butter.
Now you know how to prepare cocoa butter right at your home. But before you do that and start using it, there is one thing you must keep in mind.
Cocoa butter may cause skin reactions. Some individuals may face undesirable effects. Hence, do a patch test before you apply it. Stop use if you experience allergic reactions on your skin and consult your doctor.
Using cocoa butter is one natural way to maintain your skin health. While most skin care products in the market use it as the primary ingredient, preparing it at your home could be the best decision you will make.
Have you used cocoa butter before? What was your experience? Do let us know by leaving a comment in the box below.
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
What can you substitute cocoa butter with?
You can substitute cocoa butter with shea butter.
How long does cocoa butter last?
It can last for as long as two years and, sometimes, even more. Cocoa butter is stable, and its high saturated fat content protects it from rancidity and spoilage.
1. “Cocoa bioactive compounds: significance…”. Nutrients, US National Library of Medicine.
2. “Cocoa polyphenols and their influence…”. International Journal of Cosmetic Science, US National Library of Medicine.
3. “Mouth sores”. American Cancer Society.
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