Your skin is the largest organ on your body and the first thing most people notice beyond your clothing. So it makes sense to ensure that you take good care of your skin. Cocoa butter is one of those hard butters that do wonders for the human skin and body as its also edible. With such a super amazing plant I wondered how does this hard creamy thick butter nourishes the human skin. Cocoa butter benefits range from nourishment of skin and hair, reduces stretch marks and inflammation, boost Immunity help your heart and more.
What is Cocoa Butter?
Cocoa butter starts out as sort of fruit in an oblong pod on the cacao tree. The seeds in this fruit are technically nuts and are taken out dried and then roasted. After a good roasting the seeds are pressed until the natural oils inside the seeds are extracted. This oil is the cocoa butter.
To take the processing of the seed one step further it is again dried and beaten down in to a powder that we know as cocoa powder. How amazing is that? The oil that was extracted has a chocolate type scent to it and rightly so as its the main ingredient in making chocolate. The oil from Cocoa is called a butter because it has saturated fat unlike other vegetable oils that contain unsaturated fats.
This vegetable fat has a low melting point but can solidify at room temperature, which in the Caribbean can be anywhere between 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The cocoa oil is collected but is best used in its unrefined state as scientist have only in recent years confirmed what West Africans, Maya and Aztecs have known for years of how beneficial this butter is to the human skin and medicinal uses.
What are the benefits of cocoa butter for your skin?
- Nourishes your Skin and hair.
- Produces healthier looking skin.
- Soothes wounds and rashes
- Reduces stretch marks
- Reduces inflammation
- Boost Immunity
- Heals and prevents chapped lips.
- Helps build a healthy heart
1. Cocoa butter Nourishes your Skin and hair
There are 5 main skin types. Dry, Oily, Normal, Combination and Sensitive. Cocoa butter is so versatile it can work wonders for each skin when applied in the correct amount. A major yet unknown cocoa butter benefit is that the butter has been found to contain phytochemicals that help heal and nourish the human skin, moreover these chemicals have been tested and known to protect cells from damage that could lead to cancer. Cocoa butter has it all.
The butter acts like a protective barrier on the skin sealing in the natural oils of the skin hence making it super popular with persons with dry and normal skin. Persons with oily skin find it a bit heavy to apply but it can be used in smaller amounts and help regulate the production of oil by your skin.
Sensitive skin persons have virtually no reaction to this amazing butter and can use in as often as the can. The same applies for persons with combination skin. The nourishing effects of the saturated fats of the cocoa butter helps keep the elasticity and vibrancy of the skin hence over time reduce wrinkles making you look younger.
Used on your hair the butter nourishes the hair follicles and helps promote a thicker healthier head of hair or beard. Cocoa butter works so well on hair that many of the top shampoo companies use it in their products. The butter can also give hair strands a healthy shine and keep it moisturized, this makes it great to be added to premium beard oils.
It may seem to be a thick heavy oil but cocoa butter surprisingly is easy to wash off your skin and hair. It doesn't release its grip as easy as some light weight oils but its versatile enough to hold on tight and deliver its benefits to your hair or skin all day long.
2. Produces healthier looking skin
A scientific cocoa butter benefit is the Polyphenol - a variety of antioxidants found in cocoa butter. These antioxidants help improve the skin elasticity and of course reduce fine lines of wrinkles. All these minor adjustments, especially on your face gives the view of a more vibrant and healthier skin thus making you look younger. Antioxidants that are found in cocoa butter, help to prevent skin degeneration, wrinkles, fine lines, pigmentation, and sagging.
We are bombarded with UV sunlight and daily exposure to chemicals and pollution in the air. Cocoa butter is thick and provides that buffer or layer of protection between your skin and the elements of the world. As tough as it its in protecting your skin its also slightly soluble in room temperature water. This makes it easy to wash off and will most likely add no ill effect to your skin when it comes to acne.
The shine of the cocoa butter on human skin gives the wearer a nice sun glow look as light bounces off their skin. This is the sign of healthy skin. The more healthy your skin looks the younger you will be perceived. Perhaps the greatest asset to the skin when using this skin loving butter is that it helps in the production of collagen which is the building block of the elasticity of the skin. Strong collagen equals supple skin which means a younger looking skin.
For more information read this amazing article on The Role of Cocoa Polyphenols in the Skin: Anti-Aging Effects
3. Cocoa butter soothes Wounds, Rashes, and Infections
This is almost a no brainer as a cocoa butter benefit. If Cocoa acts as a barrier to the elements while allowing the skin to absorb all its good richness it should be known that using the butter on you skin will a great idea for treating minor burns, small cuts, rashes, and general infected skin because it helps to heal and hydrate skin tissue while providing antioxidants to boost immunity and hasten the healing process.
Dermatologist have studied the effectiveness of cocoa butter in soothing topical scratches and rashes of the skin. It has to do with the phytochemicals that are filled with antioxidants that fight off free radicals on and in the body. This makes the butter a great natural product for minor topical skin infections. (consult with your doctor before depending wholly on natural alternatives)
4. Reduces Stretch Marks and Pigmentation
As mentioned before the saturated fats and antioxidants in cocoa butter penetrates the skin to form a protective layer of the skin cells, this cocoa butter benefit helps in more ways than one. It also works to help with minor topical wounds or infections. It is this same reaction that can help reduce the visibility of stretch marks by making the skin more pliable and easily regain its former structure.
Stretch marks are a case of the collagen and a connective tissue of the skin being damaged at a rapid pace for the skin. This can be seen most often in pregant women or persons that body build. The rapid expansion of the body happens faster than the skin can adjust hence you get stretch marks.
The butter helps keep the collagen and tissue elasticity strong enough that the skin does not get damage. This is in turn reduces the changes of getting stretch marks. If you have the marks already the repair of the collagen and the strengthening of the tissue will help close the width of a stretch mark thus reducing its visibility.
Discoloration or pigmentation of the skin is similar to stretch marks in that it occurs due to damaged skin cells. Nourishing and rebuilding the strength of the skin tissue and collagen will also visibly reduce and discolorations. The benefits have long been known hence why many commercial products advertise that cocoa butter is a part of their ingredients.
5. Cocoa butter reduces inflammation
The versatility of cocoa butter does not stop at topical application. Another cocoa butter benefit is that it can also be used as a cooking oil and ingested into the body. This is good to know as it can reduce bodily inflammation from within and without the human body.
There are many reasons why your skin or parts of your body may be inflamed and in such a case we recommend you consult your doctor. However for minor issues cocoa butter has been known to reduce bodily inflammation due to its saturated fat content.
The butter is a good alternative to margarine or other mixed cooking oils as it can also help fight free radicals in the body, and lower any minor inflammation throughout the body that you may not be aware of. Inflammation of the body can be construed as a precursor to developing diseases such as diabetes, heat disease and even cancer.
6. Boost Immunity
Your immune system is under constant attack each and every day. Which means you need as much protection as you can get.
Most person depend solely on vitamins to keep healthy but they over look the cocoa butter benefit to boost your immunity. If it can fight minor infections as discussed before imagine what it can do to prevent them in and on the body.
Swapping out your refined vegetable oil for cocoa butter can help boost your immunity, reduce inflammation and help keep your brain healthy. An interesting study suggest that the make up of cocoa butter can actually help strengthen your DNA, here is a quote from the article "The plant polyphenols possess anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, antioxidant properties and DNA repair activities, and they can be exploited for the prevention of a variety of skin disorders caused by excessive exposure to solar UV light." This information can be found at The National Libray of Medicine
More on the immunity boosting effects of cocoa butter HERE
7. Cocoa butter prevents Chapped Lips
We already know how amazing cocoa butter is for the collagen in skin but what about the thinner skin parts like your lips?
Well turns out another cocoa butter benefit is that it is also an emollient which in layman terms means that it has the capability to soften and soothe. The saturated fats offer a layer of protection from the elements and the antioxidant power and other amazing stuff within the butter does all the work.
Avoid chapped lips in the winter by using cocoa butter or learn to make a lip balm with cocoa butter to help get you through the winter months.
Chapped lips are not always found in cold weather but windy and dry weather as well. This makes the use of cocoa butter as a lip balm or protector great for all extremes of weather.
8. Helps build a Heart Health
We discussed that the cocoa butter can be ingested into the body and is often used as a cooking oil as an alternative to refined vegetable oils.
Ingested cocoa butter goes to work on many functions of the body as we have already discussed even potentially down to strengthening your DNA.
If it can do this for your DNA then imagine the cocoa butter benefit to organs that will also be strengthened such as your heart. Saturated fat, which in this case is not as bad as animal fats, can help boost healthy fat levels which helps reduce the risk of developing heat disease and also helps to regulate cholesterol levels within the body.
Read more on cocoa butter saturated fats from the New York Times. "The fat in chocolate is not as harmful as the fat in meat, said Alice Lichtenstein, director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at the Jean Mayer U.S.D.A. Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University. It comes from cocoa butter and is made of equal parts of oleic acid, a heart healthy monounsaturated fat found in olive oil, and stearic and palmitic acids. Stearic and palmitic acids are forms of saturated fat, which has been linked to heart disease, but stearic acid does not raise cholesterol, and palmitic fat makes up only a third of the fat in chocolate. (Beef has proportionately more palmitic fat.)"
More information on Cocoa butter here at Medical News Today
How to use Cocoa Butter?
Cocoa butter is easy to use on the skin. Depending on where you live and the temperature, the butter may be harder in colder areas than in warmer areas. Needless to say you cant rub a hard butter on your body without possibly causing some discomfort.
The best solution is to heat the oil in a glass in the microwave until its melted. Cocoa butter has a low melting point hence it wont take long to melt completely. A good practice is to use a shallow jar that you can pour the butter into. Although it will harden again its much more accessible.
It is often best to scrape the back of your finger nail to collect harden cocoa butter and then rub it between your palms. This friction alone is enough to melt the butter and thus make it easier to apply to your skin.
Apply it to your legs and arms and a bit to your face as well but not as much. If you have oily skin then you want to go extra light on applying to your facial skin. If you are prone to dry skin then be a bit more liberal in applying the butter.
For minor scrapes, stretch marks, spots or inflamed areas. Apply it liberally to the area to ensure you cover it well with cocoa butter. Let it sit throughout the day and if possible at night to do its thing. Apply daily for better results in reduction of marks or inflammation
Cocoa butter is best used as a cooking oil. Use it not as a substitute but a replacement for any and all your cooking needs. There are many recipes that can be prepared using cocoa butter however it good to note that it can harden again if your food gets too cold.
Cocoa butter can be ingested directly if you like the taste raw. It is often used in desserts that uses chocolate and as a sweetener. There are also some cocoa butter lip balms that you can make that double as candy. Either way you decide you can find a recipe to which you can ingest cocoa butter and get heart healthy.
Where to find cocoa butter?
Cocoa butter is pretty easy to locate in many stores however not all offer raw unrefined cocoa butter. Make sure you read the label and ensure that it is the real deal.
If you find it hard to locate real cocoa butter not to worry. We here at Bahamas Candle and Soap carry pure unrefined cocoa butter directly from the makers in west Africa. We wanted to offer you the best product we could find.
Our cocoa butter can be used in your soaps, lip balms and other topical products and can also be used to cook and prepare meals as well. Visit our online store for a pound of raw cocoa butter to meet your needs.
Cocoa butter is a very versatile vegetable oil that have many uses and can be used topically or internally. It is an often overlooked butter mainly because it is listed as a butter and not an oil. Do not let this deter you from trying out and seeing for yourself the benefits of using the butter.
Be sure to visit our online store for oils and butters or continue to read a bit more about the oils and butters we carry on our blog.