What is cocoa butter?
Cocoa butter is a natural type of vegetable fat that is extracted from cocoa beans and is the same healthy fat that is used to make chocolate. It is a rich and nourishing type of oil that is used in cosmetic products, ointments, pharmaceuticals, and for cooking and baking, being incredibly beneficial for the skin and body.
It’s silky smooth texture and mild chocolatey fragrance makes it one of the best products to have in your kitchen or beauty collection, and it offers a shelf life of up to 5 years.
How is cocoa butter made?
A plant that is known as Theobroma cacao L. produces cocoa beans, which have been harvested for more than 3000 years. These beans are fermented and roasted, which separates the saturated fat or cocoa butter from the solids, such as cocoa powder.
Cocoa butter is also sometimes referred to as Theobroma oil and is listed as such in many cosmetic products. It is most commonly used in chocolate products but can also be found in lotions, natural deodorants, and in raw form for cooking and baking.
What are the benefits of cocoa butter for your skin?
1. Nourishes and Hydrates
Cocoa butter is highly absorbable and perfect for all skin types, which makes it the perfect source of hydration for dull, dry, and tired looking skin. It’s rich and silky texture and light luxurious fragrance makes skin feel nourished and moisturized, feeding skin tissue with healthy fats and plenty of powerful antioxidants.
It can also be melted down and mixed with essential oils to make a powerful and fragrant source of skin nutrition that can be applied all over the body.
2. Decreases Visible Signs of Aging
Some studies have found that the polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants that are found in cocoa butter, help to prevent skin degeneration, wrinkles, fine lines, pigmentation, and sagging.
Environmental pollution, the sun’s UV rays, and daily exposure to chemicals cause oxidative stress on a cellular level, which these powerful antioxidants help to prevent. Polyphenols have also been shown to promote collagen production, which is the main structural protein found in the skin that maintains elasticity and youthful looking skin.
3. Prevents Chapped Lips
Cocoa butter is an emollient, which means that it helps to soothe, soften and protect delicate skin tissue. This makes it the perfect product to use as a natural lip balm and can be combined with other fragrances and essential oils to make a rich combination for keeping lips smooth and protected, even in extreme temperatures.
4. Soothes Wounds, Rashes, and Infections
Pure cocoa butter is excellent for treating burns, wounds, rashes, and infected skin because it naturally helps to heal and hydrate deep skin tissue while offering plenty of antioxidants to boost immunity and quicker healing.
Research has shown that it can be effective at soothing the symptoms of eczema, dermatitis, and inflamed or irritated skin.
5. Reduces Stretch Marks and Pigmentation
One of the most popular uses of cocoa butter is to reduce stretch marks and any skin discoloration due to its incredible healing potential for most skin conditions.
Stretch marks form due to the collagen and connective tissue being damaged, which cocoa butter helps to naturally restore. This is the reason that it is so often added to products created to treat stretch marks and scars, which makes using the pure and raw product an even better idea!
6. Smoother Shave and Healthier Skin
It melts easily in warm water and doesn’t clog the drain like other types of oil, which makes it the perfect natural shaving cream for a smooth, clean shave. By giving the skin a rich protective layer of healthy fat, it helps to prevent the nicks and cuts that are common to shaving, while leaving skin fresh and clean afterward.
What are the benefits of cocoa butter for your body?
Being a saturated fat, this luxurious oil is known to boost healthy fat levels, which helps to reduce the risk of developing heart disease by balancing cholesterol levels.
The polyphenols have also been shown to decrease inflammation in the cardiovascular system and to reduce the risk of hardened arteries, which helps to prevent atherosclerosis, strokes, heart attacks, and heart failure.
2. Increases Immunity
Trading refined vegetable oils for cocoa butter can significantly benefit your health by balancing hormones, reducing inflammation, increasing brain health, and offering a powerful kick to the immune system.
Multiple studies have shown that plant polyphenols, such as the ones contained in cocoa and cocoa butter, help to prevent DNA-damage while boosting immunity to several diseases, making you feel stronger and healthier overall.
3. Nourishes Hair Follicles
Many shampoos, conditioners, and hydrating hair products contain cocoa butter because it’s so good for the health of your hair.
Not only do the rich fatty acids help to nourish hair follicles, which promotes thick and healthy hair growth, but they also help to increase the shine and condition of hair in general, locking in moisture and protecting hair from chemical and sun damage.
It can be melted down and used as a super-rich hair mask, which is also conveniently easier to rinse out than other types of oil.
4. Reduces Inflammation
The intense combination of fatty acids and powerful antioxidants makes cocoa butter the perfect antidote to inflammation, either on the skin or throughout the body. Doctors have warned that inflammation in the body is usually a good pre-cursor to the development of disease, and should be treated with care.
Cocoa butter, whether spread on inflamed skin or used as a cooking/baking oil can help to treat inflammation at the source, which studies have linked to reducing the risk of developing more than 60% of all disease, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Where to buy it and how to use it?
It’s important to read the labels to make sure that you’re buying pure cocoa butter, and not just shea butter or a derivative of this incredible product.
It is usually more expensive than conventional oils but is absolutely worth the investment. The most common place to buy it is in health food stores or whole-food markets but it is often also stocked in the health food section of supermarkets.
It can be used topically or as a cooking and baking oil, similarly to coconut oil or other types of natural and healthy oils.
Because it also naturally occurs in chocolate, reach for darker and organic slabs of rich chocolate to get the ultimate health fix, both for your skin and body!