Cocoa butter is an ingredient that is commonly found in many skincare products. Using cocoa butter for skin is especially beneficial during the cool, dry fall and winter months thanks to its known hydrating qualities. If you’re unfamiliar with cocoa butter and its skin-loving benefits, let this be your guide to this popular ingredient. We’ll also touch on the skin types that we think can benefit from products formulated with cocoa butter and whether it can really help reduce the appearance of stretch marks. Ahead, learn more about cocoa butter benefits and our products formulated with the ingredient that you can add to your skincare routine.
What Is Cocoa Butter?
As you can probably guess, cocoa butter comes from the cocoa bean. Science shows cocoa butter is an emollient (more on that later). According to studies, cocoa butter is also a common ingredient in skin moisturizers.
What Are Some Of The Benefits Of Cocoa Butter?
Cocoa butter has no shortage of skincare benefits. Studies indicate cocoa has a rich source of polyphenolic compounds, and polyphenols that help defend plants against herbivores, pathogens, and ultraviolet (UV) damage. Plant polyphenols have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and DNA repair activities. Studies and data back the fact that cocoa butter’s numerous benefits include aiding in skin hydration, elasticity, the appearance of wrinkles, and protection against other aggressors like wind. Below, we are sharing more about these benefits of using skincare products with cocoa butter.
1. It boosts skin hydration.
Like we mentioned above, cocoa butter is an emollient. Science shows these ingredients help to form a thin layer on the skin’s surface and reduce transepidermal water loss, allowing your skin to retain more moisture. It should come as no surprise that this is a common type of ingredient used in moisturizing skincare products—including three of our own.
Creme de Corps
Try it: Creme de Corps cocoa butter lotion is formulated with beta-carotene, squalane, and (of course) cocoa butter. It moisturizes dry skin and helps improve skin texture. The non-greasy formula leaves skin soft, smooth, and beautifully moisturized. It’s designed for all skin types, particularly those with dry skin.
Add it to your routine: Gently massage the rich lotion onto dry areas, allowing it to sit and soak in for several minutes before dressing. Apply it after taking a bath or shower—or any time—as often as necessary.
Gently Exfoliating Body Scrub
Try it: Gently Exfoliating Body Scrub is a unique “body scrubber” formulated with cocoa butter, exfoliating apricot seed particles, aloe vera, and chamomile. It works to remove dead surface skin cells without over-drying. The indulgent, rich formula is available in Lavender, Coriander, and Grapeseed scents and leaves skin feeling silky soft, velvety smooth, and primed for a moisturizer. It’s suitable for all skin types.
Add it to your routine: Apply the exfoliating body scrub to wet skin in the bath or shower. Gently massage in upward circular motions before rinsing or removing with a washcloth for further exfoliation. Pat dry and follow with moisturizer.
Intensive Treatment and Moisturizer for Dry or Callused Areas
Try it: Intensive Treatment and Moisturizer for Dry or Callused Areas is enriched with shea butter, avocado oil, and cocoa butter and helps soothe and soften parched skin. The emollient cream is uniquely formulated to treat very dry and calloused skin.
Add it to your routine: Apply a small amount of the treatment for dry skin to dry areas and massage onto skin gently. Allow any excess cream to remain on your skin as long as possible before blotting. For severely dry hands and feet, apply the cream and wear cotton gloves or socks on top, then let it sit overnight.
2. It helps improves skin elasticity.
Research indicates the topical application of cocoa polyphenols have been shown to have a positive effect on skin elasticity, which is your skin’s ability to stretch and return to its former shape. How your skin stretches and whether or not it bounces back are also related to common anti-aging concerns like sagging skin and wrinkles. Speaking of which ...
3. It reduces the appearance of wrinkles.
At this point, cocoa butter’s moisturizing abilities are well-known. The connection you may not have made is that studies show moisturizing can temporarily plump the skin with hydration, making fine lines and wrinkles less visible. There are studies specifically about cocoa butter and wrinkles, too. According to preliminary research done by a group of researchers in Europe, they were able to see that applying cocoa extract topically has been proven to reduce UV-induced wrinkle formation in hairless mice. This can be an indication that cocoa extract and cocoa butter can have the same effect when applied topically on humans. That said, more research is needed to prove the link.
4. It protects skin from environmental factors.
It’s no secret that environmental factors, like the sun and harsh winds, can take a toll on your skin. Data indicates products with 50 to 100 percent cocoa butter can be classified as a skin protectant. Skin protectants are a classification of products that create a barrier to protect the skin from irritation.
Why Is Cocoa Butter Good For Your Skin?
Based on the benefits listed above, it’s safe to say cocoa butter can provide useful benefits for your skin. Since cocoa butter acts as an emollient in moisturizers and lotions, it is a prime ingredient to include in these skincare products. And keeping your skin hydrated is ideal for its appearance.
Is Cocoa Butter Good For Your Face?
As beneficial as cocoa butter can be, it’s not for everyone—or everywhere. Despite its moisture benefits, it isn’t necessarily a match for dry skin on your face. Research shows those with acne-prone skin should avoid using products formulated with cocoa butter on their face. Instead, we recommend leaving cocoa butter products for your body care routine, which is why Kiehl’s uses cocoa butter in body scrub and moisturizer formulas.
What Skin Type Should Use Cocoa Butter?
Thanks to its moisturizing properties, it should come as no surprise that those with dry skin may benefit from using cocoa butter in their skincare routine. It’s also a noteworthy ingredient for all skin types to consider during the cold winter months when skin tends to be noticeably drier.
Can Cocoa Butter Reduce The Appearance of Stretch Marks?
It’s common for pregnant women to use cocoa butter as part of their skincare routine in the hopes of preventing stretch marks, and this tip is oft-repeated on pregnancy forums and among mom groups. Studies even note cocoa butter is rumored to be an at-home remedy for preventing stretch marks. Unfortunately, however, this isn’t a proven benefit of cocoa butter. Researchers have found that home remedies like rubbing cocoa butter onto your stretch marks do not help prevent or fade them.
Next: To learn more about another much-talked-about skincare ingredient, read our article, The Skincare Benefits of Squalane.