Cocoa butter (sometimes called theobroma oil) is a natural, meltable oil extracted the cocoa bean. It’s the vital fat used to make chocolate – including healthy, dark chocolate – creamy, smooth and melt-in-your-mouth delicious!
And while it might be best known used to achieve the satisfying creamy dreaminess of chocolatey sweets, this tasty ingredient is also a staple in health and beauty products providing important nutrients and fatty acids beneficial to healthy mind, body, and skin.
Cocoa Butter. Luxurious & Effective Edible Skin and Health Care!
Along with other fats popular in skin care such as raw shea butter or coconut oil, cocoa butter is effective for helping to heal and relieve any number of skin and inflammatory conditions.
Raw cocoa butter is also completely edible (with the appealing tropical smell and flavour similar to that of dark chocolate), making it hugely popular for use in lip glosses and balms.
What is Cocoa Butter?
Cocoa beans, native to Central and South America, have been harvested to make a potent beverage as well as natural skin moisturizers for centuries. With its mild, pleasant fragrance and abundant, hydrating emollient properties, cocoa has been recognized for its medicinal purposes for almost 3,000 years. A favourite among the ancient Aztecs and Mayans, cocoa was of tremendous value, used for a variety of purposes including currency to exchange for clothing, food, and other staples.
Cocoa butter is still a very popular ingredient today for use in a whole host of beauty products and foods. In recent years, with the increased awareness of the beneficial effects of using cocoa, researchers have identified the effective ingredients, compounds called phytochemicals, that provide so effectively for improved skin and body health.
Studies have identified cocoa beans as a high-antioxidant food, containing a significant amount of polyphenol and flavanoid antioxidants. So high are the beans in antioxidants, that even after separation from the beans' solids, enough of these antioxidants remain in the cocoa butter to allow for health benefits that include lowering inflammation, skin care, improving heart health, and improved immunity.
Six Reasons to Start Using Cocoa Butter
1) Cocoa Butter Is a Healthy Fat.
Full of fatty acids like oleic acid, palmitic acid, and stearic acid, cocoa butter is full of antioxidants that fight free radicals. These antioxidants also ensure a long shelf life.
100% vegan, cocoa butter is an easy way for those on a plant-based diet to get more healthy, saturated fats in their diet.
Despite being considered a saturated fat, cocoa butter is, in fact, a healthy fat – mostly saturated –similar to coconut oil. The amount of saturated fat it contains (as opposed to unsaturated fat) is between 57 percent to 64 percent of the total fat content, depending on the exact kind. Among the different types of fatty acids are:
- stearic acid (about 24 percent to 37 percent of total fat content)
- palmitic acid (24 percent to 30 percent)
- myristic acid (0 percent to 4 percent)
- arachidic acid (around 1 percent)
- lauric acid (only about 0 percent to 1 percent)
Minimally processed, and not heated to high temperatures during manufacturing, cocoa butter typically retains more of the healthy fats and other superfood compounds found naturally in cocoa beans.
2. It's an Effective Mood Booster
This superfood helps boost neurotransmitters and balance hormones.
Whether ingested or applied topically, cocoa butter effectively raises dopamine and serotonin. For women, this is incredibly helpful for battling PMS – why you might be craving chocolate! It's also been shown to help reduce anxiety and induce a sense of calm.
Eat it or enjoy as a massage oil to enjoy the benefits.
3. Pro-aging Skin Care!
Forget anti-aging, it's all about how to age in the most healthy way possible. And cocoa butter offers an effective and luxurious way to do so!
The polyphenols contained in cocoa butter have been shown in some studies to help diminish signs of aging, plus soothe sensitive skin suffering from dermatitis or rashes.
Polyphenols are types of antioxidants that promote health both internally when eaten and when used topically on the skin. Cocoa’s polyphenols have been found to fight various chronic diseases, degeneration of the skin, sensitivities and even cell mutations.
The high antioxidant content in cocoa butter helps fight off free-radical damage to the skin. Free radicals can cause skin aging, dark patches, and dull skin. Protecting your skin from free-radical damage is a must if you want to keep it healthy and youthful-looking.
Cocoa butter is also anti-inflammatory, which is another way it helps your skin resist the ravages of time.
Research shows that its polyphenols have several positive indicators for skin health, including improved skin elasticity and skin tone, better collagen retention/production, and better hydration.
4. General Skincare: Moisturizes, Soothes Burns, Rashes, Infections, Chapped Lips. Also Great for Stretchmarks.
Cocoa butter makes an excellent skin moisturizer as the saturated fats easily absorbed and remain on the skin for hours making it especially beneficial for healing dry, cracked skin.
It is a natural emollient, adding a protective layer of hydration to your skin, useful for blocking the effects of very cold temperatures, sun damage or indoor heat, which can leave your skin dry and cracked.
High in essential fatty acids cocoa butter hydrates the skin deeply. The oleic, palmitic, and stearic acids, all help nourish the skin.
Given this fact, a popular use is to keep stretch marks at bay during and after pregnancy, helping to regenerate the skin.
A natural hydrating product, cocoa butter causes significantly less irritation to those with sensitive skin as it still locks in moisture.
For burns, rub a small amount of pure cocoa butter into burnt skin to help skin replenish. It’s also gentle enough to be used as a natural remedy for rashes, eczema or dermatitis, and other irritations.
If the inside of your mouth is prone to developing painful sores or your lips develop recurring blisters, it only takes a bit of cocoa butter to keep them moisturized and provide healing relief.
Probably one of the most common and popular uses of cocoa butter is on lips. Make you own lip balm: add essential oils like grapefruit, vanilla, orange or peppermint oil to make flavourful lip palms that are also hydrating for delicate skin.
5. Enhances Immunity
Many studies have shown that plant polyphenols exert antioxidant powers within the immune system, fighting inflammation, DNA damage and cellular mutations, which are the underling cause of diseases like cardiovascular disease, cancer and autoimmune conditions that can lead to fatigue.
Using cocoa butter over refined vegetable oils can reduce inflammation in general and help with hormonal balance and brain health — all while providing a boost to the immune system.
6. Helps Improve Heart Health
Up until very recently, saturated fats had been given a pretty bad rap.
Once blamed for contributing to heart problems, today researchers have a better understanding that plant-derived saturated fats are actually beneficial for reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
The polyphenolic components found in cocoa butter have been shown to help lower inflammatory markers involved in atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), which is why cocoa is now considered an anti-inflammatory food.
Cocoa also seems to help with lipid (fat) metabolism and is linked with a decreased risk for vascular events, such as a heart attack.
As a saturated fat cocoa butter is resilient against rancidity and spoilage. Incredibly stable, it can last for up to two years or more.
When looking to purchase cocoa butter look for a pure, quality source, such as our Wild Mountain Chocolate Cocoa Butter – chunks of healing goodness! – and try to avoid those sold as lotions delivered in pump or squeezeble bottles. While these products may contain some cocoa butter, they’re far from pure and likely contain many other additives, which is how they keep uniform texture and colour.
If you're partial to commercially available beauty and health products, keep this in mind: in direct comparison with cocoa butter, the results were quite similar, but cocoa butter offered the benefits free from potentially harmful or irritating ingredients.