Jan 292015
 

The Many Benefits of Cocoa Butter in Your Skin Care  Products.

Cocoa butter has a long history of use as a moisturising agent for dry and damaged skin. Being an emollient that melts at body temperature and is quickly and easily absorbed by the skin, cocoa butters ability to penetrate through the epidermis (the top layer of skin) and deep into the dermis means it distributes its valuable nucream-applied-to-face-womantrients and fatty acids further into the skin where moisture is more easily retained.skin-anatomy-dermis-epidermis

The nutrients within cocoa butter include a large proportion of highly bioavailable minerals (meaning they are more easily used by the body than say commercial vitamin supplements), including calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc, manganese, copper and iron.

Cocoa butter also contains quantities of tryptophan, which is the precursor to the feel good neurotransmitter, serotonin. (This is why there are studies done on whether women like chocolate better than sex!) There are also quantities of dopamine and phenylethylamine, needed by your skin and your brain.

Where does Cocoa Butter Come From?cacaopod

The cacao tree (pronounced “ka-cow”) produces large gourd-shaped pods, each containing up to around 40 cocoa seeds. These seeds are the cocoa beans from which cocoa butter is extracted, along with the cacao or cocoa used to make chocolate.

Coccocoa-butter-chocolateoa butter can be either cold pressed; a process which retains a higher percentage of its valuable antioxidants, or fermented (in banana leaves), dried and then roasted before being separated from the cocoa pod hull and pressed; this second method is the traditional way of processing cocoa and is the one most widely used.

The cocoa butter is usually then deodorised to remove strong bitter flavours, leaving it with the lovely soft chocolaty aroma and taste that many people find so attractive.

 

The best growing region for Cacao trees is a small geographic band about 15-20 degrees north or south of the Equator.

Cacow prod pie chart

Antioxidant Action.

The process of oxidation caused by free radicals formed in our bodies during metabolic processes and by things such as sun and chemical exposure, certain foods and smoking, can be circumvented by adequate ingestion and absorption (via the skin) of a variety of antioxidants.

Cocoa Butter contains a variety of antioxidants that can neutralise free radicals, and there by save your skin cells from damage that can lead to premature aging.

antioxidants-protect-your-skin-from-premature-ageing

I’m sure we have all heard the buzz about the wonderful benefits of foods such berries and how they are being noted as super-foods. Foods such as blueberries contain high levels of antioxidants as well as other goodies that help us fight off the ravages of ageing and environmental hazards and are a wonderful addition to a healthy diet.

However, did you know that cocoa butter contains even higher levels of antioxidants than the super foods?

Cocoa Butter contains Vitamin E and a variety of phytochemicals (plant chemicals) such as flavanoids and polyphenols, which all work towards saving our bodies and there for our skin, from the ravages of free radical scavengers.

(For more information about antioxidants and free radicals and how it all fits together, see my upcoming post on antioxidant action.)

 

 Stretch mark reduction.

stretch-marks-pregnant-belly

When cocoa butter is mixed with other oils such as in creams or body butters, it becomes easier to apply to the skin and also gives the additional benefits of the other components combined in the product.

Stretch marks are a common result during pregnancy when skin is stretched to a point where it can no longer hold itscream-on-pregnant-belly-prevent-stretch-marks structure and the skin layers pull apart.

By using a cocoa butter based cream daily to massage into your growing pregnant belly, the skin will stay soft and supple and be much more easily able to adapt to the expansion and stretching required of it, so that stretch marks should not occur or at the very least will be greatly lessened.

 

Scars.

Although scarring is unfortunately here to stay, the appearance of scars can be lessened and improved by moisturising and softening the skin.scar-reductionApplication of cocoa butter products has shown to smooth the texture and help to even out skin tone so that scars don’t appear as noticeable.

The ability of cocoa butter to penetrate deep into the skin and keep the tissue well hydrated, assists the growth of new skin tissue and facilitates repair of damaged skin.

 

Rashes, Irritations and Allergies.

Cocoa Butter is often recommended as component of natural treatments for skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema and dermatitis. Topical application not only penetrates deeply, but leaves a moisture retaining barrier on the surface of the skin, protecting it for harsh environmental elements and retaining moisture. A component of cocoa butter, cocoa mass polyphenol (CMP), is known to inhibit production of the immuno globulin IgE which aggravates and amplifies symptoms of dermatitis.

eczema-rash-itchy-skin

 

 

 

 

References.

The Chocolate Review Online Resource for Chocolate Lovers

Source: UNCTAD based on the data from International Cocoa Organization, quarterly bulletin of cocoa statistics

Freyaluna – Love Yourself Naturally, What Cocoa Butter Can Do For Your Skin, Posted on November 7, 2013

Benefits of Cocoa Butter on Scarring, Live Strong.com

Natural Healing Tips: Cocoa Butter 101, Mon, Sep 29th 2014, Z Living Staff

 

Photo Credits.

The Chocolate Review Online Resource for Chocolate Lovers

Source: UNCTAD based on the data from International Cocoa Organization, quarterly bulletin of cocoa statistics

 

  2 Responses to “Cocoa Butter – Aiding Dry & Damaged Skin”

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