Based on both its name and its aroma, it is not a surprise that cocoa butter is derived from the cocoa bean. The substance has a mild chocolate color, flavor, and scent. Raw cocoa butter is typically pale yellow in color and it is an edible vegetable fat. Cocoa butter is commonly used to make chocolate and baked goods. Milk chocolate and white chocolate rely on cocoa butter as a major ingredient. It is also sometimes used in pharmaceutical products due to its nature of its physical properties. Cocoa butter is non-toxic and melts at body temperature, making it ideal for medicinal suppositories. This is the same quality that renders chocolate solid at room temperature but allows it to melt in your mouth. It is also a popular ingredient in ointments, skincare products, and cosmetics.
Cocoa butter has been used by various populations for hundreds of years with evidence of Africans pressing roasted seeds to create a rich, nourishing butter for centuries. In the 1800s, a Dutch chocolate maker named Conrad Van Houten patented a press to separate the butter from the seeds. This increased the commercial availability of cocoa butter and it became more widely used to moisturize and soothe skin. The process of extracting cocoa butter from cocoa beans involves fermenting and roasting whole cocoa beans before separating them from their hulls. Unlike cocoa solids, cocoa butter has only small traces of caffeine and theobromine.
Cocoa butter is considered one of the most stable fats, giving it a long shelf life. By preventing rancidity, cocoa butter's natural antioxidant qualities also contribute to a common storage life of two to five years. These antioxidant properties and potential for a long shelf life make cocoa butter an ideal ingredient in many skincare products, such as lotions, soaps, and cosmetics. The thick texture makes it easy to apply to the skin. Many products also rely on its pleasant fragrance to provide a mild and natural scent.
Beyond its scent and texture, cocoa butter is an ideal for skincare products due to its emollient properties. Its luxurious thickness works to moisturize and heal skin. It is gentle but effective enough to be used as a daily moisturizer or lotion. This rich substance also helps to heal and prevent dry or itchy skin and is a trusted treatment for chapped skin and lips.
Many women swear by using cocoa butter to address stretch marks associated with pregnancy. The nourishing ingredient helps to keep skin soft and ease the tightness of stretched skin, keeping skin healthy throughout pregnancy and protecting skin's elasticity.
Cocoa butter is used in many beauty products due to its antioxidants and anti-aging benefits. Cocoa butter contains many powerful and beneficial antioxidants. It has a high concentration of vitamin E, which helps to soothe and moisturize the skin. Along with these antioxidants, cocoa butter stimulates the production of collagen in the skin. Collagen and elastin are the substances that improve skin's elasticity and firmness. The higher amounts of collagen provided through the use of cocoa butter help to diminish signs of aging on the skin such as fine lines, wrinkles, skin discoloration, and a puffy or saggy under-eye area.
In addition to moisturizing skin and improving its radiance and smoothness, cocoa butter can help to treat hyperpigmentation, particularly in people with darker skin. When massaged into patches of darker skin, cocoa butter helps to heal and nourish damaged skin cells, reducing the appearance of hyperpigmentation. It can be used to similarly help with scar tissue. By massaging affected areas with cocoa butter, circulation to region of damaged skin will increase, helping to break down the scar tissue.
Many popular over-the-counter skincare and cosmetic products contain cocoa butter due to its many beneficial properties. Regardless of a product's primary purpose, cocoa butter adds many benefits. Skin will appear smoother, softer, and healthier and dryness will become less common. With regular application, skin's elasticity and firmness will improve on account of cocoa butter's luxurious thickness and antioxidant-rich nature.