I am often asked what I use in my skin care routine and to give a brief description. I very sparingly use commercial products on my face. I only use raw materials to cleanse my face and I only use raw butters and body butter that I make myself at home. I have made a post about Unrefined Shea Butter and all of it’s benefits but today I will be talking about Raw Cocoa Butter.
What Is Cocoa Butter
Cocoa butter comes from the cacao bean which is found inside the cocoa pod that grows on from the cacao tree. (pronounced ca-cow) The cocoa pod is a large gourd-shaped fruit an inside, 30 to 40 cocoa seeds are found. These seeds must be fermented in banana leaves, dried, roasted and pressed, releasing the vegetable fat from the beans, which we know as cocoa butter.
Because of its natural make-up, and its nutrient and fatty acid content, cocoa butter is amazing for dry skin and can actually penetrate further than the top layer of the skin, meaning it moisturizes deep-down and really nourishes the skin. Free-radicals are small molecules formed during the body’s metabolism when energy is generated from glucose in every cell in your body. They are also formed by exposure to pollutants such as car fumes, pesticides, and tobacco smoke.
These free-radicals destroy cells, and when these are skin cells you begin to age. Your skin wrinkles and dries up, and you begin to take on the look of somebody years older than you are. They do this through a process known as oxidation (a good way to think of it is to consider how iron rusts when it oxidises), and antioxidants can prevent it. They neutralize the free-radicals, and prevent your skin cells from being destroyed.
Cocoa butter contains a number of different antioxidants which can kill-off a wide range of different free-radicals. In fact, cocoa butter contains a much higher antioxidant concentration then even blueberries and other superfoods.
Cocoa butter is high in fatty acids, meaning it can penetrate deep-down into the skin and hydrate from within. Cocoa butter can also be helpful for many skin problems like eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, and skin irritation.
Immune System Health
Preliminary research indicates that CMP (cocoa mass polyphenol) actually helps suppress excessive T-cell activity in the immune system, which could lead to possible treatment in immune system conditions such as psoriasis, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Bye To Stretch Marks
Cocoa butter is widely noted to help reduce stretch marks. This is most likely due to its nutrient and anti-oxidant content, as we’ve seen above. There are no guarantees, but many women claim that regular use of cocoa butter was what kept their stretch marks away. Now, I can’t promise that cocoa butter, alone, will keep stretch marks away completely.
Unrefined and Refined Cocoa Butter
The difference between refined and unrefined cocoa butter is night and day. Unrefined cocoa butter which is the only version I use is raw and has not been processed. It has a creamy yellow-beige color that smells exactly like chocolate.
Refined Cocoa Butter is white in color and doesn’t have a noticeable scent to it. Processed or refined coco butter also depletes the product of all of the beneficial vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that make it so sought after in the first place. A lot of drugstore skincare products claim to have cocoa butter but it’s all very refined. For example the entire Vaseline Cocoa scented line does not contain raw cocoa butter. Just be aware that just because a label says it contains cocoa butter in doesn’t mean it’s the raw version.
How I Use Cocoa Butter
Cocoa Butter unlike Shea Butter is an extremely hard butter and because of that I need to melt it down before I use it on my skin, which is actually a bit of a hassle but that extra step is worth it considering how soft it makes my skin. I use cocoa butter as a moisturizer, I add it to my homemade lip balms and I also add a little bit to a warm bath. Many people also use cocoa butter in their homemade soaps, and vapor rubs.
Below are some online stores that sell authentic Unrefined Cocoa Butter