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Cocoa butter on your skin: a natural softener and nourishing protective film

INCI-Wiki11.05.22 7 min. read

Part 2 of “Inside is what's good. For you and your skin” series by This Place

Would you like to understand the ingredients list of your cosmetics better? Check out our series of articles, “What's good is inside. For you and your skin” by This Place. We kicked the series off with Bakuchiol – a plant that has only recently been celebrated as a hero ingredient. You can access the other articles via the links at the bottom of the page.

 

Hmmm, hardly any other natural ingredient exudes a similarly pleasant scent. A scent so catchy that it makes you close your eyes and almost automatically switch to pleasure mode: cocoa butter.

Although the scent of ingredients and finished formulations plays a vital role for This Place because it can enhance a product's effect, numerous other reasons make cocoa butter a valuable component. And, of course, for the entire beauty industry.

This article discusses why cocoa bean fat is so prevalent in personal care products and how cocoa butter affects your skin. Ready? But please don't complain later if you suddenly feel like eating something sweet!



 

From cultivation to processing: interesting facts about cocoa butter

When you think of cocoa, the first thing that might come to mind is the brown powder that, when dissolved in milk, can bring back fondest childhood memories. Or even the variant for baking, which is disproportionately tart in taste and smell. But maybe the keyword “cocoa” appeals to your sweet tooth, and you immediately go through your favorite types of chocolate in your mind.

Whatever you are thinking about now: these and similar associations are not surprising when it comes to cocoa. After all, it has been ubiquitous in households for decades; it is available in various forms on the shelves of all grocery stores.

 

It's a little different with cocoa butter. Although both cocoa and cocoa butter is derived from the seeds of the fruits of the cocoa tree, they are different products. And while you can consume cocoa with pleasure, pure cocoa butter (although edible) is only of limited use as a snack. Its merits are comprehensively utilized as a popular ingredient in skincare products. But more on that later.

Currently, 20 different types of cocoa plants are known. Of the approximately 4.5 million cocoa trees worldwide, more than 60 percent of the plants are grown in Africa [1]. However, the so-called “cocoa belt” extends to four continents [1], including Central and South America, the countries of origin of cocoa. Here, for example, cocoa plants have been growing in the tropical rainforests of Nicaragua, Ecuador, Colombia, and Peru for around 5,000 years. But there are also cocoa plantations in the Dominican Republic, for example.

Thanks to its biodiversity, cocoa is available in different flavors and aromas. The fruit comes in various varieties. The most well-known resembles pumpkin and papaya with longitudinal grooves in its shell. Cocoa beans can grow up to 40 tiny seeds.

Cocoa beans have to be fermented, dried, roasted, and later pressed in a complex process for days to obtain cocoa butter. This is the only way to extract and filter the fat from the beans.

The slightly yellowish cocoa butter is solid at room temperature and exudes its aromatic, chocolaty scent. Since it melts at around 30°C, you can quickly heat and liquefy cocoa butter pieces in your hands.

Cocoa butter can be stored for years as a raw material if stored correctly. But for you, of course, the information on the manufacturer's durability is relevant.

In which products are cocoa butter found and why?

It doesn't matter whether it's body butter, body lotion, bath additive, soap, lip care, massage bar, or face cream: Theobroma Cacao Seed Butter - the official name of cocoa butter in the list of ingredients (INCI) - is used in numerous care and decorative cosmetic products.

Manufacturers appreciate the pleasant smell and the consistency-giving function of cocoa butter [5; 6]. It makes emulsions a little firmer.

At the same time, the raw material is readily available and has a relatively long shelf life.

Due to its good skin tolerance and many skin-improving properties, cocoa butter is undoubtedly a special hero ingredient.

So much for cocoa butter in cosmetics. But what does that mean for you and your skin?

 Wie wirkt Kakaobutter auf deiner Haut?

Fatty acids & antioxidants: How does cocoa butter work on your skin?

Vegetable fat consists of numerous vitamins, amino acids, and minerals. 

A velvety protective film thanks to valuable lipids

Above all, cocoa butter, as the name suggests, is characterized by a beneficial combination of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids [5]. The vegetable fat is about 60% saturated, about 35% monounsaturated, and 5% polyunsaturated fatty acids. Thanks mainly to its high content of stearic acid and palmitic acid - both saturated fatty acids - cocoa butter can form a velvety protective film on your skin. This occlusive effect [6] keeps the moisture in your skin better and can even smooth out small lines caused by dryness. The other fatty acids strengthen the natural lipid layer of your skin and keep it supple and elastic.

Especially for chapped or dry skin and lips, cocoa butter is a nutritional benefit that can have a calming effect on your skin and reduce irritation. For dehydrated hair, cocoa butter can provide more shine.

 

Vitamins and minerals as an additional beauty booster

Concerning the vitamins and minerals, the effect of cocoa butter on your skin is supplemented with other beauty benefits! For example, the fat from the cocoa bean contains vitamin K, which can strengthen the delicate veins in your skin. This is an advantage for the blood circulation in your skin. In addition, the well-known anti-aging vitamin E contains an antioxidant that can protect the sensitive membrane of your cells from premature aging and free radicals.

If your focus is on an even complexion, look out for cocoa butter in the ingredient list because the contained potassium helps to regulate water balance. Moisture is essential for a plump appearance and the elasticity of your skin. In addition, potassium is involved in the pigmentation processes of your skin. Unsightly accumulations of dark pigment such as age spots can be positively influenced by potassium and possibly alleviated.

 

Free radicals and premature skin aging

In addition to their antioxidant effects [5]; [7], cocoa butter is also said to have an anti-inflammatory effect [5]. For your skin, this means: Cocoa butter protects your skin from damage caused by free radicals, which can lead to premature skin aging, a dull complexion, or a rough skin surface, among other things. At the same time, it supports the healing process of your skin in the event of minor injuries. In short: cocoa butter promotes a youthful appearance.

Some women use cocoa butter to treat stretch marks. So far, however, there is no scientific proof of this effect [4]. The same applies to cocoa butter to treat eczema and psoriasis [4]; [5]. An improvement may occur but has not been scientifically confirmed [4].

After a sunburn and when a sharp, cold wind has left its mark on your skin, cocoa butter can have a calming effect [7].

 

Cocoa butter for blemishes

Despite all the favorable properties of cocoa butter in care products, we do not want to ignore the possibility of an undesirable effect.

If your skin is prone to breakouts, pimples, or even acne, or if you have an oily skin type, you should observe how your skin reacts when using pure cocoa butter or products with a high cocoa fat content. This is because vegetable fat has a comedogenic effect, which means that pores can clog more quickly and may cause skin impurities [2], [3].

 

Kakaobutter als Inhaltsstoff in der funktionalen Naturkosmetik von This Place

Which This Place products contain cocoa butter?

At This Place, we have another product formulated with cocoa butter: The Mineral Bath. In the velvety care crystals of The Mineral Bath, cocoa butter envelops the unique mixture of minerals in the bath powder. As soon as you step out of your bath, the protective film of saturated and unsaturated lipids hugs your skin and leaves it feeling soft and smooth.

If you gently pat yourself dry, this protection will remain on your skin for a remarkably long time.

By the way: Although dry hair can benefit from cocoa butter, you should put your hair up in The Mineral Bath, as the bath additive is not intended as a shampoo or conditioner replacement.

But The Mineral Bath isn't the only This Place product in which you'll read Theobroma Cacao Seed Butter in the list of naturally powerful ingredients. More exciting formulations will be added to This Place's 'cocoa butter cosmetics' in the second half of this year. Exciting!

 

Caring, nourishing, and a lot of love: The cocoa butter conclusion

Cocoa pods are harvested on four continents and elaborately processed to obtain cocoa and cocoa butter. As a consistency factor, the vegetable fat in care products influences the firmness and gives off a light chocolate scent.

Cocoa butter has been established as a popular ingredient in cosmetic products for skincare for years. No wonder, since every part of the body benefits from the valuable mixture of saturated and unsaturated lipids, amino acids, minerals, and vitamins in this beauty favorite.

In principle, cocoa butter is compatible and suitable for all skin types, but oily cuticles should observe whether this care is too rich and has a comedogenic effect. On the other hand, the fruit of the cocoa tree is a nourishing plus in the skincare routine for dry skin.

Whether it is skin and hair in general or specifically for the care of lips and face: Cocoa fat as a natural ingredient offers your skin the most crucial care properties for a nourished, supple appearance. This butter from the brown cocoa beans has an antioxidant, cell-protecting effect and protects your skin from rapid moisture loss.

The Mineral Bath by This Place is the functional natural cosmetics brand's first bath powder to contain cocoa butter.

Sources:
  1. Schokotorial More Info
  2. Beratungs-Tipps bei Hauterkrankungen More Info
  3. Kosmetische Dermatologie; Worret, Wolf-Ingo & Gehring, Wolfgang, Springer 2013, Seite 77 More Info
  4. What are the benefits of cocoa butter? More Info
  5. Benefits of Theobroma cacao and Its Phytocompounds as Cosmeceuticals More Info
  6. Selection and Application of Synthetic versus Natural Emollients in the Formulation of Skin Care Products, More Info
  7. Review on Herbal Cosmetic for Hair and Skin, Ghule, Hari Namdev; Laxman Ghule, Yogeshwari; World Journal of Pharmaceutical Research; Volume 9, Issue 7, Seiten 470 - 484. More Info

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