Is Cocoa Butter Good for Getting Rid of Stretch Marks?
Everybody loves the way it looks, smells and feels.
Cocoa butter has been so popular for so many centuries that it’s also called the stretch mark cream. When you look at this stuff and smell it and touch it, it’s easy to understand why. In its just-harvested, unrefined state, at room temperature the butter is solid. It resembles chunks of mouth-watering white chocolate. When refined and ready for marketing, spooned into a bowl it looks luscious. The stuff is so fluffy and gleaming, with an aroma so appealing, that your instinct is to bury your fingers right in it and rub it all over yourself.
It’s a natural, edible vegetable fat.
Cocoa butter is made directly from the extract of cocoa beans grown in Africa and South and Central America. The locals often use it for cooking. For marketable cosmetic purposes, first it’s ground into a paste, and from the paste a byproduct gets taken and broken down into a butter. The butter is sent to a lab to be further refined for use in skin care products.
Besides its lovely texture and fragrance, cocoa butter is prized for its low melting point, which means it immediately absorbs into skin. It has traces of Vitamin E, a proven skin-nourishing antioxidant. People also love cocoa butter because this is a natural substance, and very affordable.
But there’s absolutely no evidence that it gets rid of stretch marks by itself.
Here’s what cocoa butter can do: it easily permeates the surface layer of skin, and goes down into the dermis, which is where stretch marks occur. It lubricates the dermis to maintain elasticity. When painstakingly applied in a circular motion, it’s an excellent preventative of tears. For cocoa butter to work, however, pregnant women, body-building men, pubescent kids and dieters must repeat the treatment several times a day, and only to prevent any scarring.
Because this must also be understood: the world’s most beloved moisturizer does little on its own to reduce preexisting stretch marks.
According to the most favorable reviews, cocoa butter does reduce scarring if it’s combined with effective additives. When its Vitamin E traces are augmented, and it’s collagen and elastin-enhanced, then you have something that might really work, if you’re willing to be relentless. Women who have just had babies are advised to rub it into scarred areas every single day for a year.
The most eye-opening review is by a registered nurse with knowledge of exactly how scarring occurs, and what must be done to transform it. She believes cocoa butter isn’t successful without Vitamin A (Retinol), Vitamins E and C, Alpha hydroxy and Tiger’s herb.
The term Retinol is derived from retinoic acid. It directly affects skin cells. It can change skin cells’ physiology in very appealing ways.
Alpha hydroxy acids, or AHA, are useful because they help moisturizers get further into the dermis by eroding corneocytes, the protective cells that encase it.
Tiger’s herb is most impressive. It gets its name from wounded wild tigers that instinctively roll in it to heal. Another name is Centella. In India, Africa, the Philippines, Java, and France, Tiger’s herb has been used to treat diseases and skin conditions since the 17th century.
Ancient Indians ate leaves of this herb to treat serious diseases, like syphilis. Externally the herb has been effectively used for gangrene and leprosy. It works on these daunting conditions by breaking down the coating on bacteria. This enables the body’s immune system to get in there and win the battle.
Not surprisingly, Centella can also change scar tissue. It stimulates the remodeling of collagen by improving its synthesis, and this restores skin back to normal.
Now, with that said…
Taking a look at the reconstructive forces that some substances exert upon scars makes it easy to see that the all-time favorite skin balm is really just a simple, well, butter. Though it won’t transform scars by itself, it does have one huge advantage: its popularity. Cocoa butter, then, is the medium of choice for additives that truly reduce stretch marks.