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What is Cocoa Butter?

By J. Beam
Updated May 17, 2024
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Cocoa butter is the natural fat extracted from the cacao bean. Also known as oil of theobroma, cocoa butter is slightly yellowish in color, and it is used as an ingredient in foods, pharmaceutical products and many products in the beauty industry. It is included in many cosmetics, shampoos and soaps, and it is ideal for lotions and lip balms because it can help make skin soft and supple. The moisturizing abilities of cocoa butter are frequently recommended for the treatment of chapped skin and lips and as a daily moisturizer to prevent dry, itchy skin. The fact that is a natural preservative and has a faintly pleasant aroma lends further benefits to its cosmetic uses.

Potential Benefits

Products that contain cocoa butter are sometimes claimed to be able to prevent stretch marks in pregnant women or to diminish the appearance of scars. These claims, however, had not been conclusively proved as of 2011. It does, however, promote elasticity in the skin and will aid in the healing of chapped skin if it is used regularly. Some users might consider it beneficial for reducing or preventing stretch marks, scars or other skin blemishes.

Not a Sunscreen

Cocoa butter is often used by people either to expedite a suntan or as a sunscreen. It might enhance a natural tan, but cocoa butter itself does not block the sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. To prevent sunburn or other harmful effects of the sun, a person should use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 no matter whether it contains cocoa butter.

Uses in Food

Although it is extracted from chocolate, cocoa butter has a bland taste and only a faint chocolate smell. It is edible, however, and it is used in making white chocolate and certain confections. One desirable quality is its stability as a fat that contains natural antioxidants, which also preserve it well. It has a melting point just below the average human body temperature, which is what causes chocolate to remain solid at room temperature but melt in the mouth. It gives a smooth texture to many confections that contain chocolate and is often used by culinary experts in a baking capacity.

Pharmaceutical Uses

In the pharmaceutical industry, this product is used in the making of suppositories and oral medications in capsule form. It has the ability to retain a molded shape while containing commonly used medicinal chemicals without unstable reactions. The use of cocoa butter as an inactive ingredient in capsules and suppositories is equally desirable because it is considered to be safe.

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Discussion Comments

By anon140851 — On Jan 08, 2011

Organic cocoa butter can be purchase at Naturalista Cosmetics.

By anon125289 — On Nov 09, 2010

cocoa butter is fat extracted from cocoa bean.

By anon88685 — On Jun 06, 2010

Medically conducted and supervised clinical trials with placebos have found no benefit for reducing effects of stretch marks on pregnant women at any time they have been conducted. However it is a much safer product to fully replace Transfats in chocolate.

By anon87465 — On May 30, 2010

I have just started using it in stick form, so it is almost in it natural form. It does promote elasticity of skin. Does anyone know a good product for the face?

By anon57253 — On Dec 21, 2009

Our family doctor has suggested taking cocoa butter capsules for the possible slowing of dementia. I have been to GNC and all the pharmacies in our area all to no avail. Can anyone tell me where I may be able to order these cocoa butter capsules?

By anon43249 — On Aug 26, 2009

what is a preparation of a cocoa butter suppository?

By anon38038 — On Jul 23, 2009

Well I am a forty year plus and I used a particular company's cocoa butter cream religiously on my face at bedtime. My under eye dark circles just vanished, my skin turned youthful (everybody who sees me says this and those who have no notion of my age place me at 30!!!) and complexion improved. Now I have a blemishless skin. -anon

By anon37667 — On Jul 21, 2009

I have been given a hormone compound with a base of cocoa butter. I am wheat/gluten intolerant as well as allergic to soy, milk and peanuts. Can I still ingest cocoa butter?

By anon36263 — On Jul 10, 2009

Hello, Well i am doing a science fair project on melting chocolates, But i want to know what is the difference between cocoa and cocoa butter.

By anon18626 — On Sep 26, 2008

hello i am doing a report on cocoa butter and i was wondering if you guys could tell me how it is made... that would be awesome!! bye!!

By anon18519 — On Sep 24, 2008

can you absorb the cocoa butter through the skin? the reason I am asking is that I use it daily because I swim and it truly makes my skin soft, and I don't wan to add fat to my body.

By anon1740 — On Jun 13, 2007

It has been said that cocoa butter is recommended for preventing stretch marks that appear in the lower part of the body. But what about using it in an infected area? Does it make any improvement?

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