It is difficult to make it through life without some sort of scar. Whether it is a small scar from a sports injury or a large scar from childbirth, despite the body’s regular shedding of skin, the imperfection remains. Some scars can be removed or made to be less visible. Many, if not all, scars can be prevented with the right treatment as soon as the injury occurs. Cocoa butter is the one treatment that can provide all of these benefits. It is an emollient that works by softening and moisturizing the skin.
What is Cocoa Butter?
An edible vegetable fat, cocoa butter comes from the coca bean. Other names include theobroma oil or thobroma cacao. It can be used in baking and pharmaceutical products. It tastes and smells faintly of chocolate or cocoa.
Cocoa Butter Uses
There can’t be chocolate without cocoa butter! Cocoa butter is also used as an ingredient in many self care products such as beauty creams, moisturizing salves, lotions and soaps. When stored at room temperature, cocoa butter is mostly solid. It quickly melts when touched to the body. This non-toxic oil is shelf-stable. It does not go rancid for up to five years. Its longevity makes it an excellent ingredient for preserving other skin creams and some food products.
Cocoa butter is a superior skin moisturizer and is recommended by skin specialists and other health care providers for treating and preventing scars. For example, it is recommended for use during occupational therapy and massage to remove scarring after surgery in the treatment of Dypuytrens disease.. Dypuytrens is a genetic disorder associated with diabetes, hypothyroidism, smoking and pulmonary disease that affects the tissue of the hand, causing the fascia to tighten and become shortened. A great deal of scarring results, even with surgical intervention.
More commonly, cocoa butter hydrates the skin making it flexible, which helps prevent and remove stretch marks. Early in pregnancy a woman can apply it to her thighs, buttocks and stomach to reduce the development of stretch marks. The butter is especially helpful in treating dry, itchy skin and for scars caused by burns.
Best Types of Cocoa Butter
Like any product, not all cocoa butters are equal and work for removing scars effectively. Look for a product that is 100 percent cocoa butter. It will be a thick cream in its natural form; and, it should be organic, to avoid exposing your body to pesticides and chemicals found in conventional cocoa butter. The skin being treated is likely sensitive or inflamed so it is wise to avoid scented cocoa butter or to choose a lightly scented butter to avoid a skin reaction. The added chemicals or perfumes can be drying and cause itching.
Brand names are not nearly as important as the actual ingredients. Products diluted with other ingredients like Paraffinum Liquidum, or mineral oil—a petrochemical that blocks nutrient absorption by the skin—will not have any effect on scar removal or lightening. Watch for the manufacturer’s use of the word “proprietary”. This suggests they have mixed up a very small amount of cocoa butter with any number of other ingredients they choose and label the product as cocoa butter. These products are often comparable in cost to the 100 percent cocoa butter but are nothing like the real deal.
Tips for Scar Removal
Cleanse the area to be treated with water and a soft washcloth to help reduce the dry skin. Collect a dollop of cocoa butter on your hands and massage it into the scar in a circular motion until it has been absorbed entirely into the skin. The oily texture of cocoa butter will lighten the scar over time and will improve the skin’s lubrication. Apply three times a day for many days to achieve your desired results. The healing oils of the cocoa butter will work over time. Take advantage of the amazing hydration and apply it to lips to combat chapping, smooth dry skin in any location and apply some to fine lines and wrinkles to reduce their visibility.
It is possible to have an allergy to cocoa butter. Symptoms of this include swelling, redness, itching or the development of sores. If this occurs, discontinue using the cocoa butter an consider consulting with your health care practitioner.
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