Cocoa Butter for the Face

Cocoa butter, the sweet-smelling fat that comes from cocoa beans, is a treat for dry facial skin. Cocoa butter is an occlusive emollient, which means it acts as a barrier to keep skin soft and prevent moisture loss. Cocoa butter may also help prevent wrinkles and stretch marks, according to Michael Thurmond, author of "12-Day Body Shaping Miracle."

Small jar of cocoa butter. (Image: sitriel/iStock/Getty Images)

Cocoa Butter Effects on Skin

According to "Nuts and Seeds in Health and Disease Prevention," cocoa butter may help improve skin elasticity and tone. The book says cocoa has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity. Cocoa also offers some protection from UV light. An experiment reported in "Bioactive Dietary Factors and Plant Extracts in Dermatology" tested the effectiveness of cocoa butter on skin. Researchers treated one skin sample with pure cocoa butter and one with a cocoa butter blend containing 1.5-percent cocoa polyphenol. The sample treated with the polyphenol blend showed the biggest boost in collagen density and skin thickness after several days of treatment.

Homemade Cocoa Butter Treatments

You can make a moisturizing skin treatment by combining cocoa butter with grapeseed, almond, soybean or macadamia nut oil. You may need to melt the cocoa butter in the microwave first to mix it with other oils. To make a thicker face cream, add a few tablespoons of beeswax or coconut oil. Anhydrous lanolin, a fat that comes from sheep, gives the cream more hydrating properties. If desired, add a spoonful of vitamin E oil -- it acts as a preservative. Turn your cream into sunscreen by adding a pinch of zinc oxide. Add several drops of essential oil for fragrance, such as geranium, sweet orange or chamomile.

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