It is this property of cocoa butter – even more than the flavor of cocoa/chocolate itself – that makes chocolate so irresistibly unique in texture. By itself, cocoa butter has a yellowish white color to it. You won’t see it on its own too often, but if you have ever seen chocolate “bloom,” or develop a whitish tinge to it, it is usually the cocoa butter rising to the surface of the chocolate after having been through a rapid change in temperature (from hot and melting, to cold, to put it in very simple terms).
Cocoa butter is highly coveted due to its believed healing benefits. Derived from African cocoa beans, cocoa butter is present in everyday items like chocolate, lip gloss and lotion. Pregnant women and body builders use the oil to help prevent stretch marks that result from rapid muscle growth or weight gain. Alternative health practitioners use it for –
- Skin care
- Disease prevention
While several clinical trials have debunked many of cocoa butter’s supposed benefits, it’s still widely regarded as a healing substance and effective moisturizer.
Cocoa butter is perhaps most widely used in skin creams and lotions that aim to prevent, heal or reduce stretch marks. According to a 2008 study published in “BJOG: an International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology” and a 2010 study published in the “International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecologists,” women who used cocoa butter during pregnancy did not demonstrate a decrease in stretch mark formation compared to women who did not use cocoa butter.
Still, while it may not prevent stretch marks, cocoa butter’s moisturizing and soothing properties may help relive irritation or itching associated with rapid skin expansion.
According to the American Cancer Society, cocoa butter’s emollient and moisturizing properties can help soothe mouth sores that develop in some cancer patients. These mouth sores often arise after chemotherapy when dehydration and malnutrition are common. Cocoa butter may also help relieve pain and cracking for sores caused by smoking or certain mouth cancers. It can also help ease dry lips and skin on or around the mouth resulting from chronic dehydration.
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