Cocoa Butter offers incredible skin benefits – but unfortunately healing scars doesn’t seem to be one of them.
Have you ever wondered if you can you use cocoa butter to heal stretch marks? Or seen cocoa butter moisturizer promoted for soft skin?
Then you may be wondering if cocoa butter can heal acne scars or other marks on your body.
If you feel you’ve been duped by advertisements touting the endless benefits of cocoa butter, you’re not alone.
This post is going to set the record straight and help you find ingredients that actually work to reduce the appearance of a scar and moisturize your skin, too.
While pure cocoa butter moisturizer is a popular skin cream, ask a dermatologist about using it on acne marks or as a scar treatment lotion and you’ll probably get a strong “no”.
Unfortunately, those who apply cocoa butter to damaged skin or incision sites may discover the area heals with raised scar tissue instead of smooth skin.
Others who believe that cocoa butter could fade their acne scars, may find the opposite results: cocoa butter clogs their pores and they have an acne breakout instead!
Cocoa butter is deeply moisturizing – but is is not affective for treating scars or healing damaged skin. In fact – some ingredients that are often promoted with cocoa butter may make scars worse.
Let’s break down the misinformation and share what are the real benefits (and side effects) of cocoa butter so you can make an informed decision about using cocoa butter for scars or stretch marks.
At the end of this article you can find cocoa butter alternatives, and find out which one is better: cocoa butter or shea butter for scars.
What Is Cocoa Butter & What Are Its Ingredients?
Cocoa Butter is a thick oil extracted from the cacao pod of the cocoa tree – the same one that is processed into delicious chocolate.
Cocoa butter is sometimes mixed with other ingredients for rich lotions. Shea butter is a favorite companion to cocoa butter.
Raw cocoa butter is a great moisturizer for glowing skin. It is high in natural fatty acids and it has natural antioxidants and flavonoids that help to prevent premature aging.
Other natural ingredients include vitamin E and vitamin K.
Vitamin E is a great choice for sun protection, but it can also be an inflammatory, which you certainly don’t want on healing skin.
The other one, vitamin K can also cause scars to worsen or marks to appear raised.
Benefits of Cocoa Butter
Here is the truth about cocoa butter’s beneficial properties:
Cocoa butter is highly moisturizing and is rich in fatty acids, which make your skin supple and healthy.
It naturally contains Vitamin E, which can protect your skin from sun damage. It has antioxidant properties too, which can help prevent premature aging.
Cocoa butter is known to reduce hyperpigmentation, especially with women of darker skin tones.
All good stuff – but this awesome moisturizer does not contain ingredients for effective scar treatment.
Why You Should Not Use Cocoa Butter For Scars
Now, let’s consider why cocoa butter is actually a poor choice to use on skin that is healing after surgery, an accident, pregnancy, or hormonal acne.
One thing that can be confusing for consumers is the difference between a moisturizer and a product that is hydrating.
Hydration Versus Moisturization
Hydration attracts water, this is what you want when healing skin. Hydrating ingredients help skin to heal more smoothly, quickly and can also reduce redness around the area.
Moisturizing “locks in” water and prevents it from escaping. Unfortunately, this can also prevent skin from adequate “breathing” which it needs to do to heal in the right way.
As you can see, cocoa butter is so moisturizing that it is not a good option for scars.
Is Cocoa Butter Good For Scars?
While cocoa butter is a good moisturizer and has antioxidant properties, cocoa butter is NOT good for scars, and not recommended by doctors or surgeons as an effective healing agent for scars1.
There are better, dermatologist-recommended products out there, which we will discuss below.
Does Cocoa Butter Help With Scars?
While affective advertising may have pitched the message that cocoa butter does wonders for your skin, please know that cocoa butter doesn’t help with scares and won’t remove scars. In some cases could even make them worse.
Can I Use Cocoa Butter For Acne Scars?
It is not advisable to use cocoa butter for acne scars (those marks left after severe acne has healed).
First of all, if you have acne prone skin, thick cocoa butter may block your pores and actually cause acne breakouts. You should look for something that can treat acne marks that isn’t as thick.
What To Use Instead: Shea Butter For Acne Marks
One option that has offered noticeable effectiveness at smoothing out acne marks is shea butter. While shea butter is very thick, it has been clinically-proven to help reduce acne scars.
The trick is not to leave it on your face for too long: just ten minutes, then wash off with warm water and cleanser.
Will Cocoa Butter Remove Stretch Marks?
Of course you’ve been told that cocoa butter can prevent stretch marks (and that’s a whole other post about if it’s valid or not), but the reality is if you already have stretch marks, cocoa butter will NOT remove them.
Stretch marks, including those around your belly from pregnancy, are in a deep layer of skin.
Despite what some products may advertise, there is no amount of lotion that can penetrate that deep into your skin to get rid of stretch marks.
During clinical studies (with cocoa butter and a placebo) there was no noticeable difference between those who used cocoa butter or the placebo for healing stretch marks.
Does Cocoa Butter Fade Dark Spots?
Cocoa Butter and shea butter both can help fade dark spots, especially for darker skin tones (this will not address melasma, as that is a different issue).
But beware about using either ingredient on your face: the thick moisture of cocoa butter or shea butter on your face can clog your pores and result in breakouts.
There are better options (listed below) which can improve dark spots or hyperpigmentation.
Does Cocoa Butter Clog Pores?
Cocoa butter is very thick and it can clog your pores. Thus, it can make acne worse. It is not advised to use pure cocoa butter on your face.
Even shea butter, mentioned below, should not be left on the delicate skin of your face for a prolonged time.
Which Is Better For Scars: Cocoa Butter Or Shea Butter?
Yes, pure shea butter has been clinically proven to reduce a scar’s appearance better than cocoa butter.
It is also praised as a solution for treating acne marks – but only after the acne has completely cleared up.
However, it is not advised to keep shea butter covering a scar for prolonged time (remember the concern about moisture?), as that could potentially do more damage to the healing area.
FUN FACT: Based on the evidence about how creams penetrate the skin versus ingesting flavonoids and naturally occurring collagen-stimulators, it makes more sense to EAT cocoa and shea butters and get those ingredients INTO your body, instead of on top of your skin.
Of course, it may not be entirely raw in this form, but really good chocolate is not as highly processed as many cosmetics are. Here’s to consuming extra chocolate in honor of promoting collagen and healthy skin.
Does Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Get Rid Of Scars?
If you look at the key ingredients listed for Palmer’s Cocoa Butter lotions and body creams, you’ll notice that they contain both cocoa and shea butters.
It’s possible that the shea butter in the cream could help your skin improve slightly.
However, Palmer’s products do not contain raw cocoa butter or raw shea butter, both are processed and mixed with other ingredients.
It might be more practical to invest in a less-processed product if you want to reduce the appearance of scars completely.
What To Use Instead For Stretch Marks & Acne Scars? – Cocoa Butter Alternatives
Here are a few other ingredients and products that are safer and more effective than cocoa butter for scars:
Doctors and surgeons recommend silicone as the best approach for treating marks and scars2.
Silicone gel has been found to be the most effective product for scar treatment because it offers excellent hydration and encourages smooth skin, so that your scar will not appear raised.
Another approach is to apply a medical-grade silicone sheet over the affected skin, which works in a similar way to silicone gel.
Already mentioned above, shea butter is another option to moisturize skin and address skin damage. This butter is extracted from the Shea Fruit, of the African Shea Tree.
But you need to keep in mind that it is very thick and may moisturize “too-well” to be appropriate for skin that is STILL healing.
Aloe vera is a great natural treatment for burns, but it also can prevent scars from becoming keloids (raised scars) and potentially help scars fade faster, too.
Aloe vera offers hydration without being too thick, and can reduce redness and irritation, too.
Vitamin A is one of the best dermatologist-recommended products to reduce the appearance of scars and promote collagen production (which improves skin elasticity).
Just one thing to keep in mind. Retinoids, which are a chemical-derived form of Vitamin A, are not advised for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, even for topical application during pregnancy.
Centella is a ingredient commonly found in Korean cosmetics that is slowly gaining popularity in the United States.
It stimulates collagen production for improved skin elasticity and reduce hyperpigmentation.
However, it is a fairly new product, so more testing should be conducted before it is determined to be safe for pregnant or nursing mothers.
Raw honey offers incredible, natural moisture and helps promote healing. It can stop scars and it works as a gentle exfoliant, too.
Raw honey is increasing in popularity as a treatment for hypertrophic scars in the medical field. However, it may not be the best option for vegans, as it is an animal-based product.
Water has so many benefits for skin health that this list would be incomplete without mentioning the importance of drinking enough water.
If you want your skin to appear smooth and healthy, you should hydrate yourself internally, too.
Drink lots of water (64 ounces a day) in addition to any other lotions or creams you want to apply on top of your skin.
The moisturizing power of any cream can only do so much, while water helps to hydrate from the inside out.
None of these suggestions are a quick fix for scar treatment. Each of these approaches should be used on a regular, consistent basis for several months in order to note improvement.
Good things take time, so be patient, whichever approach you use to get rid of or reduce the appearance of scars.
The purpose of this article is informative and entertaining. It’s not a substitute for medical consultation or medical care. The author of this article does not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here. Safety should be your priority.