Smooth as silk

We all have skin issues. Some want it softer and smoother, while others want it blemish-free and glossier. Make your skin the way you want it, by switching to cocoa butter, suggests Antonia Améhamé

So you’ve tried and tested many things to make your skin look flawless. And yet, somehow, you feel like there is something lacking: Maybe that ‘X factor’ that will make you stand apart in a crowd and make heads turn in your direction. Then, it is the right time to consider cocoa butter, a panacea for dry, unhealthy skin.

 Cocoa butter has been called the ultimate moisturiser and has been used to keep skin soft and supple for centuries. It is derived from cocoa plant and is rich in minerals like potassium, calcium, zinc, manganese, iron and copper. Apart from these, cocoa butter contains the feel-good neurotransmitters – serotonin and
tryptophan. It is also a double treat, in that, it can act as food for your skin and your brain.

If you like using natural skincare products, you will have undoubtedly seen cocoa butter listed as an ingredient in some of the products you’ve bought. In its basic form, it is sold as a yellowy hard butter, which has a delicious chocolate scent.

Cocoa butter is solid at room temperature (in colder climates) but liquefies around body temperature; so it melts when it comes in contact with our skin. This rich plant butter is highly moisturising and hydrating (because of its melting point), which is why it is perfect for use in soaps, lip balms and body butters.

Read on to discover some of the wonderful benefits of cocoa butter. In Makes your skin look younger: Free radicals are organic molecules responsible for causing ageing, tissue damage and possibly, some diseases. These molecules are very unstable; so they constantly look to bond with other molecules. They do this through a process known as oxidation, which can be prevented by antioxidants.

Cocoa butter is rich in antioxidants, including Vitamin E, which provide fantastic anti-ageing properties that fight the activity of free radicals on your skin and help keep your skin supple and young. The antioxidants provide an added bonus by preventing cocoa butter from going rancid quickly, which means it has a long shelf life (two-five years) when stored in its basic form.

n Reduces stretch marks: Cocoa butter is widely used as a treatment for pregnancy stretch marks. With vitamins A, B1, B2, B3 and C, it is an excellent moisturiser for skin. Massaging it onto your growing belly will keep your skin soft and flexible and allow your skin to stretch without tearing. For maximum benefits, choose a product that contains collagen, elastin and vitamin E as well as cocoa butter.

These four ingredients will work together to keep your skin well-hydrated and healthy, and maintain its natural elasticity. You should apply cocoa butter on a daily basis onto any areas of concern on your body, including the stomach, hips, legs and chest, to prevent stretch marks.

n Helps in deep hydration: Cocoa butter is high in fatty acids and hydrates the skin deeply. Cocoa butter is an excellent emollient. It melts at body temperature and is quickly and easily absorbed into the skin. Applying cocoa butter on a daily basis helps in repair of damaged skin.

In order to let the body re-grow skin tissue, the skin must be well hydrated. Therefore, cocoa butter’s unique ability to lock moisture in at the deeper levels of the skin makes it particularly beneficial as a treatment for uneven skin tone and scars.

n Protects the skin: Extreme temperatures and pollution can be particularly damaging to your skin, even on skin that is otherwise perfectly healthy. Cocoa
butter can provide the skin with some measure of protection. When it is
absorbed into the epidermis and dermis layers, cocoa butter forms a layer of moisture and oil that protects the skin from external weathering elements that prevent the re-growth of damaged tissues.

This layer of protection is a unique feature of cocoa butter. Additionally, the antioxidants help protect against the harmful effects of the environment by fighting free radicals, which damage the skin and cause weakened cell structure. Cocoa butter is an excellent shield against these harmful UV rays.

n Heals sensitive skin: Cocoa butter has been noted to help skin irritations such as eczema and dermatitis. It contains cocoa mass polyphenol (CMP), a substance that inhibits the production of the immuno globulin (IgE) which is known to aggravate symptoms of both dermatitis and eczema.

n Prevents dryness: The moisturising abilities of cocoa butter are frequently recommended for treatment of chapped skin and lips, mouth sores and as a daily moisturiser to prevent scars, dry and itchy skin.

Moreover, applying cocoa butter on face has been considered a good way of easing tension from the body and also reducing stress. The pleasing fragrance of cocoa butter on the face helps in invigorating your senses and making you feel good. The various benefits of cocoa butter definitely makes it a popular and natural way of pampering your skin.

(The author is a beauty expert at Palmer’s India)

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