Cocoa butter has been a word-of-mouth remedy passed on to pregnant women for decades as a way to prevent or cure stretch marks. However, there is little evidence that cocoa butter will actually get rid of stretch marks. It is an excellent moisturizer and can be used as a preventive measure to the scars because it keeps skin well hydrated and helps with elasticity.
Stretch marks are scars that form on the skin. They usually are indented streaks or lines that are pink, red or purple. These streaks often fade to a light pink or white color. They are most common on the abdomen, thighs, buttocks, breasts and upper arms.
According to The Mayo Clinic, stretch marks are caused by a stretching of the skin along with an increase of cortisone, a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands. Cortisone may cause a weakening in skin’s elastic fibers. Stretch marks usually occur with a substantial weight gain. Teens can develop stretch marks during puberty. Pregnant women often develop the marks during the second half of pregnancy. Certain medications, such as corticosteroids and cause the marks as can some diseases such as Cushing’s syndrome and some hereditary genetic disorders. The best time to treat stretch marks is when they are still dark colored; they are much harder to treat when they turn white or silvery.
Cocoa butter has been used a stretch mark remedy for years, especially by pregnant women. Cocoa butter is a cream-colored fat extracted from cacao seeds. It’s added to a variety of items, including soap, lotions and cosmetics. This substance is known as a moisturizer and has been used to hydrate skin for centuries. It’s a stable, highly concentrated fat that melts at body temperature, which makes it easily absorbed by skin. However, the only proof of cocoa butter removing stretch marks is purely anecdotal. Several women have reported that it’s helpful. The Mayo Clinic recommends several methods of removing stretch marks and cocoa butter, or any other moisturizer, isn’t among them. Most beauty experts do agree that cocoa butter is helpful in preventing stretch marks, however, because it’s such a good moisturizer. Keeping skin hydrated can keep it more elastic and supple, therefore reducing the formation of scars. While cocoa butter may help with scars by keeping the top layer of skin moisturized, stretch marks and other scars go much deeper than the top layer. Any product or method that will actually help get rid of stretch marks must be able to penetrate deeper than skin’s top layer, such as laser removal.