Cocoa butter is a byproduct of the process of making cocoa powder and chocolate by cold pressing cacao nibs of the cacao tree.
This tree usually grows in tropical climates like West Africa and South America. It is white to pale yellow in color and is solid at room temperature with a slight chocolate aroma and taste.
Benefits of cocoa butter for hair
Cocoa butter has been used in traditional medicine for millennia due to its ability to penetrate the deep layers of the skin and nourish it from within. It can prevent hair loss due to breakage for individuals with damaged hair.
Furthermore, it has been associated with a lower incidence of dandruff and can also prevent the male pattern baldness. You can use this natural medicine on your hair and scalp as a pre-shampoo conditioner to considerably improve your hair health.
Benefits for skin health
It contains fatty acids (stearic, oleic, and palmitic acids) which are beneficial for your body because they can neutralize free radicals (they can cause dark patches, skin aging, and dull skin) throughout the body, especially in the skin. Interestingly, studies have found that adding dairy products to cocoa butter actually hinders the antioxidant properties of this natural medicine.
It contains vitamin E, which is the collective name for eight fat-soluble compounds with different antioxidant properties. Moreover, vitamin E has powerful benefits for skin health by improving elasticity and moisture, strengthening the capillary walls, and acting as an anti-aging compound within your body.
It has also been recommended as a home remedy for a few skin conditions, like – dermatitis and eczema. According to some studies, daily applications of this butter on the belly during pregnancy can prevent or reduce stretch marks.
Moreover, it is packed with natural plant substances called phytochemicals that help save your skin from environmental stressors and the inevitable signs of aging.
An excellent source of magnesium
Cacao is one of the highest whole food source of magnesium, the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body. Magnesium plays a vital role in enzymatic reactions within the body including the synthesis of proteins and fatty acids, metabolism of food, and the proper transmission of nerve impulses.
In addition, this mineral has been shown to have considerable therapeutic value in treating conditions such as chronic pain, headaches, sleep disorders, fatigue, and asthma. Adults who ingest less than the recommended amount of this essential mineral are more likely to have elevated inflammation markers.
It is one of the most effective nutrients to invigorate and to help grow hair. Even since ancient times, it has been used as a natural remedy to treat numerous skin-related problems. In the present day, it is used in a lot of face masks and packs, moisturizers, for improving the natural glow of the skin.
This butter also contains CMP, also known as cocoa mass polyphenol, which has positive effects on lowering the bad cholesterol, cancer cells, blood pressure, arthritis, heart disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, and fibromyalgia. In addition, CPM is a strong antioxidant for the synthesis of collagen that helps to make body muscles and blood vessels strong.
Shea butter vs cocoa butter – which is better for skin and hair health?
Shea butter is a skin superfood and comes from the fruit of the Shea tree (scientific name – Butyrospermum parkii). This type of butter is manufactured by breaking the nuts and then gently extracting the nutrient-dense content from the nuts before heating for the main shea butter.
Its principal components include – stearic acid, linoleic acid, and oleic acid, as well as phytosterols, provitamin A, vitamin E, and D, and allantoin. Furthermore, it has a few derivatives of the organic compound named – cinnamic acid which possesses potent anti-inflammatory properties.
Shea butter is used as a natural moisturizer for eczema and dry skin, to soothe and protect the lips, or as a natural massage balm for tired and sore tired muscles. More importantly, applying this remedy all over your skin after a long bath will definitely keep the skin soft and hydrated.
Recent studies into the benefits of shea butter have also concluded that it can help improve collagen production, therefore, lowering the appearance of stretch marks which usually appear during pregnancy but also after rapid weight gain. Moreover, it is a remarkable diaper rash ointment for your baby due to its anti-inflammatory and antifungal natural properties which can fight off yeast.
Shea and cocoa butter have similar benefits for the health of the skin, hence, it comes down to personal preference on which to use.
Although it is edible and healthy, cocoa butter is very high in calories, therefore, you should ingest it sparingly, because it can lead to gain weight. Regarding the topical use, there are no restrictions.
References https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18715434 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4145303/ http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/book/9780983079125 http://article.sciencepublishinggroup.com/pdf/10.11648.j.ajls.20140205.18.pdf