Cocoa Butter for Stretch Marks: It Doesn’t Work

by Kelly Williams on March 23, 2012

Can this bowl of cocoa butter really remove stretch marks?

Stretch marks are a common problem for both men and women nowadays. In a world where wearing two-piece bikinis or running along bare-chested isn’t such an uncommon thing, having stretch marks on your thighs, abdomen, or arms can really be a cause for public embarrassment. Fortunately, discoveries in stretch mark treatment and prevention are also gaining ground fast, and some of them are quite affordable and quick-acting. One of the solutions being touted is cocoa butter. But does it really work? Sadly, modern science says “no!”

What is Cocoa Butter?

You can define cocoa butter in a lot of ways. First, it’s used as a primary ingredient in delicious treats like milk chocolate and white chocolate. Second, you can also find it in the medical field, where it is used in various suppositories to prevent them from melting at room temperature. Finally, it’s now being marketed as a cream for eliminating stretch marks. The first two are proven facts, but the third may be too much of a stretch (pardon the pun).

Cocoa butter has unique properties. It is classified as a type of fat, but with the added advantage of having natural antioxidants that prevent it from becoming stale too soon (you can store cocoa butter for more than a year and it will still be fresh when you retrieve it). Furthermore, it remains in a solid state at room temperature but turns to liquid at body temperature, making it perfect for giving chocolates that “melt in your mouth, not in your hand” property. Finally, cocoa butter itself smells good, feels good, and has moisturizing capabilities, leading to skin and beauty companies incorporating it in their products. More recently, it has also been sold with the claim that it can eliminate stretch marks when rubbed on the skin.

While the innumerable benefits of cocoa butter to the chocolate, medical, and aroma industries can’t be contested, research has pointed out that its effects on stretch marks are virtually nonexistent.

Chocolate, one of the many things that cocoa butter is used in.

Why it Doesn’t Work

A study in 2008 was conducted to test the validity of the cocoa butter stretch marks claim. The Department of Health Behaviour and Education in Beirut produced a sample population of pregnant women. Half of them were given cocoa butter while the other half were given placebos that did nothing. None of the women knew whether the cream they had was a placebo or not, and they were instructed to rub the cream on their skin everyday until delivery.

For more information about the study, you can visit the official website of the US National Library of Medicine where the findings are documented and produced.

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