Many women use cocoa butter to moisturize dry skin. Cocoa butter also has a reputation for preventing stretch marks during and after pregnancy. However, according to the Cleft Palate Foundation, cocoa butter has not been demonstrated to heal stretch marks and scars any better than they would heal by themselves. In addition, cocoa and cocoa butter has several side effects, some of which can be serious.
Along with cocoa derived from cocoa beans, cocoa butter contains triglycerides in a 75 percent concentration in the form of oleic, stearic and palmitic fatty acids, according to CellularNutritionandDrugs.com. Cocoa butter is a primary ingredient in white chocolate, according to the Food and Drug Administration. It is also a major ingredient in dark chocolate, and to a lesser extent, in milk chocolate. Cocoa butter is high in fat, and often combined with sugar to produce sweets. As a result, ingesting cocoa butter in large quantities can contribute to obesity and even diabetes.
Allergic and Skin Reactions
For people prone to allergies or skin problems, exposure to cocoa and cocoa butter can cause allergic reactions and other skin problems. Chocolates can trigger or worsen skin breakouts, including adult acne, according to dermatologist Nick Lowe. The Physicians' Desktop Reference, or PDR, warns that that cocoa, including cocoa butter, can cause swollen skin, hives, itching and skin rashes, in addition to acne.
Cholesterol, Heart and Respiratory Problems
Cocoa butter is considered a saturated fat, according to the American Heart Association. Saturated fat, found in animal-based foods and in some plants, is the main cause of high cholesterol levels, including LDL or "bad" cholesterol. Cocoa also contains caffeine and can cause insomnia and headaches. Other possible side effects from cocoa and cocoa butter include constipation and digestive problems, colic in infants, chest pain and difficulty breathing, according to PDR. Rapid heartbeat can also result from ingesting cocoa and cocoa butter, according to RX List.
Chris Blank is an independent writer and research consultant with more than 20 years' experience. Blank specializes in social policy analysis, current events, popular culture and travel. His work has appeared both online and in print publications. He holds a Master of Arts in sociology and a Juris Doctor.