If there is one thing that everyone wants to have, it is soft and smooth skin. Dry, itchy skin can be a nuisance if left untreated. Natural moisturizers such as cocoa butter and aloe vera hold many benefits when applied to the skin. Consult your health care provider or dermatologist before beginning any new skin care regimen.
Cocoa butter is a fat extracted from the cacao bean. It is often used in recipes to add flavor and scent, and also used topically for its moisturizing qualities. Cocoa butter melts at the average temperature of the body, which makes it easier for the skin to absorb its moisture. Cocoa butter is known as an occlusive emollient, according to the National Eczema Society. This means that when cocoa butter is applied to the skin, it leaves a protective barrier that slows down the natural escape of moisture from the skin.
Aloe vera is a succulent plant that typically grows in dry, arid areas like deserts. The leaves of the plant are thick and contain a clear gel that is known to have many healing properties. Aloe vera leaves can be picked and eaten or juiced to help ease digestive problems. The gel inside of the leaves is often used topically to treat burns, rashes, scars, and can also be used as a moisturizer, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Topical Benefits of Cocoa Butter
Pregnant women often use cocoa butter to prevent or reduce the appearance of stretch marks on their skin. The nourishing qualities of cocoa butter are believed to stimulate the production of collagen, which can give skin extra elasticity, thus preventing stretch marks. However, research does not always support this claim. In a 2010 study conducted by the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University Hospital in Jamaica, patients who applied cocoa butter lotion to stretch marks noticed only a minor difference in the appearance of the marks compared to patients who applied a placebo cream. Cocoa butter also contains a polyphenol, or antioxidant, called CMP, which is known to treat symptoms of asthma and dermatitis, according to Vitamin Stuff.
Topical Benefits of Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is a common ingredient in most creams and moisturizers that are used to treat burns. This can be accredited to aloe vera's ability to stimulate cell renewal, according to the research conducted at North Texas Research Laboratories. Dr. Ivan E. Danhof, M.D., Ph.D. from the University of Texas conducted a study that revealed aloe vera gel increased the production of human fibroblast cells six to eight times faster than the normal rate of cell reproduction. Fibroblast cells create collagen in the skin, which can help heal and renew the skin. Aloe vera is also commonly used to treat rashes and bug bites, as it helps to reduce inflammation.
Josie Edward began writing and editing for the CU Independent in 2003. A certified nutritionist, she enjoys writing about fitness and health. Edward graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2008.