Cocoa butter does NOT work for stretch marks.
More Info: Though cocoa butter may have little to no affect on the appearance of stretch marks, laser treatment has been shown to be effective in lightening their appearance.
Every year, scores of men and women seek out solutions to remove unsightly stretch marks from their bodies. Many have battled these marks for years, while others are discovering for the first time that their skin has taken on an alien appearance. Also referred to as striae, these dark marks mar the body and detract from the overall aesthetic of the body. These marks may cause sufferers a great deal of shame, and some will report embarrassment in wearing swimwear and summer clothing. Although stretch marks are permanent, there are many treatments that will reduce their appearance or remove them altogether. Some people swear by cocoa butter as an effective treatment for stretch marks, but it has been shown that cocoa butter has no affect on the appearance of stretch marks.
Stretch marks usually appear as reddish or purplish marks on the skin of lighter skinned people, and dark brown or black in those with darker skin. Stretch marks usually appear on the abdomen, back and thighs of pregnant women, and on the arms, legs and upper torso of non-pregnant people. Body builders and weight lifters often battle unsightly stretch marks because of the hormones associated with their rapid muscle gain. Stretch marks, are in effect, damaged skin cells, and repair of these cells is a difficult and arduous process.
According to a case study conducted by researchers from the Department of Health Behaviour and Education, American University of Beirut Medical Center, Beirut, Lebanon topical application of lotions containing cocoa butter was not effective in diminishing the appearance of stretch marks. Of the 210 pregnant women enrolled in the study, none that received cocoa butter treatments versus placebo showed any significant difference in the development of stretch marks during pregnancy. [Osman, H, BJOB]
A similar study published in the International Journal of Gynaecology and Obstetrics revealed similar findings. [Buchanan, K, International Journal of Gynaecology and Obstetrics]
Laser treatment for stretch marks has been shown to be effective in lightening the scars and, in some cases, removing them altogether. It should be noted that darker skinned patients may require more extensive treatment to rid themselves of the marks. Some physicians prescribe a steroidal cream that is applied to the skin to counteract the effects of the errant hormones that cause the marks. Some surgical procedures, such as liposuction and abdominoplasty inadvertently remove stretch marks as a part of the procedure. Many people see this as an added bonus.
“Stretch Marks- Causes, Prevention, and Treatment Options.” Stretch Marks- Causes, Prevention, and Treatment Options. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Aug. 2010. http://www.stretchmarks.org.
“Stretch marks – MayoClinic.com.” Mayo Clinic medical information and tools for healthy living – MayoClinic.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Aug. 2010. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stretch-marks/ds01081.
“Striae: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.” National Library of Medicine – National Institutes of Health. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Aug. 2010. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003287.htm.
Osman H. “Cocoa Butter Lotion for Prevention of Striae Gravidarum: A Double-blind, Randomised and Placebo-controlled Trial.” BJOB 115.9 (2008): 1138-142. Print.
Buchanan, K. “Prevention of Striae Gravidarum with Cocoa Butter Cream.” International Journal of Gynaecology and Obstetrics 108.1 (2010): 65-68. Print.