When you’re a first-time parent, you have a lot of questions and you might be wondering about cocoa butter and whether or not it is safe for your baby. Cocoa butter is commonly used as a moisturizer and has many benefits, but is it good for your baby’s sensitive skin?
Cocoa butter is generally safe for your baby and moisturizes dry baby skin well because it is easily absorbed. However, additional ingredients, such as chemicals or fragrances, commonly found in cocoa butter products could cause irritation or other issues.
Many different products contain cocoa butter and it can be overwhelming trying to find the right one. Keep reading to find the best ways to use cocoa butter on your baby and how to make sure the product you choose is safe and effective.
Is it safe for babies to use cocoa butter?
Cocoa butter, also known as theobroma oil, is a fat extracted from the cocoa bean. It’s full of antioxidants, and many people use it to treat dry skin, or even as a deep conditioner for their hair. Since a baby’s skin is so sensitive, it’s normal to have a concern about using any new product.
It’s generally safe for babies to use cocoa butter, but you have to watch out for certain ingredients. Just because the product says “natural” or “non-toxic” doesn’t always mean it’s safe for your baby. If you are going to use cocoa butter for your baby’s skin, here is a list of ingredients that you should avoid:
- Parabens – These are commonly used as artificial preservatives in cosmetic products. Cosmetic products usually use a mixture of these chemicals, but they can have negative side effects for both adults and babies.
- Propylene glycol – This is a synthetic liquid that is used as an antifreeze, but it is often used in cosmetic products as well. Although it is generally considered safe for use in food and cosmetic products, frequent exposure to it can cause irritation.
- Fragrances – Synthetic fragrances are commonly found in cocoa butter and other cosmetic products, but frequent exposure to them can cause harmful effects in children. Many chemicals found in synthetic fragrances are hormone disruptors, and some adults or children may have allergic reactions to them. Importantly, cosmetic companies are not required to disclose exactly which chemicals are included under the term ‘fragrance.’
- Sulfates – These are what cause products like soaps and shampoos to lather. They are considered safe for use in cosmetic products, but if you or your baby have sensitive skin, they can cause irritation such as redness and itching.
Is cocoa butter safe for newborns?
If you find a cocoa butter product without any chemical additives, there aren’t any specific ingredients that may be harmful for your newborn. However, you’ll generally want to limit how many products you use on your baby before six months old just to be on the safe side.
When using any product on your newborn’s skin, do a patch test first to make sure they’re not allergic. A patch test involves putting a small amount of the product on your baby’s arm or leg, and waiting 24 hours to see if their skin turns dry, red, itchy, or flaky.
Any product you use on your newborn should be mild, gentle, and specially formulated for babies. A newborn’s skin is extremely sensitive and if your newborn is having a skin issue, it’s best to speak with your pediatrician about your options.
Is cocoa butter good for baby eczema?
If you do choose to use cocoa butter on your baby’s skin, it is likely because their skin is dry.
Cocoa butter could be a great product to use for eczema because it often helps heal sensitive skin. As a parent, it’s so difficult to watch your baby’s skin turn red and itchy, and moisturizing their skin is necessary to prevent those itchy flare-ups. Unfortunately, there is no clear research that links cocoa butter to the reduction or elimination of eczema in babies.
Still, nobody can deny that cocoa butter is a natural moisturizer and provides antioxidants to help heal the skin. Since aloe vera also works well for eczema, Elizabeth Parker Naturals makes a Baby Eczema Cream that is highly rated for various skin conditions, including eczema. In fact, many users report great success in reducing or eliminating their baby’s symptoms of eczema quickly! You can check out this cream right here (and read those great reviews).
I also recommended this particular cream for treating and protecting against cradle cap. You can read all about why your baby’s head might smell bad right here!
This cream is made with aloe vera, manuka honey, and cocoa butter, and is free of any harmful chemicals!
Is cocoa butter safe during breastfeeding?
When you’re breastfeeding, you need to look out for the same ingredients you are trying to avoid putting on your baby. Some of the ingredients will be absorbed into mommy’s skin, so you want to make sure they’re safe for baby to ingest.
Palmer’s makes a nursing butter for breastfeeding moms to relieve sore or cracked nipples that you can check out right here. The formula is made with cocoa butter and it doesn’t need to be washed off before nursing.
Finding the right cocoa butter baby lotion
Finding the right cocoa butter product means finding one without chemical additives that could harm your baby. Some important things to consider when looking for a product:
- Unscented doesn’t always mean no synthetic chemicals – Sometimes products that claim to be “unscented” are actually saying they used an additive to cover up the chemical smells. You are better off finding a product that says “fragrance-free.”
- Seek out products with natural ingredients – Some products that claim to be natural still contain potential allergens, but looking for ingredients you recognize is a step in the right direction. You’re not usually going to find a product that is 100% cocoa butter because the added ingredients make it easier to spread on your baby’s skin but look for products you already know are safe.
- Simplicity is better – Finding a product that has fewer ingredients will help limit your baby’s exposure to any harmful additives. The amount of chemicals in most cosmetic products is usually pretty small, but over time it adds up. The fewer chemicals and potentially harmful ingredients, the better.
What about raw cacao butter?
Raw cacao butter is the unprocessed version of cocoa butter. Cocoa butter is treated at a very high-heat, which can kill off some of the vitamins and nutrients. Raw cacao butter still has all of the original vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants, making it extremely beneficial for your skin.
Also unlike cocoa butter, raw cacao butter is hard at room temperature, so it’s usually sold in chunks or bar form. If you choose to use raw cacao butter for your baby’s skin, the most common method is breaking off a piece and rubbing it between your hands. The friction will melt the cacao butter and allow you to rub it onto your baby’s skin.
Some people do have problems getting the cacao butter to melt, so you may choose to soften a piece in a bowl of hot water (make sure it cools off before rubbing it on your baby!), or you may prefer to use the raw cacao butter to make your own lotion. Better Shea Butter is a highly rated brand that sells their unrefined cocoa butter in 8 or 16 oz. Check it out right here!
How to use cocoa butter
Just like any skincare product, cocoa butter can be rubbed directly onto your baby’s skin. Less is better when it comes to using baby products, so be sure to only use the amount you need.
Remember to do a patch test first and wait at least 24 hours before using the product again. If you’re trying to find a solution for your baby’s dry skin, cocoa butter is a natural way to moisturize it with the added benefits of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.