Is Cocoa Butter Really The Stretch Mark Preventative It's Made Out To Be?

For years, stretch marks have been demonized. Women have gone all out in their attempts to avoid getting the red or purple lines when they're pregnant. However, pregnancy isn't the only time that stretch marks appear. They can show up anytime the skin stretches in a relatively fast amount of time, such as during puberty or weight gain (via Healthline).

Medically known as striae, stretch marks occur when part of the body expands more rapidly than the skin can stretch (via Mayo Clinic). The result is grooved or streaked-looking lines that can range from slight red or even colorless marks to deeply grooved thick purple streaks.

The good news is that stretch marks are not medically harmful or dangerous. However, many people intensely dislike finding them on their bodies and do everything they can to prevent getting them. One popular preventative is cocoa butter, but does it really work?

Why cocoa butter is thought to help ward off stretch marks

The most common places for stretch marks to appear are the hips, butt, breasts, thighs, buttocks, and of course, the abdomen, especially during pregnancy. They may appear more often if you are lacking collagen. Collagen is a protein naturally found in the body that helps to keep your skin subtle and retain elasticity (via MedicalNewsToday).

Using cocoa butter on areas prone to stretch marks will hydrate your skin. This can help when stretch marks are forming as they can get itchy. The idea is also that if you're moisturizing your stretching skin, you can prevent stretch marks altogether, but it's not that simple.

Though many swear by cocoa butter keeping stretch marks away, according to WebMD, there's not sufficient evidence that using coach butter helps prevent or treat stretch marks. It can help replenish moisture and help your skin feel more nourished.

Treating stretch marks

Stretch marks are often at the worst when they first appear. The level of groove and the dark color of them typically fade and become colorless.

Dermatologist, Dr. John Anthony tells Cleveland Clinic, "Stretch marks have a life of their own." With a little patience, they can become less bothersome, he explains, "I recommend the tincture of time — as time goes on, stretch marks become less prominent. They start out red or purple, but fade on their own over time."

While there are expensive laser therapies and retinol creams are used to treat them, the treatments don't always work and topicals like retinol cream are not safe during pregnancy.

It's wise to keep in mind that stretch marks are nothing to be ashamed about. The truth about stretch marks is just about everyone has them somewhere (via Bustle). Also, the many changes a body goes through in life should be celebrated and recognized. So, yes, use cocoa butter because it feels good on your skin and softens it, but if stretch marks still appear, revel in your ever-changing body — and life.