Theobroma Cacao Seed Powder
Theobroma Cacao Seed Powder is one of the most widely used natural skin care ingredients in the products available from top brands.
Cocoa Powder is derived from the Theobroma cacao tree. An evergreen tree, the species prefers tropical climates and grows naturally in a band that begins in southeastern Mexico and extends southward through Central America and into the Amazon basin in South America. The high demand for the products of the cacao tree, which include chocolate and cocoa powder in addition to cocoa butter, have led to its cultivation throughout the world. More than 17 million acres of forests are grown specifically for harvesting cacao trees with much of the farming occurring in northern Africa, Southeast Asia, Mexico and Latin America.
Although it is a highly useful ingredient in skin care products, theobroma cacao seed powder is actually a by-product of the chocolate-making process. To produce chocolate, seeds from the Theobroma cacao tree are harvested and roasted. After roasting, the seeds are processed and refined, and a yellow, fatty substance is removed from their hulls. This waxy material is what we commonly refer to as cocoa butter. The rich fat is comprised of a number of skin-healthy fatty acids, including stearic acid, oleic acid and palmitic acid.
Cocoa beans and cocoa butter were an integral part of the religious practices and natural healing methods of a variety of indigenous Central American tribes, particularly the Mayas and Aztecs. The delicious taste of cocoa and the benefits of cocoa butter were introduced to Europeans through Spanish explorers and conquistadors, and by the 17th century, the use of cocoa butter to treat skin conditions was prominent throughout much of Europe.
Because of its emollient and occlusive properties, cocoa powder is a common ingredient in moisturizers and body lotions.
Chocolate is known to function as an antioxidant, a nutrient that slows down the aging process by limiting the effects of environmental free radicals, which cause cellular damage. Studies have found that cocoa powder also has antioxidative properties, making the ingredient useful in products designed to protect the skin against sun damage.
Anti-aging skin care products meant to delay the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles also frequently contain theobroma cacao seed powder.