Beauty q&a: does cocoa butter work in scar removal creams?

Kathy’s question…I have been a devout reader for quite some time now, and I must say that I love your blog! Anyway, I was wondering about the effectiveness of cocoa butter on stretch marks. I was reading an article in Vogue about a woman who went on a mission to erase her scars of a once heaver self through laser treatments. However, being the average woman that I am, I simply don’t have thousands of dollars to spend of expensive cosmetic procedures. My sister recommended that I take a stick of pure cocoa butter and rub it on my stretch marks every night before bed, but I have yet to see any change.

The Right Brain responds:

As we’ve pointed out before, we’re not dermatologists or cosmetic surgeons. However, we were skeptical that ANY kind of cream could help scars or stretch marks. After a little research we’re still somewhat skeptical, but we have learned a thing or two about treating scars.

There are many types of scars but “keloid” scars are the type that people are usually concerned with. We’ve found at least one dermatologist who says that the right kind of cream can help. Apparently, certain creams can soften the scar tissue and promote healing by realigning the collagen fibers. Massage is helpful in this process because it breaks up the scar tissue. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find much info on specifically what kind of creams are most effective in this process. Nothing in the literature we found indicates that conventional materials, like cocoa butter, will help. But we did find a reference to “extracts” that might be useful but it looks like more research needs to be done before any definitive answer can be given.

On the bright side, dermatologists do seem to agree that you can reduce the severity of scars by covering the healing wound with silicone, either in the form of a sheet or a cream. Check out this link and this link for more on scar prevention.

The Beauty Brains bottom line

If you want to get rid of a scar, your best bet is to take care of the wound as it heals. While there is some data that suggests that creams MAY help improve the appearance of scars that are already formed, there’s no definitive answer on how effective these creams really are.