Harmful Ingredients in Cocoa Butter

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There are many cocoa butter products found on the market today, many of them containing potentially harmful ingredients. Some cocoa butter preparations contain parabens, propylene glycol and fragrances. Reading and understanding product labels can help you learn what the best choices are for your family. Choosing USDA certified organic cocoa butter products is the best way to ensure total product quality and safety.


Parabens are used in skin lotions and creams like cocoa butter to provide emulsifying capabilities and product stability. Parabens include methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, isobutylparaben, butlyparaben and benzylparaben. Parabens can possibly increase the risk for breast cancer. According to The Breast Cancer Fund, parabens can mimic estrogen in the body and increase the expression of genes that are normally regulated by estradiol, and cause breast tumor cells. Lotions and creams like cocoa butter are left on the skin to be absorbed, so avoiding skin care products with parabens may be beneficial for long-term health.

Propylene Glycol

Propylene glycol is used in lotions and creams like cocoa butter because of its humectant capabilities. Propylene glycol is also used in industrial applications including anti-freeze, hydraulic fluid and brake fluid. According to the MSDS, or material safety data sheet, on propylene glycol, the chemical causes irritation and should not come in contact with the skin, eyes or clothing. If contact occurs on the skin, the area should be flushed with water. If contact occurs in your eyes, flush them with water for at least 15 minutes. Applying a lotion or cream containing propylene glycol may cause skin irritation or contact dermatitis.

Synthetic Fragrances

Synthetic fragrances are often used in personal care products like cocoa butter to create a better scent or to accentuate the natural scent in the product. Synthetic fragrances are chemicals that are easily absorbed into the skin and may build up in the fat cells of the body and become harmful to health. According to the Massachusetts Nurses Association, fragranced products and cosmetics can pose a higher risk for breast cancer and other illnesses. According to an article from the Environmental Working Group, the safety of synthetic fragrances in personal care products have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.