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Why We Use Raw Cacao Butter: the saturated fat that’ll rescue your skin in more ways than one.

Why We Use Raw Cacao Butter: the saturated fat that’ll rescue your skin in more ways than one.


Just to be clear we’re not talking about Palmer’s “Cocoa Butter.”  

If you’re brave enough to flip that age-old plastic container around, you’ll notice the cringe-worthy ingredient list on the back (there’s a lot more than just cocoa butter in there).

That’s right.  This popular drugstore moisturizer is loaded with mineral oil, artificial fragrance, dimethicone, seed oils, and petroleum-based waxes.  Not exactly a recipe for healthy skin.

The drawbacks of this product far outweigh any benefit you’d see from the cocoa butter it contains.  No thanks.

Raw, unadulterated cacao butter is what we’ll be raving about in this article.  So, let’s explore where this chocolatey, nutrient-dense saturated fat comes from and all the ways it can heal problematic skin.


What is cacao butter?

As the name implies, cacao butter is indeed a fat but not just any fat (here’s why some fats are better than others).  It’s an incredibly stable saturated fat that comes from pressing the dried seeds of the Theobroma cacao tree.  These seeds, or cacao nibs, contain even more antioxidants than acai berries. Some of these include powerful flavonoids like epicatechin, catechin, and procyanidin that significantly improve mitochondrial function and reduce oxidative stress. (1)

Cacao butter is also rich in several essential vitamins and minerals.  It contains vitamins A, C, D, E, B1, B2, B3, and pantothenic acid, as well as minerals like calcium, iron, zinc, copper, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, and especially magnesium.  In fact, cacao butter is one of the highest plant-based sources of magnesium, which supports nervous system regulation, metabolic health, and skin integrity.



But is it the same as cocoa butter?


Before we go any further, we must address the heated cacao vs. cocoa controversy.  Believe it or not, the difference between “cacao” and “cocoa” is a highly debated subject on the internet. Some argue it's simply a variation in spelling, while others claim the difference goes far beyond semantics.

We’re sticking with the general consensus that “cocoa butter” refers to the refined stuff that’s been denatured using chemical solvents, and “cacao butter” refers to the cold-pressed oil that hasn’t been chemically processed.  This means raw cacao butter (what we use in Fatskn) still contains all the beneficial nutrients that are typically removed or altered in refined cocoa butter.

Plus, raw cacao butter is never deodorized or bleached, unlike refined cocoa butter, so it holds on to that delicious chocolate scent we all love (no need to add artificial fragrances back in later).


8 Benefits of raw cacao butter for the skin.


  • Moisturizes the deep layers

The small molecular structure of raw cacao butter allows its nourishing fatty acids (palmitic, stearic, and oleic) to travel deep into the basal layer of the skin and lubricate the cells.  It’s also a natural occlusive emollient and helps the skin hang onto water better by reinforcing the moisture barrier. (2)


  • Repairs damage

Cacao butter is loaded with skin-healing antioxidants that protect the cells against damage and actively scavenge reactive oxygen species to lower inflammation and speed up recovery.  It also contains an impressive lineup of amino acids that replenish protein stores for stronger, more resilient skin. (3)


  • Smooths roughness

Flaky or scaly skin is a sign the moisture barrier has been compromised.  Raw cacao butter forms a protective layer over the skin to dramatically soften texture.  And since it's far more stable than unsaturated fats, cacao butter stays active in the body for much longer, so you don’t need to reapply as often to see rapid improvement in your skin. (4)


  • Relieves burning, irritation, and redness

Cacao butter not only moisturizes the skin, but it also contains potent anti-inflammatory bioactives that downregulate pro-inflammatory signals to quickly calm the skin and significantly reduce redness and irritation. 

  • Prevents and heals stretch marks

The mineral content in raw cacao butter is what helps stabilize cellular fluid levels in the skin and reinforce the fibers that make up connective tissue.  This helps skin stay hydrated and strong while it stretches and grows to prevent the damage that leads to stretch marks.

  • Fades hyperpigmentation and prevents scarring

Though cacao butter won’t completely get rid of certain types of scars, the anti-inflammatory flavonoids and polyphenols support the wound healing process and prevent the build-up of melanin that leads to hyperpigmentation. Plus, the nourishing fatty acids also work to nourish and hydrate skin for an overall more even tone. (5)

  • Minimizes fine lines + wrinkles

The nourishing fatty acids and protective antioxidants of raw cacao butter provide intense hydration, boost circulation, and encourage collagen production to not only reduce the appearance of wrinkles but also physically delay the aging process. (6)

  • Provides natural sun protection

You know where we stand on sun protection.  Instead of blocking the sun completely, we’d rather support healthy UV absorption by arming the skin with the nutrients it needs to prevent damage. The antioxidant content in raw cacao butter helps effectively neutralize any free radicals that would otherwise oxidize on the skin.  Perfect for before and after mindful sun exposure or red light therapy.   (7)



Can cacao butter help with eczema? Psoriasis?

Absolutely.  We love saturated fats like raw cacao butter for healing inflammatory skin conditions because they are rich in non-oxidizing fatty acids and ultra-healing vitamins and minerals.  So you can calm the irritation while deeply nourishing the skin.  But we always like to look at skincare as a supplement to your diet, so if you’re consistently dealing with reactive or broken-out skin, it’s important to address the underlying gaps in your nutrition and lifestyle to get to the root.

Fatskn tallow skincare blends with raw cacao butter.

Raw cacao butter pairs beautifully with the grassfed and grassfinished suet tallow in Fatskn.

We brought these two luxurious saturated fats together to create the most healing, nutrient-dense moisturizers for your skin.

1. Whipped Body Butter

    Our simple all-over moisturizer feeds the skin in a way water-based lotions never will. This blend of cacao butter, tallow, and jojoba oil deeply hydrates, rebuilds, and protects.

    2. Purist Face

    Specifically crafted for the sensitive skin of the face but still just as nourishing with tallow, squalane, and raw cacao butter. Helps to moisturize, even skin tone, and prevent oxidative stress.  Great for the under-eye area to fight dryness and soften lines.

    3. Honey Tallow Lip Balm

      Our Honey Tallow Lip Balm not only moisturizes lips but also keeps them moisturized.  The raw cacao butter, tallow, honey, and beeswax help rebuild the moisture barrier, so you won’t have to reapply every 15 minutes!

      4. FatBaby Whipped Body Butter

        A smooth, gentle blend of highly saturated fats for littles.  The raw cacao butter softens skin and soothes rashes during those most tender years.

        5. Fatstk

        Our body balm is packed with saturated fats that solve dry, chapped skin from head to toe.  The raw cacao butter helps to seal and lock in moisture so skin stays softer for longer.

        So even though tallow is our favorite saturated fat for the skin, it’s obvious that raw cacao butter deserves the spotlight, too.

        Because truly, the only thing better than tallow is chocolate tallow.




        As always, while we hope to be a no-nonsense resource, we encourage you to do your own research to find the healthiest options for you and your family.  

        You can check out our collection of good-for-you, tallow skincare products by clicking the link below.  We hope to see you there!






        1. Shaki F, Shayeste Y, Karami M, Akbari E, Rezaei M, Ataee R. The effect of epicatechin on oxidative stress and mitochondrial damage induced by homocycteine using isolated rat hippocampus mitochondria. Res Pharm Sci. 2017 Apr;12(2):119-127. doi: 10.4103/1735-5362.202450. PMID: 28515764; PMCID: PMC5385726. 
        2. Purnamawati S, Indrastuti N, Danarti R, Saefudin T. The Role of Moisturizers in Addressing Various Kinds of Dermatitis: A Review. Clin Med Res. 2017 Dec;15(3-4):75-87. doi: 10.3121/cmr.2017.1363. Epub 2017 Dec 11. PMID: 29229630; PMCID: PMC5849435. 
        3. “Cocoa Butter - an Overview | ScienceDirect Topics.”,
        4. Vieira SA, McClements DJ, Decker EA. Challenges of utilizing healthy fats in foods. Adv Nutr. 2015 May 15;6(3):309S-17S. doi: 10.3945/an.114.006965. PMID: 25979504; PMCID: PMC4424769.
        5. Fu, Wencai, et al. “Inhibition Mechanism of Melanin Formation Based on Antioxidant Scavenging of Reactive Oxygen Species.” Analyst, vol. 147, no. 12, 13 June 2022, pp. 2703–2711, 
        6. Masaki, Hitoshi. “Role of Antioxidants in the Skin: Anti-Aging Effects.” Journal of Dermatological Science, vol. 58, no. 2, May 2010, pp. 85–90,
        7. Scapagnini G, Davinelli S, Di Renzo L, De Lorenzo A, Olarte HH, Micali G, Cicero AF, Gonzalez S. Cocoa bioactive compounds: significance and potential for the maintenance of skin health. Nutrients. 2014 Aug 11;6(8):3202-13. doi: 10.3390/nu6083202. PMID: 25116848; PMCID: PMC4145303 
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