Keeping Your Pores Happy: Does Cocoa Butter Clog Pores?

By Valeria D.

May 7, 2020

acne, breakouts, cocoa butter

Welcome to the “Happy Pores” series where we break down ingredients to see if they clog your pores.

Next up is Cocoa butter. does cocoa butter clog pores?

We all enjoy this ingredients from food to face creams.

In food, this delicious smelling butter make desserts shiny and moist. In skin care, it’s moisturizing and nourishing.

This ingredient is so easy to work with. Plus, it makes any DIY moisturizer recipes more, well, moisturizing.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I’ve never had issues myself but we need real proof if it clogs pores or not. 

I did some research so let’s see what I found… To start off, the answer to our question is actually yesCocoa butter does clog pores because it’s comedogenic.

But you need some context to understand what’s going on. 

For example, what makes cocoa butter clog pores? Is it the same for everyone? Are there alternatives? And is there a way to avoid pore-clogging ingredients in the future? 

Cocoa Butter and Pores: What Makes the Clog?

cocoa oil clogs pores comedogenic

Okay, you already know cocoa butter is regarded as comedogenic

If it’s the first time you’ve heard of this word, let me explain what it means. When a product or ingredient is comedogenic, this means there’s a high chance you’ll get clogged pores with it. Especially when you’re acne prone, this word is something you must remember. You’ll want non-comedogenic ingredients and products to avoid clogged pores.

Now, how does cocoa butter clog pores?

What’s in this nice smelling ingredient that makes the clog in our pores? Well, according to my research, it’s a combination of two things. These are cocoa butter’s chemical structure and oleic acid content.

Chemical structure is a factor in determining how much an ingredient can clog pores. For cocoa butter, its structure shows molecules packed very tight together. This tight-knit structure makes cocoa butter a nightmare for your pores.

Now, for the oleic acid content. Oleic acid is a type of essential fatty acid. Essential here doesn’t mean you badly need it in your body. This means your body can’t produce this fatty acid. It needs to source these fatty acids from your diet. That’s why you can find these fatty acids in so many food items, including cocoa butter. 

Though of course, we’re not planning to eat cocoa butter. There’s a difference in formulation between cocoa butter for eating versus for skin care. So, the ones meant for skin care are not guaranteed safe for eating.

So, what’s the deal with oleic acid and cocoa butter? The nice smelling butter happens to have high oleic acid content – 34.5% to be exact. This high content gives cocoa butter a thick and rich feel when melted. And this also means a higher chance of getting clogged pores. 

Will All Skin Type Get Clogged Pores from Cocoa Butter?

cocoa oil clogs pores comedogenic

Both cocoa butter’s chemical structure and oleic acid content spell bad news for our pores. But is this true across all skin types?

As I said at the start of our post, I didn’t have any problems using cocoa butter on my face. And it’s not just me, really. So, how come? 

That’s the thing with comedogenic ingredients. They won't be comedogenic for all skin types. Often, oily, acne-prone, and sensitive skin types are the most prone to pore clogging. The same may not be true to normal to dry skin types. This goes to show how vast the differences can be with our skin. 

In the case of cocoa butter, this ingredient boasts so many benefits for dry skin! Here are some of those benefits:

  • Cocoa butter soothes skin allergies – a plus for eczema sufferers.
  • Cocoa butter improves skin tone, improves elasticity, and promotes collagen production
  • Cocoa butter heals and fades scars.
  • Cocoa butter promotes healing to damaged skin, such as chapped lips.
  • Cocoa butter is rich in the antioxidant vitamin E
  • Cocoa Butter acts as a barrier on the skin and locks in moisture.
  • Cocoa butter can help reduce wrinkles and fade age spots.

Though I lean towards oily, I find myself reaching for DIY recipes with cocoa butter every winter. The harsh cold weather turns my skin as dry as the Sahara! Moisturizers and balms with cocoa butter never fail to save my parched skin.

So, if you’re a dry skin type and don’t break out easily, you can consider cocoa butter. But if you are prone to clogs, it’s better to avoid cocoa butter.

Cocoa Butter Alternatives That Won’t Clog Pores?

cocoa oil clogs pores comedogenic

For the oily, acne-prone, and sensitive skin type folks, yes, Cocoa butter does clog pores.

But the benefits we listed are quite hard to pass up. So maybe there are alternatives with similar benefits to cocoa butter? Luckily, yes there are!

The forerunner when it comes to cocoa butter alternate is shea butter. In most DIY recipes, you’ll find these two are often interchangeable. That’s because they are nearly identical. They can both solidify (best for balm recipes) and melt. All the benefits we listed are also present in shea butter. Plus, it has vitamin A. 

The best news of all with shea butter is that it’s non-comedogenic. It won’t clog pores so it can suit all skin types. So, if you come across a moisturizer or balm recipe you want to try, swap that cocoa butter with shea butter!

The next alternative for the pore-clogging cocoa butter is rosehip oil. The balanced essential fatty acids in this oil makes it light yet moisturizing. With vitamin A, it also boosts collagen production. What makes this oil fall behind as an alternative? You can’t use it as an alternative when crafting balm recipes. Unlike shea and cocoa butter, rosehip oil doesn’t easily solidify.

Here are some more alternatives to the pore-clogging cocoa butter. These oils are light yet moisturizing, plus other useful benefits:

  • Grapeseed oil
  • Hemp oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Evening Primrose Oil
  • Walnut Oil
  • Sesame Oil

Now, what if you already have DIY or store-bought products with cocoa butter? Surely throwing those away would be a waste! They may break you out, so it’s risky to use on your face. What you can do instead is use it on your body. As a hand cream or lotion, you’ll be satisfied with cocoa butter’s moisturizing effect.

The Secret Weapon to Avoiding Clogged Pores

Wouldn’t it be great if you had a means of knowing which ingredient will clog your pores? That way, you won’t have to ask, “does cocoa butter clog pores?” Or for any other ingredient, really.

What if I tell you that can become a possibility? 

There is a way we can avoid pore-clogging ingredients. This is a way that won’t require you to patch-test or stuff like that. This is the secret weapon to keeping your pores happy! 

Okay, I won’t keep it a secret any longer. This weapon is a powerful sheet. I’ve collected most comedogenic (pore-clogging ingredients) and compiled them into a beautiful sheet you can have totally free. 

It will be easier for you to identify if a product will clog your pores or not.

Believe it or not, some companies label their products as “non-comedogenic.” Yes, even though the ingredients say otherwise. "Non-comedogenic" has become a marketing term to sell you more products. Of course, it’s a different case when you don’t get clogged pores easily. You can disregard those labels and this secret weapon.

For me though, when I found out about this, I was overwhelmed with worry. I knew then I couldn’t give every product my wholehearted trust just because of the non-comedogenic label. Because of this, the list was born!

With the comedogenic list sheet, I was less worried with the products I reached out for. I could look up the product online, check its ingredients, and consult the list. If any of the ingredients on the product comes up on the list, I’ll quickly erase it from my “to buy” list.

The convenience this list gave me prompted me to share it with you. I placed it in a neat looking file so you can easily download it. It won’t hurt to keep a copy at hand. You can check the list as you shop online or even when you go to your nearest stores!

Final Thoughts

No matter how beloved an ingredient is, there’s still room to be suspicious. Especially if you’re prone to clogged pores, being suspicious is part of skin care. That’s why even cocoa butter can’t be off the hook. Even though it smells so good and feels great, clog-prone peeps must let it go.

Luckily, there are alternatives to try if cocoa butter broke your heart. I definitely recommend trying out shea butter, as mentioned above. You might just love it more than cocoa butter!

I hope that with this post, you will no longer wonder, “does cocoa butter clog pores?” And may the list give you the convenience it gave me.

I wonder, have you’ve tried cocoa butter skin care products without breaking out? Share your experiences in the comment section below!

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