Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Body Butter comes with the brand's standard claims of healing dry skin, and it definitely has some ingredients that will help in that regard. Unfortunately, it also contains an abundance of potential irritants that dry skin (or any skin) doesn't need, which is why it earns the lowest rating on Beautypedia.
Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Body Butter is packaged in a jar with a screw-top lid. This is the first of the product's missteps, since one of the main strengths of the cocoa extract included in the formula is its antioxidant content. Because this is in a jar, the antioxidants won't remain stable for long after the container is opened (see More Info for details on why jar packaging is not ideal for skincare products).
Along with the cocoa extract are ingredients that will help dry skin feel soothed and moisturized. Among them is a high amount of urea, which can help improve skin's barrier function (Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 2012), as well as emollients such as cocoa butter and mineral oil.
While that's certainly a positive, the inclusion of the preservative methylthiazolinone is not. This is generally recommend for use in rinse-off products due to its potential as a skin sensitizer (Contact Dermatitis, 2010). Another drawback is that this contains a strong, artificial chocolate fragrance (listed simply as "fragrance" in the ingredient list), as well as additional fragrance ingredients (such as citronellol and geraniol) that could irritate sensitive skin. See More Info to learn about the damage highly-fragranced products can do to skin.
Because of the potentially-irritating ingredients this contains and its less-than-ideal packaging, Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Body Butter doesn't get our recommendation. You can find much better options on our list of Body Lotions.
Jar Packaging: The fact that it's packaged in a jar means the beneficial ingredients won't remain stable once it is opened. All plant extracts, almost all vitamins, antioxidants, and other state-of-the-art ingredients break down in the presence of air. Therefore, once a jar is opened and lets the air in, these important ingredients begin to deteriorate. Jars also are unsanitary because you're dipping your fingers into them with each use, adding bacteria that further deteriorate the beneficial ingredients.
The vast majority of ingredients that are most beneficial for your skin are not stable in the presence of light and air, which is exactly what happens when you take the lid off a jar (Pharmacology Review, 2013 & Journal of Biophotonics, 2010).
One of the critical factors in any anti-aging or skin-healing formula is the amount and variety of antioxidants, cell-communicating ingredients, and skin-repairing ingredients, and the more the better. These function in a variety of ways to reduce the effects of the constant environmental stresses your skin experiences (Dermatology Research and Practice, 2012 & The Journal of Pathology, 2007).
Once you open that jar you bought, you immediately compromise the stability of the anti-aging superstars it contains. (You can visualize their benefits disappearing like puffs of air each time you open up that lid!)
Irritation From High Amounts of Fragrance: Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes chronic irritation that can damage healthy collagen production, lead to or worsen dryness, and impair your skin's ability to heal. Fragrance-free is the best way for all skin types to go for all skin types (Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2008 & American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003).
The sneaky part about irritation is that research has demonstrated that you don't always need to see it or feel it for your skin to suffer damage, and that damage may remain hidden for a long time (Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008).
In fact, the effect of inflammation in the skin is cumulative, and repeated exposure to irritants contributes to a weakened skin barrier, slower healing (including of red marks from breakouts), and a dull, uneven complexion (Aging, 2012 & Chemical Immunology and Allergy, 2012).
Natural Cocoa Butter and Vitamin E help transform your skin with this thick and creamy Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Body Butter. The extra rich, moisturizing formula melts into skin leaving it silky soft and smooth with an even, radiant tone.
Water, Theobroma Cacao Extract (Cocoa), Urea, Propylene Glycol, Isopropyl Palmitate, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Isopropyl Lanolate, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Dimethicone, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearic Acid, Fragrance, Bentonite, Stearyl Alcohol, Mineral Oil (Paraffinum Liquidum), Lanolin Alcohol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Phenoxyethanol, Methylisothiazolinone, Yellow 5 (CI 19140), Orange 4 (CI 15510), Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Cinnamate, Citronellol, Coumarin, Geraniol, Linalool, Ozokerite.
Strengths: Inexpensive; cocoa butter is a good emollient and antioxidant for skin (and Palmer’s typically combines it with other tried-and-true emollients).
Weaknesses: Many formulas are highly fragranced; the products claiming to improve or prevent stretch marks are, well, stretching the truth; most of the body products lack a sophisticated mix of repairing and antioxidant ingredients compared to leading brands sold at the drugstore.
Created by the E.T. Browne Drug Company in New Jersey, Palmer’s is a familiar sight in drugstores across the country, primarily because of its Cocoa Butter Formula Swivel Stick. The brand’s made a name for itself because of its wide variety of cocoa butter-based skincare products, but it’s expanded far beyond its original range to include more than a hundred products in its line!
Now offering products for numerous categories—from hair care to hair removal—the items The Beautypedia Research Team are asked about most often are those claiming to treat and repair stretch marks and scars (Palmer’s has no shortage of them). Unfortunately, there is little topical treatments can do to fix either of these skin concerns, which we detail in the More Info sections of the applicable individual product reviews.
As far as Palmer’s moisturizing formulas go, cocoa butter is a great foundation upon which to build them, as it has rich antioxidant properties in addition to being a great emollient. Palmer’s typically pairs it with other good emollients, which is always a plus—and all of the brand’s products are reasonable priced!
It’s worth noting though that over the course of our reviews, we saw that many of Palmer’s formulas relied almost entirely on cocoa butter for its benefits, omitting some of the additional beneficial ingredients (like more skin repairing and skin-identical ingredients, as well as other antioxidants) that many of its drugstore competitors do.
While some may prefer simpler skincare formulas depending on their skin concerns, for Palmer’s this results in many formulas being near carbon copies of one another, just with different claims. Another concern is that many of their formulas include potentially-irritating fragrances , along with the preservative methylthizolinone, which can be sensitizing to the point where it’s generally recommended only for use in rinse-off products.
Overall, while Palmer’s does have some good products to offer, with just a few additions (and some subtractions) those products could be great!
For more information about Palmer’s, call 877-725-6377 or visit www.palmers.com.
The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.
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