Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Fragrance Free Body Lotion is a very basic body lotion that's an OK option for dry skin, but it includes some problematic ingredients, which is why it earns only an average rating.
Cocoa Butter Formula Fragrance Free Body Lotion comes in two sizes: The smaller of the two has a flip-top cap, the larger comes with a pump-style dispenser. Both are opaque, which is great news for protecting the ingredients inside from light and air. The formula itself feels very moisturizing on dry skin thanks to the inclusion of a good mix of emollients like petrolatum, mineral oil, and the advertised cocoa butter. This also contains a couple of antioxidants in the form of cocoa extract and vitamin E.
Note: Though this doesn't contain any artificial fragrance, it does have a chocolate scent, thanks to the cocoa extract and cocoa butter this contains. Though it is non-irritating and a natural property of cocoa extracts and butters, it's something to keep in mind if you're looking for a truly fragrance-free formula.
There are two main drawbacks with Cocoa Butter Formula Body Lotion, both of which are considerations if you have sensitive skin (and this product is marketed for sensitive skin). First, this contains the preservative methylisothiazolinone, which is generally recommend for use in rinse-off products due to its potential as a skin sensitizer (Contact Dermatitis, 2010). The second is that this does contain orange peel extract, which also has the potential to cause irritation. Though it isn't very high on the ingredient list here, there's still enough here to consider if you have sensitive skin.
Because of its potential to cause irritation in sensitive skin and the fact that it is marketed specifically to those with this concern, we can't give Cocoa Butter Formula Fragrance Free Body Lotion our enthusiastic recommendation. You can find superior options on our list of Best Body Lotions.
Stretch Marks: Stretch marks occur when skin is abnormally stretched and expanded for a period of time. Typically, this occurs during pregnancy, weight gain, weight loss, or during periods of rapid growth (think puberty). The abnormal stretching causes the skin's support structure of collagen and elastin to break down or rupture. The visible curled ends of stretch marks beneath the skin are actually bands of elastin that have broken—think of elastin as rubber bands beneath the skin that give it spring and its ability to snap back into place.
Essentially, stretch marks are scars that have formed from the inside out, rather than scarring that occurs when skin is externally wounded. Unfortunately, stretch marks are among the toughest skin-care concerns to treat because there are no cosmetic ingredients or products that can make much of a difference in their appearance.
Applying topical products such as plant oils or cocoa butter, or any skin-care product promising to prevent, reduce or eliminate stretch marks doesn't work, and there's no research showing otherwise. Massaging skin with rich emollients and creams may feel nice, but the purported benefits of such products only add up to myths and anecdotal accounts mixed with hope, because stretch marks are not caused by dry skin. The depth of stretch marks —far below the skin's surface—and the extreme strain, stress, and trauma needed to break down the skin's support structure, is damage beyond the reparative or preventative capability of any moisturizer or oil (British Journal of General Practice, 2013). We wish that wasn't the case, but it's what research has shown to be true.
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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