Cocoa Butter Solid Formula comes in a jar, a disappointment that we explain further in the More Info section. The bad news doesn't end there, because although this is a decent moisturizer for dry skin, it cannot prevent or improve stretch marks as claimed, and doesn't contain ingredients to improve skin tone, either. However, what if you were just interested in this for its potential as a basic body moisturizer? Let's take a closer look at its pros and cons.
What you get in Cocoa Butter Solid Formula is cocoa butter, mineral oil, wax, fragrance, and a tiny bit of silicone in a rich, balm-like base that moisturizes and softens dry, rough skin. Heavy, rich emollients like these can help improve the appearance of dry skin , but the potential irritants it contains can actually aggravate the damage and inflammation that makes dry skin worse. See More Info for additional details on the risks of high amounts of fragrance in skincare products.
As for the stretch marks claim, the truth is there's very little that you can do to improve their appearance—and for certain, skincare cannot prevent stretch marks, as we explain in the More Info section below.
Because of its inability to live up to its claims, as well as the potential for irritation from its overly fragrant formula Cocoa Butter Solid Formula earns an average rating on Beautypedia. See our list of Best Lotions for superior options, many in the same price range!
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).
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.
Beautypedia cuts through the hype to bring you product insights and recommendations you won’t find anywhere else!