Does Cocoa Butter work for stretch marks?

Posted 17 May 2016

Niccy, a reader of CamCheck asks: “Hi, does Cocoa Butter formula really work for stretch marks.”

We searched PubMed for studies about Cocoa Butter and stretch marks.
(“PubMed comprises more than 26 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books. Citations may include links to full-text content from PubMed Central and publisher web sites”)

We found 5.

None support the claims that cocoa butter is effective for stretch marks.

[1] Striae distensae (SD) are common dermal lesions, with significant physical and psychological impact. Many therapeutic modalities are available but none can completely eradicate SD.

Additionally, tretinoin used therapeutically showed varying results whilst cocoa butter and olive oil did not demonstrate any effect.

Ud-Din S, McGeorge D, Bayat A. Topical management of striae distensae (stretch marks): prevention and therapy of striae rubrae and albae. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2016 Feb;30(2):211-22. doi: 10.1111/jdv.13223. Epub 2015 Oct 20.


[2] Striae gravidarum (SG), or stretch marks developing during pregnancy, affect up to 90% of women. While not medically dangerous, SG can be disfiguring, causing emotional and psychological distress. However, studies specifically addressing the prevention of SG, especially during pregnancy, are sparse.

Finally, cocoa butter and olive oil are not effective for preventing SG or reducing the severity of lesions. We conclude that reliable methods for preventing SG are scarce.

Korgavkar K, Wang F. Stretch marks during pregnancy: a review of topical prevention. Br J Dermatol. 2015 Mar;172(3):606-15. doi: 10.1111/bjd.13426. Epub 2015 Feb 8.


[3] No evidence for topical preparations in preventing stretch marks in pregnancy.

McAvoy BR. No evidence for topical preparations in preventing stretch marks in pregnancy. Br J Gen Pract. 2013 Apr;63(609):212. doi: 10.3399/bjgp13X665431. [full article]


[4] No topical agent has been proven to prevent or reduce stretch marks. Randomized controlled trials show that cocoa butter doesn’t prevent stretch marks ; neither does olive oil.

Moore J, Kelsberg G, Safranek S. Clinical Inquiry: Do any topical agents help prevent or reduce stretch marks? J Fam Pract. 2012 Dec;61(12):757-8.


[5] Topical application of a lotion containing cocoa butter does not appear to reduce the likelihood of developing striae gravidarum.

Osman H, Usta IM, Rubeiz N, Abu-Rustum R, Charara I, Nassar AH. Cocoa butter lotion for prevention of striae gravidarum: a double-blind, randomised and placebo-controlled trial. BJOG. 2008 Aug;115(9):1138-42. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.2008.01796.x.

2 comments to Does Cocoa Butter work for stretch marks?

  • mota

    Well! Well!!
    I hear u Harris …quite well if I may say.
    However, I have a story to share. I bought this gel + tissue oil on December 13,2016 to treat post inflammatory hyper pigmentation on my face,back and arms. Today is the 29th January 2017. U wanna know how I feel? I feel fabulous.
    Enough of my story.
    Now,let’s all remember that from a medical view not all the population will respond equally the same way to a certain factor, or medication to say. Even a simple paracetamol tablet will (and shall) never treat the whole population.
    Are we gonna say pcm doesn’t work?
    BAH! I don’t think so

  • Harris

    The article asks whether there is evidence that cocoa butter helps stretch marks, and argues that there is no evidence that it does. You claim benefit for “post inflammatory hyper pigmentation” – and not stretch marks.

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