Garcinia indica, also known as kokum, is a plant of the Clusiaceae family. Garcinia indica fruits are orange-size berries that contain, inside, about 5 - 8 seeds. It is from these seeds that kokum butter is extracted. This butter has a fat content very similar to cocoa butter and for this reason it is often used in the confectionery industry to prepare chocolate.
The cosmetic properties of kokum butter
But these characteristics make kokum butter also an excellent and very versatile cosmetic product with emollient, moisturizing, soothing and slightly astringent properties. Kokum butter is able to restore elasticity to the tissues, it regenerates the skin and counteracts the degeneration of skin cells, thus performing an antioxidant action against free radical damages (Padhye et al, J Hematol Oncol, Sep 2009 - Mandawgade et al, Indian J Pharm Sci, Jul 2008). Kokum butter has, like cocoa butter, a high percentage of stearic acid, a fatty acid present in the human epidermis and that, over the years, tends to decrease. Therefore, the kokum, by bringing this precious ingredient, shows rejuvenating properties (Kim et al, J Korean Med Sci, Jun 2010). Kokum butter is not comedogenic or thermolabile, therefore it can be heated in order to melt it and use it as a cosmetic without fear of compromising its properties. In addition, kokum butter is one of the most stable butter and able to stay long without going rancid, it doesn’t become granular, as can happen with shea butter, and is not greasy.
Kokum butter and applications
Kokum butter is suitable in the case of chapped lips, very dry skin as can happen on the elbows, feet and heels, irritated and sunburned skin, resulting therefore an excellent after-sun, wounds, mature skin but also acne prone skin. In fact, in addition to soothing inflammation, this beauty butter strengthens the skin barrier and doesn’t clog pores (Chuah et al, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, Aug 2013). Moreover, kokum butter is also a valid aid in case of dry, brittle hair and split ends.
Kokum butter, how to use it alone or in creams
The kokum butter can be used both in emulsions, with the advantage of giving consistency to DIY creams, and in pure form directly applied to the area to be treated. If you want to put it in your formulations remember not to exceed 3% for face creams and 8% for body creams as otherwise the texture of the cream would not be pleasant. As for the use of butter in pure form, since the melting point of this ingredient is around 35-40 °C, this tends to melt as soon as it comes into contact with the skin. However, the advice is in any case to slightly heat it in a water bath before using it to facilitate its application. Then, you can spread kokum butter pure on your hands, feet, heels, lips or you can mix a small amount with your usual face or body cream. Instead, for the hair, you can mix a small amount of kokum butter with the conditioner and spread it over the hair. Leave on a few minutes, then rinse.