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Science Report: Cocoa Gives Good Skin

New research and a growing body of clinical evidence suggests that products containing cocoa-derived phytochemicals — polyphenols including flavinols, the great antioxidants — are very effective for skin protection and prevention of skin aging.

Cocoa has been used for medicinal and nutritional purposes dating back 3,000-plus years to Aztec and Mayan civilizations. That’s because the cocoa plant contains what scientists today are calling an “enormous” range of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds that help keep skin healthy and youthful, from both the outside and the inside.

Topically, cocoa compounds have been shown to positively affect skin elasticity and skin tone, and they are sometimes used to help treat skin diseases, including acne, psoriasis, and even cancer. Because they contain elements that protect skin from UV damage, oxidative stress, and subsequent photoaging, cocoa is popping up in all kinds of beauty products. How well it performs remains to be seen.

However, the power of chocolate from the inside out is well-proven. In fact, researchers go so far as to say that the seeds from the Theobrama cacao plant are “the most important and widespread functional food in human history.” Consuming products made from cocoa — specifically dark chocolate — has all kinds of benefits.

When you eat it, cocoa works to neutralize oxidative stress in the body, which is a big culprit in premature deterioration of the derma structure of the skin. If dark chocolate is too bitter for you, you may want to get over it. It’s specifically the anti-aging flavinols in cocoa that give dark chocolate its bitterness, so the more bitter the better.

Plus, cocoa is also a rich source of essential minerals, including magnesium, iron, and copper, all of which are necessary for preventing chronic diseases and staying healthy as we age, particularly as they impact vascular function and health, energy production, and protein synthesis.

Do you need any better reason to indulge in cocoa products? We think not. 

Here are five cocoa-containing skin products we love.

1. Sakara Beauty Chocolates, $45

2. Balmyard Beauty Baby Love Balm, $32

3. Beauty Bar Chocolate, $13-$19

4. Fresh Cocoa Body Exfoliant, $45

5. Sircuit Cosmeceuticals Mocha Loca+ Lactic Acid Peel, $75

Photos: Top, Milkos; all others courtesy of the companies 

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