You might have heard about the benefits of chocolate in your diet, but cocoa benefits for skin can be just as sweet! From antioxidants to nourishing vitamins and minerals, cocoa proves quite capable in the quest to achieve beautiful skin. Curious about what chocolate can do for you? We’ve put together some interesting information about the properties of the cacao plant and how it can enhance the radiance and vitality of your skin.
Interestingly, the Latin name for cocoa is Theobroma cacao, which translates to “food of the gods.” The cocoa beans are fermented seeds of the cacao tree, which is native to the Amazon region and also grows in many different tropical climates.
In addition to it’s well-known role as part of the manufacture of chocolate, cocoa beans have many healing and medicinal properties which have been recognized as far back as the ancient Mayan and Aztec civilizations. Cocoa was so valuable it was used as a currency by the native tribes of Central and South America.
Much better for your skin than a sugar-packed chocolate bar, the powder derived from finely ground cocoa beans is what provides such value to your complexion. For one, cocoa is an incredibly strong antioxidant. One study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry showed that cocoa has more phenolic phytochemicals and a higher antioxidant capacity than black tea, green tea, and red wine!
Why are antioxidants important for your skin? Because they limit the production of free radicals that can damage skin cells, helping to restore the healthy appearance of the skin and reducing the signs of aging. Antioxidants help to repair the damage done to your skin cells by free radicals from environmental toxins, car exhaust, ultraviolet light, household chemicals, and cigarette smoke. They boost blood flow and assist the growth of new cells, keeping skin looking young and radiant.
Cocoa is rich in antioxidant flavonoids, which are called flavanols. Studies have shown that flavanols help repair skin damaged by UV sunlight and environmental toxins. As reported in the Journal of Nutrition, many researchers have looked into the bioactive compounds of cocoa and their impact on skin health. There is also a growing body of evidence that validates the use of cocoa-derived phytochemicals as an effective approach for skin protection.
One key reason to apply cocoa to the surface of the skin is to tackle UV damage done by the sun. How does this work? One of cocoa’s constituents is theobromine, known to act as a vasodilator that helps to increase the flow of blood to the skin’s surface. This increased blood flow helps to stop the skin from drying out; similar to the same way the skin reacts when it’s sunburned. The resulting blood flow tends to reverse the aging effects of UV rays by promoting healing and renewal, making the skin more radiant and giving it a more youthful appearance.
Helping to mitigate wrinkles is only one benefit of cocoa. Topical application is also known to help reduce the appearance of scars, particularly the type of scars known as contracture scarring. And it isn’t simply the antioxidant effect of cocoa; the cacao plant contains vitamin C and magnesium, both of which help to keep skin healthy and protected.
Cocoa is packed full of minerals including calcium, copper, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc. Cocoa is also is rich in omega 6 fatty acids which are known to assist skin healing at the cellular level - one of the ways it helps heal scars. It also boosts blood flow and hydration of the skin, which aids in improving the skin’s radiance, critical to achieving a younger-looking complexion.
Many people are using a cocoa powder face mask to increase blood flow to the skin and deliver antioxidant power and numerous benefits toward skin health. The increased blood flow results in a healthier, more radiant complexion while helping to heal the damage caused by constant UV exposure.
Though many people derive benefits by ingesting cocoa powder, applying it topically using a face mask will bring faster and more impactful results. Using a cocoa powder face mask to increase blood flow will help to hydrate the skin and mitigate the cellular breakdown that typically comes with aging.
Another benefit of cocoa is that it contains a high volume of vitamin E, which is known to boost collagen production. Collagen is what keeps your skin firm and gives skin its elasticity. The aging process depletes collagen levels, and skin ends up losing elasticity, resulting in wrinkles. Vitamin E helps to stimulate the body’s natural collagen production, giving you smoother, younger-looking skin.
The sooner you start taking advantage of the many benefits of cocoa powder, the sooner you’ll begin to see improvements in your skin. Those benefits include a more youthful, radiant appearance with fewer wrinkles. Here’s the best part: you won’t gain a single ounce of weight indulging in chocolate this way, you’ll simply be receiving and enjoying the incredible cocoa benefits for healthy skin.