Chocoholics delight, feed your skin with your favourite treat!
Given that chocolate is one of the world’s most loved foods, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that much research has been undertaken into the chemical compounds contained within cocoa. And luckily for us chocoholics, chocolate isn’t just thought to be good for us on the inside, it’s also great in skincare.
The physics and chemistry of cocoa beans is very complex and changes throughout the life of the bean, depending on the processing it receives. Theobroma cacao, the chocolate tree, contains approximately 380 compounds.
A number of these phyto-compounds are thought to have therapeutic value for the skin. Some studies have shown that the application of cocoa on the skin has positive effects on skin elasticity and skin tone.
In fact, a growing body of scientific evidence suggests that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of cocoa contribute to the photoprotection of the skin and are used for the maintenance of skin health.
Cocoa is a rich source of polyphenolic compounds with a high amount of flavonoids, specifically flavanols. In fact, one research team in South Korea found that cocoa contains more polyphenolic compounds and a higher antioxidant capacity than teas and red wine. The bitterness of chocolate comes primarily from its high levels of flavanols, and they form a fundamental part of the way that chocolate tastes and smells.
Cocoa polyphenols, mainly flavanols, have been shown to act as strong antioxidants. They have the potential to effectively intercept and neutralise free radicals. The skin application of cocoa polyphenols has been shown to positively
affect several parameters of skin elasticity and skin tone. Moreover, cellular studies and results from topical application studies provide evidence that cocoa polyphenols, especially those belonging to the flavanol family, can offer effective photoprotection – they minimise the damage the skin undergoes when exposed to UV radiation.
When it comes to skin health, cocoa components have also been utilised in skin conditions, such as acne and wound healing. It is interesting to note that it has been shown that cocoa has great potential not only for the treatments of certain skin conditions, but also for their prevention.
Cocoa doesn’t just contain polyphenols – it also contains compounds known as ‘methylxanthines’ or ‘xanthines’, which include theobromine and caffeine. Methylxanthines are a variety of stimulants produced by plants and animals – they are also produced by human cells. Caffeine contains them naturally, and these molecules are one of the main reasons people often feel their hearts racing after consuming a lot of caffeinated foods or drinks.
Methylxanthines are considered the main active components in cocoa, coffee, and tea. They enhance arousal, mood, and concentration levels. But what do methylxanthines, such as the ones found in cocoa, do on the skin?
Both theobromine and caffeine work as a diuretic, which means that they remove moisture from the skin, temporarily firming the skin and its connective tissue. This temporary firming process reduces the appearance of cellulite. This effect is temporary.
Theobromine is also able to break down fats and can have draining properties on fatty cells. All of these cosmetic properties mean that theobromine can be used to target cellulite when applied to your skin. Theobromine would therefore be an excellent high performance compound to try and incorporate in a chocolate anti-cellulite massage product.
One study concluded that topical application of plant extracts and xanthine derivatives suppressed wrinkle formation, dermal connective alteration, and collagen accumulation. It is suggested that xanthine derivatives prevented inflammation caused by UV-irradiation.
So next time you want to buy or make an organic skincare product that can also pack a punch in terms of its anti-ageing properties – track down some exquisite cocoa cosmetics. And maybe consider eating some artisan chocolate while you pamper your skin with cocoa!
Formula Botanica offers its Certificate in Chocolate Spa Products for anyone who wants to learn how to formulate gorgeous skincare products filled with the finest cocoa.
About Formula Botanica
Formula Botanica, the ODLQC accredited Online Organic Cosmetic Science School founded in 2012 with over 1500 students and graduates in 86 countries.
Director of Formula Botanica Lorraine Dallmeier BSc (HONS) MSc MIEMA MRSB CEnv, a Biologist by training, developed a love of plants for cosmetic application after working in the field of environmental management for over a decade. Lorraine is a Chartered Environmentalist, as well as a full Member of the Royal Society of Biology, the Society of Cosmetic Scientists and the Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment.
Formula Botanica’s virtual HQ is located in the UK but they are an international Organic Cosmetic Science School with an international team of experts. There are 10 digital courses at present, 100% online, which students can study at their own pace in their own time. The courses teach everything you need to know in order to go from complete beginner to organic cosmetic formulator and teacher. Many graduates have used their courses to successfully launch or grow their own cosmetics business. They fly the flag for organic and natural skincare all over the world and are ambassadors for a healthier, safer way of life.
Lorraine Dallmeier of Formula Botanica is available for expert comment on beauty formulas, ingredients, both synthetic and natural, beauty and business advice.
Business case studies and success stories are available for placement.
For all enquiries contact Rebecca Goodyear Health & Beauty:
+44 (0) 20 3 651 7360
Lee, et al. 2003. Cocoa Has More Phenolic Phytochemicals and a Higher Antioxidant Capacity than Teas and Red Wine. J. Agric. Food Chem. 2003, 51, 7292 – 7295.
Scapagnini, et al. 2014. Cocoa Bioactive Compounds: Significance and Potential for the Maintenance of Skin Health. Nutrients. 2014, 6(8), 3202-3213.
Mitani et al., 2007. Topical application of plant extracts containing xanthine derivatives can prevent UV- induced wrinkle formation in hairless mice. Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed. 2007 Apr-Jun;23(2-3):86-94.