I’m a chocoholic for sure! I need to have a small fix every few days. I’m sure that this is at least partly due to my high school job in a candy store owned by my next door neighbors (it’s here, Sweet Temptations, though it was named Candyland when I was in high school, they’ve moved and added in some ice cream from another shop they own). Anyways, yes, I made fudge every summer in high school. And caramel corn. And fresh squeezed lemonade.
So, yes, I require a lot of chocolate. Is it possible that this could actually work in my favor? Yes. Yes, it really could. Inspired by the amazing chocolate products from Too Faced, I thought I should look into this. I’ve done some reading, mostly in my favorite cosmetic dermatology text book.
It turns out that it is proven that polyphenols, which are found in cocoa, can do amazing things for your skin! Cocoa prevents oxidant damage, photoaging and keeps collagen around longer. Antiaging and chocolate? Yes, please!
Does Chocolate Really Cause Acne?
The short story is probably no. There have been many studies over the years looking at whether there is a real connection, and results have been somewhat mixed. It turns out that it’s really hard to control so many variables in people’s diet and predict how many blemishes they should have had. Most dermatologists agree that rather than the cocoa in chocolate, we should be concerned with the sugar in these foods. Sugar itself has been linked to changes in proteins in the skin, contributing to skin wrinkling and photoaging.
There are more than 8000 natural occurring polyphenols, and they all have some degree of antioxidant activity. You’ll find them in most vegetables, fruits, herbs, grains, coffee, tea and even red wine. You might recognize the name of some of these compounds, such as the much studied Resveratrol, found in red wine.
Polyphenols (specifically red clover extract which is rich in isoflavones) has been found to increase collagen production and maintain skin thickness in rats that had ovariectomies (in other words, were going through menopause).
What does this have to do with Chocolate? Cocoa is rich in polyphenols, specifically Flavanols and proanthocyanidins. So, there are lots of reasons to think that cocoa has some antioxidant effects (here’s some evidence that it does, article 1 and article 2), helping to prevent oxidant damage, photoaging and keeping collagen around longer.