By Lara Evans Bracciante Originally published in ASCP's Skin Deep,
February/March 2006. Copyright 2006. Associated Skin Care Professionals. All
Chocolate and skin care aren't words often used
together in the same sentence unless there's a warning involved, as in: For a
healthy complexion, avoid chocolate. But perhaps that premise should be
After all, dark chocolate is loaded with flavonoids -- compounds that are also
found in fruits, vegetables, tea, and red wine -- which serve as powerful
antioxidants. Flavonoids have been credited with reducing the risk of stroke
and heart attack. Evidence also shows they may help ease an overactive immune
system, which can be the underlying cause of chronic inflammation, arthritis,
cancer, carpal tunnel syndrome, and eczema.
But don't dismiss the warnings altogether. The age-old adage linking chocolate
and breakouts may have some relevance. Milk chocolate is not only depleted of
those beneficial flavonoids, it's also loaded with additives, including a
significant amount of sugar. Sugar can weaken collagen (which results in
wrinkles) and cause inflammation (which can bring on acne, puffiness, and
eczema). Your best bet is to choose dark or semi-sweet chocolate low in sugar
with few added ingredients and no hydrogenated fats or oils.
Other options? Don't eat it at all. Instead, apply it, bathe in it, wrap
yourself in it. Following is a sampling of cocoa-inspired skin care treatments
worth noting. From various spas around the country, these novelty treatments
provide menu options for those who are looking for a truly special treat. And
people love to give them as gifts for others --
It has been proven time and time again that chocolate does
seem to help soften the skin, due to the cocoa butter. The anti-oxidant
properties in cocoa could prevent free radicals from damaging the skin's
elastin, collagen and other protein.
Cocoa's anti-oxidant potential is comparable to green
tea. Dark chocolate, in particular, has a very high anti-oxidant potential.
This is a smooth, non-sticky treatment, followed by a warm, soft moist cotton towel to further cleanse and refresh....