Thursday, January 20, 2011

One of the hottest spa trends right now is chocolate facials. Yep, a facial using chocolate.

But is it worth grinding down your left over chocolate? Maybe

Chocolate has several ingredients which can potentially affect your skin. Cocoa beans, of which chocolate is made, are high in antioxidant phenolic phytochemicals (polyphenols), including flavonoids, procyanidin, and resveratrol. In fact, they are present at such high concentrations that cocoa actually has higher antioxidant potential than other heavy weight antioxidants such as green tea or red wine. Not all chocolate is high in flavonoids, however. For example, white chocolate has no flavonoids while dark, high-cocoa-content chocolate has much higher flavonoids than does milk chocolate.

Chocolate also contains fats such as cocoa butter or shea butter. Both of these are used routinely as topical moisturizers and as anti-inflammatory agents. Shea butter can also used as a skin softener.

Most studies of the health benefits of chocolate have looked at anti-inflammatory and cardiovascular effects of eating it, not the benefit of applying to your skin. I did however find one study* which showed that topical application of cocoa plant extracts containing polyphenols and xanthine derivitives prevented wrinkles from forming in mice who were exposed to ultraviolet light. If nothing else, it would be a delicious, relaxing treatment. That is, if you can keep yourself from licking it off.

How do you make your own homemade chocolate facial mask

Courtesy of Food Blogga
1/3 cup dark cocoa
3 tbs heavy cream
1/4 cup honey
2 tbs pureed or powdered oatmeal
Mix all the ingredients together and apply. Let it sit for 15 minutes and then rinse off with warm water using a gentle circular method to exfoliate.
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