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Effect of cacao flavanols on skin health

A study by Hyun-Sun Yoon et al of the Seoul National University Boramae Hospital, Seoul, Korea, investigated the effect of cocoa supplementation on the condition of moderately photo-aged facial skin of women by assessing wrinkles and elasticity of their skin[1]. Previous studies showed contradictory results of oral intake of cocoa products on skin photo-aging. The researchers performed randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study during 24 weeks to evaluate the effects of oral supplementation of cocoa flavanols on photo-aging of the skin. The women rreceived either a placebo drink or cocoa drink containing 320 mg total cocoa flavanols per day. They measured skin wrinkles, elasticity, and hydration at at the start and adter 12 and 24 weeks. After 24 weeks also the roughness value was determined. The cacao group showed a significant lower rougness value than the placebo group. The cacao flavanols also improved the skin elasticity but not change the skin hydration and barrier integrity. The researchers concluded that cocoa flavanols may contribute to the prevention of the progression of photo-aging.

Another study failed to to demonstrate a protective effect of high-flavanol chocolate consumption on skin sensitivity to UV radiation as measured by minimal erythema dose [2]. This study investigated the influence of 12-week high-flavanol chocolate (30 g chocolate per day) consumption on skin sensitivity, elasticity and hydration.


[1] Cocoa Flavanol Supplementation Influences Skin Conditions of Photo-Aged Women: A 24-Week Double-Blind, Randomized, Controlled Trial. J Nutr. 2016 Jan;146(1):46-50.
[2] Chocolate flavanols and skin photoprotection: a parallel, double-blind, randomized clinical trial. Nutr J. 2014 Jun 27;13:66.

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