Chocolate for skin care?

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Chocolate helps the soul, but not for skin diseases

Chocolate in wellness products is all the rage. Cosmetics manufacturers use the positive reputation of chocolate to market their products. The best known are so-called "hot chocolate baths" or face masks that promise to be beneficial for the skin. Dermatologist Prof. Hans Meffert is skeptical about the manufacturers' marketing strategies. The ingredients and applications are beneficial for the soul, but the effect on the skin is rather small, according to the expert. With care products, users cannot cure skin diseases.

Chocolate as the elixir of life
Chocolate has always been a real elixir of life. Numerous scientific studies have now shown that the phytochemicals of the cocoa plant work wonders. Regular consumption of high-proof chocolate is said to reduce the risk of cancer, protect against cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and reduce symptoms of depression. Dark chocolate is particularly valuable because it contains a high level of valuable antioxidants. According to researchers from the US University of Pennsylvania, the "free radical scavenger" proportion is even higher than in various fruit juices and types of fruit. These scavengers prevent the oxidation of sensitive molecules, which is triggered by a reaction of mostly oxygen and other oxidizing chemicals. But what about the numerous chocolate beauty products? "This is more about the psychological effect, ie the feeling of doing something good with chocolate," explained skin expert Prof. Hans Meffert. There is actually something in the chocolate that is good for the skin, but the care products cannot hide the fact that skin diseases with chocolate in this form cannot be cured.

Cocoa in a natural way can heal wounds
In this context, Meffert refers to a scientific study by the University of Münster. Researchers there had found that various cocoa bean agents can heal skin wounds and even stimulate skin cell growth. "However, these positive components are only minimally present in cosmetic products and do not have a dermatological effect," explains the dermatologist. However, the cocoa butter can take care of the skin and "by greasing it gently and protecting dry skin from moisture loss", explained Meffert. The specialist for skin diseases, Dr. Sabine Zenker was also critical. Consumers should not have too high expectations when buying the products. Because: "There are far better products for skin care."

Chocolate soothing for the soul
The chocolate applications are not quite as ineffective. Above all, it is the scent that appeals to the body's senses and produces a soothing feeling. Meffert explains the positive effect with a psychological effect that occurs in such applications. The scent awakens childhood memories and happiness endorphins are released. Many users have the feeling that they are doing something special and beautiful for themselves and their bodies. This basic attitude alone provides relaxation and creates happiness hormones. This opinion was also shared by Kerstin Moog, spa manager in Bad Zwischenahn. Chocolate treatment lasts up to three hours, she explains. During this time, people experience an "incredibly beautiful body feeling". This applies during, but also after the time of the procedure.

Caution with own applications
There are numerous instructions for homemade masks, peelings and creams circulating on the Internet. Since the chocolate must be liquid for skin applications, it is heated beforehand and mixed with other ingredients. The very same heating can lead to serious injuries to the skin if the mass is applied too early and still very hot. There is a risk of severe burns and unwanted red spots on the skin. In addition, it should be made clear that a stressed skin that is sensitive and prone to inflammation is actually too stressed by a self-made chocolate mask. A homemade mixture can lead to inflammation if the skin texture tends to.

Users achieve the best success when they use natural cocoa butter products, which are offered, for example, in health food stores. Shea butter contains effective substances that nourish the skin sustainably and slow down skin aging. The main ingredients are fatty acids, oil, vitamin E, allantoin and provitamin A. (sb)

Read about chocolate & health:
Migraines: stress or chocolate are not triggers
Red wine and chocolate, the new cancer killers?
Chocolate with valuable antioxidants
Dark chocolate lowers blood pressure

Image: S.Hainz /

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