We admit it — we spend a lot of time on this blog telling you what you shouldn’t eat (and what you should). Sugar, we’ve warned, causes acne and wrinkles.
It’s probably not much fun to hear, because, let’s face it, so many lovely things are chock full of sugar. And that includes the substance at the very top of the sweet tooth hierarchy: chocolate!
So we perked up when we caught sight of this Huffington Post headline: 5 Guilt-Free Beauty Benefits of Dark Chocolate.
In moderation, as it turns out, dark chocolate is full of good stuff: antioxidants, flavonols, vitamins, and minerals. And all of that is great news for your skin. Of course…not all of the benefits of dark chocolate come from eating it.
It repairs dry skin. Iron, calcium, and vitamins A, B1, C, D, and E are among the many nutrients that we can obtain from dark chocolate. Swap out that extra cup of coffee or green tea for a cocoa-rich drink that will deeply moisturize skin and leave behind a healthy glow. Or you could slough away dead skin cells with a DIY chocolate body scrub made out of olive oil, brown sugar, cocoa powder and vanilla.
It shields against harmful UV rays. Flavonols found in dark chocolate have been chemically shown to help your skin protect itself from sunburn, redness, and other signs of UV damage. When applied directly to the skin it also has the ability to repair and hydrate body parts that have been exposed to the sun. But we wouldn’t suggest slacking on sunscreen.
It eases wrinkles and fine lines. Things seem a bit calmer right after we nibble on a piece of dark chocolate, and we all know how stress impacts our skin. And as our friends over at You Beauty explain, “Cocoa helps reduce stress hormones, which means less collagen breakdown in the skin and fewer wrinkles.” Sort of like eating your way to pretty.
Of course, not just any chocolate will do. A sixty-nine cent, highly processed, sugar-filled candy bar isn’t going to get the job done.
Commercial processing strips many chocolate products of their most beneficial properties. Those anti-oxidants? They get replaced by sugar.
You need a higher-end sort of chocolate if you want to use it for skin health, either a low-sugar product or a highly natural product, like cacao. Cacao is cold-pressed dark chocolate, and it retains all of chocolate’s natural benefits. In fact, cacao packs such a punch that it beats blueberries for raw anti-oxidant power.
So go ahead! Indulge! Just make the simple substitution that will let you have your chocolate and your skin health, too.