Here are some studies about dietary cocoa and photoaging prevention:


Cocoa Bioactive Compounds: Significance and Potential for the Maintenance of Skin Health (2014)

Note: Comprehensive, technical article explaining the mechanisms through which flavanol-rich cocoa provides protection against photodamage.


Photoprotection of Natural Flavonoids (2013)

Note: In-depth article explaining the mechanisms by which dietary plant flavonoids provide a photoprotective effect for your skin.


Eating Chocolate Can Significantly Protect the Skin from UV Light (2009)

Conclusion: 15 people were given a daily high-flavanol cocoa supplement to consume daily for 12 weeks. To test it’s photoprotection effect, subjects were exposed to UV light at baseline and then after the study to compare any changes in their minimal erythemal dose (MED – or amount of sun you can tolerate without burning). Amazingly, the MED (UV tolerance) of the group more than doubled after the 12 weeks – meaning it now took more than double the amount of UV to produce sunburn. “Our study demonstrated that regular consumption of a chocolate rich in flavanols confers significant photoprotection and can thus be effective at protecting human skin from harmful UV effects.” Another group of 15 participants were given a low-flavanol chocolate supplement and they did not demonstrate a significant change in MED.


Cocoa Polyphenols and Their Influence on Parameters Involved in Ex Vivo Skin Restructuring (2008)

Conclusion: Rubbing chocolate, or having it rubbed on you, produces a strong skin repair effect. Get creative.


Consumption of Flavanol-Rich Cocoa Acutely Increases Microcirculation in Human Skin (2007)

Conclusion: 5 women were given a high-flavanol cocoa powder drink to test the effects of a single dose on increasing dermal blood flow and oxygen saturation. Skin reaction was observed using an Oxygen-to-see (O2C) instrument. Two hours after ingestion dermal blood flow and oxygen saturation was amazingly observed to nearly double from baseline. This effect was not observed in another group of women given a very low-dose cocoa supplement.


Long-Term Ingestion of High Flavanol Cocoa Provides Photoprotection Against UV-Induced Erythema and Improves Skin Condition in Women (2006)

Conclusion: 6 white women were given a 300mg high-flavanol cocoa powder drink to consume daily for three months to test it’s photoprotective effects. To test this, selected skin areas were exposed to UV light adequate to cause minor sunburn and their skin blood flow, skin density, skin hydration, and cosmetic skin roughness were evaluated before intervention, halfway through, and after the 12 weeks of supplementation. 6 weeks in the women were enjoying a 15% reduction in sunburn response following the UV exposures and at 12 weeks they were experiencing 25% less sunburn, demonstrating a photoprotective effect of cocoa powder. The cocoa increased their MED (minimal erythemal dose), aka sun tolerance. The ladies also demonstrated a very significant improvement in blood flow to their skin, improved skin hydration, improved skin thickness, and smoother skin. This was measured by high-frequency ultrasound scans. These effects were not observed in a second group of women who received a very low dose of the cocoa supplement.


Back to Research Directory

Back to Blog



Leave a Reply