Star Khechara

Cacao: a skin-health superfood

Chocolate has been a favorite treat for people all over the world for centuries. Cacao, the main ingredient in chocolate, is derived from the seeds of the Theobroma cacao tree and is a rich source of antioxidants and flavonoids. While most people associate chocolate with unhealthy, sugary treats, cacao has several health benefits, particularly for the skin. In this article, we will explore how cacao and chocolate can benefit the skin.

Rich in Antioxidants

Cacao is rich in antioxidants, which protect the skin from oxidative stress caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage skin cells and contribute to premature ageing. Antioxidants neutralise free radicals, reducing their harmful effects on the skin. Dark chocolate, in particular, contains high levels of flavonoids, a type of antioxidant that has been shown to improve skin texture, hydration, and elasticity.

Moisturises the skin

Ok, this isn't strictly about skin nutrition but cacao butter, a byproduct of the chocolate-making process, is an excellent natural moisturiser for the skin. It is rich in fatty acids that help to hydrate and nourish the skin, keeping it soft and supple. Cacao butter is also a natural emollient, which means it helps to form a protective barrier on the skin, preventing moisture loss.

Anti-inflammatory Properties

Cacao contains compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to reduce redness, irritation, and inflammation in the skin. Studies have shown that flavonoids in cacao can reduce inflammation in the skin, making it an effective treatment for inflammatory skin conditions such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis

Protection Against UV Damage

Cacao contains flavonoids that have been shown to protect the skin from UV damage caused by sun exposure. UV rays can cause DNA damage and contribute to premature ageing and skin cancer. The flavonoids in cacao help to neutralise free radicals caused by UV exposure, reducing their harmful effects on the skin.

Boosts Collagen Production

Collagen - a dermal protein that gives the skin its structure, firmness, and elasticity - diminishes as we age. Collagen production decreases, leading to sagging, wrinkled skin. Cacao contains compounds that can boost collagen production in the skin, helping to maintain its firmness and elasticity.
Encourage your clients to eat 1-2 servings DAILY of blue / purple foods for them to benefit from these potent Anthocyanins. 

In beauty, Star

Ps if you're excited to learn more, you'll love our mini-class science class on Cacao Bioactives for Skin Health


  • Williams S, Tamburic S, Lally C. Eating chocolate can significantly protect the skin from UV light. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2009 Sep;8(3):169-73.
  • Heinrich U et al. Long-term ingestion of high flavanol cocoa provides photoprotection against UV-induced erythema and improves skin condition in women. J Nutr. 2006 Jun;136(6):1565-9.
  • Yoon HS1 et al. 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.
  • Yazan Ranneh et al. The inhibitory activity of cocoa phenolic extract against pro-inflammatory mediators secretion induced by lipopolysaccharide in RAW 264.7 cells. Springerplus. 2016; 5: 547.
Article written and researched by a real human called Star Khechara: founder of Skin Nutrition Institute. Read more about Star here
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Expand your knowledge with this short class on the science of Cacao Bioactives for Skin Health

  • Learn how even dark organic chocolate has undergone processing to lose many of its polyphenols (and what to use instead)
  • You'll learn about the 5 important skin-minerals that are in cacao
  • You'll explore how the polyphenols in cacao have an impact on skin-health and the biomechanics of how it all happens at the cellular level.
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