I just came across an interesting article at sciencenews.org: Chocolate as Sunscreen.  Interesting idea, wouldn't you say?  Purportedly, as published last June in the Journal of Nutrition, German researchers have shown that ingesting dark chocolate can fight skin cancer. Here are a few interesting snippets from the report:

* Women drinking the high-flavonoid cocoa had 15% less skin reddening from UV light after 6 weeks of cocoa consumtion and 25% less after 12 weeks of the trial.

* After 12 weeks of consuming the flavanol-rich cocoa, the women's skin was 16% denser, 11% moisture, 30% less rough, and 42% less scaly than it was at the beginning of the experiment.


According to the researchers interviewed in the article, the dietary flavonoids found in dark chocolate are able to reach the upper layers of skin and "have the ability to counteract the oxygen free radicals generated as a consequence of exposure to UV radiation."

But what about if it is applied topically?  Some say it makes sense - others not so sure, arguing that cocoa molecules are just too big to be absorbed through the skin to make effective use of flavonoid's antioxidant properties.  I'll be sure to keep you updated on this topic as more research comes out, but until then here are three products you might just want to add to your skin care regime.

Pure Inventions' Pure Cocoa Antioxidant Cocoa Collection

Founded by two Certified Clinical Nutritionists in New Jersey, a company called Pure Inventions has a cocoa antioxidant extract worth looking into. According to promotional materials, the Cocoa Antioxidant Extracts contains the highest amount of chocolate antioxidants (including flavanols and polyphenols) that can be directly absorbed into the body, and are sugar-free, artificial sweetener-free, caffeine-free and calorie-free. At $34.95 for a bottle or $50 for a sample set, you can choose from pure cocoa flavor, mint or vanilla. (One serving = 2 droppers full to 8oz of water, 30 servings per bottle.)

Ingredients in Pure Inventions: proprietary blend of Coccoa Extract, Lo Han extract (fruit, sweetener), purified water, vegetable glycerin, natural flavors.


Chocolate Sun - Shea Butter Sunscreen for the body (SPF 30)

“Rigorously tested in the surf of LA,” Pureshea’s shea butter sunscreen seems to be able to deal out the perfect one-two punch: combating dry skin while preventing solar damage - this on top of smelling lovely, like oranges and chocolate. With an SPF of 30, it protects against all three forms of radiation, UVA, UVB, and UVC.  Aloe vera gel and grapeseed oil work with the shea butter to keep your skin in tip top condition.  (GBP 19.50, 240 ml)

ingredients in Pureshea: Ph-balanced distilled water, aloe vera gel, grapeseed oil, shea butter, methoxy cinnamate, octyl salicylate, vegetable emulsifier, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, all-natural preservative, essential oil of sweet orange.


Raw Gaia’s Raw Chocolate Face Pack

The Raw Chocolate Face Pack (GBP 9.90, 50 grams) is one of the newest launches from the Raw Gaia living skin care line. Hand-made, using only organic, vegan and unheated ingredients, the face pack has been created free of any chemicals through a “revolutionary” low-temperature process.  Apparently this ensures for maximum nutrient retention and avoids the creation of toxic compounds.

There are four primary ingredients in this product worth talking about (the others I haven’t been able to find, but the brand does promise to be organic, vegan, chemical free and completely natural).  One thing to note, however, is that the face pack comes in powder form, and must be mixed with water before one can apply it to the face as a mask.

Organic Raw Chocolate Powder. With over 25,200 antioxidants in a single spoonful of raw chocolate powder, this face pack (according to a lab analysis) has 955 ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) units per gram.

Sun-Dried Red Clay: Rich in trace elements and minerals, particularly iron, the clay is used here for toning and cleansing, and is gentle enough to be used on sensitive skin.

Organic Turmeric. (Curcuma longa) Literature out there indicates that turmeric has a wide variety of positive pharmacological applications with few toxic effects.  What doesn’t it do?  It’s an  anti-carcinogenic, antioxidant, inhibitor of lipid peroxidation, as well as an anti-inflammatory. Other wonders include the prevention and treatment of a bevy of skin ailments such as psoriasis, acne, wounds, burns, eczema, sun damage and premature aging.

Organic Amla Fruit Powder:
Amla fruit (Phyllanthus emblica), also known as an Indian gooseberry, is one of the richest sources of vitamin C known to man, containing nearly 30 times the amount found in oranges. Traditional Ayurvedic practices use the fruit, as well as the seeds, leaves, root, bark and flowers for its anti-aging and immune enhancing properties, as well as to help overcome a wide range of problems like indigestion, fever, liver problems and anaemia. New research is revealing that it is beneficial in preventing and treating stress, hay fever, arthritis, cataracts, and even cancer.