There are few things in life that chocolate can’t fix. PMS? A bad day? A break-up? Grab yourself a Snickers bar and everything will be A-OK. But there’s one thing you probably haven’t tried the cocoa cure-all for yet: Your skin problems. So, is it really possible that chocolate is good for your skin?
“Chocolate makes us feel good and increases endorphins and decreases stress. This can result in less oxidative damage and less collagen reduction,” says Dr. Purvisha Patel. Patel is a board certified dermatologist, Mohs and cosmetic surgeon, dermatology faculty at the University of Tennessee, owner of Advanced Dermatology & Skin Cancer Associates, and the creator of Visha Skin Care. In other words, she knows what she's talking about when it comes to skin care.
"Chocolate, more so dark chocolate, is rich in flavonoids that protect the skin from the sun. It also contains essential skin minerals such as zinc and magnesium — collagen needs these to form and rejuvenate.”
Even though Dr. Patel technically told me that eating chocolate is a much better way to get these benefits than, say, rubbing it all over your skin, when I heard that “chocolate therapy” was an actual thing that exists in Argentina, I had to give it a try.
According to the spa’s website where I found out about this drool-inducing ritual, the two hour treatment includes "body and facial exfoliation with chocolate and apricot gel, a chocolate wrap, and a sound massage with crystal quartz bowls." They also claim that the treatment "combines relaxation and cosmetics through the many benefits derived from products of cocoa: it is purifying, relaxing, and exfoliating."
Here's how it went down.
My chocolate rubdown began exactly as promised: with a body scrub that smelled like chocolate. It was basically like any other non-Kit Kat flavored scrub I’ve ever gotten, but it smelled much better. Next came the head-to-toe chocolate mask, which made me feel like I was reliving the days when my post-shower routine consisted of slathering my body in Dessert by Jessica Simpson, then sniffing my arms for like two hours after the fact.
Next, it was time for the cocoa facial. The facialist, or as I like to think of her, my own personal Willy Wonka, cleansed my skin with two of those fancy facial sponges, then started brushing my face with a chocolate mask. I can now say with full confidence that I know what a cake must feel like when it is being frosted... and I really, really like it.
I laid there for 20 minutes while some sort of "sound bath" sounds played around me (I'm still not totally sure what that part was for, tbh) and let the choco-mask soak into my skin. I was very, very proud of myself that I exercised enough self-control not to lick it off, but I can't say I wasn't seriously tempted.
I know the science doesn't really back me up on this, but my post-treatment skin felt amazing. Blame it on the antioxidants, or maybe on the fact that I was high on chocolate fumes after breathing them in for two hours, but I was absolutely glowing for hours after the fact. My arms and legs felt seriously smooth from the scrub, and even four days later, I still feel like my face looks more rejuvenated than I did before I was professionally candy-coated.
If you're looking to add some chocolatey goodness into your own skin care routine but can't find a spa that offers a similar chocolate facial, here are three all natural products that will help give you the same delicious-smelling glow at home.
1. Pure Skin Food
Slather this all over your arms and legs for some seriously soft post-shower skin, but beware: You will be tempted to eat it.
Thankfully, this product is basically made for licking off. Lush's all natural lip scrub is made with cocoa and tangerine flavors, which sounds more like something you'd find in a fancy candy store than in a beauty aisle.
3. Perricone MD
Perricone MD Cocoa Moisture Mask, $69, Sephora.com
If you have ever dreamed of massaging your face with a chocolate bar (is that just me?), this is the product for you. It moisturizes and firms your skin in a matter of five to 10 minutes, and really is the grown-up version of the Jessica Simpson stuff you definitely had in middle school.
For more makeup and skin care goodies that'll satisfy your sweet tooth, check out this roundup of chocolate beauty products. It'll definitely leave you craving a Hershey's Kiss.