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Studies of the health benefits of chocolate have always stressed the anti-inflammatory and cardiovascular effects of eating it, but none have promoted simply applying it to your skin. But now the topical goodness of chocolate is being touted in a big way and chocolate lovers can enjoy their fix in innovative ways via facials, massages and even body wraps.
Chocolate Spa and Skin Care Studies of the health benefits of chocolate have always stressed the anti-inflammatory and cardiovascular effects of eating it, but none have promoted simply applying it to your skin. But now the topical goodness of chocolate is being touted in a big way and chocolate lovers can enjoy their fix in innovative ways via facials, massages and even body wraps. Why all the fuss about chocolate? There is a serious body of science behind this brouhaha that indicates cocoa has special properties in it that can do wonders for your skin. Antioxidant King First up is the fact that cocoa beans, from which chocolate is made, has a mega does of antioxidant compounds that neutralise free radicals and prevent them from damaging cells. The Department of Food Science and Technology of Seoul National University conducted a study that indicates cocoa trumps favourites like green tea, black teas and even red wine in the level of antioxidants it offers. Mineral High Cocoa contains iron, copper, zinc and manganese for the promotion of cell growth, the repair of tissue and the absorption of nutrients. On top of all that, it is a rich source of sulphur, also known as the beauty mineral necessary for great looking skin. Firm Facts Chocolate's high caffeine content stimulates circulation. Chocolate's high caffeine content stimulates circulation. Cocoa is high in flavanol which boost blood circulation by improving the function of blood vessels. This will minimise skin hydration. Fat Issue Chocolate also contains fats such as cocoa butter. Both of these are natural glycerines that act as moisturising lipids and fats to plump up and firm the skin. These ingredients are also routinely used as topical moisturisers and as anti-inflammatory agents to soothe and soften skin. Smell Matters The aroma of pure chocolate too is said to work wonders on our mood and lift the spirits, according to the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation of Chicago. Cocoa's heady scent is proven to release chemicals in the brain that produce a euphoric sensation similar to that of falling in love, which can leave the skin with a beautiful glow. Working With Chocolate Now that the facts are out, the beauty industry has lost no time in incorporating these superlative cocoa beans into its beauty kit. The most popular topical application of chocolate is as a facial. There are multifarious facials on odder in the market, but the one we'd put our money on is so simple, it can even be made at home. Chocolate Face Mask Recipe 1/3 cup of cocoa 1/4 cup of honey 2 tablespoons of cream and 3 teaspoons of oatmeal powder Mixed all the ingredients until the mass is consistent Apply on the face via a gentle massage until it forms a generous, consistent layer. Leave it on for 15 minutes and then rinse off with warm water. And presto, it's guaranteed to present clean, moisturised and radiant skin. Know why? The oatmeal acts as a gentle exfoliant, while the cream is a proxy for moisturiser and the honey helps retain that moisture. And the cocoa, chock-full of antioxidants is the key ingredient that repairs, nourishes and tones your skin to imbibe it with a natural glow. Knead 'N' Wrap There's also the chocolate massage that is en vogue. Because chocolate melts at a temperature slightly below that of body temperature (which is partly why it creates that divine texture in your mouth), it is an ideal liquid to use on the body as it spreads easily. Besides the therapeutic effects of its aroma, chocolate unleashes a combo of benefits on the skin that helps improve circulation and appearance. As a wrap, chocolate is said to induce natural slimming through the presence of Theobromine, a similar compound to caffeine, reportedly effective in burning fat and diminishing cellulite. Buyer Beware But there's an important clause to remember when using chocolate as a beauty aid: the higher the grade of cocoa the better. Which means the darker the chocolate the more bang for your buck you'll get: more antioxidants and the bag full of other benefits cocoa offers. So stick as close as possible to the real deal - natural, pure cocoa - to spiff up your looks and your mood - without worrying about those dreaded calories that head straight for the hips!
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