Chocolate isn't just delicious, it's also very good for your skin.
Theobroma cacao (or “food of the gods” – we couldn’t agree more!) is a plant native to the Amazon, which has been in existence for thousands of years.
There are ever more studies that point to the benefits of chocolate, including one published in the International Journal of Pharmaceutics which indicates that topical omega-3s can reduce UV sensitivity (signs of photoaging) in skin cells (1). Research suggests that there’s a possibility that skin care products rich in omega-3 or omega-6 fatty acids may actually improve the skin’s appearance (2).
Cacao is the ingredient per excellence in all chocolate products, and a very complex foodstuff nutritionally rich in minerals, antioxidants and vasoactive compounds.
Hippocrates, the famous Greek physician who’s considered the father of medicine, said:
The idea that chocolate can serve quite literally as “medicine” has already been taken up in scientific literature (3).
Cocoa butter, the natural oil derived from cacao beans, contains omega-3 fatty acids which provide the skin with a healthy dose of soothing rejuvenation, as well as antioxidant effects (2). And there’s a great deal of evidence pointing to the health benefits of regularly eating dark chocolate.
It’s nothing more than a myth that chocolate causes acne. However, while it doesn’t cause acne, chocolate is still full of high-calorie, high-fat ingredients. These days, there’s more attention being paid to the link between diet and developing acne.
Acne is a complex skin problem and breakouts can come and go for no real reason. But there’s strong evidence which connects acne with a Western diet, rich in calories, fats, and refined carbohydrates. Fast food – like hamburgers, fried chicken, hot dogs, french fries, and soft drinks – can increase the risk of acne. The high sugar and fat content can boost sebum production, a determining factor in the development of acne.
Food is far from the most likely culprit when it comes to acne. The real causes of acne are the accumulation of dead skin cells inside your pores and the skin’s overproduction of oil (sebum), combined with excess bacteria.
Hormones also play an important role in acne breakouts. That's why acne is so common during puberty and at that time of the month for people who menstruate, meaning your chocolate consumption ends up coinciding with your breakout! Predisposition to acne is also hereditary. So, if your parents had acne, you'll probably have it too.
¨3¨. Franco OH. Bonneux L. de Laet C. Peeters A. Steyerberg EW. Mackenbach JP. The Polymeal: a more natural, safer, and probably tastier (than the Polypill) strategy to reduce cardiovascular disease by more than 75% BMJ. 2004;329:1447–1450. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
It’s no secret that green tea is loaded with antioxidants, but did you know that they help keep your skin healthy from the inside out and also from the outside in?
Polyphenols, the antioxidants found in green tea, help reduce inflammation and protect cells from damage caused by free radicals, one of the main causes of premature aging of your skin and acne. This is one of the reasons green tea has reached the ranks of ‘super food’.
Antioxidants not only protect your skin against aging, but also block your skin’s androgen receptors, reducing and helping to control hormonal acne.
Having green tea as part of your daily routine helps protect your skin from UV rays. According to one study, drinking two cups of green tea a day helps “protect against sunburn inflammation and potentially longer-term UV-mediated damage.” But green tea doesn’t just keep skin healthy from the inside out. (By the way, don’t forget sunscreen!)
Green tea is also a powerful topical skin care ingredient. Just as drinking it fights free radicals and external damage from the inside, applying it directly to your skin is very beneficial, as it is rich in vitamins B2 and E, which keep your skin healthy and improve collagen production.
Applying green tea directly to your skin also helps to fight blemishes and keep your skin clean. What it does is prevent skin sebum, or natural oils, from oxidizing - a process that clogs pores and is the main cause of acne. Green tea also has specific antibacterial properties that help to gently keep the bacteria that cause acne in check.
At Per Purr, we use this super ingredient in our Greeny Soap. It contains green tea powder, which acts as a gently exfoliant, and has antioxidant, astringent and toning properties. It cleans without making your skin feel tight, due to its unique combination of extra virgin olive oil and mango butter.
Apart from our Greeny Soap, here are some tips on how to use tea in your beauty care routine:
Face spray: an infusion of green tea in mineral water at room temperature for a few hours is an excellent choice when it comes to cooling down your skin.
This infusion can replace thermal water. It is rich in antioxidants and illuminates your skin. You can even swap green tea for fresh rosemary - the sky’s the limit!
To reduce swelling around the eyes: there are days when tiredness and sleepless nights are stamped on our face. Soak two bags of green or chamomile tea in cold water for a few minutes. Then place one bag on each eye and rest for about 20 minutes. The cold infusion helps your eyes de-puff, while the green tea gives a “boost” of antioxidants in the eye area. If you have sensitive skin and eyes, use chamomile tea.
Face mask: Matcha tea (i.e., green tea) has been scientifically proven to help prevent loss of collagen and elastin production. Simply mix with a little water, make a paste and apply to clean skin. Leave on for 15 minutes and rinse using circular movements with your hands. This also ensures gentle exfoliation and improves the peripheral blood circulation of the face.
To increase hair shine: the pigments in black tea naturally emphasize the shine of dark hair just as a chamomile infusion slightly highlights light hair. After washing, conditioning and rinsing, finish off your hair routine with tea (black or chamomile) and wrap it in a warm towel for half an hour. Then, rinse again and let it dry as usual. If you have an oily scalp, green tea infusion helps to balance it.
Facial tonic: for a simple tonic, prepare an infusion (chamomile, calendula, green or white tea), let it cool in the refrigerator and apply it with a cotton pad on your face. You can even add a little honey (very little) to give the tonic a boost.
Body scrub: Make a cup of green tea and wait for it to cool. Add 1 part tea to 3 parts sugar (if it’s unrefined cane sugar, better!). You can add honey and lemon to the mixture, too. Use it after a bath on damp skin and rinse afterwards.
Facial Cleanser: Add some ground green tea (you can use a blender) to your daily cleanser. Leave it on your face for a couple of minutes to soften the dead cells, then slowly and gently rub into your skin and rinse off. Voilá! Your skin is clean, radiant and nourished with antioxidants!
Get ready for your personal summer spa!