Cocoa polyphenols prevent skin aging

Skin aging is a complex process that includes internal and exogenous causes. Intrinsic aging of the skin is inevitable, but exogenous aging is caused by exposure to harmful environmental influences and can be, at least partially, prevented.

Photo-oxidative damage to the skin caused by ultraviolet radiation (UVI) is a major cause of skin aging, a phenomenon known as photoaging. UVI activates inflammatory processes, accelerates physiological aging and leads to typical skin/epidermal degeneration. It is also well established that skin exposure to UV radiation contributes to the development of skin cancer.

Plant polyphenols have anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, antioxidant properties and reparative effects, and can be used to prevent various skin disorders caused by excessive exposure to UV rays.

To study the anti-photocarcinogenic effects of plant polyphenols, a number of experiments were conducted on animals and humans, as a result of which evidence was obtained that polyphenols cocoa, especially those belonging to the flavonoid family, represent a natural, natural and very effective photoprotection. Histological and analytical studies showed that the local application of cocoa extracts (theobromine) significantly prevented the formation of wrinkles, contributed to the improvement of connective tissues and the accumulation of collagen.

One of the experiments was conducted under natural conditions and proved the strong anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, photoprotective and chemopreventive effect of cocoa after its consumption. In a double-blind clinical trial, two groups of women with healthy and normal skin took part in water-dissolved cocoa powder with high and low flavanol content for 12 weeks. Already an hour after taking cocoa, skin blood flow increased almost twice, and in the 12th week of research, skin oxygen saturation increased by 100%. Similar results were shown by a study of a group of people who regularly consume 20 g per day of dark, high-quality chocolate.

Data provided by research have clearly demonstrated the ability of cocoa products to modulate critical biochemical responses through oral and topical formulations, which makes cocoa a promising candidate for further dermatological applications for therapeutic and preventive purposes and in cosmetology. In addition, the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of polyphenols in the fruits of the cocoa tree may form the basis of the possible anti-tumor effect of cocoa on the human body, which is quite relevant, given the tendency to increase the number of cancer diseases in the world.

The article is based on the works of the following authors: Scapagnini, G.; Davinelli, S. and Gonzalez, S. wrote the paper. Micali, G. and Gonzalez, S. contributed to dermatological aspects. De Lorenzo, A.; Renzo, L.; Olarte, H. and Cicero, A. contributed to nutritional aspects. Scapagnini, G.; Davinelli, S. and Olarte, H. contributed to molecular biology aspects. Micali, G.; De Lorenzo, A.; Renzo, L. and Cicero, A. contributed to the conclusions and reading the manuscript.

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