Skin needs cocoa
The emollient, moisturizing and restructuring qualities of cocoa butter have been known for a long time. The use of “weak” cocoa seeds is less known. Due to its richness in biochemical elements, cocoa extract is used in a wide range of cosmetic activities: hydration, slimming, regeneration,fighting stress.
The strange cocoa tree
Originating from the tropical plains of America (Mexico, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela), the cocoa tree is currently cultivated mainly in Brazil and along the accidental African coasts (Ghana, Nigeria). It is a small tree, with large, oval and sharp leaves, whose trunk reaches a height of 10 meters under natural conditions. Due to the fact that it is highly exploited, cutting is done at a much shorter level.
Its crown consists of five branches that develop horizontally. The cocoa tree blooms all year round. A unusual thing, its flowers, small and pinkish-yellow, grow directly on the trunk or on the main branches and give rise to voluminous fruits and they hang directly on the trunk.
The fruits of the cocoa tree can reach 30 centimeters and weigh between 300 and 500 grams. They have a hard shell, yellow or red, with a verucous surface. The mucilaginous pulp inside contains 40-50 ovoid seeds: cocoa beans. Fresh ones don’t smell, and young ones have a sweet taste. After fermentation and drying, the seeds acquire the characteristic smell of chocolate.
Composition of cocoa seeds
Cocoa seeds contain lipids (cocoa butter): about 50%. Carbohydrates: starch 6-8%, pectins and a large amount of sucrose. Cocoa seeds also contain protides: 12%, especially free amino acids, minerals: 3-5%, calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium.
Cocoa seeds are also rich in vitamin A, phenolic compounds: 5-10%, terpenic compounds, theobromine ( 1-3% ), a molecule that gives chocolate a stimulating effect. It also contains phenylethylamine, a neuromodulatory molecule present in the brain (which explains the anti-stress and euphorizing effect of chocolate.
Chocolate and cosmetics
When we talk about chocolate we immediately think about the pleasure we feel by savoring the hot potion in a cup or tasting the delicious tablets and candy. Beyond its gastronomic qualities, however, cocoa has other properties that have piqued the interest of cosmetic specialists.
Indeed, cocoa beans have a very rich biochemical composition: over 800 molecules. A real source of energy that the cosmetic industry, concerned with the effectiveness of its products, tends to take advantage more and more. Cocoa is useful to humans, from the surface of the epidermis to the tip of the nails.
Cocoa-based face creams are Payot’s new cosmetics, called “revitalisants”. These cocoa-based preparations are intended to refresh stressed and tired skin. They produce a relaxing and stimulating effect, thanks to the magnesium and phenylethylamine contained in cocoa.
The specialists of this firm recommend the use of the products in the following order: “Chocolate serum” containing an energizing mixture consisting of cocoa, royal jelly and ginseng and then “Chocolate Cream” that tones the skin, being a true invigorating treatment due to its content of cocoa, vitamins, tea extract and royal jelly.
Alban Muller International in France has devoted himself to the manufacture of vegetable extracts for the cosmetic industry and the preparation of finished products from cocoa beans. It would seem that the skin can’t wait to take advantage of them, cocoa, being a medicine for the epidermis.
German researchers have experimented with the benefits of chocolate, giving a group of women half a cup of special cocoa enriched in flavonoids every day. After three months, women’s skin was more hydrated, smoother and less red with a tendency to descuamation when exposed to ultraviolet light. Researchers believe that flavonoids, which absorb UV light, help protect and increase blood flow to the skin, improving its appearance.