Though many people associate chocolate with breakouts, this sweet indulgence can actually have big benefits for your skin, which is why it appears in so many skin-care products. Even better, some people get the same burst of euphoria from using chocolate body treatments as they do from eating chocolate, Alan Hirsch, neurological director of the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation of Chicago, said on Fox News.
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Chocolate has appeared as an ingredient in beauty and body products since the mid-1800s, when beauty manufacturers discovered the skin-softening benefits of cocoa butter, says Leah Porter, vice president of scientific affairs for Chocolate Manufacturers Association, on Fox News. It's only recently, however, that chocolate's benefits as a body treatment have started to undergo scientific investigation, thanks in part to scientists' discovery that consumption of chocolate can have health benefits for some people, explains Porter.
There are several types of chocolate body treatments. Body scrubs use cacao nibs or sugar in addition to cocoa to slough away dead skin cells and reveal young, glowing skin beneath. Chocolate body wraps and baths typically moisturize skin and boost circulation to improve its appearance. Other body treatments, such as pedicures, manicures, massage and brow waxes, take advantage of the serotonin-boosting effects of chocolate to make your treatment more enjoyable.
Chocolate treatments can affect your skin in a few different ways. It can help to boost your skin's moisture content and stimulate cell renewal, according to Howard Kohlenberg, owner of Manhattan's Le Petit Spa, on Fox News. Chocolate also contains caffeine, an ingredient that speeds up circulation to temporarily firm your skin when it's applied topically, explains Zaza Murariu, an aesthetician at Ajune spa in New York City, on Fox News. Because chocolate is an antioxidant, it can also help to protect your skin against wrinkle-causing skin damage.
To get the maximum benefits from your chocolate body treatment, opt for treatments that contain chocolate, cocoa or cocoa butter as the main ingredient, recommends Janice Cox, author of the book "Natural Beauty at Home," in "The Herb Companion" magazine. Cox says the darker the chocolate, the better its benefits for your skin, so choose treatments that use chocolate containing at least 35 percent cocoa.
You get the benefits of a spa chocolate body treatment at home with a chocolate milk bath, says Cox. Combine 2 cups of chocolate milk with 1 tbsp. of honey and 2 tbsp. of unscented liquid soap, and pour the resulting mixture under warm running water as you fill your bath.