More and more studies can prove that our intuition has been right- our craving and deep love for dark chocolate is perfectly justified. Amongst the many magical properties of cacao, it's well worth noting that according to research eating dark chocolate will help you protect your skin from sunburn.
A 2009 double-blind study¹ published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology found that those who consumed 20 grams (for reference, 2 pieces of Addictive Wellness Chocolate equal 24 grams!) of high flavanol chocolate every day for 12 weeks experienced an increase of more than 2x in their minimal erythema dose (MED) compared to those who didn't eat chocolate or those who ate low flavanol chocolate.
Simply put, MED is how long someone can stay in the sun without getting burned.
So this means that the group that ate high quality chocolate was able to stay in the sun without burning for twice as long as those who didn't eat chocolate or those who ate low flavanol (i.e. milk) chocolate. (we should make this sentence bigger in the middle in the article.)
This wasn't the only study that looked at chocolate’s ability to protect the skin from the sun. (double check this sentence please) An earlier 2006 study² had one group of women consumed a drink with high-flavanol cacao powder every day and another group consumed a similar drink with low-flavanol cacao powder. After 6 weeks and 12 weeks, both groups were exposed to enough UV light to burn (1.25x MED) and the high flavanol group's burns were 15% less intense than the low flavanol group after 6 weeks and 25% less intense after 12 weeks.
And that's not all! This same study also found that the high flavanol cacao led to increases in blood flow to cutaneous and subcutaneous tissues and increases in skin density and skin hydration. Not surprisingly, none of these effects were seen in the low flavanol group.
1. Williams S, Tamburic S, Lally C. Eating chocolate can significantly protect the skin from UV light. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2009;8(3):169-173. doi:10.1111/j.1473-2165.2009.00448.x
2. Heinrich U, Neukam K, Tronnier H, Sies H, Stahl W. Long-term ingestion of high flavanol cocoa provides photoprotection against UV-induced erythema and improves skin condition in women. J Nutr. 2006;136(6):1565-1569. doi:10.1093/jn/136.6.1565