If you've been to a spa or beauty counter recently, you may have noticed cocoa being used in moisturizing products. This addition adds a sensory experience, if nothing else, but it may also be beneficial for your skin.
Cocoa is the bean from which chocolate is derived. While chocolate is a popular product in our society and is by no means a rarity, it still has an association with extravagance. It brings to mind indulgences such as truffles and bon-bons. Recently, however, scientists are noticing the more practical, beneficial side to chocolate: the antioxidants it contains.
Studies have shown that cocoa has a higher antioxidant capacity than both tea and red wine [source: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry]. Of course, the health benefits of cocoa have mostly been studied in subjects who consume cocoa -- either in food or beverage. By and large, the benefits of cocoa when applied topically are largely unproven. The exception is cocoa butter, the vegetable fat from the cocoa bean. The moisturizing properties of cocoa butter have been known for years, and it's frequently used to treat everything from stretch marks to dry elbows.