They performed a 24-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to evaluate the effects of oral supplementation of cocoa flavanols on cutaneous photo-aging. All participants were moderately photo-aged Korean women with visible facial wrinkles (ages 43–86). Participants were randomly assigned to receive a placebo beverage or cocoa beverage that contained 320 mg total cocoa flavanols/day. They measured wrinkles, skin elasticity and hydration at baseline and at 12 and 24 weeks. The primary endpoint was the mean percentage change in the average roughness value (Rz) at 24 weeks.
The mean percentage change in Rz was significantly lower in the cocoa group than in the placebo group at 24 weeks (–8.7 percentage points; 95% CI: –16.1, –1.3 percentage points; P=0.023). The mean percentage changes in gross elasticity, as determined by a cutometer, also differed between the groups at 12 weeks (9.1 percentage points; 95% CI: 1.5, 16.7 percentage points; P=0.020) and 24 weeks (8.6 percentage points; 95% CI: 1.0, 16.2 percentage points; P=0.027). However, there were no significant differences in skin hydration and barrier integrity between the two groups.
Researchers concluded regular cocoa flavanol consumption among moderately photo-aged women had positive effects on facial wrinkles and elasticity. Cocoa flavanol supplementation may contribute to prevention of photo-aging progression.