Cocoa polyphenols and their influence on parameters involved in ex vivo skin restructuring

Int J Cosmet Sci. 2008 Oct;30(5):339-45. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2494.2008.00457.x.


Polyphenols in general are compounds that are known to promote health and have a preventive effect against various chronic diseases. The influence of cocoa polyphenols on skin, however, has scarcely been studied from a histological point of view. The aim of this study is to assess the influence of cocoa polyphenols on several indicators of skin elasticity and skin tonus, namely, glycosaminoglycans and collagen I, III and IV. This was carried out by using a model of ex vivo human skin explants maintained in survival, on which a cocoa polyphenol extract was applied. After processing by standard histological techniques (fixation, paraffin embedding, sectioning, staining, immunostaining and microscopical observation), the influence of cocoa polyphenols on the evaluated parameters was quantified by image analysis. The results obtained show that cocoa polyphenols exhibit a positive action on the parameters assessed, and the dose at which they improve the most parameters associated with skin tonus and elasticity was determined. Their activity was compared with a commercially available product, and the results obtained show that their efficacy is equivalent. Moreover, an enhancing effect of cocoa butter on activity of cocoa polyphenol was highlighted. Now that the properties of cocoa polyphenols on ex vivo skin restructuring parameters have been assessed, the next step could include their evaluation in vivo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cacao / chemistry*
  • Female
  • Flavonoids / analysis
  • Flavonoids / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Phenols / analysis
  • Phenols / pharmacology*
  • Polyphenols
  • Skin / drug effects*


  • Flavonoids
  • Phenols
  • Polyphenols