Cocoa bioactive compounds: significance and potential for the maintenance of skin health

Nutrients. 2014 Aug 11;6(8):3202-13. doi: 10.3390/nu6083202.


Cocoa has a rich history in human use. Skin is prone to the development of several diseases, and the mechanisms in the pathogenesis of aged skin are still poorly understood. However, a growing body of evidence from clinical and bench research has begun to provide scientific validation for the use of cocoa-derived phytochemicals as an effective approach for skin protection. Although the specific molecular and cellular mechanisms of the beneficial actions of cocoa phytochemicals remain to be elucidated, this review will provide an overview of the current literature emphasizing potential cytoprotective pathways modulated by cocoa and its polyphenolic components. Moreover, we will summarize in vivo studies showing that bioactive compounds of cocoa may have a positive impact on skin health.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cacao / chemistry*
  • Flavonoids / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Phytochemicals / pharmacology*
  • Polyphenols / pharmacology
  • Skin / drug effects*
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Skin Aging / drug effects
  • Theobromine / pharmacology
  • Trace Elements / pharmacology


  • Flavonoids
  • Phytochemicals
  • Polyphenols
  • Trace Elements
  • Theobromine