Scientists at Laval University’s Institute of Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods in Quebec are studying whether eating dark chocolate helps protect against sunburn.
The researchers will monitor the effects of chocolate consumption on fair-skinned female volunteers between the ages of 25 and 65, each of whom will eat three squares of chocolate per day for 12 weeks. Participants will then be exposed to ultraviolet light in a lab, and their skin will be checked for sun damage. A control group will be given a placebo.
Scientists were encouraged to pursue the research by a study published in 2010 in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology that showed that chocolate high in the antioxidant flavanol reached the upper layers of the skin and counteracted the free radicals generated from exposure to UV radiation, effectively acting as a secondary form of sunscreen.