Sweet Valentine's Day News: The Dark Chocolate Wrinkle Rx Revealed

Nothing says "I Love You" like a heart-shaped box of chocolates on Valentine's Day. Now, new research shows that gifting a loved one chocolate — particularly dark chocolate that contains at least 70 percent cocoa — may actually have other benefits as well. Dark chocolate may help put the brakes on wrinkles and some of the other visible signs of aging, along with its positive effects on health in general.

"It is not better than Botox or Juvederm, but dark chocolate is rich in flavanols, which are powerful antioxidants," says Consumer Guide to Plastic Surgery advisor Scott R. Miller, a board certified plastic surgeon in La Jolla, CA.

According to Dr. Miller, these flavanoids, known as epicatechins and catechins, help protect your skin from the sun's damaging ultraviolet rays. They may also improve blood flow to the proteins and other structures that support the skin.

"This doesn't mean you can eat the whole box of chocolates on Valentine's Day," he says.

"Chocolate is still high in calories and sugar."

Dr. Miller's dark chocolate Rx? An ounce a day. "In Valentine's Day terms, this equals about two or three chocolates in a medium-sized heart," he explains.

You get an even better bang for your antioxidant buck if you opt for cherries dipped in dark chocolate. Cherries contain isoqueritin and queritrin, two flavanoids that may help reduce some of the signs of aging. Cherries are also a good source of melanin, which helps improve your sleep quality. A good night's sleep is the best remedy for puffy raccoon eyes.

Dark chocolate and cherries can make great Valentine's Day gifts, but if you are really concerned about the effects of aging on your skin, talk to a board certified plastic surgeon about what else you can do to improve your appearance.

Enjoy, and Happy Valentine's Day from the editors of the Consumer Guide to Plastic Surgery!