Chocolate is one of the most beloved and commonly consumed sweets in the world, but now it may even have a medicinal anti-aging benefit more powerful than any other food source. A former researcher from Cambridge University, Ivan Petyaev, invented a new type of dark chocolate in a UK-based laboratory that goes beyond the average touted heart-health benefits and ups the ante by promising younger, healthier skin unlike any other natural source.

Just one 7.5-gram piece of the seemingly magic chocolate packs in more antioxidants than 100 grams of regular dark chocolate and 300 grams of Alaskan salmon. During clinical trials, 50- to 60-year-old participants ate a piece a day of the 70 percent dark chocolate “Esthechoc” and watched it boost blood supply and reduce inflammation to the skin within four weeks — resulting in healthier skin. Sugar levels are low enough for it to be safe for diabetics, and each piece of edible goodness adds up to only 38 calories, making it a safe choice for moderate consumption.

"In terms of skin biomarkers, we found it had brought skin back to the levels of a 20- or 30-year-old," Petyaev, who invented the chocolate at Lycotec, told The Telegraph. "So we’ve improved the skin’s physiology. People using it claimed that their skin was better, and we can see that the product is working to slow down aging."

The newly invented skin-tightening chocolate treat will be revealed to food industry leaders at the Global Food Innovation Summit in London next month. Two patents for the recipe have been granted in the United States and European Union, and three additional patent applications are pending in 35 countries. It’s about to take over the industry, but it isn’t likely chocolate candy bars will be a threat to their profit margin. They’ll be competing with the skin care giants, providing a delicious option to a smoother, glowing complexion. “We’re targeting the beauty market, at beauty spas and salons,” Petyaev said.

Esthechoco Example Package
Example of Esthechoco packaging for consumers. Photo courtesy of Telegraph UK

The powerful chocolate concoction is a result of 10 years of independent research, measuring out cocoa polyphenols and free radicals, and testing through clinical trials until they got it just right. Polyphenols are special antioxidants, which lower the risk of cardiovascular, inflammatory, and metabolic diseases, and certain types of cancer, and are found in fruits, vegetables, teas, wine, cocoa, and other naturally occurring plants.

They infused the antioxidant, astaxanthin, which is what keeps goldfish gold and flamingos pink, according to Petyaev. Its unique approach to skincare will attract initial buyers with wrinkles and a sweet tooth, but only long-term results will be able to keep the product line afloat. Packages will be sent with a daily piece individually wrapped in a three-week supply, and the price tag is almost guaranteed to be higher than your average chocolatey treat. Dermatologists warn consumers to purchase with caution when approaching a beauty bar or find a product that seems too good to be true.

“There is a potentially sound scientific base to this although it is obviously early days,” Nutritionist Dr. George Grimble from the University College London, told The Telegraph. “There needs to be further clinical trials to show that it is safe, but astaxanthin has been shown to have antioxidant effects and low toxicity, so from that respect it seems promising. Using dark chocolate is quite clever. As a nutritionist, I am generally in favor of dark chocolate. So it’s got a good track record in terms of the science, but it is too early to say what the long-term benefits might be.”