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Does Chocolate Really Cause Acne?

Does Chocolate Really Cause Acne?

You eye that delicious chocolate bar and you want to indulge, but you’re worried that it may cause acne. The connection between acne and chocolate is complicated — there’s good news and bad.

To help you better understand the link, the team here at Z-Roc Dermatology, headed up by Drs. Matthew Zarraga and Khongruk Wongkittiroch, is taking a deeper dive into the acne-chocolate connection here.

First things first — chocolate doesn’t cause acne

Let’s get right to the heart of the matter by saying that chocolate hasn’t been found to outright cause acne. This skin condition, which affects around 50 million people in the United States each year, occurs when oil-producing pores in your skin become clogged by dead skin cells, dirt, and debris.

Where it gets complicated is that some people are more prone to this skin condition because of certain factors that influence oil production in your skin, such as genetics, hormones, and certain medications.

There have been many studies to determine whether diet or hygiene play roles in whether you have acne, but results are mixed and largely inconclusive.

Chocolate may influence your acne

While there’s no evidence showing that chocolate can directly cause acne, there is evidence that chocolate may worsen an acne outbreak due to glycemic loading.

Many chocolate products contain high levels of corn syrup, sugar, and dairy, all of which can cause your levels of blood sugar and insulin to rise. One result of this glycemic load is the release of cytokines, which create inflammation in your body. This inflammatory response may worsen an acne breakout or lead to a breakout in people who are already prone to acne.

One interesting study, which had half of participants eat jelly beans and the other half milk chocolate, found that those who ate chocolate had a statistically significant increase in acne lesions.

The type of chocolate matters

One of the major takeaways we want to deliver here is that the type of chocolate you eat matters quite a lot. Milk chocolate bars are full of potentially problematic ingredients, such as the corn syrup, sugar, and dairy we mentioned above.

On the contrary, chocolate products that are heavier on the cacao ingredient and less so on fillers, contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents that may support better skin health.

What we’re suggesting is that, if you love to indulge in chocolate, we recommend that you stick to dark chocolate products that don’t rely on sugar, dairy, and corn syrup for flavor. Instead, turn to products that contain 80-90% (or higher) cacao, which is really at the heart of good chocolate.

Whether related to your diet or not, if you’re struggling with acne, the good news is that we offer incredibly effective treatments that can clear your skin. To learn more, contact our office in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to set up an appointment.

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