Eat a candy bar, suffer a breakout. While many of us may have experienced that cycle in high school, we are left wondering as adults if chocolate can cause acne. For years, chocolate has been cast as a villain that brings about breakouts and bad skin. However, the jury is still out on whether or not that is the case.
While there are several studies that link chocolate to acne, some dermatologists argue that chocolate itself will not cause breakouts. If you love this sweet treat, you may be hesitant to risk your smooth skin. Keep reading to learn more about the connection between chocolate and acne.
Why do people believe that chocolate can cause acne?
There have been many studies conducted to determine if a link between chocolate and acne exists, and some of these studies have produced unfavorable results for the dessert. One study in 2013 examined the effects of chocolate on cells and found that chocolate may increase acne breakouts. The chocolate seemed to make the immune system react aggressively to acne-causing bacteria.
In 2015, a study was conducted with acne-prone males. They were given 25 grams of 99% dark chocolate for one month. At the end of the month, it was determined that dark chocolate had exacerbated acne in the subjects. In 2017, a study was conducted with college students who consumed different candies. After 48 hours, the students who ate chocolate had a higher increase in acne lesions than the students who ate other candies.
While these studies seem to point to a link between chocolate and acne, there have been a considerable number of studies that show opposite results. Some dermatologists point to other issues that may be causing acne and breakouts instead of chocolate alone.
Chocolate may not cause acne.
Because the results are fairly inconclusive, the jury is still out on whether or not chocolate actually causes or worsens acne. However, it has been shown that a diet that is high in sugar and fat will lead to breakouts. This type of diet promotes an inflammatory response in the body, including acne.
Certain ingredients in chocolate may trigger hormonal changes, which can cause inflammation. For people with acne-prone skin, these changes can lead to more breakouts. The dairy and sugar content of milk chocolate and white chocolate are two examples of substances that can trigger these hormonal responses.
Dark chocolate, on the other hand, may actually be good for our skin. This type of chocolate contains flavonoids that work as antioxidants. These antioxidants can help the body protect itself against free radicals.
The link between chocolate and acne may be coincidence.
There are certain times when we are more likely to reach for chocolate. Women who are in their premenstrual cycle (PMS) may reach for sweets more often than normal. This time also lines up with a drop in estrogen levels, triggering hormones and increasing oil production. In these cases, reaching for a chocolate bar just happens to line up with when your body is more likely to break out.
Also, diets that are very high in calories and fat do not include balanced eating. Maintaining a balanced diet is key to the health of our skin, so those who overindulge in chocolate may find themselves with more breakouts. In this case, it is not the chocolate that is causing breakouts, but their overall diet.
It seems that when eaten in moderation, there is no reason to assume that chocolate will cause acne. An increase in breakouts may be due to the sugar, fat, and calories found in chocolate when eaten in large quantities. Also, the link may be purely coincidental.
How much chocolate can you eat?
Moderation is key to enjoying chocolate without suffering from breakouts or worsened acne. If you stick to small portions of chocolate, you can eat the sweet treat without damaging your health and skin. But just how much chocolate can you eat?
Dark chocolate is typically viewed as good for our health when consumed in the correct quantities. A daily portion of dark chocolate is about 1 to 2 ounces. For example, a bar of Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate is 1.45-ounces and contains 190 calories. Be sure to factor in the rest of your daily caloric and fat intake when determining how much chocolate you can have for the day.
Other types of chocolate, like milk chocolate and white chocolate, do not have the same health benefits as dark chocolate. When eating these types of chocolate, it is best to keep your intake to a minimum. The dairy and sugar content can affect your health, in more ways than just acne.
Are there other foods that cause acne?
Instead of blaming specific foods for acne or breakouts, it is important to look at the type of food that can trigger acne. In many cases, dairy products can cause more severe acne to develop. Also, foods with a lot of carbohydrates can cause similar problems.
It is also important to note that these foods, including chocolate, do not actually cause acne. A person with clear, acne-free skin will not develop acne by eating these foods. Instead, these types of foods will make acne problems worse for people who are prone to breakouts.
If you eat some chocolate and then find a new breakout the next day, the chocolate is probably not to blame. Chances are, you would have gotten that breakout whether you ate chocolate or not. Acne and breakouts can be complex issues for the skin caused by a wide range of triggers. While there are some studies linking chocolate to acne, the connection may be purely coincidental or exacerbated by other factors.
Can Chocolate Cause Acne?