Does chocolate cause acne?

By March 26, 2021No Comments

It’s almost Easter and for many of us that means Easter eggs, and lots of them. Some people swear that chocolate causes them to erupt in pimples while others consider it an urban myth. So what is the answer? Does chocolate cause acne? The answer, confusingly, is ‘sometimes, for some people’.

A 2016 study featured in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology compared the number of acne lesions on participants that consumed a controlled amount of either chocolate or jelly beans, each with the same glycemic load. There was no increase in pimples for the jelly bean group whilst the chocolate group experienced a significant doubling of their acne suggesting it’s not actually the sugar content, but perhaps something within the cacao.

It’s been suggested by the American Academy of Dermatology that the cow’s milk content of chocolate (and cow’s milk consumption in general) could be exacerbating acne for some people due to an inflammatory response, though interestingly there was not an association with yoghurt and cheese. Curiouser and curiouser!

NIAMS conclude from these and more studies that have contradictory conclusions that chocolate does not cause acne in “most people”. It would appear, at this stage, if you are prone to acne, then chocolate will exacerbate it, and if you’re not, you’re unlikely to find a difference in your skin after eating it.

So, if you have noticed an increase in acne after eating chocolate, it’s not all in your head! Eat mindfully and have a great Easter.

Struggling with acne?

1. The impact of chocolate consumption on acne vulgaris in college students: A randomized crossover study https://www.jaad.org/article/S0190-9622(16)01395-5/pdf
2. American Academy of Dermatology – Can The Right Diet Get Rid Of Acne? https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/acne/causes/diet
3. National Institute of Arthrisis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases – What is Acne? https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/acne#tab-causes

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