The Real Deal on Chocolate and Breakouts

The Real Deal on Chocolate and Breakouts

We’ve all heard it before—chocolate causes pimples. But as we were reaching for yet another handful of M&Ms, we needed to know the truth. We asked, and our Chief Dermatologist, Dr. Schaffran, answered.

The good news?

The short answer is probably not. Although the science is far from settled, most
well-done studies on this issue do NOT point to a link between chocolate itself and acne.
 

The bad news?

“The connection is much more likely between sugar and acne,” Dr. Schaffran says. “Studies have shown that acne is less common in populations that don't eat a typically Western diet (high in processed foods, sugars, carbohydrates and foods with a high glycemic index).” So that handful of chocolate might not be the best idea for your skin.

 

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But there’s another possibility: it might not be either the sugar or the chocolate that leads to breakouts, but the reason that you’re craving chocolate in the first place. In short, stress might be the cuprite. “Stress is linked to worsening acne breakouts,” Dr. Schaffran points out. “Many people find themselves eating more chocolate (and other junk food) during times of stress so it’s also highly probable that the connection we think is between the chocolate and the acne is more likely related to the stress and acne.”
 
So what does Dr. Schaffran suggest? Dark chocolate, with its lower levels of added sugar, and generally a diet that steers away from highly processed foods. Take a deep breath and a mindful moment while you’re eating that chocolate, and you’ve got some extra insurance that your chocolate indulgence won’t lead to a new breakout on your face.
 
That’s a prescription we’ll take any day!

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Dermatologist Q+A: Does what I eat affect my skin?