Chocolate causes acne. Fact or fiction?

We’ve all heard it before - the age-old myth that chocolate can cause a dreaded acne breakout. With Easter coming up, the annual holiday synonymous with enjoying a few chocolate treats, we wanted to explore this in a bit more detail.

Surely there’s some truth to this rumour and chocolate is not a friend to skin? Well, don’t skip to that conclusion too soon, because the answer might surprise you. 

Chocolate: not the bad guy?

Skincare specialists and dermatologists claim acne is not caused or made worse by any specific food. In fact, chocolate – dark chocolate, more specifically - might even be good for our health. 

The high cocoa content of dark chocolate contains high amounts (higher than milk chocolate and white chocolate) of two flavonoids, catechin and procyanidin, which are chemicals that act as antioxidants within the body.  Flavonoids also help hydrate the skin.

Additionally, raw cacao, now found in many health food shops as a drink, powder or ‘nibs’, is packed with vitamins A, C, E and zinc which are all highly beneficial for your skin.

Plus, if we look back to the causes of acne, a key one is fluctuating hormones. Hormonal changes in the body can increase how much sebum (a natural oil) is produced, and when excess oil is combined with dead skin cells, pores can become blocked, causing acne. This oil production is not chocolate-related.

But don’t get too excited and rush for that huge chocolate Easter egg just yet.

It’s about the whole picture

There is strong evidence that your overall diet can play a part in the development of acne. This evidence doesn’t point to specific food products like chocolate per se, but more generally to high carbohydrate, high sugar and high fat diets. 

Dermatologists believe spikes in blood sugar levels can increase sebum production and promote inflammation, which can lead to skin conditions like acne. A junk food binge may also displace other important nutrients that are critical to the skin’s health.  That means filling up on high carb, high sugar, high fat foods in place of fruit and veges is definitely not ideal. It’s about finding a balanced diet that works for you.

Your best bet for healthy skin and overall wellbeing is to consume a healthy, balanced and nutritious diet full of fruits and vegetables, fibre and lean protein.  We strongly recommend you also stick with your three-step Epiology skincare routine to prevent acne-causing bacteria and keep your skin clear and hydrated.

And if you have a chocolate craving and need to get your fix this Easter, stick to dark chocolate which contains less dairy, sugars and other additives than its milk and white counterparts.


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