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Is There a Link between Chocolate and Acne?

Nicole Madison
Updated Jan 27, 2024
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Often, people blame food — especially such foods as chocolate — for the development of acne. In truth, however, chocolate and other foods are not responsible for acne breakouts. Instead, an individual usually develops acne because of bacteria and excess oil production in his skin — dead skin cells can contribute to the problem as well. There is no real connection between chocolate and acne, though the treat may play a role in other issues. For example, a person may have more reason to worry about cavities and weight gain when he consumes a lot of chocolate.

Chocolate is one of the most common foods that gets blamed for causing acne. The reason for this bad reputation may be the fact that it is a treat rather than a necessary food. As such, people might conclude that it is the source of the problem in the person who is struggling with acne. They may also imagine that the sugar in the chocolate is at fault. This is a misconception, however, as scientific studies show that chocolate and acne aren't related.

The true causes of acne usually include excess oil production in the skin, bacteria growth, and dead skin cells. Often, people think foods such as chocolate cause oily skin, but this is not the case. Instead, an individual's oily skin is more likely to prove hereditary. Likewise, some people are more prone to oily skin and acne for hormonal reasons. As such, a person may get oily skin from his parents or during a hormone surge, but he is not at risk of it because he eats chocolate.

In many cases, discussions of chocolate and acne are centered around teenagers. Often, teenagers fail to eat as healthily as their loved ones would like. Then, when their loved ones see them eating such things as chocolate bars and potato chips, they often assume that overloading on junk food is the cause of the acne.

Though there is no connection between the consumption of chocolate and acne, there are some very good reasons why a person may do well to consume it in moderation rather than to excess. First, chocolate candy usually contains a good deal of sugar, and some contains a lot of fat as well. In general, too much sugar and fat is bad for a person's overall heath. Likewise, if a person eats a lot of chocolate and similar treats, he may not make as much of an effort to eat enough fruits and vegetables that help promote healthy skin.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WiseGeek writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.
Discussion Comments
By Cageybird — On Jul 31, 2014

@Phaedrus- I grew up with that acne and chocolate myth, too. I guess I was fortunate, because I never had the severe kind of acne. I saw a lot of other students with the pimples and the pockmarks, though. They suffered a lot of teasing, I remember. We called one guy "Pizza Face" because he had the cystic kind of acne.

My health teacher talked about all the myths about acne, especially the idea that chocolate causes acne. She urged us to wash our faces with soap every day, and she recommended a few creams to try, but she never told us to quit eating chocolate or other candy. She said there was no real connection between chocolate and pimples.

By Phaedrus — On Jul 30, 2014

I had a bad case of acne as a teenager, and my parents heard a lot of myths about acne and chocolate. I wasn't supposed to eat any chocolate in the house, but I still bought those fundraiser candy bars at school and I'd stop at a local convenience store on the way home. I was actually more concerned about eating greasy foods like potato chips and french fries than chocolate.

I remember the only thing that helped clear my skin was time. Eventually my skin become less sensitive to all that oil, and my pimples went away. I ate a lot of chocolate in my 20s and my skin never broke out.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WiseGeek writer, where she focuses on topics like...
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