There are many myths about acne and chocolate. Many of us have the notion that eating chocolate causes acne. Many a time, dermatologists get parents who come in with their teenagers insisting that chocolate causes acne and looking to the dermatologists for reinforcement of this myth.
In reality, no studies have been able to show that chocolate causes acne. In a study looking at the possible effects of chocolate, particularly on acne, it was shown that chocolate had no effect on most acne patients. In a few, it made the acne worse, and in a few others, it made their acne better.
The good news is that some nutritionists consider high-quality dark chocolate that has 70 percent or more cocoa content is the best kind to help in the battle against acne, because of the anti-inflammatory properties of the flavonoids and antioxidants it contains. These helps combat cell damage, which occurs in acne. In fact, chocolate has also been identified as a wrinkle-fighting food and skin protector.
Studies have also found that the flavonoids in cocoa drinks improve blood flow to skin cells, improve the hydration and texture of the skin, and prevent free radical damage to the fatty components of skin cells. All of that translates to healthier, less acne-prone skin.
Chocolate also appears to improve the way the body responds to blood sugar. The American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition reported in 2005 that chocolate may help regulate sebum (oil) production, which is affected by blood sugar, thus helping to fight acne.
It is milk chocolate you need to avoid, as this is cocoa combined with sugar, milk powder and sometimes condensed milk. Most conventional chocolate bars are high in refined sugar and saturated and trans fats. Sugar increases testosterone production and produces an insulin response, which in turn creates inflammation and the insulin growth factor IGF-1. IGF-1 is believed to be one of the causes of acne in both men and women.
A diet high in saturated fat from dairy products and meat, as well as refined sugar is guaranteed to affect your hormone production, which in turns increase the production of sebum which ultimately is likely to cause acne. For general health benefits, a well-balanced diet rich in dietary fiber and low in fats, salt and refined sugar is recommended.
Caffeine, which is also present in chocolate, increases the levels of stress hormones in the body, and it is thought to stimulate sebum production. Therefore, depending on the individual, caffeine may be acne-inducing or acne-causing. The possibility that caffeine causes acne in some people may therefore compromise or diminish the potential acne-fighting benefits that chocolate offers. Therefore, to be able to enjoy chocolate without causing acne outbreaks, moderation is key.