Today I am the bearer of grave news. It has finally come, the day we've all been dreading. A new study recently published in the International Journal of Dermatology shows a direct link between chocolate consumption and acne exacerbation (*quenches silent scream*).
We have long known that a high-glycemic diet, and dairy products increase acne severity and breakouts, but we have left the cocoa bean without blame. This new study has us reevaluating that. Unfortunately.
The study investigated how eating 25g of 99% chocolate a day would influence breakouts in acne prone males. Already 2 weeks into the study there were a significant increase in inflammatory papules (pimples) and comedones (white / black heads).
There is another, smaller study from 2014 that shows much the same results, but this investigated what happens to people with a history of acne after binge-eating chocolate.
Problems with both studies are a small number of test persons, males only, and only males prone to acne. I would like to see a study looking at effects of chocolate consumption in people with no history of exaggerated acne breakouts.
I often tell my acne prone patients to stay away from coffee under my acne program, as Coffee has been linked to worsening of acne in some individuals, and I did read somewhere that because cocoa bean and the coffee bean are biologically similar, they might have some of the same effects on body and skin.
So what does this mean?? Do we have to stop eating chocolate? NO. Chocolate IS still good for you, it contains loads of antioxidants and may help ward of diseases when eaten in it's purest form. If you, however, are an acne sufferer, I would advice caution, and if you're trying to rid yourself of pimples all together it seems omitting chocolate form your diet completely, might be a good idea, at least for the course of the treatment plan.