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Truth or myth: does chocolate and junk food cause acne?

As if having acne isn't enough of a pain, for many years those with acne have been told to avoid chocolate and fatty foods. Reports circulate in acne forums that document the link between spots and sweet treats, forcing many to add their favourite food indulgences to the list of things to avoid, but does eating burgers really cause blemishes? Read on for the facts on acne and diet.

Is there a link between acne and diet?

If you have a healthy and balanced diet, your skin will not be negatively affected, however if you stick to certain fatty foods, this may take its toll on your skin. It is true that eating certain foods can be good for our skin, whilst others can be bad for it. Take fruit for example, some fruits are packed full of vitamin C and antioxidants, this helps our skin by boosting collagen production and promoting the turnover of healthy skin cells.

 So are fatty foods and chocolate to blame for my spots?

If you notice your skin getting worse after eating chocolate and fatty foods, or new spots forming, it isn’t necessarily a sign to stop eating chocolate or certain foods, but it could be a warning sign to reduce your intake of sugar and saturated fats. The chocolate that many of us eat today is high in sugar and low in cocoa, which makes very little sense as cocoa is where all the goodness is! Similarly, if we eat food such as burgers, cheese, and cream, they are all high in saturated fats. This is where the real problem lies; saturated fats can make inflammation worse, they can also make sebum thicker and less fluid, and therefore more likely to clog pores and form new spots.

Should I cut chocolate and fatty foods out of my diet then?

Rather than chocolate and burgers being the culprit, the key is to focus on cutting down on saturated fats and sugar. Opt for leaner meats when cooking, grill meats, and choose chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa, dark chocolate is best.



So is it a myth that chocolate and fatty foods are making my skin worse?

The statement is both true and false; it depends specifically on your skin and spots.

As Dr Pascale Mathelier-Fusade says, ‘it’s a matter of common sense; if a patient notices that after eating two or three chocolates they have pimples the next day, common sense tells them that they should limit the amount of chocolate they are eating.’

Acne is probably multi-factorial and can be caused or made worse by genetics, stress, hormones, and age. As Dr Daisy Bennett asserts, ‘so many factors could be affecting your acne,’ it makes sense to find out what works for your skin specifically. Chocolate may have no effect on your spots, which is great, but if it does, it’s just a matter of tweaking your diet accordingly to find out what best suits your skin.


This article is intended as general information only.  You should seek advice from a professional before altering your diet, changing your exercise regime or starting any new course of conduct.



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