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Chocolate is a delicious indulgence for all ages. Growing up, you may have been told to curb your chocolate intake, “or else you will get acne.” From as early as the 1960s, studies have been conducted to determine whether chocolate really does have any effects on acne. In 2011, a University of Miami student reopened the infamous question with a new study, stating potential pitfalls of the previous studies. What were those pitfalls, and what did the new study find?
One of those studies, which was sponsored by the Chocolate Manufacturers’ Association of the United States of America, found that chocolate has no adverse effects on acne. One glaring issue with this study is its sponsorship by a corporation whose success is likely dependent on chocolate consumption. In addition, the 65 participants in this study were only examined once a week, meaning that acne flare-ups may have been missed at other points in the week. Another study split 27 college students into groups and were asked to consume large quantities of fizzy beverages, chocolate, roasted peanuts, or milk daily for a week. While this study showed no new cases of acne, it only followed participants for a week and there was no control group. An issue common to both of these studies is the failure to use 100% cocoa, instead providing participants with chocolate bars that may have had other acne-causing additives.
In 2011, researchers studied 10 males between 18 and 35 years old. To ensure their susceptibility to acne, each participant had one to four non-inflamed spots on their faces. The study began with each individual eating varied amounts of chocolate. Four days and seven days into the study, each participant was examined, showing worsened acne directly related to the amount of chocolate they consumed. The same researcher also conducted a double-blind study in which 14 participants were given capsules either containing cocoa or gelatin. This study also showed that the more chocolate one ate, the worse their acne was. What can we do with these findings?
While this study focused on chocolate’s effects on acne, diet as a whole may be related to acne. While its exact relation remains unknown, individuals are not likely to use these findings as reasons to stop eating chocolate. Besides, studies have shown that chocolate – dark chocolate in particular – is good for the heart. As always, diet – and exercise – are important for staying healthy.
Acne can happen to anyone, regardless of their dietary habits. If you or your child are suffering from acne, contact us today to schedule a consultation and discuss treatment options. At Advanced Dermatology, PC, our board-certified dermatologists are experts at treating acne and other skin conditions. Our conveniently located offices welcome patients from Queens (Bayside, Flushing), Long Island – Nassau/Suffolk (Roslyn/Albertson, West Islip, Commack, East Setauket), New York City, Westchester County (Ossining), Bergen County, NJ, Union County, NJ, and all surrounding areas.