Does Chocolate Cause Acne?


“Do not eat that chocolate bar, you will get a pimple” or “Chocolate causes acne” may have circulated during your middle school years and now you either limit or avoid chocolate like the plague. But the ultimate question is, does chocolate cause acne?

Arguments that have been made for the, “Yes it does,” argument probably started around middle school, and is mostly geared toward women. However, there is a simple reason for that. 

The Misunderstanding

During middle school, everyone’s body goes through major physical changes, not to mention the rapid hormonal changes. Women during this time also begin their menstrual cycle, and with that comes a slew of cravings – chocolate being a popular choice which is where the misunderstanding comes from. 

During the menstrual cycle, there is an increased desire to consume chocolate, and if you are like any of the millions of women out there, you don’t hesitate too much to quell your craving. During this time a woman’s body is also spiking in progesterone and the different changes ultimately change your hormonal makeup for a few days.

This triggers the sebaceous glands in the face to excrete more oil, thus clogging your pores, ultimately leading to more acne. While hormones are the biggest contributor to a slightly redder than a normal face, many attest it to the chocolate.

Because many women are eating chocolate during a time of great hormonal change, they are attributing their higher than normal acne to chocolate when in reality it’s just a coincidence!

Given this fact, it’s easy to say that there is a misconception. Chocolate doesn’t cause acne as many people may think, but it might contribute a little to an individual’s acne.

Do the Different Types of Chocolate Affect Acne?

Now we know that chocolate might at worst only have a small impact on acne. However, we need to think about if the different types of chocolate – milk chocolate, white chocolate, and dark chocolate – may affect acne differently.

While there is no significant relationship between chocolate and acne, an increased or overindulgent routine with the sugary food item (like any other) can have other effects. Milk chocolate and white chocolate have a lot more added sugar and dairy products than its dark chocolate counterpart. If consumed at a high rate, the added sugar and dairy will strip your body of important vitamins. It also limits your diet, and doesn’t allow it to be well rounded, which is necessary for healthy skin.

As for dark chocolate, it does not have as much added sugar and can actually have health benefits. The higher the cocoa percentage means that it is more concentrated with riboflavin and antioxidants; both of which can be beneficial to a well-rounded diet.

Being acne-prone, or having more acne than the next person could be influenced by your diet, but is mostly determined by genetics and family history. If your skin is more sensitive to increased oil from your sebaceous glands or prone to getting clogged pores, cutting your favorite snack from your diet will probably just leave you unhappy.

It won’t help to get rid of your acne. The best remedy for that is to keep your face clean and apply a 2.5% benzoyl peroxide cream to the areas most prone to breakouts. Check out the acne-fighting products we recommend.

TDLR; The extra sugar in milk and white chocolate may increase acne, while dark chocolate generally has no effect on acne.

Conclusion: So Does Chocolate Cause Acne?

In short, not really. While it certainly doesn’t help, the amount of sugar in both white and milk chocolate may contribute a little to your acne, but it won’t be the biggest factor. Dark chocolate will have even less of an impact on your acne, but it might keep your skin healthy in some other ways.

So next time someone claims you shouldn’t eat the chocolate bar because it causes unwanted acne, tell them correlation does not equal causation and enjoy it – chocolate has virtually no effect on acne.

If you enjoyed this article make sure not to miss out on our post “Does smoking weed cause acne?”.

Do you think chocolate may be contributing to your acne? Share your story with us in the comments!