Does Chocolate Cause Acne?

If you have a sweet tooth, chocolate can really hit the spot — but can your chocolate fix actually cause you to break out? Chocolate is a sweet and tasty treat made from the fruit of the cacao tree (via History). While cacao beans are naturally bitter, fermenting the beans can help reduce the bitterness and bring out the flavor in them. Adding sugar and other ingredients can also help sweeten the cacao as it's turned into chocolate, per Scientific American.

If you've ever gotten a pimple after eating a chocolate bar, you may be under the assumption that chocolate can either cause or worsen acne, but the answer isn't so clear-cut. While chocolate has certainly gotten a bad rap for years, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that chocolate itself can cause acne (via Verywell Health). However, that doesn't mean that the other ingredients in chocolate aren't linked to an increase in breakouts.

Certain ingredients in chocolate can cause acne

As it turns out, chocolate can actually help improve your skin. That's because it's naturally full of flavanols and antioxidants, which can help reduce inflammation and neutralize oxidative damage (via Byrdie). However, if your chocolate bar is highly processed and loaded with fillers, additives, sugar, and corn syrup, you might start to break out. "Sugar, dairy, and processed foods can disrupt your gut microbiome, leading to skin problems. These foods have also been shown to be directly linked to some skin conditions," chef and nutritionist Serena Poon told Byrdie.

Compared to dark chocolate, milk chocolate tends to contain more of these types of ingredients. "If your main objective in eating chocolate is to boost your health," Poon continued, "then you would want to choose the darkest chocolate you can find, without any additional ingredients." It's also best to look for organic chocolate and other more natural varieties. They'll be less likely to contain any fillers and artificial ingredients that aren't skin-friendly.