Do Chocolate and Sugar Really Cause Breakouts?


After diamonds, chocolate is surely a girl's best friend. But is our favorite treat (and sugar in general) to blame for our breakouts? We asked two experts, New York-based dermatologist Elizabeth Tanzi, M.D., and wellness expert Frank Lipman, M.D., what chocolate and sugar really do to your skin. Here's what they had to say:

"The causes of acne are complex with clogged pores, excessive oil, and cysts, but acne is fundamentally a result of inflammation," says Dr. Tanzi. "In some individuals, a high-sugar diet increases the overall levels of inflammation in the body, which will cause acne. However, not everyone is affected by a high-sugar diet, which explains why some people claim their acne gets worse when they eat chocolate or sugar and others notice no change."

Dr. Lipman agrees. "Sugar can most definitely cause pimples in some individuals," he says. "Someone with acne-prone skin should follow an anti-inflammatory diet and stay away from gluten, dairy, sugar, and factory-farmed meats.  All these foods are pro-inflammatory. In addition, dairy and sugar cause spikes in hormones and insulin levels, which then cause breakouts." But it's not all bad news for pimple-prone chocoholics. "Dark chocolate will probably not contribute to acne," says Dr. Lipman, "so if you’re going to eat chocolate, have a good-quality dark variety."

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