Beneath the Surface

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Is Chocolate Bad for Your Skin?

Today marks one of our favorite days of the year – World Chocolate Day (yes, this is a “real” thing). So while we’re out celebrating with chocolate covered strawberries, chocolate peanut butter cups and s’mores, are we hurting our skin? Could we wake up tomorrow with a face covered in pimples?

Thankfully, that’s not likely to happen. The tale is as old as time – eating chocolate will cause acne. But recent research shows that’s most likely just a myth. Given the current data available to dermatologists, no specific dietary changes are recommended to manage acne.

The most supportive research linking diet to acne comes from a study regarding high glycemic index foods. According to the website for the glycemic index (GI), the index is “a ranking of carbohydrates on a scale from 0 to 100 according to the extent to which they raise blood sugar levels after eating.” So in summary, low GI foods are slowly digested and absorbed, which produces a gradual rise in blood sugar and insulin levels (making them “good”). High GI foods are the opposite, in that they are rapidly digested and absorbed (making them “bad”).

In recent years, studies have implied a link between high-glycemic foods and acne. For example, one web-based study found that 87% of the 2,500+ dieters who completed an online survey reported improvements in their skin while following a low GI diet. However, there are some flaws in the design of the study. But the best news is, chocolate has a relatively low glycemic index. So it’s safe for us to say, enjoy the holiday and indulge in a few pieces of chocolate without stressing about your skin.

If you currently do suffer from breakouts and acne, see one of our board-certified dermatologists online. In just three simple steps, you can have clear skin without walking into the doctor’s office.

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