You've probably been hearing it your entire life: those acne breakouts are caused by eating too much junk food -- chocolate in particular. But is this something you were told as a teen to keep you away from chocolate, or is there some truth to it?
Well, it turns out, the answer is false -- with a little bit of truth!
According to Los Angeles-based dermatologist, Dr. Ava Shamban, there is no evidence that chocolate or fatty foods cause acne breakouts. But, this doesn't mean you can freely overindulge in these foods. High sugar and high fat foods increase the body's production of sebum -- the oily substance your body secretes to protect your skin, while promoting inflammatory responses in the body.
Simply put, eating too much chocolate creates conditions in your body that make acne more likely to occur. When you break out, it is important to look at all potential causes, not just the food you are eating. For example, many woman crave chocolate when they are premenstrual and it might be the hormone fluctuations during this time, and not necessarily the chocolate, that leads to spotty skin. "Estrogen levels drop, triggering androgens (hormones produced by the ovaries) to stimulate the sebaceous glands; this pumps up oil production," explains Dr. Shamban
What's more, if you are filling up on foods that are high in fat and high in sugar, you may be neglecting other foods that are vital for healthy skin! Eating fresh fruits and vegetables and maintaining a balanced diet is essential for a clear, healthy glow.
To help keep your skin healthy make sure your diet includes foods that contain vitamin A, like sweet potato, carrots, and mango. Did you know that many acne creams are actually derived from vitamin A? Another big helper is vitamin E which can be found in many nuts, fruits, vegetables, and olive oil. This powerful antioxidant promotes smooth skin while helping vitamin A do its job. It is also essential to include monounsaturated fats, like nuts, seeds, and avocado, as they can help reduce the inflammation in the skin caused by acne. For delicious and creative ways to work these types of foods into your diet, check out the BodyRock Meal Plan. It's 30 days of eats that will not only make your skin appear healthier, it might just trim your waistline too! Check it out!
Basically, the takeaway is this: chocolate doesn't CAUSE acne, but it doesn't necessarily help!
If you just cannot live without sweet, chocolate goodness in your life, try to limit yourself to dark chocolate. The sugar and dairy content in milk or white chocolate can trigger hormone fluctuations that may lead to breakouts. Dark chocolate, on the other hand, contains no dairy and a high amount of cocoa which means a high amount of the antioxidants catechin and procyanidin. These antioxidants help protect the skin (and body) from free radicals and may reduce skin inflammation brought on by acne breakouts.
How do you keep your skin clear? Share your tips with us!