Say It Ain’t So! Study Shows Chocolate Worsens Acne

There has long been thought to be a connection between acne and diet.  Individual studies have linked acne with “junk foods” and also with dairy products, especially milk itself.

However, does eating junk food actually increase acne, or is it just a coincidence?  Is this perceived connection actually valid, or is it just and old wives’ tale?

A recent study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology is the most recent experiment to show a link between acne and a particular diet item. Unfortunately, for many of the chocoholics out there, chocolate was the primary target this time.

The investigators in this article studied 54 college students with pre-existing acne who agreed not to eat chocolate outside of the study for the study’s entire duration.  Each participant had a pre-study photograph taken, and their baseline acne lesions were counted.

After their baseline status was reported, the students randomly received a standard sized Hershey’s chocolate bar or 15 jelly beans, both of which contained the equivalent amount of sugar.  A second photo was taken 48 hours after the candy was administered, and a dermatologist reviewed the photos for acne severity without the knowledge of which students received either the chocolate or the jelly beans.

After a period of 1 month, the students then received the opposite dose of candy; if they got chocolate before, they would receive jelly beans in round 2, and vice versa.  They again had facial photos taken before and after the candy was given, with follow-up dermatologist review.

Now for the bad news . . . After each candy administration in the study, the chocolate group had a statistically significant increase in acne lesions compared with the jelly bean group.  Actually, the news was even worse in that if you reviewed the data, the chocolate group had an average of 5 new acne lesions while the jelly bean group stayed the same or even had 1 less acne lesion than at baseline.

So, for those of you who like candy, you can safely load up on Jelly Bellies.  For those who are prone to acne, however, chocolate does not appear to be your friend despite how it tastes on the palate.