Q: Does chocolate really cause acne? My teenagers love the stuff --
and they have pretty bad breakouts.
A: Sorry, Mom and Dad. Your dire warnings about Snickers bars are
fruitless, because the answer is FALSE. Chocolate has no link to acne (nor do
other frequently blamed foods, such as pizza and potato chips).
Have you ever finished a sweaty workout, and within minutes, noticed a peculiar smell? When "Jack" (not his real name) left the gym after basketball practice, he walked up to a group of friends. They immediately commented on someone’s body odor, wondering which of them was the culprit.
"When I realized it was me, I was humiliated," Jack said. "I quickly went to my locker and realized that I didn’t have a deodorant at school.
"I avoided all my friends that day. When I got home, I put my new deodorant...
"There was a famous experiment done many years ago at the University of
Pennsylvania by Dr. Albert Kligman," says Irwin Braverman, MD, professor of
dermatology at Yale School of Medicine.
Kligman gave teens with acne real chocolate bars, and others chocolate-free
bars that tasted like chocolate. Neither group knew which candy bars were fake.
"The variation in the acne and induction of acne lesions was no greater in the
chocolate group than in the nonchocolate group."
Acne forms when the oil glands make too much sebum, a waxy substance that
along with dead skin cells can clog pores. Bacteria grow and irritate the
blocked pores, giving the red and swollen look to them. Too much harsh washing
can further inflame the area.
So how did the chocolate-causes-acne myth arise? "I have a feeling this is a
parental issue and not a medical issue," Braverman says.