Studies find link between chocolate and acne

June 4, 2013 10:56:54 PM PDT
New studies are challenging commonly held beliefs about the causes of acne and whether your diet, specifically chocolate can make the condition worse.

Niloo Feizian normally has smooth skin but every once and a while acne strikes.

"If they're pretty deep under the skin then they last anywhere from a few days to maybe a week," she said.

Over the years she's noticed what seems like a pattern, between the breakouts and something in her diet.

"I love dark chocolate. I notice that when I have more on any given day or week, I do end up noticing a blemish or two," she said.

For decades mainstream scientific thought has been that foods like chocolate have no link to acne. And most dermatologists have held to that view based on early studies done in the 1960s. But recently, some have begun to take a second look at the evidence.

"There are two new studies that question our old dogma that there is really no correlation between chocolate, in particular and breaking out," said said San Francisco dermatologist, Dr. Vic Narurkar.

Narurkar has treated Niloo for skin issues. He says the studies, while small, have yielded intriguing results.

In one, researchers at the University of Miami had test subjects with existing acne ingest varying amounts of 100 percent cocoa chocolate. They found the acne not only increased, but that the increase was in proportion to the amount of chocolate eaten.

"I was quite surprised with the direct correlation with the amount of chocolate consumed and the intensity of the acne," said Narurkar.

He says a second study in the Netherlands examined blood samples taken from volunteers who ate large amounts of chocolate.

When researchers exposed the samples to bacteria associated with acne, they found changes in immune reaction that produce inflammation.

Still Narurkar believes it's far too early to draw any firm conclusions.

"Is it chocolate? Is it glycemic content? Is it dairy? These are all things I think we really need to look at again in more controlled clinical trials," he said.

Niloo says she could be influenced if new findings determine a concrete link in the future but probably not enough to give up chocolate altogether.

"No, but probably not consume as much of it," she said.

Besides chocolate, there is also research now being conducted into potential links between acne and diet in general, especially foods high in glycaemia which can quickly boost the level of blood sugar in the body.

Written and produced by Tim Didion


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