You Sure You Want To Eat That Candy Bar? What Is The Connection Between Chocolate And Acne?

Is that chocolate bar going to give you pimples? There does seem to be a connection between what you eat and acne prone skin, according to recent studies. Specifically, you can control the severity of your acne through diet, according to Dr. Katerina Steventon, a skin scientist doing research at the University of Hull. To understand how chocolate might cause acne, you need to know more about the glycemic index.

What is the Glycemic Index?

The glycemic index is a measure of how the carbohydrates in food will raise blood sugar compared to a reference sample like white bread or glucose. If the rating is high, eating that food causes your blood sugar to spike, forcing your body to produce insulin in response.

A chocolate bar has a glycemic index of 83 as compared to a handful of peanuts, which have a GI of just 7. Eating the candy bar causes your blood sugar to jump; eating the peanuts has less of an effect and little to no insulin response.

Why does Glycemic Index Matter in Acne Treatments?

A 2007 study conducted by the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology found changes in glucose and insulin levels affect skin health. The study participants kept on a low glycemic index diet had 50 percent fewer acne breakouts than the group eating normally.

The study results backup claims of the authors that primitive societies did not have an acne problem, because their blood sugar levels were balanced by their natural diets.

What Diet Should You Follow to Control Acne?

WebMD points out that people with chronic acne may suffer from hyperinsulinemia, high levels of insulin in the blood. Insulin release is a direct response to glycemic index levels in food. If you eat sugary treats, your body releases a surge of insulin to control your blood glucose level.

A low-carb diet plan incorporated with standard acne treatments can improve the health of your skin by reducing acne breakouts. If you have acne, try moderating the carbohydrates in your diet.

  • Stay away from refined sugar
  • Add whole grains such as brown rice and oatmeal
  • Limited the junk food and soda
  • Avoid processed meals

Make use of glycemic index charts when planning meals. The lower the index number, the smaller the insulin response:

  • Anything above 70 has a high GI
  • From 56 – 69 is a moderate GI level
  • Anything below 55 is a low GI and a good choice to control acne

What About Other Acne Treatments?

Diet is just one tool in a comprehensive plan to treat acne. Start with over the counter products such as a cleanser that contains salicylic acid and a topical cream with benzoyl peroxide.

If those acne treatments do not work, the next step is to see a dermatologist, like one found at The doctor may prescribe isotretinoin if your condition is severe or opt for laser or Photodynamic therapy acne treatments. Photodynamic therapy combines a photosensitizing drug with a specific light to kill bacteria. It is a common treatment for skin cancer, as well.

Home care is just as critical when it comes to acne treatments. Along with diet, you should wash your face twice a day with pH-balanced cleanser. Avoid rubbing too hard when cleansing. Irritating the skin will trigger more breakouts.

At this point, a clear relationship between diet and acne has yet to be established. There is evidence, however, that eating sugary foods like chocolate will promote breakouts.

If nothing else, following a low glycemic index diet is a healthier way to eat, so why not try it as a form of acne treatment, as well. Ask your dermatologist if seeing a dietician might be an option to help control your acne.