Beauty 101

Get Acne Whenever You Eat Chocolate? Get Your Answer Here!

Dr Ingky Dermatologist
Get Acne Whenever You Eat Chocolate? Get Your Answer Here!

Is your favorite sweet treat really the cause of unfair blemishes? Chocolate has long been blamed for breakouts, but is the treat to your cravings really at fault? Since 1969, chocolate has been studied as a possible contributing factor to acne. Could it be the fat, the sugar, or even the chemicals used to create those decadent bars that cause breakouts on your skin? Here’s what our dermatologist thinks.

“Chocolate per se will not cause you acne,” says Dr. Ingky. “In fact, chocolate is a very good antioxidant. However, chocolate that has had too much milk and sugar added to it is the one that will cause you acne.” According to our dermatologist, Dr. Ingky, when you eat too much chocolate, it means that you are consuming too much sugar and milk. These are the 2 ingredients that have been identified as the main culprits that cause acne. Now let’s see what is chocolate made of.

Chocolate is made of cocoa and cocoa is originally bitter in taste. So more cocoa butter and sweeteners are added to make chocolate taste good.  The first steps are to mix, grind, and knead the various raw ingredients into a paste. The ingredients used depends on the type of chocolate being made. Dark chocolate requires only cocoa mass, cocoa butter, and less sugar. Adding milk powder makes milk chocolate. White chocolate is made with cocoa butter, sugar, and milk powder, but no cocoa mass. However, because it contains no cocoa mass, some do not consider it as a true chocolate. 

We have learned that milk, dark and white chocolate all contain sugar, cocoa butter, full cream milk powder, lecithin, vanilla and cocoa. Dark chocolate contains the least amount of added ingredients, milk chocolate has the least amount of cocoa liquor, and white chocolate contains the most flavorings. From the ingredients and type of chocolates, we can tell that milk chocolate and white chocolate contain the highest amount of sugar and milk. Now let’s see behind the science of these 2 ingredients on how they can cause acnes.


Seems our post today are talking about chocolate and acne, we will be referring to a study with scientific evidence that shows diet and acne are connected. The most dietary factor that affects acne development is caloric intake. And sugar has high calorie content which will increase hormones that are associated with acne.

In the study, 32 people with clear skin and 32 people with moderate to severe acne completed a five-day food diary and had blood work done. The researchers discovered that 61 percent of the participants overall experienced that their diets could make their skin worse. The most implicated foods among acne-sufferers are pizza, french fries, and CHOCOLATE!

However, when the researchers checked out the blood work, they found people that tend to eat foods with high sugar are suffered acnes the most. So the formula here is, more calorie intake increases the chances to worsen acne. Because sugar that contains high in calories will raise our hormones that associated with acne. This hormone is called insulin. But a different story goes with milk. 


Cows produce milk to feed their baby calves and help them grow. Whey and casein, the proteins in milk, stimulate growth and hormones in calves. The same thing happens to us when we drink their milk. When we digest these proteins, they release a hormone similar to insulin, called IGF-1. This hormone is known to trigger breakouts. Sometimes the hormones in milk can also interact with our own hormones, confusing our body’s endocrine system and signalling breakouts.

Therefore, both sugar and milk affect hormones in our body, specifically insulin, but how this hormone associated with acne? Let’s find out! The following insulin hormones get raise when we consumed sugar and milk: 

  • Insulin
  • Insulin growth factor 1 (IGF-1)
  • IGF-1 binding factor (IGFBP-1)

These insulin hormones in turn may affect the following two proteins:

  • FoxO1- lower skin oil production
  • mTORC1 - promotes skin oil production

Here is a simplified version of how this happens. Researchers have found insulin hormones act by decreasing the amount of FoxO1 and increasing the amount of mTORC1 in the body. When FoxO1 levels have decreased and mTORC1 levels have increased, this leads to an increase in skin oil (sebum) production. In general, more sebum means more acne. So, a diet that involve sugar and milk may push this process to exploit, leading to a large increase in sebum, and voila, more acne.

Can we still eat Chocolate?

If you really love chocolate, choose to eat dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate. Dark chocolate contains less sugar and milk than milk chocolate. And as Dr. Ingky suggests, go for dark chocolate that has 50% to 70% of cocoa.

Would you like to know more about skin health? We are here to help! Skynfyx is run by a group of skin doctors and skincare experts who want everybody to achieve flawless skin at the cheapest possible cost. Skynfyx also can customize a skincare range just for your skin condition.

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