Easter is almost upon us - can you hear the siren call of chocolate eggs?
Now admittedly, I don’t have much of a sweet tooth - however if there was a holiday associated with the humble fry, I’d be in so much trouble. But I know that many of you worry that this favourite of indulgences can trigger breakouts. The picture painted by the original ‘chocolate v acne’ study from 1969 was that it didn’t - but we now know that this study was poorly designed; nonetheless it’s impact lingered in the minds of doctors for a long time.
I think that there is now a general acceptance that high glycaemic foods - for example, sugary drinks, processed breads and snacks - can have a negative impact on acne-prone skin. The spike in blood sugar triggers production of insulin, insulin-like growth factor and potentially hormones called androgens, leading to increased sebum production. All of this drives the flames of acne.
As far as chocolate itself goes…there is some suggestive data, but the numbers in these studies are tiny. Chocolate is not likely to cause acne if you’ve never had it before. But if you’re prone to breakouts, and you find that a bar of Dairy Milk seems to make matters worse (and know that it could be the dairy, the sugar or the fats in the chocolate at fault), keep a food diary. If it’s making matters worse in a consistent way, this is the most reliable way of picking up the pattern and managing behaviour accordingly (the hard part, I know!).
So my take-home message from this - enjoy a dainty amount of a high quality dark chocolate this weekend if that floats your boat - Amadei and Domori are delightful. A good skincare routine should help stabilise skin even in the face of the odd naughty treat. And check out this interesting piece I commented on in Harper's Bazaar on a new tool for keeping track of your breakouts from La Roche-Posay.
Happy Easter All!