Chocolate and ‘bad skin’…really?

I have never been a big fan of white or milk chocolate but there is nothing I love more than a bit of dark chocolate and a tea at night. I know, liven’ on the wild side! With Easter upon us, it seems like a good time to answer a commonly asked question; does chocolate really cause acne and aging?
What ingredients in chocolate could potentially cause pimples to form?
Acne is not caused by one specific food although it has been linked to a high sugar and high fat content in the diet.
The dairy and sugar content of milk or white chocolate can trigger hormonal changes, leading to inflammation in acne-prone individuals. Therefore, overindulging in chocolate can place you at an increased chance of a breakout.
Increased sugar can also age our skin through a process called Glycation, whereby excess sugar attaches to proteins in the bloodstream to the form harmful molecules called Advanced Glycation End Products (AGE’s). These AGE’s then interfere with the natural production of collagen and elastin, leading to premature wrinkling and sagging of the skin.
Not good news.
Dark chocolate (70%+ cacao) however, has many health benefits due to the high cocoa content. Dark chocolate contains flavenols (antioxidants) which protect the body’s cells from free radicals and has benefits for the cardiovascular system. Cocoa is proven to hydrate the skin making it firmer and suppler.
Better news!
What foods/ingredients can actually help to clear acne and promote healthy skin?
A healthy well balanced diet high in fruits and vegetables is the best way to nourish the skin and restore balance. Specific foods groups have also been proven to help with breakout prone skin and aging:
Salmon: great source of protein and omega 3 fatty acids. These nourish the skin, decrease clogged pores and help with fine lines and wrinkles. They also have anti-inflammatory properties. The oil contained in salmon, broccoli, carrots and spinach also contains Vitamin A which helps regulate the skin cycle.
Avocadoes: Vitamin E containing powerful antioxidants for mopping up free radicals
Almonds: Rich in antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids, almonds are also a great source of plant-based protein, a building block for your skin cells. They are also a source of magnesium, may reduce the effects of stress hormones, preventing your skin from ageing and improving acne.
Controlling acne and slowing the aging process can be tricky and requires a multi-faceted approach. A sensible, healthy diet is certainly a crucial part of the solution.
So… maybe just indulge once a year!! Sigh…

For more information on how to care for your skin, contact a Clear Complexions Clinic near you.
About the author: Suzie Hoitink is a Registered Nurse and the Founder of the award winning Clear Complexions Clinics. At Suzie’s clinics the doctors and nurses treat everyday skin conditions using the latest technology available, and in doing so, not only improve the health and appearance of their clients skin, but their overall confidence as well.