Does Chocolate Cause Acne? + Acne-Safe Chocolate Tips

the pure life


Whether you are the girl who’s afraid of chocolate or you know a girl who is, we all have someone in our lives who is committed to avoiding the pimple-producing powers of chocolate. But is it the chocolate itself that has the pimple powers? Does chocolate cause acne?

It’s kind of like men. Not all men are bad, some are wonderful humans you can spend the rest of your life with, and some leave you with some undesirable erm… side effects. I’m here to tell you that blanket statements lead you to miss out on great people and more importantly, great chocolate.

Does chocolate cause acne: What’s in your chocolate bar?

Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.” While this is a valid point about life, lucky for you we have ingredient lists – so you DO know what you’re gonna get!

We all know it’s what’s inside that matters and this applies to chocolate too. If you’re still not catching my drift, I’m saying read the ingredient list girl!

These are the ingredients in conventional chocolate bars that are the real cause of concern for acne-prone skin:

  1. Refined sugar

    These pesky sugars have a high glycemic index, meaning that they spike your blood sugar more dramatically than low glycemic index foods. Spikes in blood sugar are known to lead to inflammation and increase oil production. Both of these effects are bad news for your skin.
  2. Dairy

    Dairy milk contains A1 casein and whey protein which can trigger oil production in the skin’s oil glands. This creates an ideal environment for bacteria, which can ultimately lead to the dreaded pimples.
  3. Additives and flavour enhancers

    Everyone has their limit, your liver included. Conventional chocolate bars are often loaded with additives that can contribute to the overburdening of the liver. If the liver can’t process toxins efficiently, these toxins (such as excess hormones) can circulate in the body and come out in the skin as acne.

Chocolate for glowing skin

Let’s not hate on the chocolate itself. I’m gonna let you in on a little secret: Eating a healthy chocolate bar means you can enjoy it every day. Yup, you read that right. And actually, let’s not keep that a secret. Consider it an act of charity to spread the word.

A good quality chocolate bar actually has some skin-loving components!

  1. Magnesium

    Magnesium is known as nature’s calming mineral, perhaps because of its ability to lower cortisol. This is important for acne because high cortisol increases oil production which can lead to acne. Dark chocolate has loads of magnesium, yay!
  2. Antioxidants

    Selenium and zinc are minerals that are known for their antioxidant functions. Antioxidants help to reduce inflammation in the body, which is great news for your skin. Additionally, zinc is antibacterial, making it an acne-fighting powerhouse.

    Dark chocolate also contains antioxidant functioning compounds such as polyphenols, flavanols and so many more. For these reasons, dark chocolate is one of the highest food sources of antioxidants.
  3. Sun protection

    While dark chocolate is pretty magical, it does not replace sunscreen. However, the flavanols in dark chocolate have been observed to increase the skin’s tolerance to UVB rays. Sun protection is so important for acne, as excess sun exposure can worsen acne scars. So lather up on sunscreen and stock up on dark chocolate!

How to choose an acne-safe chocolate bar

The chocolate

Let’s be honest, you want your chocolate to actually contain a substantial amount of well, chocolate. A bar of good dark chocolate will list cocoa, cocoa beans and/or cacao as the primary ingredient.


For acne sufferers, you’ll want to avoid dairy. Most dark chocolate bars are dairy-free so this shouldn’t be a problem. However, if you are okay consuming some dairy, look for grass-fed!


It’s okay to have some sugar in your chocolate if it’s a good source. Avoid ingredients like high fructose corn syrup and instead, look for cane sugar, raw cane sugar, coconut sugar, etc.

Will healthy chocolate cause breakouts?

In my years of working 1:1 with clients, I have helped dozens of women enjoy chocolate again. For some people, even healthy “acne-safe” chocolate can be an acne trigger, and this is usually to do with compromised gut health. Once you work on gut health, you should have no problem enjoying “acne-safe” chocolate that will benefit your skin and won’t cause breakouts!

To get started on your acne clearing journey via gut health, hormone support and more, grab your copy of The Acne Protocol.

Favourite brands

If you’re not craving chocolate even a little bit by now, you might not be human. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. These are some of my favourite acne-safe chocolate brands:

Now go have some chocolate! Click HERE for all of my acne-safe chocolate-containing recipes.