Does Eating Chocolate Cause Acne?

Updated February 25, 2013.

Question: Does Eating Chocolate Cause Acne?


Good news for all you chocoholics: Eating chocolate does not cause pimples. Skin care experts agree that acne is not caused by any specific food, including French fries, candy, soda, or potato chips.

The real acne causes are a buildup of dead skin cells within the pore, an excess of skin oil (called sebum), and a proliferation of acne-causing bacteria. None of these factors are triggered by the foods we eat.

Probably the biggest myth of all is that eating greasy foods causes your skin to produce more oil. Greasy foods, while not really good for your health, will not cause oily skin or produce pimples. In fact, hormonal changes within the body have the greatest impact on sebum production. The predisposition toward oily skin can also be hereditary. So if your parents have oily skin, you probably will too.

A lot of attention has been given to one study, which seems to suggest a correlation between diet and acne development. Proponents of this study say a more natural diet consisting of fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, and lean proteins create a healthy body, in turn creating healthy, clear skin. Even this study did not link any one food to acne breakouts, but rather suggests that a nutritious diet can help the skin stay healthy too. More research needs to be done to prove a definitive link between diet and acne development.

If a particular food seems to cause more breakouts for you, avoid eating it. But remember, there is no direct link between any specific food to the development of pimples. So go ahead and enjoy that piece of chocolate or order of fries (in moderation, of course). Your skin will be no worse for it the next day.


“Acne Myths.” AcneNet. 2007. American Academy of Dermatology. AcneNet. Accessed 27 Jan 2008.

United States. NIAMS. “Questions and Answers About Acne.” Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, 2006.