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Food Myths: Does Eating Chocolate Cause Spots?

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Breaking out in spots

A break out of spots is the stuff of nightmares for teenage girls. Getting rid of acne or preventing a recurrence can become an obsession. People of all ages and walks of life can become consumed with figuring out where it comes from and how to deal with it. There are endless folk-medicine remedies and theories about pimples - most of them fall under the “old wives tale” category - they sound like they make sense, but just are not true.  So read on to bust some myths like does eating chocolate cause spots. 

Greasy food and oily faces

The connection between chocolate and spots in a classic urban myth, and it is easy to see why. Chocolate is full of sugar, oils, and milk - ingredients that can cause a reaction to people who are sensitive to them. But for the majority of people who aren’t sensitive, chocolate contains only one chemical that has a link to spots – caffeine - which can increase stress levels, and can aggravate a person’s acne.

When it comes to greasy foods, people link the grease in the food to the grease—or oil—in their face. They know that Spots develop when our skin cells produce too much oil, trapping dead cells underneath the top layer of skin, and they make the connection between the two oils. However, no scientific link has ever been made between food and a case of the spots.

Spots and cleanliness

Some people become obsessed with cleanliness when dealing with acne, convinced that it is linked to the condition. Having acne does not mean a person is dirty—in fact, excessive cleaning and scrubbing only irritates the skin, which can inflame acne.

Squeezing the spots

A common practice when dealing with acne is to squeeze, or pop, inflammations in the hope that it will hurry the condition along and speed recovery. This is yet another wives tale, and could make the condition worse. The squeezing can push the offending oils and bacteria deeper into the epidermis and wind up prolonging the condition, and in extreme cases can lead to scarring.

So many old wives tales tell us that our diet can cause spots when, in fact, it isn’t the food we eat that causes our skin to produce too much oil, it’s hormonal changes inside our bodies which are controlled by our genetics.

So the next time you see chocolate cake on the menu, dig in. It won’t be the cause of your spots!


10667 Revised September 2012

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