You might remember from this post, that this year, I have resolved to cut back on sugar. It feels great to do something every day that benefits the long-term health of my skin, and I’ve even lost a few stubborn post-baby pounds!
But, I can’t pretend that the no sugar thing has been easy. Every night after dinner, I get bad sugar cravings. It’s as if my taste buds are screaming “Hey, where the heck is my dessert?!”.
With Valentine’s Day coming up, I’ve been thinking about chocolate.
Like, A LOT.
I’ve heard that chocolate is good for your skin but I’ve also heard that chocolate causes acne. So what’s the deal?
After doing some research, I found that the skin-friendly ingredient in chocolate is cocoa.
Cocoa contains over 30 beneficial molecules, the most important being polyphenols. Polyphenols form part of a plant’s immune system, protecting plants from herbivores, disease, and damage from the sun.
When we eat polyphenols, they act as powerful antioxidants, protecting our skin from damage, improving blood flow, and decreasing inflammation.
Cocoa is a rich source of the “beauty vitamins” A, C, and E. Cocoa also contains magnesium which reduces skin inflammation, copper which aids in collagen production, potassium which keeps the skin hydrated, and zinc which helps repair skin damage.
All these skin benefits of cocoa sound great, but doesn’t chocolate cause acne? The answer is, it depends on the chocolate.
Studies have never been able to directly link cocoa to breakouts. However, sugar, dairy, and high-fat foods have been linked to acne. Sugar, dairy, and high-glycemic foods can cause a hormonal imbalance which tells the skin to produce more oil, leading to breakouts and inflammation.
White chocolate contains lots of sugar and dairy and no cocoa. Milk chocolate contains a little bit of cocoa, but it also contains high amounts of sugar and dairy. Dark chocolate contains the most cocoa and relatively low levels of sugar and dairy.
So, if you want all the skin benefits of cocoa without suffering from acne breakouts, it is best to stick to high-quality dark chocolate. And for the most skin benefits, eat chocolate with the highest percentage of cocoa that you can stand.
Unfortunately, the higher the percentage of cocoa, the more bitter your chocolate will taste. I recommend starting off with dark chocolate containing 50% cocoa and then as your taste buds adjust, work your way up to a higher percentage (sounds like a fun challenge to me!).
This Valentine’s Day, tell your sweetheart to skip the assorted chocolates that are full of added sugar, dairy, and additives, and instead spring for some high-quality dark chocolate. Your taste buds will be happy and your skin will thank you.
Speaking of sweet things, U. Med Spa’s February Giveaway is here!
Click below to enter U. Med Spa’s Perfect Pout Giveaway. On February 28th, we will randomly select a winner to receive two syringes of Restylane!
Restylane is a hyaluronic acid-based filler and it’s our favorite for plumping up the lips.
Give us a call at 972.943.UMED (8633) to book your next appointment or schedule a free consultation.