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Does Chocolate Cause Acne?

Apr 26, 2013 02:54 PM EDT

Chocolate-lovers beware: a new study from the Netherlands suggests the tasty treat may aggravate acne.

Conducted by researchers from the Rodboud University Nijmegen Medical Center, the scientists collected blood from seven healthy individuals both before and after they had consumed 1.7 ounces of chocolate containing 30 percent cocoa. This was repeated every day for four days.

Researchers then exposed the blood cells to the bacteria Propionbacterium acnes, which, true to their name, grow inside clogged pores and ultimately are what cause the pores to become inflamed.

Researchers also exposed blood cells to Staphylococcus aureus, a skin bacteria that can aggravate acne.

Sure enough, after participants’ ate chocolate their blood cells produced more of the inflammation marker interleukin-1b when exposed to Propionibacterium acnes, suggesting that chocolate may increase the inflammation that contributes to acne.

What’s more, participants’ blood cells produced more of interleukin 10, which is believed to lower the bodies’ defenses, after exposure to Staphylococcus aureus.

However, not everyone is convinced.

Dermatologist at the University of California, San Fransisco School of Medicine, Dr. Kanade Shinkai told My Health News Daily that the data is not overwhelming, to say the least.

“I think there’s 10 times more discussion about it than there is data,” Shinkai said.

Furthermore, as Dr. Michael W. Smith reports on WebMD, past studies are less than convincing.

“There was a famous experiment done many years ago at the University of Pennsylvania by Dr. Albert Kligman,” Irwin Braverman, professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine, said.

In the study, Kligman gave teens with acne real chocolate bars and others with bars that tasted like chocolate, but were not.

As Braverman explained, “The variation in the acne and induction of acne lesions was no greater in the chocolate group than in the nonchocolate group.”

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