Do Chocolate and Sugar Really Cause Acne?

Did you grow up hearing “Don’t eat chocolate! Don’t eat candy! They’re bad for your skin, you’ll break out!”

Chocolate and Sugar

Such a bummer, especially if you were a teen who loved treats. And maybe, to this day, you worry about eating candy or chocolate because you’re afraid your complexion will freak out.

The truth is, there’s a lot of myth and misconception floating around about what really triggers acne. And chocolate and candy fall right into that muddle.

The thing is, our parents, the dermatologists, and bloggers have got it wrong. But don’t worry, I explain it all below.

What’s more, there’s good news you ought to know!

Here’s the scoop.


Multiple research studies indicate that chocolate has no significant impact on the skin. Other studies are inconclusive because they didn’t take into account whether dairy was a factor; i.e., using milk chocolate in the study versus dark chocolate. If you’ve been digging into the Natural Acne Clinic Blog, you’ll know that dairy is a primary acne trigger because of the presence of iodine in milk.

If you want chocolate, it’s okay. Enjoy! However, stick to darker blends and avoid milk chocolate.


Sugar does not cause acne!

Here’s what dermatologists, bloggers, and scientists would have you believe. That ingesting sugar and foods high on the glycemic index (like white bread, candy, fried foods, and soda) cause spikes in your body’s insulin levels that lead to a burst of inflammation in your body. And, in turn, that elevated inflammation increases the production of skin oils and contributes to the clogging of follicles, which can worsen your complexion.


Do you know YOUR primary acne cause? Still struggling with an unsure self-diagnosis?

We created a short quiz to help you Discover YOUR Acne Cause

Inflammation is not the cause of acne. The REAL cause of your acne is a genetic predisposition called retention hyperkeratosis

Every day a layer of dead skin cells is shed inside the pore. Ordinarily, these dead skin cells are pushed from behind by newer cells rising to the skin’s surface, then flake off in a normal, healthy pore.

However, this continuous shedding process goes haywire in people with acne. Acne-prone skin produces up to 5x more dead cells than normal, and the excess dead cells stay stuck on the skin’s surface and clog your pores. The resulting plug (known as a microcomedone), when mixed with oil, forms a blackhead. When infected with bacteria, forms a blemish.

Essentially, your acne-prone skin is perpetually clogging itself. And your unique cocktail blend of acne triggers, including diet, aggravates and worsens an already faulty situation


Iodine and Androgens are the REAL diet-related culprits triggering your acne.

Remember, inflammation does not equal acne. Acne is predetermined way before inflammation happens in the system.

Instead of worrying about sugar and chocolate, focus your efforts on the two actual diet-related triggers that have a direct impact on your skin―iodine, and androgens.

  • Iodine. When iodine enters the bloodstream, any excess is excreted through the oil glands, which in turn irritates the pores and causes acne breakouts. When you continually consume foods high in iodine (e.g., seafood, sea plants, and dairy), you’re perpetually aggravating your skin and contributing to your breakouts.
  • Androgens. Elevated androgens―due to hormonal imbalance and foods that trigger androgen production (including shrimp, peanuts, and peanut oil)―bind to oil glands in the skin, telling the oil gland to produce more sebum. This excess oil combines with dead skin cells, debris, and bacteria and causes pimples to form.

Keep in mind:

  • For the OVERALL health of your body, it’s always a smart choice to moderately consume sweet treats and processed foods high in sugar.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight, getting regular exercise, eating more fiber, drinking more water, lowering and managing stress, and getting enough sleep are also healthy choices.
  • Bonus! Commitment to all of these lifestyle choices boosts your strength, energy and well-being, and absolutely contributes to healthy, acne-free skin.

If you’re at all concerned about the effect of diet on your skin, know that the impact of iodine and androgens far outweigh any moderate consumption of sugar and chocolate. Keep your focus on these REAL triggers, and feel free to have a treat.

And don’t just take my word for it!

We’ve cleared THOUSANDS of people worldwide by instructing them to avoid iodine and androgens in their diet.

What’s more, I have a sweet tooth and indulge in something sweet for breakfast every single day. And that habit never impacts my skin.

I don’t give up sweets and have clear skin. My clients didn’t have to give up sweets. And guess what? Neither do you!

Ready to clear your acne once and for all? We can help.

From our experience treating thousands of clients, acne usually appears to be triggered by a combination of issues, rather than one. That’s why a typical one-size-fits-all approach rarely works when it comes to clearing and controlling acne over the long run.

If you have tried it all and still have acne, our comprehensive 16-week Online Acne Program is the answer. Our Online Acne Program has a 95% success rate helping thousands of clients get clear. We can help you too!

Get started on your journey to clear by booking an Online Acne Consult today.

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About the Founder: Jessica Gremley

Jessica has been a Medical Esthetician, Certified Acne Specialist and Healing Diets Coach since 2003. After struggling with acne for more than a decade, she became determined to find a way to clear acne without pharmaceuticals for herself and eventually, future clients. Today, she offers a complete acne regimen that combines proven non-comedogenic skincare products, natural supplements, lifestyle coaching, and support from trained acne specialists to achieve lifelong clear skin. She and her staff serve locally at Natural Acne Clinic in Wheat Ridge, Colorado and nationally via NAC’s Online Acne Program.



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