Chocolate & coffee: bad for acne-prone skin?

There have been quite a bit of bad press that eating chocolates and drinking coffee promote acne. But the question is, do they? Awhile back, a reader by the nick of Loveless commented in one of my entries that chocolates do not promote acne and consuming about 10g a day would be good for our heart.

Difference between good quality and bad quality chocolates
As she rightly pointed out, chocolates sold in most supermarkets are of lower quality and contain more sugar as well as trans fats; eating those would cause skin problems for those acne-prone. However, I have since avoided eating chocolates because I can’t differentiate too well between good and bad chocolates – until I started reading Nicholas Perricone’s The Acne Prescription.

Eat chocolates containing 85 percent cocoa
If you’re acne-prone but love chocolates, there is good news. According to Dr Perricone, chocolate is high in antioxidants and good for our health when consumed in moderation. The type of chocolate you should be eating are those that contain 85 percent cocoa and Dr Perricone mentioned Lindt, which is a very good brand that I used to love. However, it is better to read the label just to be sure. I noticed that even though some brands state that they do not contain sugar, a check on the labels reveal otherwise.

Coffee can cause a spike in cortisol level
However, if you’re acne-prone and love coffee, then you might want to cut down your consumption even in decaf form because Dr Perricone stated in his book that coffee contains a number of organic acids that affect blood sugar and cortisol levels that trigger a rise in blood sugar level and insulin level – hence causing acne. Of course some coffee lovers are going to diss this as a myth but as in all things, I suppose it’s always good to observe moderation. If you’re a heavy coffee drinker and you do breakout a lot, perhaps it’s time to examine what you’ve been consuming?


  1. AtelierGal says:

    I’ve been trying to cut down on caffeine the past week. And you have to post this when I decided to have 2 cups today. TODAY!!!

    I’ll probably have them maybe once every 2 weeks or when I’m stressed like today.

  2. sesame says:

    Haha…maybe I read your mind? :p Okay, anyway, you’re not acne-prone so a bit of coffee wouldn’t be too bad once a while.

  3. Jyoan says:

    I keep a bar of 99% Dark Chocolate from Lindt (cos they are the only ones who go that far), in my refrigerator. Needless to say, it’s bitter to the point of salty, and difficult to down. haha. But I eat it anyway.

    Caffeine has appeared in March issue of a megazine as a superfood. However, it should be restricted to a cup a day. Since caffeine is not too good for other things, like it will cause fats to accumulate around the thigh area… In my opinion, the bad effects of caffeine are more applicable to heavier people or people with history of passed down diseases, and people who are already not too well.

  4. sesame says:

    Ya, those dark chocolates are quite bitter to taste…but I can’t imagine bitter to the point of salty. Yikes..

    I think a cup or two of coffee a day is probably okay. Just that those acne prone want to cut further if they believe Perricone’s theory. I also don’t think it’s that good to drink too much tea in a day.

  5. Chantana says:

    I’m a heavy coffee drinker (I drink aleast 3 cup per days)

    I have breakouts.. but it not that serious and I personally don’t feel that it was the coffee that causing the breakout on me.

    Maybe becos I drink coffee without sugar. (Cos sugar is evil, cos it will darken out pigmentation and acne spots)

  6. Fabiola says:

    It’s a good thing then that I prefer dark chocolate over milk chocolate. The brand “Cote D’Or” have a 86% cocoa chocolate bar which I usually buy, but I’ve also tried the 99% one by Lindt. It is quite bitter, but you do get used to it and realise how sugary other chocolate bars are. Lindt also sells this delicious dark chocolate with chili bar which I also buy occasionally.

  7. TheUndercoverGypsy says:

    I knew about the chocolate-acne connection, but this coffee thing is definitely new, but then again, I’ve never been a heavy coffee drinker, just my morning cuppa ?

    And it’s always fun to hunt down good chocolate, isn’t it? I like the Meiji 90% ones too, since they come in thin slabs and so can be used fresh.

  8. zhenling says:

    tt still means i cant eat hershey’s milk choco cookie bars. ho hum.

  9. sesame says:

    I think each person has different body chemistry so it may not always be absolute. Acne breakouts could be due to a few factors…I’m still figuring out mine! But good that you cut out the sugar…the thing is, it’s difficult to drink coffee black isn’t it? I can’t drink coffee because it gives me headache.

  10. sesame says:

    I think I tried Cote D’or before and it’s quite bitter. Actually, I don’t fancy dark chocolates too much and prefer milk chocolates…that’s probably why I always have new pimples when I eat them.

  11. sesame says:

    The Meiji one you mentioned is the one in brown wrapper? I always eat the milk one – red wrapper – it taste really good but has caused me grieve lately with breakouts. ?

  12. sesame says:

    Never tried Hershey’s but yeah…think milk chocolates are out if you’re acne prone although it depends on individual. Some can take a bit. I used to have no problems eating them till recently.

  13. jac says:

    do u think it will affect eczema too?

  14. Jyoan says:

    Fabiola, Marks & Spencer has dark chocolate with chili too! But it’s of the more acceptable 70% I think. I’ve also got that in my fridge right now. I am quite in love with dark chocolates, so I do buy every now and then. Have Meiji’s 70% one as well. And I love Cadbury’s 70%, it’s so good!!! Cadbury is definitely the most edible.

  15. Fabiola says:

    Thanks for the tip on Marks & Spencer’s, Joan! Unfortunately, I live in the Netherlands and there aren’t any M&S stores over here. The Belgian brand “New Tree” is available over here though and they have these wonderful chocolate bars in flavours such as pink pepper, lavender, thyme, ginger, cherries, and blackberries. ?

  16. pf1123 says:

    I don’t really take coffee. Just when I’m tired. And once in a while I enjoy a good cuppacino. I think coffee is bad for skin because it is dehydrating and duretic (pee a lot).

    I used to eat chocolates a lot and people says cause my acne. But my acne doesn’t stop when I don’t eat. But I think I kinda out grown chocolates. I only eat them once in a while now.

  17. babysaffron says:

    Coffee Addict here….

  18. N. says:

    Thank goodness I hate coffee. Haha. But I guess I can eat some ‘good’ chocolate instead of cheaper ones.

  19. sesame says:

    Not too sure…but I did read that diary products and coffee can cause some pple to have eczema flare ups. I guess it depends…some pple can get away without issues but not others. Best is to moderate and be careful if you have such skin issues.

  20. sesame says:

    With chilli? So it’s spicy? Never tried spicy type of chocolate? But I do like some of the choc at M&S…but typically the milk type.

  21. sesame says:

    I used to eat tonnes of chocolate everyday (cheapskate type) without issues but since having hormonal issue, seems that any food I eat triggers although it’s better of late since I started on medication. I guess when you have skin issues, you just have to watch out.

  22. sesame says:

    You have acne issues?

  23. minsin says:

    I am coffee craze.. Everyday I drink 2 big cup of coffee. haha..

  24. sesame says:

    Yeah, a lot of coffee addicts out there… ?

  25. cherie says:

    I tried buying cocoa powder to drink. Its realli bitter. It will be much better if you add milk instead of just water. The best thing is less to no sugar.

  26. sesame says:

    Yeah, it’s hard to stomach just plain cocoa powder.

  27. aichaku says:

    i find sugar and milk/dairy products cause my skin to be rough and break-out-ish (ie, not pimples but small lumpy things)

  28. sesame says:

    Yes, very bad foods those…I cut out diary but still have cravings for sugar though…

  29. Choo Yan says:


    I always eat those cheap-skate chocolate and drink coffee almost everyday!
    and yes, I have a acne-prone skin (my face is full of scars now) ):

  30. sesame says:

    You need to cut down as much as possible. Sugar as a whole is really bad for those of us who have acne.

  31. Rinka says:

    i actually watched a television show in japan that says that melting two chunks of 70%+ cacao chocolate into a cup of black tea, it helps with skincare and reduces stress levels. i found it quite palatable, but wondered whether it would be as effective if you ate the chocolate and drunk the tea seperately. but it was simple and the ingredients werent hard to find.

    ive personally never been a big chocolate eater so even if it is bad for your skin, it wont affect me too badly ?

  32. sesame says:

    Oh that’s interesting! I always eat chocolate and then drink green tea. Hmmm…maybe I’ll try as I have a chocolate with 85% cocoa. Anyway, I’ve been taking the 85% cocoa chocolate and it’s good so far…no problems.

  33. K says:

    I started drinking coffee a few months ago and I have had the opposite effect. I have less acne than I have ever had. I just drink straight black coffee with no additives.

  34. sesame says:

    That’s interesting. I think moderate intake of caffeine is actually okay…some say good even. And it’s good you’re drinking it with no sugar or cream.

  35. Ms Cleo says:

    Id love to have a recipe for that! I quite like dark chocolate because of the full taste and the fact that i wont be able to eat too much of it ?
    I do have mild acne but only have one cup of coffee a day without sugar. Ill try the nutmeg face mask as advised by dear Sesame .

    I love ur blog Sesam! Great job

  36. Sesame says:

    @Ms Cleo: Thanks for visiting and am glad you like some of the entries here. Have fun with the DIY recipes and hope they’ll work well for you.

  37. Andrienne Thomas says:

    This is most interesting and I unfortunately must agree. I stopped coffee during Lent and by day 32, the part of my skin that stays inflamed (right side of my face), had cleared. I love sugar so since I’ve isolated coffee, I eat more and have found that milk chocolate cheese and too much carbs breaks me out on the same side of my face but in a different spot. I am working to change my diet so that chocolate or cheese are only consumed twice a month. I am already there with coffee. My vanity leads.

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