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Chocolates

For years, we were told chocolate causes pimples. Have we been wrong all along?

For years, it's been said chocolate and other sweets are bad for your skin, causing acne and other issues.

Has that been a lie? Well, not exactly. Junk food in general is bad for your health, and that includes your skin. But, when it comes to chocolate, it's a little more complicated − which is good news for those looking to enjoy a chocolate bunny over Easter without tarnishing their skin.

According to experts, certain types of chocolate actually carry benefits for the skin, due to an anti-oxidant effect.

"In general, chocolate has a rich history for causing problems and also curing problems too," says , a dermatologist in Chicago. "The question is how much of the benefits are we getting versus how much of the bad stuff?"

Is chocolate good for your skin? It depends.

Is chocolate good for your skin? It depends.

Whether or not chocolate is good for your skin depends on the kind of chocolate we're talking about. Milk chocolate, which is high in sugar and dairy, is more likely to hurt than help.

Dark chocolate, on the other hand, can actually be beneficial if it has a high concentration of cacao beans. Often brands will list the percent of cacao in their dark chocolate on the packaging.

, a dermatologist in New York, says chocolate with a high cacao concentration has flavonoids, a type of compound also found in many fruits and vegetables. These flavonoids, he says, carry antioxidant potential, which helps protect skin from damage caused by the sun and free radicals.

Is dark chocolate healthy?Yes, and it has more health benefits than you think.

That's not all dark chocolate can do. , the beauty director of skincare brand and the former beauty director at British Vogue, says high-cacao chocolate can also improve circulation, helping improve the appearance of skin, and Dr. Del Campo adds it can help keep the skin hydrated and fight signs of aging.

"The different antioxidants in combination with the plant-based chemicals called flavanols have shown evidence of getting more hydration in the skin, have shown evidence of having an anti-aging benefit to it," Dr. Del Campo says. "Some studies have shown evidence for having anti-acne properties, but the same does not apply to milk chocolate."

So, does that mean eating a moderate dose of dark chocolate should be added to your skincare regimen? Not exactly. But it does mean that, if you're craving something sweet but want to lower the chances of damaging your skin, dark chocolate is probably the way to go.

"The take-home point is that if you have a sweet tooth and you like eating chocolate, then you'll do yourself a benefit by eating really pure cacao," Dr. Rossi says. "But, for the most part, eating milk chocolate or high-dairy or high-sugar chocolate is not great."

What is white chocolate?And is it really chocolate at all?

The truth about diet and skin health

The relationship between diet and skin health is complicated, and it's a topic that continues to undergo research.

While not every skin problem can get chalked up to diet, dermatologists say that, when assessing skin problems, it's important to look at one's overall health and lifestyle, including diet.

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It's also important to remember everyone's body is different and different foods may affect people's skin in different ways. This is especially true of acne.

"Acne is very personal." Dr. Rossi says. "Some people really break out in acne from certain foods, like dairy or chocolate."

If you're someone for whom traditional acne treatments haven't worked, it might be worthwhile to take stock of your diet and see if a particular food may be behind it.

"It's not always the easiest to figure out if your diet is contributing to your acne, because it's a hard thing," Dr. Rossi says. "But, if you have bad inflammatory acne or bad cystic acne and you've been going to your dermatologist and you've been trying things and it's still not working, then it's also time to look at your diet as well."

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