Is Chocolate Actually Bad For Your Skin? Experts Explain

Generally, Bowe recommends avoiding milk chocolate and white chocolate (which isn’t technically chocolate at all) if you can, as these tend to contain more dairy and sugar to nail that creamy flavor. Dark chocolate, however, is brimming with healthy minerals like iron, magnesium, and zinc, as well as flavanols (a subgroup of polyphenols), which can help neutralize free radicals and combat oxidative stress. Research even shows these flavanols can enhance skin photoprotection from UV rays. So both answers to the chocolate conundrum are technically correct—it just depends on the type you choose. 

And if you choose organic, raw dark chocolate (aka cacao)? You may reap even more skin-healthy benefits. “Organic dark chocolate has an added advantage. The process is fermented, so it’s also a fermented food in that way,” says board-certified psychiatrist, professional chef, and nutrition specialist Uma Naidoo, M.D., on the mindbodygreen podcast. It’s true! Once harvested, cacao beans are fermented, dried, roasted, then removed from their shells (which is also what gives dark chocolate its slightly tart taste). And fermented foods are top notch for skin, as they promote good bacteria in the gut—research shows that what you put in your mouth indeed influences your skin and skin microbiome in many ways. Just make sure you’re buying a high-quality, organic dark chocolate with at least 70% cacao content. 

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