Does Dairy Cause Acne?
Posted by Ellie Swain on Jul 13th 2021
It’s easy to consume a lot of dairy. We drink milk with our coffee, enjoy yogurt for breakfast, and where do we even start when it comes to cheese?
Yet, it’s common knowledge that while dairy tastes delicious, it isn’t great for our skin. Whether our skin suffers from redness, eczema, and most commonly, acne, it seems that dairy has a lot to answer for.
The current evidence that dairy plays a significant role in developing these skin conditions is limited and conflicting. There are many variables to consider. For instance, it could be that people who are more likely to drink more milk consume fewer dietary fibers and more added sugar.
However, there’s no denying that dairy does affect our skin, especially when it comes to acne. Keep reading to learn more about dairy and how the tasty stuff impacts our complexions.
Dairy Contains Growth Hormones
We all know that our hormones can have a significant effect on our skin. For many of us, zits crop up at certain times during our monthly menstrual cycle, like clockwork.
What we eat and how we live can affect our hormones, too. Cow’s milk and other dairy products are packed full of casein and whey protein, which increase levels of a specific hormone (insulin-like growth factor-1 or IGF-1) related to increased sebum production. This is the oily substance produced by our skin which is responsible for acne development.
Some studies demonstrate that people with acne have higher levels of the IGF-1 hormone. This may be one reason to swap the cow’s milk in your morning latte for a dairy-free alternative, like oat or almond milk.
If you’re still struggling with acne, it’s worth investing in topical products to help combat those pesky spots. Bioelements Breakout Control is a 5% pharmaceutical-grade benzoyl peroxide formula for acne. The lightweight formula is incredibly hydrating and works to clear acne pimples while healing the skin.
Dairy Boosts Insulin Levels
Dairy isn’t the only food source that can affect our hormones. Other foods, when consumed with dairy products like milk, can alter them too.
When milk is consumed with other processed foods and sugar, it sends our insulin levels out of whack, disrupting other hormones. That’s because when we digest milk, we break down the proteins, transforming them into hormones that are similar to insulin.
The higher our insulin levels, the more inflammation our skin suffers – hello red, angry skin, and a complexion full of zits. Common inflammatory conditions include acne, eczema, and rosacea.
If the inflammation lingers in the body as a long-term problem, it will eventually reach the skin, leading to a breakdown of collagen and premature aging.
If you can, avoid gulping down cups and cups of coffee laden with cow’s milk. There are also topical lotions and potions available to help with inflammatory conditions like rosacea.
For example, GlyMed Plus’s Cell Science Rosacea Relief cream is fortified with a blend of fresh and chemical-free organic ingredients that encourage skin elasticity. Aescin, the primary ingredient in horse chestnut, works to repair vein walls to reduce inflammation.
Cutting Out Dairy
Ready to take the plunge? If you do decide to cut out dairy from your diet, you must be patient. You won’t see any miracle changes in your skin overnight, and you’ll need to wait at least two to three weeks to notice any significant improvement in your skin after removing dairy from your diet.
Remember, patience is key when it comes to any new skin treatment, and cutting out certain foods is no exception.
The good news is that veganism is rising, and nowadays, there are tons of vegan cheeses, milks, and even ice cream substitutes on the market. That means you can still enjoy a milky cappuccino in the morning and a tasty post-dinner ice cream, but this time, you won’t have to worry about the contribution it will have on your skin. It’s a win-win!
You should also be careful of hidden dairy sources. While cheese and yogurt are obvious, dairy lurks in many products as an additive or ingredient. For example, whey or casein protein is often hidden in energy bars you may snack on post-workout.
Milk-derived ingredients may also be added to powdered guacamole mix, flavored potato chips, salad dressings, soups, cereals, cookies, and frozen dinners. It depends on how strict you are with your diet, but reading every ingredient on a label is essential to avoid dairy altogether.
Do you want more skincare advice? Here’s how to create a natural skincare routine .