Does Milk Trigger Acne?

By Eva Sieradzan| Feb 28, 2020
Does Milk Trigger Acne?

Just wanted to talk for a second today, on dairy and how it can relate to the health of your skin.

When the teenage years arrive, they often come with those annoying, distinctive pimples on the face, and often on the chest and back too. These little skin imperfections tend to go away as we get older, but for some of us, the painful, red and sometimes yellow “zits” may last a lot longer into adulthood. Acne is one of the most common skin problems in teenagers and young adults, and causes significant emotional distress for many.

Some research has shown a correlation between milk intake and the incidence of acne. It seems milk drinkers develop more severe acne than non-milk drinkers. Getting rid of foods like milk, cheese, and ice cream is a great way to give your skin a boost. Cutting dairy improves skin texture, skin tone, and acne.

The biggest irritant of the dairy food group, though, is skim milk, Whey Protein, which is specifically found in skim milk, is pro-inflammatory and can lead to inflammation which can manifest as acne and rosacea. Beyond the whey protein, skim milk has problem-causing hormones that can upset your skin.

Skim milk had added sugars that can cause acne flares. In addition to the protein and hormones found in skim milk, its sugar content can also cause skin problems. “Skim milk actually has much more sugar in it than whole milk. The increased sugars lead to a higher glycemic index. Food with this property are known for flaring acne, so staying away from skim milk should help in part to control these flares.

Even though skim milk is a big culprit when it comes to skin issues, both dermatologists agree that eliminating all dairy can really help your complexion.

If you cut out dairy, it will take time to see results.

It’s important to keep in mind that you won’t see any major changes in your skin overnight if you decide to cut foods like milk and cheese from your diet. It takes approximately 90 days to see improvement in your skin once you remove dairy from your diet and allow your body to detox from it. Patience is key when it comes to any new skin treatments, and cutting dairy is no exception.

Essence of Beauty: Does Milk Trigger Acne? Feature Image 2

There are plenty of vegan options to replace your favorite dairy foods and drinks.

Casein and whey in dairy can create mucous and inflammation in the body. While some people have trouble digesting lactose, it’s often the protein component that triggers an inflammatory response in the body. You’ll hear me preach no protein shakes over and over, if you are battling breakouts. I am constantly AMAZED at how quickly my acne clients clear, when they go dairy free. It’s definitely worth going dairy free for 60-90 days, if you struggle with skin issues.

There are a few great alternatives to milk if you’re still hooked on liquid white stuff. Here we go:

  • Unsweetened, organic almond milk
  • Unsweetened, organic coconut milk (“So Delicious” or similar brand)
  • AROY-D 100% Coconut Cream
  • Organic full-fat coconut milk

You have to be a little careful with milk substitutes as they tend to have a bunch of added sugar and sometimes vegetable oil (both of which negatively affect your hormones and can worsen acne). That’s why I recommend unsweetened almond or coconut milk. (Note: by “vegetable oil” I mean canola oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, soybean oil, corn oil, and cottonseed oil. These oils are highly processed. You can also make your own nut milks, of course! Almond milk, Brazil nut milk, hazelnut milk – you name it. Google around a bit if you’re curious about this – you’ll find tons of great recipes and how-to’s out there. That way, you know you’re getting just pure, healthy nuts and no funny stuff added

Do Not Drink Soy Milk!

Soy milk is made from processed soybeans, which can have estrogen-mimicking effects on the body. Any food that could potentially disturb your hormones in this way is something you’ll want to avoid as you’re going toward clear skin.

Furthermore, soy it’s GMO, which cause inflammation and redness/swelling of acne.

Treating acne

You probably want to know whether quitting dairy would make your skin Acne – free. The truth is – we can’t guarantee that it will work for you. While the links between dairy and acne undoubtedly exist, there are multiple other factors such as genetic factors as well as other triggers such as hormones, stress or other acne triggering foods and digestion.

The first step when treating acne is to determine how bad the problem is. Severe cases should be handled in the acne skin specialist.

At Essence of Beauty Acne Clinic, we have the exceptional clear skin coaches who are ready to educate you and help you achieve clear skin. Book your complexion analysis today to get to know your skin and learn more about our Acne Program.