Acne and Dairy: A Toxic Combo for Acne Sufferers

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Why dairy and acne is a bad combination

Assuming you haven’t been living under a rock, you’ve likely heard that dairy can wreak havoc on your skin, and more specifically, your acne.

If dairy is supposed to be good for you – it is one of the 4 food groups after all – then why is acne and dairy such a toxic combination?

Dairy products can be considered the perfect food…if you’re a calf. Like breast milk for children, a cow’s milk is rich with vitamins and minerals necessary for a calf to grow and develop.

This doesn’t necessarily align with a human’s needs though. Using my ultra keen powers of deduction, it’s pretty obvious why dairy is not the best for us. I mean, would you feed your breast milk to a cow and expect it to thrive?

Here are 4 reasons why you acne and dairy is a baaaad combination and should be avoided at all costs if you wish to keep that skin blemish-free.

It Revs up Your Sebum Production

Did you know that most milk is taken from pregnant cows? These cows are full of pregnancy hormones that induce our skin cells to start producing sebum (skin oil).

Milk is rich with the metabolite dihydrotestosterone (DHT). It’s this particular hormone that can exacerbate acne-sufferers skin as it specifically cues the skin cells to produce more sebum.

It doesn’t end there though. DHT is also the leading cause for hair loss in men and women, can contribute to prostate cancer and can contribute to abdominal obesity. Yikes!

Which is why you may want to think twice next time you reach for that big ol’ glass of milk to go with your cookies; opt for almond milk instead.

Growth Hormones can Cause Acne

Let’s put this into perspective for you. When a calf drinks it’s mothers milk, it turns into a 1.5 ton steer. That’s a lot of growing, so it shouldn’t be surprising to find that cow’s milk is full of natural growth hormones.

Specifically, insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) is problematic for those with acne.

Like DHT, IGF-1 gets your sebum going, but it also increases skin cell production. With such high cell production, your skin doesn’t have the opportunity to properly shed and turnover those cells so you get a buildup.

The bigger the build up, the more likely you are to blemish.

As if acne breakouts weren’t bad enough, IGF-1 also causes your skin to age faster. Acne and aging? No thank you!

Boosted Insulin is not Your Skin’s Friend

Dairy products are high in sugar and make your insulin levels fluctuate. Higher levels of insulin can cause your skin to erupt with acne.

I don’t want to get into too much detail, but the gist of it is that insulin affects your levels of IGF-1 and other sex hormones which are closely linked to acne.

Throw them out of whack and you have got yourself a little skin problem.

Leads to Inflammation

This explanation isn’t pretty, so prepare yourself. Milk products contain small quantities of herbicides, pesticides and antibiotics, blood, pus, feces, bacteria and viruses. Vomited in your mouth a bit? Me too!

You may feel safe because milk goes through a pasteurization process, but don’t be fooled; this doesn’t kill all the nastiness.

When you ingest milk products, your body tries to process and clear all these extra special ingredients from your bloodstream. This process causes your acne to become inflamed, red and painful, like an allergic reaction.

If you’re not turned off by the idea of dairy after this, then, well I just don’t know what to tell you! Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Brie (mmmm, Briiieee), but is it really worth it?

Have you ever cut dairy from your diet and noticed a difference in your skin, or more specifically, your acne? Dish your ance and dairy experiences in the comment section below!

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2 comments… add one

  • Loni Lichfield May 21, 2013 8:25 pm

    So- why did Cleopatra bathe in milk, and why have I heard of it being so good for skin? Wouldn’t the milk get absorbed to some degree into our skin/blood stream and end up doing the same thing as ingesting it?

  • You make a good point Loni, but back in Cleo’s day they weren’t injecting their cow’s with growth hormones and antibiotics like we do today. As I mentioned in the post, pasteurization doesn’t rid the milk of these additives, which is why we’re seeing such negative effects on our skin now. Bummer, eh!


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