Nov 1, 2022

The Truth About Whether Or Not Milk Causes Acne

We all begin life drinking nothing but (human milk), and for many folks, milk remains the beverage choice of children alone.

That said, most of us enjoy milk products, (cheese, anyone?), so we all have a vested interest in figuring out whether or not it could be the culprit behind embarrassing acne.

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Dr. Cheri Frey is an assistant dermatology professor at Howard University, and that like every other organ in our bodies, our skin can be and is affected by what we eat and drink.

And the short answer is that yes, too much dairy can encourage breakouts.

“One of the issues we have with foods, in general, is that type of research is really hard to conduct on a population-wide scale. Everyone processes food differently.”

That’s why, according to Dr. Susan Massick, another dermatologist, you shouldn’t worry too much about the occasional indulgence.

“Consistent daily consumption of milk products may be more of a driving force.”

Though no conclusive studies have been conducted, Massick says that some research indicates it could be the hormones in milk that cause skin breakouts.

“The cow’s milk you consume may contain both naturally occurring hormones, such as insulin-like growth factor, an synthetic growth hormones used by some dairy farmers to increase milk production.”

That’s because, Frey says, almost all incidents of acne are hormonally driven.

But wait! Both doctors say that not all dairy is suspected to cause acne.

“Of note, acne breakouts from dairy tend to involve mainly cow’s milk, while other dairy products, such as yogurt or cheese, are not correlated with increased breakouts.”

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At least one study indicates that in the case of yogurt, the fermentation process could eliminate some naturally occurring hormones.

And Massick says not to forget there are many benefits to consuming dairy, so don’t cut it out completely if you enjoy it.

“Dairy is an important source of calcium and vitamin D, and is crucial for bone health at any age.”

Women in particular are prime candidates for bone loss, and developing children also need assistance in developing proper bone mass.

If you cut dairy out of your diet completely, you’ll need to supplement to make sure you’re getting enough calcium.

Some brands of nut and plant-based milk is fortified with vitamins and calcium, so make sure you’re reading your labels.

Also, if you’ve got skin issues, Frey says that cutting out dairy won’t magically cure all of your issues.

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Image Credit: iStock

“Dairy may be an aggravating factor, but it’s not a sole cause of acne. Also, it’s going to take 6, 8, or 10 weeks for you to really see the effects of it.”

Massick says we also need to remember there are other ways to eliminate acne that don’t include a huge change to your daily diet.

“There are a multitude of acne treatments available, both topical and oral, over-the-counter, and prescription.”

Basically, you want to continue to consider the health of your entire body when treating skin issues, so you’ll likely want to consult a dermatologist before making any big decisions.

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