Potential Side Effects of Dairy for Your Skin & Health

dairy products

Dairy & Acne

Acne is a skin condition in which the pores get blocked with dead skin cells or bacteria, resulting in outbreaks. These obstructed pores cause blackheads, whiteheads, cysts, and pustules.

While the prevalence of acne has increased, so has the use of dairy and processed foods in the Western diet. Acne may be caused by a variety of factors, and each person's skin is unique. However, there is substantial evidence that dairy may aggravate or cause acne in certain individuals.

Is there a link between dairy and acne?

The relationship between dairy and acne has only been studied in a limited way. Although there is no proof that dairy causes acne directly, it may impact or worsen the condition. A study looked at the relationship between dairy consumption and acne in 78,529 children, adolescents, and young adults.

The researchers looked at the connection between acne and the consumption of the following foods:

  • Dairy products examples are milk, cheese, yoghurt
  • Full fat, reduced fat, skim, and whole milk is examples of dairy subgroups.
  • dairy in varied quantities and on various occasions

Potential causes

  • Growth hormones are one of the possible reasons.

IGF-1, as well as other hormones including prolactin, prostaglandins, and steroids, are naturally found in milk. IGF-1 has the potential to boost sebum production. Sebum is a skin oil that may clog pores and lead to acne.

  • Hormones synthesised artificially

Farmers in the United States often use a synthetic hormone called recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) to boost milk output in cows. RBGH promotes milk production in cows by raising IGF-1 levels.

Milk from rBGH-treated cows may have greater amounts of IGF-1 than milk from non-treated cows. When humans consume milk from rBGH-treated cows, they may absorb modest quantities of extra IGF-1, which may worsen whatever acne they have.

  • Proteins found in milk - milk and acne

For skim milk, the association between acne and dairy is higher than for low fat or full milk. This might indicate that the link is due to other components of milk, such as milk proteins, rather than milk fat levels.

Whey raises blood insulin levels, while casein raises IGF-1 levels. These proteins have the potential to cause acne breakouts.

Is it possible to get rid of acne by eliminating dairy?

  • Acne is more common among dairy consumers than in non-dairy consumers. 
  • Acne is more likely to occur in those who consume one or more glasses of milk each day than in people who drink less milk.
  • Acne is more frequent in Western nations, affecting around 80% of Americans at some time in their life.
  • Acne and the Western diet, which often contains dairy proteins and foods with a high glycemic index, may be linked.
  • If a person suspects that their diet is contributing to their acne, they might keep a daily food diary.
  • For example, a person could wonder if there are any meals or drinks that appear to aggravate existing acne or cause a breakout, and whether the symptoms improve if the person avoids such foods or beverages for a day, week, or month.

If you're breaking out, here's what you should do

There are several things you can do to assist in a calm and acne flare-up if you're breaking out:

  • Attempt an over-the-counter remedy. Look for products with salicylic acid or alpha hydroxy acids in them. These substances have the ability to cleanse your pores.
  • While you wait for the outbreak to go away, stay away from oil-based cleansers and cosmetic products. Acne-prone skin benefits from water-based makeup removers and oil-free cleansers. Maintain a clean and dry face to allow your pores to "breathe" while they work to repair.
  • Consider using an essential oil topical therapy. Because of its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial qualities, coconut oil is an excellent carrier oil for acne therapy. To prepare a powerful acne-fighting treatment, add a few drops of tea tree, orange, sweet basil, cinnamon, or rose oil.
  • You've probably heard it before, but don't pick or squeeze acne pimples. This might bring extra germs into your injured skin, prolonging the outbreak. After you've tried over-the-counter or DIY therapies, wait patiently for your skin to recover.

Is there anything else that might be causing your breakout?

  • If you think your breakouts are caused by dairy, you should try an elimination diet. You can get a reasonably good idea of how dairy affects your skin by entirely eliminating it from your diet and seeing how your skin responds.
  • If dairy isn't causing or aggravating your acne, there are a number of other things to consider. A breakout may be caused by allergies to chemicals in some cosmetics and hair products. Other food sensitivities, such as cocoa or coffee beans, might also be to fault.
  • Acne is caused by hormonal fluctuations that occur throughout adolescence, pregnancy, and before and during the menstrual cycle. Because there's a known correlation between acne and stress, it's possible that external factors are causing your outbreaks. Acne has a hereditary component, therefore it's possible that you got it from family members.

Take Away

Dairy products might cause or aggravate acne in certain individuals. However, everyone's skin is unique. Although there isn't necessarily a link between dairy and acne, it's worth experimenting with your diet to see how dairy affects your skin. If you have any concerns regarding the relationship between your acne and dairy consumption, see your doctor or dermatologist. Recurrent breakouts may sometimes be a sign of a more serious health problem. Don't make the mistake of assuming that your acne is something you should ignore.