Acne occurs when your pores get clogged with bacteria and dead skin cells. Cysts, whiteheads, pustules and blackheads result from those clogged pores.
In the USA, acne is the most commonly seen skin problem with around 50 million people being affected every year. As the rates of acne have risen, the rate of processed and dairy foods being consumed has risen too.
There are lots of reasons why people develop acne and we all have different types of skin, however significant evidence exists to suggest dairy may cause or aggravate acne in some people.
The majority of studies based on evidence agree acne may be aggravated by dairy. However, the underlying connection between acne and dairy remains unknown at the present time.
Dairy cows receive artificial hormones which affect their supply of milk. It has been suggested by researchers that those artificial hormones could throw your own hormones out of balance whenever you have dairy products and this could cause acne to develop.
A different theory suggests that growth hormones which are already naturally found in milk can aggravate acne regardless.
There is also a 3rd theory which suggests that when dairy products are combined with a large amount of processed sugars and refined foods (which regularly occurs in those eating a standard American diet), insulin levels are disrupted and the skin becomes more susceptible to acne.
However, not all types of dairy product have the same effect on acne. Some studies show that skimmed milk is most likely to trigger acne.
How Does Dairy Affect Your Skin?
Cows make milk with which to feed their calves and enable them to grow. Casein and whey, the proteins naturally found in milk, stimulates hormones and growth not only in calves but also in humans when they drink cows’ milk.
When humans digest casein and whey, a hormone is released called IGF-1 which is similar to insulin. This hormone triggers breakouts.
Also, the hormones naturally found in milk may interact with human hormones, confusing the body’s own endocrine system, signaling breakouts.
Milk has its own natural sugar – lactose. After we grow out of infancy, it’s harder to break down lactose and to digest it. 65% of people have a lactose intolerance and they could develop acne as a result of sensitivity to lactose or an allergic reaction to it.
Is Dairy The Only Reason For My Breakouts?
If you think your breakouts are due to dairy products, trying an elimination diet could be the way forward for you. If you cut all dairy from your diet then observe the way in which your skin reacts, it’s easy to see whether dairy has been impacting on your skin condition.
If you find that dairy isn’t the cause of your acne, don’t worry. There are several other causes which could be responsible.
You may have an allergy to some of the ingredients found in specific hair products and cosmetics, or to some foods like coffee beans or cocoa which you’re including in your diet. This could be causing your breakouts.
Also, your hormone levels could be at fault. They naturally fluctuate during pregnancy and after it, during puberty, and during and before menstrual cycles, and this could trigger acne.
Acne is also linked to stress, so your lifestyle could be causing your breakouts.
As one final factor to consider, acne could be genetic and inherited from family members. One or several of these could be to blame rather than dairy products for your blemishes.
Is Dairy Causing My Acne?
At the end of the day, there is research out there to show that some people find their acne problem is worsened or triggered by dairy.
However everyone has different skin. Acne won’t always be connected to dairy products, but you may find it worthwhile to experiment with your dietary regime to discover just how dairy is affecting your skin.
If you’ve got any questions about whether your dairy intake could be causing your acne, you should speak to a dermatologist. They will be able to offer you the expert information that you need and help you to find the most appropriate treatments to help you with your problem skin.