There are many foods that are known to trigger acne breakouts, and primary among these are sugar, chocolate, junk food and even cheese, dairy, and recently, plenty of research has also proven the milk and acne connection.
The Milk and Acne Connection
Research has proven that teenagers, even adult acne can be attributed to dairy intake. This means that those who drink more milk tend to have a higher number of acne breakouts.
The milk and acne effect is well documented, and in the last decade or so, a number of studies have found a strong link between the consumption of milk and increased occurrence of acne.
A particular study found that teenage boys who drank milk broke out more often, and more severely, than those who didn’t drink milk, and at least five other studies have confirmed that, in general, the more milk you drink, the worse acne you’ll get.
In the studies, it is believed that Milk causes acne because:
- There is an abundance of a hormone called IGF-1 in milk, which is really good for baby cows, but not for human consumption. IGF-1 is a growth hormone that makes baby cows grow up big and strong. But in humans, it tends to make your acne grow big instead, and is also one of several factors that cause inflammation in humans, which eventually lead to acne.
- Milk and dairy products cause an insulin spike in humans that cause the liver to produce even more IGF-1, resulting in even more acne.
- Furthermore, milk and dairy products cause one’s skin to produce excess sebum (oil), leading to more clogged pores, more acne, and a breeding ground for acne-causing bacteria, which feed on your sebum and secrete inflammatory by-products.
- Milk and dairy products glue together dead skin cells inside your pores in such a way that, they can’t leave naturally. Thus, leading to clogged pores and more acne.
What Do Experts Got to Say?
Over the past few years, it has been estimated that nearly 17 million people of all age groups worldwide suffer from acne. In the US alone, the system spends nearly $1 billion dollars annually for treating acne and the only thing dermatologists do is prescribe more antibiotics for it.
Funny as it sounds, when you ask dermatologists regarding the milk and acne connection, most of them laugh at it. They believe that milk doesn’t trigger acne or breakouts, but consider the possibility that the hormones produced by cows that are found in milk can actually overstimulate oil glands and cause overproduction of oil.
As cows that give milk are pregnant most of their lives, the natural hormones that occur during pregnancy are found in the milk you drink, and the reason that milk products cause acne is that milk contains hormones that activate oil glands.
It is also believed that the hormones added to the cow’s diet for greater milk production are also being linked to increased male hormone production in humans. These male hormones are androgens and testosterone, both of which are known to trigger acne in people of all ages. All this should change now that there is scientific evidence backing the milk and acne connection.
If you think you do experience breakouts that may be linked to milk, then, first of all, stop consuming the milk of all kinds. That includes cow milk, goat milk, buffalo milk or any other animal milk. Also, avoid cheese, yogurts, ice creams and all dairy products. Opt for soya milk, almond milk, and other varieties instead, which are available in various delicious flavors.
If you are having your doubts, you can try to evaluate the connection between acne and milk by trying the following steps:
- Give up milk and milk products and give it about a month to see if your acne clears. The problem, however, is that a month is too short a time to clear all those clogged pores that resulted from years of oil and sebum over-production.
- If you notice a clearing in your acne within this period, you need to maintain the first step, and try to keep your dairy intake minimal.
Alternatives to Milk for Clear Skin
Unsweetened, organic almond milk, Unsweetened, organic coconut milk, AROY-D 100% Coconut Cream, and Organic full-fat coconut milk are a few great alternatives to milk if you’re still hooked on the liquid white stuff.
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 your incidences of acne outbreak.