Is Your Acne Caused By Your Dairy Consumption?

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So you’ve tried a healthy diet, a good skincare routine, perhaps you’ve even been prescribed topical creams or tablets from your doctor, but nothing has cleared up your acne. But wait….could it be that your blemished complexion is down to your dairy consumption? This topic of conversation had always occurred within my friendship group but I had never really given it much thought until now…

New studies have come to light recently showing that dairy consumption can cause acne and / or blemishes. Let’s look at the link between the two… 

  • Dairy products increase the amount of sebum (oil) that your skin creates, with excess oil your pores become clogged and this causes the formation of spots.
  • Not only is sebum production increased but dairy products are also known for ‘gluing’ together dead skin cells, again clogging the pores. With these two factors it is easy to see how a build-up can cause unsightly skin!
  • Dairy products are known to contain a growth hormone called IGF-1.  Its primary purpose is to help calves grow up big and strong. In humans however this hormone tends to encourage acne instead, leading to the redness and swelling that often makes acne so painful and unsightly.
  • Not only does dairy contain IGF-1, but the sugar in dairy can cause a spike in the production of the same hormone in our liver due to increased insulin levels. This causes even more spots!

If you are anything like me, you’ll now be wondering how you could ever give up lattes and cheese. Well you may not have to entirely. Firstly I would suggest a period of time where you swapped dairy products for a non-dairy alternative. It is imperative to understand that changes will not happen straight away – give it time. Try a dairy-free March for example. With an increasing range of non-dairy and vegan alternatives you could try swapping cow’s milk for oat, almond, soya or hazelnut milk. My favourite at the moment is definitely the oat variety.

If you find that eliminating dairy decreases the amount of blemishes on your skin or reduces the inflammation and redness of your skin, then you can then work towards a plan of removing or cutting down your consumption of diary products. Unfortunately acne is a complex problem with lots of potential triggers, making it hard to pin point a single cause. It might be that reducing your intake of diary products does not have a significant impact on your acne, but by trying this process even if it doesn’t work, at least you can confidently say that in your case dairy products are not the cause.  


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