Does Dairy Cause Acne?

Milk glassOne of the most satisfying sweet treats in the world has to be a delicious chocolate chip cookie straight from the oven. Warm, gooey, and decadent, all this snack needs to be perfect is a tall glass of ice cold milk.

If you are like me, you can sometimes overindulge and take the “treat yourself” mentality too far. Not only is this bad for your waistline but, as it turns out, too much dairy in your diet can cause some pretty nasty skin inflammation.

This means that those pimples and uneven skin texture we all seem to fight from time to time could very well be caused by our cravings for cheese and ice cream.

Dairy affects your skin in a sort of double whammy. Bacteria in your pores cause inflammation, leading to acne breakouts. Dairy can also cause inflammation, expediting the bacterial issue further and making the breakout much worse.

On top of this, the proteins within milk whey and casein are also believed to have a negative impact on the skin, though the exact effects are not yet known. Basically, if there is already something going on with your skin, milk can certainly make it worse, if not outright cause bumps and texture.

Do not let this connection make you cut off dairy altogether, though. While ice cream and milk both are believed to have a negative impact on the quality of your skin, cheese and yogurt likely are fine.

In fact, yogurt may very well improve the appearance and frequency of acne due to its probiotic levels. Hard cheeses, as well, contain lower levels of lactose, which is believed to be tied to the increased levels of inflammation found with dairy consumption.

Another possible culprit is the fact that dairy is known to increase oil production.

Since cows who commercially produce milk are pregnant for most of their lives, pregnancy related hormones are found in the milk we drink. These hormones, much like that of those found in pregnant humans, amp up oil production on the skin. This increase in oil can block pores and allow bacteria to move more quickly around the face, creating more zits than usual.

It currently is not known if the hormones that are commonly also injected into cows to increase milk production are impacting this side effect, though it is believed to be likely.

As mentioned before, there are probable ties to lactose, specifically. When consumed, lactose is converted by the body into glucose, elevating your blood sugar. The resulting insulin spike causes inflammation and irritation which can attribute to more and/or worse breakouts.

Cutting lactose from your diet could very well cause a bit of relief for acne symptoms.

Dairy is a part of most people’s everyday diet. From cheesy pizza to decadent ice cream, we cannot seem to get enough of the stuff. Unfortunately, there do seem to be several ties between acne and dairy consumption.

It is always worth a shot, so feel free to give cutting back a try and see how your skin reacts. It certainly cannot do any harm.