There are many foods that are known to trigger acne breakouts. Primary among these are sugar, chocolate, junk food and even cheese and dairy. Recently, milk and milk products are being blamed for acne. Plenty of research has also proven the milk and acne connection. In this guide, we will evaluate whether milk indeed causes acne breakouts and if so what can be done about it.
The milk and acne connection: the evidence
Research has proven time and again that teenagers who drink more milk tend to have more number of acne breakouts. Even adult acne can be attributed to dairy intake. Here are some studies proving the milk and acne connection:
- In the early half of 1960, several medical journals and magazines published studies conducted on people having acne who also regularly drank milk. The Time magazine was one of these popular publications reporting this study.
- In 1996 further studies conducted in Harvard( involving more than 6000 girls aged 9 to 15 years) further ascertained the milk and acne connection. Among this group, those who consumed the most milk also had more acne.
- The 2005 issue of the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology also published a study conducted on over 50,000 women who, as teenagers, had consumed milk, and hence had acne in adulthood.
All these studies evaluated further that milk has several bioactive nutrients and hormones that may be triggering acne in humans.
Growing incidences of acne: alarming proportions
Over the past few years, it has been estimated that nearly 17 million people worldwide suffer from acne and these belong to all age groups. The US healthcare system spends nearly $1 billion dollars annually for treating acne and the only thing dermatologists do is prescribe more antibiotics for it. What is even more alarming is the fact that when you ask dermatologists regarding the milk and acne connection most scoff at it. They believe there is no connection between what you put into your mouth as much as there is between what you put on your skin. As a result, most acne sufferers are aware of using non-comedogeic and non-acnegenic cosmetics and skin care products. However; nearly 90% of them are unaware about the milk and acne connection. All this should change now that there are scientific studies backing the milk and acne breakouts connection. The hormones added to the cow’s diet for greater milk production are now being linked to increased male hormone production in humans. These male hormones are androgens and testosterones, both of which are known to trigger acne in men and women of all age groups.
Can organic no-hormone-added milk solve the acne problem?
Even if you choose organic milk, the cow’s body is naturally producing hormones during its pregnancy. Do you realize that humans are the only species that consume milk made by another animal? Is this not going against nature? So, even if you think that you are doing your body a world of good by consuming dairy products that are certified organic, the fact is you are not. There is no such thing as hormone-free milk since the cow’s natural hormones are still present in the milk.
So what can you do if milk is triggering your acne but you love it too much?
There are many options to get ‘milk-like’ flavors.
- First of all-stop consuming milk- all kinds of milk including cow milk, goat milk, buffalo milk or any other animal milk. Avoid cheese, yogurts, ice creams and all dairy products
- Opt for soya milk, almond milk and other varieties. These are available in various delicious flavors.
How long do you need to stay off milk to prevent acne breakouts?
The answer, unfortunately, is forever. If you are getting acne due to milk and milk products you probably should never go back to it. You can try to evaluate the connection between acne and milk by trying following three phases:
- Restrictive phase– In this, you give up milk and milk products and watch out for at least a month whether your acne clears. The problem is: a month is too short a time to clear all those clogged pores that are the result of years of oil and sebum over-production triggered due to hormones in milk.
- Maintenance phase– If you notice a clearing in your acne, you need to maintain the above phase. Thus, it is recommended that you keep your dairy intake minimal.
- Cautious reintroduction– You could perhaps try to eat a few of your favorite dairy products but it is recommended that you stay off dairy for life.
How to get calcium if you are not drinking milk?
How does the cow have strong teeth and bones if she herself does not drink milk? Thousands of lactose intolerant kids or those with milk protein allergies or even children in poor countries who cannot afford milk grow up just fine. What is more important for your bone health is adequate vitamin D in the diet along with bone-strengthening exercises.
There is definitely a connection between milk and acne breakouts. Sufficient evidence has shown us the same. It is time dermatologists the world-over acknowledge this milk and acne connection instead of simply prescribing expensive acne medications and treatments for its resolution.