Science Says Some of Your Favorite Foods May Be Causing Your Acne

Having acne at 15 years old is expected. Having acne in college is a bit painful. But having acne as an adult is a whole new unwelcome and often cursed battlefield.

Natural remedies, drugstore products and prescription medications can aid problem skin and sometimes completely clear it up; however, for the few unlucky ones, branded by the inflamed dots that freckle across our skin, nothing seems to work.

If you’re desperate for answers and solutions, your saving grace may be in the inflammatory foods that you are digesting throughout your week. Something that most of us love, even overdose on, and sort-of worship could be the cause of inflammation and persistent skin issues: dairy.

More: Here’s What the Dermatologist Isn’t Telling You About Your Acne

If you drink milk, eat cheese or consume any other form of dairy (yes, this includes ice cream), you could be contributing to your acne problem. While science has told us that milk is beneficial for health, milk and dairy is very processed and contain harmful hormones that can increase sebum.

IGF-1, a natural hormone found in cow milk, is wonderful for helping baby cows grow; however, for human skin, it only increases swelling and inflammation. Milk itself doesn’t cause the acne, but the 60 hormones found in one glass of milk sure do. Because of the inclusion of the hormones, oil glands are “turned on” and produce acne.

Moreover, IGF-1 acts like insulin, which contributes to more acne. By drinking one glass of milk a day, insulin levels can spike 300 percent. Milk sugar has been linked to diabetes since it travels rapidly through the bloodstream and can cause an allergic reaction. Obviously, by staying away from cow milk, you should also stay away from other more obvious foods or drinks, which contain high levels of sugar.

More: Everything I Did to Calm My Acne-Prone Skin a Week Before My Wedding

In addition to harming your skin, cow milk has been linked to breast, prostate and ovarian cancers due to the hormone-dependent tumors.

I began my personal journey of cutting out cow milk (primarily) and cheese (I have a harder time with that one) about two months ago and have seen significant changes. Removing dairy from your diet may not cure all signs of acne, but it does reduce inflammation and can better your life in the long run. I switched over to almond milk and purchased Daiya products for my alternative to cream cheese and shredded cheese. Since dairy can be difficult to digest, it sometimes comes out in the form of cystic acne along the chin and jawline. When I began to remove cow milk from my diet, the acne on my jaw and chin virtually vanished and shrunk in size.

I did, unfortunately, splurge every now and then. The holidays were horrific (oh God, the cheeeeeseeeese) and I woke up one morning during the middle of my trip home with an incredible amount of painful, cystic bumps. The dietary process takes time to work its magic — be patient!

More: 6 Skin Conditions That Look Like Acne but Aren’t

In order to fully clear up your skin, you might want to consider cutting out dairy cold turkey. In my case, I slowly weeded it out, which still resulted in pesky little breakouts. When beginning this new change, you may notice that so many food-related items include dairy and milk; however, alternatives do exist! Your skin will love leafy greens, fresh fruit, fish and nuts. Additionally, almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk or hemp milk are much better for you than drinking cow milk. Once you begin to cut out dairy, obsess over alternatives for cheese and experiment with healthy recipes, your entire diet and well-being will be illuminated, along with your skin.

By S. Nicole Lane


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