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3 Reasons To Avoid Dairy If You Stuggle With Acne

Updated: Jan 10

Research indicates a connection between dairy consumption and cystic acne, making it a significant food group to steer clear of for those dealing with acne. While the thought of eliminating dairy might seem challenging given its presence in delightful treats like ice cream, pizza, and queso it's worth considering for better skin health.

Minimizing dairy intake can be a game-changer for many acne sufferers.

The Link Between Dairy and Cystic Acne


Cystic acne is recognized as an inflammatory condition, and consuming inflammatory substances may potentially trigger flare-ups. Dairy has been frequently identified as a culprit in acne-related inflammation. So, what exactly in dairy causes an acne flare-up?

1. When we indulge in milk-based products, the proteins in milk break down, releasing growth hormone IGF-1 into our bloodstream. This growth hormone, IGF-1, has a direct connection to acne as it collaborates with testosterone. Elevated levels of testosterone kick oil production into high gear, resulting in clogged pores. Teenagers, who naturally experience heightened IGF-1 levels during their rapid growth phase, may be particularly susceptible. Adding more IGF-1 to the mix through dairy consumption can potentially serve as a trigger for acne.

2. The hormones present in milk influence our hormone levels. By introducing additional hormones through milk consumption, especially those not naturally produced by the human body, there's a potential risk of disrupting our hormonal balance. This imbalance may contribute to an increased likelihood of acne flare-ups. 

3. The lactose in dairy is a sugar that can trigger acne. When lactose is broken down in the body, the resulting sugar is released into the bloodstream. Elevated levels of sugar in the body can contribute to inflammation, and this inflammatory response has been linked to the development of acne.

Additionally, it's crucial to note that many milk-based products, such as ice cream and yogurt, can contain added sugars. This double dose of sugar intake can further contribute to increased sugar levels in the body, potentially exacerbating inflammation and, consequently, acne. It's like a sweet but not-so-friendly reminder that our dietary choices can impact our skin health in more ways than one.

Alternative Foods


Giving up beloved treats like pizza or ice cream forever can sound daunting. Fortunately, with the current health trends, there's a wealth of options for enjoying delicious dairy-free alternatives without worrying about acne flare-ups. Brands like Siete offer scrumptious dairy-free cashew queso, and many restaurants are now serving dairy-free pizza. For a sweet treat, Sweet Nothings has frozen smoothie cups and numerous other dairy-free brands are hitting grocery store shelves.
When opting for dairy-free alternatives, it's wise to check the sugar content on the label to ensure they haven't added excessive sugar. This way, you can indulge in your favorite foods without compromising your skin health. It's a win-win for both taste buds and complexion!

About IGF-1


The presence of Insulin Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1) in milk, a hormone similar to insulin, can disrupt our body's hormone balance and potentially lead to acne breakouts. IGF-1 may stimulate the growth of sebaceous glands and induce hyperkeratosis, contributing to acne development. Our bodies naturally self-regulate hormone levels, which are constantly fluctuating. Introducing certain foods, like milk, can easily disturb this delicate hormonal equilibrium, leading to various consequences.

The lactose in dairy can be challenging for some individuals to digest and can be a major piece of the acne clearing puzzle for many acne sufferers. It's a step towards achieving that radiant, glowy complexion!

LEINE is an Acne Clinic, book an Acne Clear Skin Solution (New Patient) Appointment to get to the root cause of your acne, whether it is diet, hormonal, or genetic. For clients who are not local, a virtual consultation can be booked! Madeleine provides a full consultation to help you determine what could be causing your breakouts, creates a treatment plan, and supports you every step of the way in clearing your acne!

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