Sunday, 16 August 2015

5 Reasons why Dairy Causes Acne

Continuing from my last post, here are more research-based reasons why dairy is linked to acne. If you have problematic skin, consider going dairy free. It cured me.

People seem to believe one of two things about the cause of acne. Either, diet has nothing to do with acne, and it all boils down to genetics and age. Or, that chocolate and fried foods give you spots. Those people also include doctors. Antibiotics, anyone? In recent years, there have been more studies involving how acne develops. Here are a few reasons why I think dairy causes acne. And, not just me, the dermatological world might just have to finally admit it.

Dairy contains hormones

Cow's milk comes from a pregnant or lactating animal, where milk is needed for a calf to grow 
and put on an immense amount weight. Milk contains anabolic steroids, growth hormones and growth factors¹. This doesn't include the added hormones from the dairy industry. The average person isn't drinking "organic, hormone-free" milk, and even if they were, they would still be ingesting a natural hormonal cocktail.

'got milk' by Jenny Downing licensed under CC BY 2.0

Western Diet

Epidemiological studies have shown evidence that acne vulgaris is significantly lower in non-westernised communities². This study involved Kitavan Islanders who ate a diet of root vegetables, fruits and little fish, with negligible Western food³, including dairy and meat. They had little to no acne.

A 2005 study on teenage acne also showed a positive correlation with high school milk consumption⁴.

Insulin-like Growth Factor or IGF-1

IGF-1 is a hormone that we naturally synthesise and is important in growth; our highest levels are at puberty.When dairy products are consumed, IGF-1 is produced, where it stimulates sebaceous glands as well as androgen production (male sex hormones) which in turn triggers acne⁶.


Dairy raises inflammation in the body⁷ and as acne is an inflammatory disease, it would probably be a good idea to ditch the dairy.

Skin is an Organ

What we eat, is what we wear. Our skin is an organ that eliminates toxins from our body. Whatever is going  on inside our bodies may be showing up in our skin.

To end, here's one of my favourite quotes about health:

“Let food be your medicine and let medicine be your food.” Hippocrates, founder of modern medicine.  


Danby, F. William. 'Nutrition And Acne'. Clinics in Dermatology 28.6 (2010): 598-604. Web.

2 Cordain, Loren et al. 'Acne Vulgaris'. Arch Dermatol 138.12 (2002): n. pag. Web.

3 Guyenet, Stephan. 'Whole Health Source: Interview With A Kitavan'. N.p., 2010. Web. 

Adebamowo, Clement A. et al. 'High School Dietary Dairy Intake And Teenage Acne'. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 52.2 (2005): 207-214. Web.

5 Smith TM, Gilliland K, Clawson GA, Thiboutot D. IGF-1 induces SREBP-1 expression and lipogenesis in SEB-1 sebocytes via activation of the phospho-inositide 3-kinase/Akt pathway. J Invest Dermatol.2008;128:1286–1293.

Melnik, Bodo C, Swen John, and Gerd Schmitz. 'Over-Stimulation Of Insulin/IGF-1 Signaling By Western Diet May Promote Diseases Of Civilization: Lessons Learnt From Laron Syndrome'. Nutrition & Metabolism 8.1 (2011): 41. Web.

Nestel, Paul J. et al. 'Effects Of Low-Fat Or Full-Fat Fermented And Non-Fermented Dairy Foods On Selected Cardiovascular Biomarkers In Overweight Adults'. British Journal of Nutrition 110.12 (2013): 2242-2249. Web.

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