If you are one of the millions who suffer from acne and are interested in alternative ways to reduce or eliminate additional breakouts, cutting dairy products from your diet may be well worth a try. While the scientific community still considers the link between acne and dairy products to be weak, the link has nevertheless been acknowledged.
Hormones and Sugars in Dairy Products
A number of factors in dairy products have been identified as primary culprits that may contribute to acne breakouts, including the following:
The bovine (cow) IGF-1, which is present in all milk (dairy) products, is virtually identical to the human IGF-1 hormone, which tends to make acne much worse. Bovine IGF-1 is present in all milk products, including free range, organic, and raw milk products so drinking any type of milk product exposes acne sufferers to increase levels of acne aggravating hormones.
Natural sugars in dairy products also lead to insulin spikes in the body, causing the liver to produce additional IGF-1 in the body. The combination of higher insulin levels and growth hormones lead to an increase in inflammation, swelling, and sebum production in the body, which increases the frequency and the severity of acne breakouts.
Exposure to additional growth hormones from ingesting milk, the corresponding insulin spike and additional sebum production leads to an increase in the number of P. acnes bacteria and the perfect breeding ground for more acne.
Skim Milk Linked to the Largest Increases in Breakouts
Current scientific data indicates the strongest link between acne and dairy in people who consume skim milk as opposed to whole milk and other types of fat-heavy dairy products (such as cheeses, yogurt, etc.). Skim milk is much higher in milk sugars than other dairy products, which increases the natural insulin spikes that result from drinking it.
It is Safe to Eliminate Dairy from Your Diet
Anyone who is seriously interested in getting rid of acne naturally is highly encouraged to experiment with the link between acne and dairy consumption. Eliminating dairy from your diet is a safe decision, despite what advertisements for dairy products encourage you to believe. If you are a young person, teenager or otherwise concerned about your calcium and vitamin D intakes, simply replace these items with calcium supplements, or better yet, other calcium rich foods, such as leafy green vegetables, seafood, legumes or fruit.
Go Dairy Free to See the Results for Yourself
Because dairy products contain a substance that is highly addictive to the brain (sugar), it may be easier to reduce your consumption slowly. For example, remove all dairy products from your breakfast meals for the first week, breakfast and lunch for the second, and completely removing dairy from your diet in the third week and beyond. Once you are completely dairy free (and be sure to read the labels on everything you buy!), make sure to remain so for at least two weeks to allow your body time to adjust and your skin to react to the dietary changes.