Does Milk Cause Acne? Fact or Fiction:
There is a long standing idea amongst the general public that milk is directly related to acne, and the lack of milk will improve your skin and help keep acne away. However, like many ideas, the question becomes whether this is an old wives tale or there is truth behind this theory. And, if there is truth behind the theory, does it relate to everyone, or do certain other factors need to be present for milk to cause acne, such as lactose intolerance or other skin or digestive problems? Therefore, it is time to analyses the facts and show once and for all whether it is fact or fiction that milk causes acne.
To begin it is important to understand what factors cause acne in general. Scientifically, the clogging of pores will cause a breakout of acne. The issues becomes what causes clogging of pores. Of course make-up residue and other dirt and oils left on your skin can clog your pores causes a breakout. Certain foods may cause your skin to naturally produce more oil, thereby causing an increase in clogged pores. The usual suspects to this phenomenon are of course chocolate, sugar, excess salt and grease, such as fries and potato chips. When these types of food are consumed in excess, your skin becomes less healthy and more oily, much like the rest of your body, and can increase your acne. Better diets rich in leafy greens and lean protein are a wonderful way to combat the food induced acne issues.
Another cause of acne is high stress and changes in hormone levels. High stress levels often cause a change in hormones and vice versa, changes in hormone levels may cause extreme stress. For instance, a woman who is menstruating often experiences changes in hormone levels, leading to higher stress levels, and acne issues. Another example is when an individual is dealing with intensely stressful home or work issues, they may see an increase in acne. One obvious example is when a woman is pregnant, she often has acne breakouts throughout her pregnancy due to the hormonal changes and stress associated with pregnancy.
Knowing the general causes of acne, we can now analyze the issues associated with milk that may lead to acne outbreaks. In short, milk, and really dairy in general, may cause acne. However, the idea that milk in and of itself causes acne is a falsity. It is a bit more complex than simply saying dairy products cause acne. To begin the analysis, we must understand how milk and dairy products are produced. Cow’s milk, and goat’s milk for that matter, comes from pregnant cows (or goats). As discussed above with humans, pregnancy and hormonal changes are one in the same. Therefore, pregnant cows would be full of hormones that when ingested, would trigger imbalances in our own hormones, therefore triggering an acne breakout.
The hormone issue is just the tip of the iceberg. Milk contains lactose, which, as we learn in basic science classes, is a form of sucrose, or sugar. Since sugar is one of the trigger foods we are told to avoid if we want to avoid acne, milk would be included in that category. In addition, Milk is known to be highly inflammatory. Inflammation caused by dairy can lead to the clogging of pores, which as we learned above, is the scientific cause of acne.
Therefore, simply put, dairy products from animals can cause acne breakouts. A diet free of these products will likely lead to healthier skin. However, since dairy is such a big part of the American lifestyle, there are alternatives to animal dairy which can allow the taste for dairy to be satisfied while keeping your skin healthy. They include soy milk, almond milk, and coconut milk, to name a few.