Is Dairy the Culprit?

Acne. Most of us have experienced it at some point in our lives. In fact, 80% of people between the age of 11-30 have it, according to the FDA. As stressful lives as college students, it definitely leaves us even more likely to suffer from the most common skin condition in the world.

If you’re a fellow acne sufferer, you’re probably willing to try just about anything to achieve clear skin. Some common fixes can be changes in skincare regimens, drinking more water or spending way too much money on expensive, high-end health and beauty products.

You’ve also probably heard that dairy could be the source of your bad skin problems, but before you go cold turkey on removing dairy, it’s important to do your research and experiment with your skin’s reaction to it.

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There are multiple theories surrounding the effects of dairy and the presence of acne. One theory pertains to a naturally occurring hormone found in cows milk. In order for cows to produce milk, they need to be pregnant for most of their lives. According to Healthline, during pregnancy, the cows produce a hormone called IGF-1. This hormone, found in the mother’s milk, is intended to help calves develop and grow healthily.

When humans drink milk, we digest this hormone much differently. While milk is an excellent source of calcium, the IGF-1 hormone can cause our oil glands to overproduce oil, resulting in those annoying pimples, according to Dermalogica.

Likewise, if you’re lactose intolerant, like 65% of people, then there is an even higher chance that dairy could be causing your acne. Lactose, a sugar found in milk, becomes much more difficult for humans to properly digest after infancy. There are so many milk alternatives available nowadays that it’s easier now than ever to go lactose-free. These kinds of milk, as well as products made from them such as yogurt, cheese and ice cream, are available at most grocery stores.

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If you want to try cutting out dairy, be aware that you might not see any changes in your skin immediately. According to an interview with Insider, dermatologist Sakira Snell says, “It takes approximately two to three weeks to see improvement in your skin once you remove dairy from your diet and allow your body to detox from it.” Just like with any type of change of diet, it’s important to stick with your new habit for some time in order to see results.


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