Does Dairy Cause Acne?

Blog post

We’ve  probably all experienced acne at one point or another in our lives and know that it affects way more than just your skin.

It can really mess with your confidence, and we want you to know you’re not alone. Approximately 85 percent of people between the ages of 12 and 24 experience at least minor occurrence of acne. If for some reason you can’t relate, and you’re sitting there with blemish free skin, just know we’re all jealous and this blog definitely isn’t for you friend.  

There are a lot of myths when it comes to acne. We get questions about what the root cause of it is and if dairy plays a role. We want to help debunk those myths and shed some light on what’s really going on here.  

You may hear about studies published in medical journals that look legit, and they may claim the data shows a clear association between diet and acne. The truth is that many of these are not evaluated through clinical trials to determine cause and effect. What do we mean by that? Well, simply put, the body of research to date is insufficient to claim diet or any particular food causes acne 

Instead of blaming one factor, like diet, for the pestering black heads that keep forming on your chin (ugh we feel you on that though), try to look at it more holistically. There are many other factors that come into play for achieving healthy skin, like sleep, hydration, stress, hormones, and even genetics! Like, dang. Some of these are not really in your control, which is annoying. But we have some tips to help you narrow in on the things you CAN control for healthier skin: 

Tip 1: Focus less on removing certain foods and drinks from the diet, and more on overall balance.  

FACTS: According to the American Academy of Dermatology, a balanced, nutrient-rich eating plan can help keep skin healthy. Some beneficial nutrients for skin health include protein, essential fatty acids, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A, B vitamins, zinc, and selenium. And dairy foods, like low-fat and fat-free milk, cheese and yogurt are an important part of a healthy eating plan. Removing dairy foods, or any food group for that matter, also removes all the good-for-you nutrition that food group provides. One 8-ounce cup of milk provides a unique package of thirteen essential nutrients, including calcium, Vitamin D and potassium*. Keeping dairy in the diet and getting the recommended 3 servings a day is important to manifest those healthy vibes.  

Tip 2: Stay hydrated as best you can because it is important for healthy skin. 

FACTS: Drink water throughout the day and have a glass of milk with meals to stay on top of your hydration game! And here’s how to calculate the minimum amount of fluid ounces you should be drinking every day: Take your weight in pounds divided by 2, i.e., a person weighing 140 lbs. would divide by 2 = 70 oz. Drink extra when training or doing a hard workout. (You’ve hit the mark if your urine is usually the color of pale lemonade!)  

Tip 3: Try to get at least 8 hours of sleep per night (bonus if you can get up 10)! 

FACTS: If you struggle to get to bed early consistently during the week (um same), you can always experiment with different bedtime routines. Anything that’s destressing and gets you into a nice, calming head space would be ideal. Maybe light a scented candle, do some gratitude journaling, and enjoy a cup of herbal tea.  

So rather than focusing on removing specific foods to promote healthy skin, concentrate on overall self-care and a balanced lifestyle that includes a healthy eating plan, good sleep and plenty of hydration in between. If you are concerned about acne, please consult a dermatologist for appropriate treatment but remember that you can still enjoy dairy! 

*Based on the 2019 DRI for potassium developed by NASEM. 

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