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Dairy and acne...

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I have pretty good skin for the most part, but I have had horrible acne for years. I have tried several different options for treatment and none of them have seemed to work for me. I do suspect that a good bit of it comes from mental stress and anxiety (which I need to work on) but I have heard that dairy also seems to worsen acne.

For any vegans or dairy-free gals and guys out there - did nixing dairy clear your skin? I am sick of having little dots and bumps. I eat a pretty sizeable amount of dairy every day and I am almost sure things would improve if I replaced those servings of yogurt, milk, cheese, etc. with something else.

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Generally acne is an hormonal thing related to age..........why not just try and see yourself, it would make all conflicting answers redundant.

I've heard the same thing.  I've been trying to go vegan for this reason, but I keep slipping up!  I have a really hard time staying vegan for any significant length of time, so I have no idea if this really works or not.

It'll really depend on you. My brother drinks alot of milk, has bad skin problem, stopped drinking milk but it didn't do anything he says. I also heard people have skin problems from soy. I thought so too because I started breaking out alot after drinking soy milk but it turns out it was from just lack of sleep. :/

Absolutely yes.

I developed adult-onset acne ironically at the same time I started to try and improve my health.  That effort included incorporating yogurt and skim milk into my daily diet.  Suddenly, my face was a battlefield and I was devastated.  I went to several doctors and went on several different antibiotics and nothing helped.

My acne was horrible, too.  Tons of pustules, several whiteheads, and at any given time, a spattering of a half-dozen cysts.  By fluke, poverty struck: I ran out of milk, and didn't think to buy anymore.  In that period, my skin cleared up.  Once I had more money, I bought more skim milk, and within a half-gallon (about a week or so) my face had erupted once again.

I didn't catch on right away, unfortunately, and continued to suffer once more.  Another round of no money and another few months without milk brought on clear skin again.  Finally it clicked, and with a bit of experimentation, I was able to confirm that indeed, the acne was being triggered by the dairy.  Any attempt to reintroduce it into my diet results in outbreaks within two weeks.  I can have small doses of high-fat dairy treats once in a blue moon (in other words, I can add a splash of full-fat cream or a small ice-cream cone a couple times a month), but if I even take a swig from my boyfriend's jug of milk or attempt to enjoy a cup of yogurt, my face breaks out again.

I'm very mad at my face for this.  I love yogurt (love it, yum) and since I can't eat soy either, I really have had to give up many of my favorite foods because of my inability to eat dairy.  It also sucks when I try to demure a dairy offering from a friend, and I tell them I can't consume dairy.  They assume I'm lactose intolerant.  No, I can digest it just fine.  It's the hormones in the dairy that breaks me out, and it's terribly embarrassing to have to explain that to people when they question my dietary choices (especially since I generally do have the moments of weakness and pay the price in the form of a glaring and angry cyst on my chin, and said cyst is almost always prominent when I'm explaining that dairy gives me acne).

Whew.  I rambled on there.  Heh. ^^;

In brief, I love dairy, but I can't eat it.  I haven't experimented with organic milk products, but I'm pretty sure they'd break me out, too -- it's the cow's hormones that do it, and even organic milk has naturally occurring hormones.  The only "safe" way for me to eat it is in minuscule portions and in full-fat form (ie, cream, butter, whole milk).  Perhaps you can wean yourself off it slowly to clear it from your body, then try to enjoy full-fat organic dairy products in moderation?

I hope I helped, and let me know if I can clear anything up.  I'm in the middle of procrastinating on some ugly essay that's due tomorrow, so my writing is all kinds of jumbled. >.>

I myself developed acne to my shock 3 years ago in adult life late 30s and it made me very self conscious, I don't really know what caused it, however I do eat dairy milk every day and yoghurt all though plain so for me dairy doesn't seem to be the problem however I do have to drink 2-3 litres of water everyday in order to keep my skin clear.   


I think everyone may be different.


Good luck

I agree that everyone is different.  Dairy does cause my skin to look terrible but so does too much soda.  I am lactose intolerant.  I quit drinking soda all together and limit my dairy.  I do not drink any milk, but I sometimes eat things that contain dairy products.

I never had bad skin as a teenager.  My skin didn't start breaking out until I was in my twenties.  In order to have clear skin now, I have to maintain a good diet.

Well I don't drink soda, so that rules that out! Hahah. I eat a very "clean" diet and typically don't eat much soy other than some tofu or tempeh here and there - no faux meat products or anything like that. I am a huge water drinker so I don't think there's a problem there.

I suspect either stress, lack of sleep, or dairy. Or maybe a combination of the three? I really don't know and I guess the only way to find out is to experiment with it and see. The only dairy products I eat are yogurt and cottage cheese since I buy unsweetened almond milk instead of skim (because like it better) and I am not a big cheese fan.

hey Zeb, i think this def. depends on the person, everyone's body responds differently to different foods and food groups, and yea you eat very very clean and healthy, so i would think you would have perfect skin!...but i have a friend without any ED or any eating issue at all, and her skin is not the best, and she always pinpoints it on eating a lot of dairy, but for her it is like sugary lattes at Starbucks and ice cream etc...and i know the kinds of foods you eat and you eat cottage cheese and Greek Yogurt, and those are such nourishing great dairies....maybe if you really want to replace some dairies with non dairy things to better your skin, try drinking almond milk more as you said, and perhaps coconut yogurt(its so delicious brand) ? and add protein powder to almond milk, b/c i know almond milk is not that high in protein at all...hmmm idk this could also just be stress?

love you babe.

Zeb, this is such a good question, now that you mention it. Personally, I have a very fragile digestive system, and dairy usually causes problems. Despite that, I have to eat a cup or two of greek yogurt a day, to get my protein in my meal plan (I have an ED fear of protein powder, and protein in general, haha, but I'm working on it.) Since eating more dairy, my skin has def gotten a lot worse, I eat mostly clean and have seriously never had acne before this, so I think it might be the dairy. For me, yogurt isn't that bad to digest, but I would say maybe the cottage cheese? Have you tried soy yogurts? Some of them are ok, like Silk Vanilla, but not as much protein. Also, it could just be hormones for us, because I think we're around the same age (15)?

Hope this helps!

It depends on the person.


I know two people that have psoriasis, and once they stopped consuming dairy, it cleared up.   My brother's father in law has a joint disorder that is flaired up by dairy.


However, I know plenty of people that drink dairy and have clear skin and no other issues.

Yikes! I'm sorry to hear that Hannah. I hope it clears up soon! Are you a vegetarian, I'm assuming? If you're looking for protein options you could try tempeh, tofu, seitan (very high protein), beans, legumes, nuts - lots of things! I don't really think animal protein is nessessary, like some people do, and you can very easily get in however much you need through plant-based foods.

Hemp and rice proteins are good options if you just don't like whey.

Thanks, yea, I'm a vegetarian, and for some reason, during recovery, I've developed a fear of protein, I cannot imagine why. But yes, I have either tofu, a veggie burger, or beans every day. I make a delish tofu peanut stiry fry, and I would like to be able to eat meat and chicken, but it just does not agree with me at all, so its not really a voluntary choice. In my group of friends, we are actually all vegetarians/vegans, so I get a lot of tips for my friends on being vegetarian haha!

I hope the acne clears up have you decided to dairy? 

I gave up dairy and meat strictly at the same time (I had been using mostly soy and oat milk for a while, but slipping up occasionally) and I noticed not only that my acne cleared up, the eczema that had plagued me since I was a teen has all but disappeared.  I hadn't even noticed the acne until my mum and sisters commented on it.

I think it has to do with my whole gastrointestinal system working better off meat and dairy than just giving up the milk. 

When I cut out milk and yogurt from my diet my skin cleared up within a few days. However, I can eat plain yogurt and cottage cheese without noticing any bad breakouts, I think it is because of the lower sugar content in these. I've always had problems with my skin from time to time, but I notice it gets worse when I add dairy back into my diet. Especially dairy that has alot of sugar like certian kinds of yogurt. 

I also found that cutting out peanut butter and bread helps to reduce my breakouts, I think that what you eat can really determine what your skin looks like. Diet is key

I developed really bad acne when I was about 20, I wasn't eating a lot of dairy and went vegan around that time as well. It could be soy that was causing my skin problems, but I also think finding the right cleanser and drinking plenty of water helps. I also started drinking apple cider vinegar, organic with the mother, diluted in water, a bit of lemon juice, and some agave nectar. It really does all depend on you though and what makes your skin feel better. 

Original Post by katiey:

I've heard the same thing.  I've been trying to go vegan for this reason, but I keep slipping up!  I have a really hard time staying vegan for any significant length of time, so I have no idea if this really works or not.

 Umm, why do you keep slipping up?

Maybe I am wierd but I found it surprisingly easy to go vegan, and I was omni before (sort of, more like ovo lacto vegetarian). I don't really like meat though.  But I thought giving up dairy would be hard but it hasn't.  It is so strange because now I think that putting cheese on a pizza is kind of wierd, when I used to thing the opposite was true.  My favorite way to  have a pizza now is with artichoke hearts, mixed veggies, and some vegan parmesan cheese (the homemade kind) sprinkled on, I am hungry!  My mouth is watering...

As far as dairy and acne, I am 32 years old and still suffer horrible acne, have since I was 13.  Going vegan did nothing for my acne.  The only time my acne ever cleared up was for that year I breastfed my son.  But as soon as he stopped, my acne came back. Frown


Guess the acne will be there until I hit menopause.

Before becoming vegetarian, I stop drinking milk for sometime and I saw a huge reduction of acne on my face. I think you should go ahead and reduce or eliminate your intake of dairy and see if there is any difference.

Giving up dairy surely hasn't helped me any. Now, I'm trying a combo of putting coconut oil on my face at night, drinking green smoothies daily, and eating a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables. My skin finally SEEMS to be clearing up.

I like your idea Melissa. Hahah. I really don't want to give up my cottage cheese and yogurt. I already love green smoothies and fresh produce so it shouldn't be too hard.

I have suffered from acne for many years. I then went and had some food allergy tests and found out I am intollerant to dairy. Since then, I have swapped to soya milk and my skin is pretty clear now. I do have dairy now and again as completely omitting it from my diet would make my intollerance worse apparently.

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