Acne has many causes which are different for each individual. While there are some connections between diet and skin, it is not proven that certain diets are associated with acne. The best evidence we have so far suggests that what is called a high-glycemic index diet could actually worsen acne in people prone to it. But there’s significant evidence to support the idea that dairy can irritate or cause acne for some people.
When food or drinks are difficult to digest—which is the case for dairy products—every process that goes on in the body slows down, including nutrient absorption and elimination of toxins, and this manifests itself through the skin.
There are some reasons why milk may trigger acne:
Milk contains a protein called casein, an important food source rich in amino acids, carbohydrates, calcium and phosphorous. Its molecule is 300 percent larger in cow milk than in human milk, something that the human body will have a great difficulty breaking down.
Another problem is lactose. Milk sugar can still pose serious threats to your digestive tract. A mother’s breast milk contains lactase, an enzyme that’s specifically designed to help the body break down and utilize this sugar. Unfortunately, this enzyme isn’t present in cow milk and without lactase the body cannot utilize lactose, and it becomes difficult for the body to process milk.
Lastly, there are hormones. Cow milk already naturally contains a considerable amount of hormones. But cows are also injected with synthetic forms of hormones to increase milk production. Hormones given to cows end up in milk that we consume, altering the normal functioning of our body and eventually contributing to excess sebum production, clogged pores and other skin issues.
Acne isn’t always going to have a connection to dairy, but it’s worth experimenting with your diet to find out how dairy affects your skin.