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Is Dairy Really Bad for Your Skin?

I just read an interesting article about Alanis Morisette, written by her, about her struggles with two eating disorders when she was younger – bulimia and anorexia.  While eating right and exercising was the main focus of her article, she also brought up a fact that I remember hearing and even bandying about in my mind when I was younger.

The theory (I shouldn’t have said fact, I don’t believe it’s been medically proven, although it may be true for some people), is that milk and dairy products actually are bad for your skin and can cause and aggravate breakouts.

I remember seriously considering giving up milk, cheese, eggs, ice cream, yogurt, all these foods that I really loved (and thought I needed for the calcium) just so I could see if it gave me pristine skin.  But alas, I never did follow through with it because I guess that my love of double cheese pizzas, mint chocolate chip ice cream, and cheese enchiladas ultimately won out.

And the poor substitutes for the real thing when it came to dairy subs? Well, they were ok for when you were dieting, but c’mon when you wanna be bad, it’s so fun to pig out on dairy. Even if it does result in a little painful stomach distention.

There are quite a few people, and of course many vegans (vegetarians who do not eat meat, fish, or any type of dairy product), of course, who advocate not eating dairy for health purposes and who also claim that it’s good for your skin. And there may be some truth to that, because Alanis Morisette isn’t the only one that I’ve heard say she gave up dairy and her skin has never looked better.

Has anyone out there gone on a dairy free diet regimen, and found that it has also cleared up their skin? We’d love to hear from you. I do think there may be something to it, at least for certain people. And it does make sense because dairy products are such a source of allergens for a lot of people – maybe it’s some sort of allergic reaction some people get to it?

Annnyway….would love to hear from anyone on this subject.

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March 20, 2010 at 8:53 am
5 comments »
  • April 7, 2010 at 1:01 amJosh

    I have been researching for a long time about Acne as I have and still suffer from back acne, in the past year I have vowed to give up Dairy to see if it would help… It has helped some and my break outs are far less then they have been in the past but they still happen… probably because I can’t fight off the craving for Cheese and there really is no other substitute for it… though I have recently tried Goat Cheese and love it hopping that is better than cows cheese… I’ve also gone mostly organic and try to eat as naturally as possible… I’ve also done the Master Cleans… and to this day still have problems with my acne… My next step is to test my hormone levels if any one knows of a great way to do this I would love to know…

  • April 13, 2010 at 11:05 amRS

    Check your hormone levels with a simple blood test. Your dermatologist or doctor will write you a prescription.

  • July 28, 2010 at 12:42 amOwen

    So I just think that everyone should know that Acutane is a wonderful drug and you should look into it if you havent already. I have the same questions about milk and diary. My problem is that I hear it’s bad for your skin but I haven’t heard it proven, the only people that seem to say it is bad are the vegans and people like vegans who seem to support it because it is another way to makes their cause seem more reasonable. On top of all of that milk protein has been proven to be the best used and absorbed by your body to build muscle. I am trying to put on muscle mass and am really reluctant to give up my new zealand whey protein isolate if it’s not for a good reason. PLEASE SOMEONE HELP FIND ME AN ANSWER!!!

  • November 3, 2010 at 10:54 amJenny

    I went vegan for almost a year and I had no breakouts, whatsoever. I was also using Pevonia, which is an all natural skin care line. My skin was gorgeous. I have just gone back to eating cheese occasionally and my skin is breaking out again. I definitely think dairy has an impact.

  • September 12, 2011 at 8:42 pmClaire

    Dairy is at least bad for the skin of some people. I could not be more certain of this and so it really bothers me that dermatologists claim food does not cause break outs. For me, dairy is my main cause of acne, but I am in my mid-twenties. I suspected this cause and effect for some time and rarely ate dairy until a nutritionist recommended that I eat more dairy, especially Greek yogurt. My skin at the time had been perfectly clear for about 2 years. I tried eating dairy for about 2 months. The first month, my skin slowly became more pimply. By month 2, I had a couple, expanding areas of soon-to-be-breakouts. I cut back on dairy and then gave it up around month 3. After giving it up, it still took several weeks for my skin to recover.

    Now, as my husband puts it, I’m a “glutton for punishment” because giving up dairy was so hard for me, that I decided after my skin had again been perfectly clear for a year of no dairy, I would try it again. At first, I thought it would be fine. I did have a few pimples right away, but I thought it wasn’t a big deal. It became worse and worse, and by month 3, I have break-outs mostly on my chin and forehead. I give up dairy, and 3 weeks later, it already looks like new break outs are about over.

    I know not everyone has this reaction to dairy, but I certainly have it and for doctors and others to say food doesn’t directly cause pimples is simply misguided and wrong.

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