Dairy Milk and Acne – Are They Related?
Dairy milk has been praised for centuries (7,500 years to be exact) for its variety of health benefits. These benefits are so well known, in fact, that people all over the world include it as a staple in their diet. Milk contains a multitude of nutrients our bodies need like calcium, protein, potassium, vitamin A, B12, and D – just to name a few. Many also suggest that drinking milk can combat health issues like heart disease, reduce the risk of stroke and reduce high blood pressure.
However, could drinking this nutritional beverage be making your acne worse?
Large controlled studies have been conducted that link dairy products and acne. These studies showed an increase in the severity of the acne cases as well as the number of people who got acne from drinking dairy milk. Although foods like yogurt and cheese are dairy products as well, the study found dairy milk to be the worst offender.
There are substances found in dairy milk that have been known to cause inflammation and spikes in blood sugar levels. This can often lead to the over-production of sebum (oil) in the body.
Since dairy milk is designed for feeding calves, it contains an abundance of natural anabolic hormones to help them grow very quickly. Believe it or not, your average glass of milk contains over 50 different hormones – even in organic and raw milk. Again, these are all natural hormones, not the bovine growth hormone that is injected into some dairy cows for expedited growth.
Specifically, the natural hormones that help make a baby calf grow rapidly are IGF- 1 otherwise known as insulin-like growth factor-1. This hormone is known for stimulating sebum (oil) production. Milk also contains DHT (dihydrotestosterone) which causes even more sebum to be produced.
Inflammation and Blood Sugar:
Many people are allergic to the proteins whey and casein found in dairy milk, whether they are aware of it or not. If this is the case, our immune systems will try to attack these proteins which can lead to inflammation and result in acne.
Another reason why dairy milk can cause inflammation is that the bacteria and toxins found in it. Dairy cows often live in unclean conditions and are given manufactured feeds that are unnatural to them which can make them sick. The cows are then given antibiotics to keep them healthy. One of the main reasons why milk is pasteurized is to kill off the toxins and bacteria but pasteurization also kills off many of the nutrients and the enzymes that help us to digest it — which is why many people are lactose intolerant.
Dairy milk contains naturally occurring sugars as well. The lower the fat content of the milk, the greater impact it has on your sugar levels (skim and 1% are the worst offenders). Since sugar raises insulin levels, this promotes sebum production as well as other hormones such as testosterone in women. Raised blood sugar levels can also lead to inflammation.
Dairy milk is a great source of essential vitamins and minerals our bodies need to grow strong but there are some downfalls as well. Milk contains hormones, inflammation causing agents, and can take a toll on your blood sugar levels.
Just because you drink milk regularly does not necessarily mean you will get acne. Some people can drink this nutritious beverage and not experience any of its negative repercussions. However, if you already have acne, dairy milk could potentially be making your breakouts worse.