If you ask me now what’s one change I made in my lifestyle which dramatically improved my skin, it’s not buying the latest organic facial wash in the market. It’s simply cutting down on dairy. But it’s not really that simple. I grew up with lots of dairy in the house. I like everything with an extra cheese, cream or milk in it. But le skin’s the queen so I bid bye-bye to dairy… well, almost.
I was never really pimple prone but one of the biggest skin problems I had was getting seasonal Queen Bee-sized pimples on my nose. I experienced a really, really bad bout of it in 2011 when several big, deeply rooted pimples decided to have their yearly Acne Convention on my nose tip.
But when I tried the Blood Type Diet (more to get myself acquainted with how to start eating healthy and controlling my indulgences rather than sheer belief in the diet’s theory), I had to let go of dairy and beef. The results were dramatic.
Ever since I stopped drinking milk regularly and ordering that extra serving of cheese (and getting myself that huge cut of juicy steak), I no longer get huge scar-causing pimples on my nose.
Why Can Dairy Cause Acne?
There are both complicated ways of explaining it (source) and simpler ways of understanding it. As usual, I’ll go with simple. Basically, dairy causes inflammation in the body and messes up the body’s natural hormone levels in various ways. Think of it this way:
- Milk is usually extracted from pregnant cows that are filled with their own natural raging hormones.
- Milk is made to grow things. Cow’s milk is meant to grow calves. Milk is filled with growth hormones which cause acne.
- Most cows are fed with antibiotics and steroids to keep them ‘healthy’ and force them to grow fast.
Aside from the issue of hormone overdose, dairy that’s not from our Moms has proteins that a lot of humans are allergic to, same case with gluten-sensitive people. Combine all these reasons and we get that potential glassful of pimple tonic.
(Just for fun, I compiled some ‘Got Milk?’ ads where I got the inspiration for the post’s title. Been seeing these since the early 90s.)
My sister gave me a call last week to report that she stopped having forehead pimples after skipping her nightly ‘warm milk’. She’s been battling acne for years now and it became especially bad just before her period. Obviously, she was thrilled with her progress. Just two days ago, I also received an e-mail from a long-time reader who asked me once whether dairy caused me acne. When I said it did, she decided to slowly weed it out from her diet, too. And guess what? She reported having significant improvement on her acne-prone skin.
Does this happen with non-cow sourced dairy?
Truth be told, I don’t know. I tried drinking goat’s milk previously which was supposedly closer to ‘human milk’ and much easier to digest. But I guess, at the end of the day, if the Mama Goat had weekly shots of steroids and antibiotics to get her to produce more milk like the poor cows — not to mention the ‘bad’ protein from non-human sourced milk— then it might lead to the same problem. I’m pretty happy with my skin now so I wouldn’t dare experiment just to find out.
I didn’t totally stop, of course
At least at this point, I still can’t give up dairy. The thought depresses me. So what I’m doing is to reduce my dairy intake significantly but not totally deprive myself. I stay away from concentrated amounts of dairy in huge servings like milk, yogurt, ice cream and cream. So now, just like my sister, I’m giving my nightly warm milk a miss.