I’ve struggled with acne for over twelve years now, and I have tried many methods to get rid of it. Name a topical treatment from the dermatologist, and I’ve probably tried it. Name an antibiotic that can aid acne, and I’ve probably taken it. I had blue light therapy, where I sat under blue light for twenty minutes at a time. I had steroid shots injected to my face. I got ulcers from my medication at one point, and it took my own investigation to find out that my medicine is what caused it.
So it’s not surprising I eventually turned to other investigations to find ways to cure my acne. I ended up finally facing a potential solution I had avoided; taking dairy (oh lovely dairy!) out of my diet. It wasn’t as daunting as it would have previously been. My sister had an allergy develop years prior and so our house had vegan ice creams, butter, and cheese in stock. It didn’t seem that bad. I could at least try it.
Well it worked, but it didn’t cure my acne. Since then I’ve heard of many people cutting out dairy to help their skin. Science hasn’t come out with a verdict on this, but has said “dairy doesn’t flat-out cause acne in everyone who drinks it. It generally just seems to make acne worse for people already prone to it”.
But why? No one knows for sure. However, it is mainly agreed upon that it’s the hormones to blame. When asked this question, Kimberly Yap Tan (an esthetician at Skin Salvation), this was her reply: “It would first cause inflammation, she said, followed by the actual acne cyst that would pop up four weeks later.”
This aligns with my experience, mostly. When I eat dairy I swear the large cyst that develops only days later must be directly caused by those bites of carrot cake, but experts agree it needs to be in your system for a few weeks. Given the positive environmental impacts cutting out dairy can have – “Researchers who compared the units of fossil-fuel energy required to produce milk and soybeans found that it takes 14 kilo-calories (kcal) of fossil fuels to produce a single kcal of dairy milk, whereas just 1 kcal of fossil fuels can produce 3.2 kcal of soybeans“. While it is important to note that things like almond milk can have a negative impact as well, every bit does help.
There are not many sources in your life that will want you to have this knowledge. As more and more people cut out dairy, I’ve seen more and more ads trying to promote dairy! But if you suffer (and suffer is definitely the correct word), it can be a good option to cut out some milk and cheese and see how your skin reacts. Cheese is an addiction that can be overcome, I promise.