Could Milk and Dairy Products Causing Your Acne?

Does Milk Cause Breakouts?

Could Milk and Dairy Products Causing Your Acne?
Some doctors believe that what we eat can actually affect our skin and make acne worse, and there is increasing evidence that no matter what you think, She’s good for you: Milk. Studies show that milk drinkers develop more severe acne than non-milk drinkers.

Is there any link?

Not all experts and studies agree that milk is involved in acne, however, and not everyone who drinks too much milk definitely breaks out in pimples. Some evidence suggests that milk causes acne while other studies suggest that people who drink more milk have more acne. However, those are associations and not proofs.

A meta-analysis of prior studies published in 2019 concluded that both total dairy consumption and total milk consumption were related to the occurrence of acne. He went for milk with no fat content. However, the researchers noted that yogurt and cheese are not associated with acne at all.

Then there’s a meta-analysis published a year ago that concluded that all dairy—including yogurt and cheese—was associated with an increased likelihood of acne.

According to studies cited by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD):

  • US Among more than 47,000 women in the U.S., those who drank at least two glasses of skim milk a day as teenagers were 44% more likely to develop acne.
  • Among more than 6,000 girls aged 9 to 15, those who drank the most cow’s milk were more likely to develop acne, with no difference based on the fat content of the milk.
  • Among the more than 4,000 boys between the ages of 9 and 15, those who drank skim milk were more likely to develop acne.

Why focus on milk?

The role of the Western diet, and especially dairy, has long been in the spotlight for acne researchers as the U.S. I have a higher acne rate than normal. However, only a few studies have been done on dairy and acne, including observational studies and only a few clinical trials.


In trying to substantiate the theory of milk’s involvement in acne, the biggest problem for researchers is the inability to conduct double-blind, randomized controlled trials (considered the gold standard in research) as none have yet been adequate with placebo has come. for milk.

So while the association seems clear, much remains to be learned about the link between dairy and acne.

Probable Cause

Besides whether there is a link, some researchers have to contend with: What effect might milk or other dairy products have on the body that could lead to acne? There are a few different ideas about possible causes at play.


Some experts believe that hormones in milk contribute to pimples. Milk contains androgen hormones, which have long been linked to acne breakouts. One particular androgen is testosterone, which has been strongly linked to the development of acne.

Through a complex chain reaction in your body, testosterone creates dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT stimulates the sebaceous glands, creating oily skin prone to clogged pores and, eventually, acne and acne.

Not just a male hormone

Testosterone is often thought of as a male hormone, but women also produce testosterone in smaller amounts.

IGF-1 Growth Factor

Many dairy farmers give hormones to their cows to produce more milk. One such hormone is the IGF-1 growth factor. In the human body, IGF-1 peaks during adolescence, when acne is usually at its worst. Experts believe that IGF-1, along with testosterone and DHT, may trigger acne breakouts.

In several studies, higher milk consumption was linked to higher IGF-1 levels, with skim milk being associated with higher IGF-1 levels than whole milk.

The processing of skimmed milk may explain why it is associated with acne severity more often than whole milk. Whey proteins are added to give skim milk a creamy consistency, and some evidence suggests that these proteins affect the development of acne.

Hormones and Inflammation

Some experts believe that the hormones in milk can cause inflammation in your body, and systemic inflammation is known to contribute to acne breakouts.

When to Avoid Dairy Products

If you suspect your acne is triggered or made worse by dairy, there are a few things you can try to figure out.

Try a food diary

Track how much dairy you consume and your breakouts to see if you can find a link.

Skip Dairy During a Breakout

See if eliminating dairy at the onset of a breakout improves your skin or clears it up faster than usual.

Eliminate dairy for a long time

You may want to eliminate dairy altogether for several months. Because acne comes and goes, it can take so long to really get an idea of whether it’s helping or not.

Especially if traditional acne treatments aren’t working for you, it can be beneficial to start paying attention to your daily consumption.


Even if your acne improves by banning milk from your diet, it won’t be enough to completely clear up your skin. For that, you’ll need acne medication. Over-the-counter skin products may work if you have acne. However, most people get the best results from prescription acne medications.

For severe acne, ask your doctor or skin care professional about procedures such as comedo extractions, chemical peels, and corticosteroid injections.


If you’re considering a major dietary change to help with acne or any other cause, be sure to talk to your doctor about how to make changes without compromising your health. Remember that acne is a complex condition that can be difficult to treat, so you may need to do more than make some dietary adjustments.

If you’re having trouble managing your acne or think it’s had a big impact on your life, bring it up to your doctor. A referral to a specialist or a change in treatment can help you clear your skin and feel better about yourself.