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How Dairy Might be Triggering Your Breakouts

May 9, 2022

Experiencing breakouts and not sure what’s causing them? While there may be many contributing factors, a potential culprit could be dairy. Why are dairy and acne connected? How do you know if dairy is the cause of your breakouts and not something else? I’ll answer all of these questions and more below. Keep reading to learn more!

Acne is Your Skin Telling You Something is Wrong

Breakouts can be a difficult skin condition to get under control. There are many factors that cause breakouts including hormones, improper skincare products, hygiene practices, comedogenic makeup, dirty linens, food sensitivities, and much more!  If you are struggling with adult acne, first just know you are not alone.  Second, go through the list above to determine if any of these factors may be attributing to your breakouts. It is important to make modifications one at a time.  If you change too much too quickly, the skin may not respond as you want it to. 

To break it down simply, acne is a way your skin is telling you something is wrong.  Food sensitivities are an acne trigger that most adults do not think of because it is an indirect cause of breakouts.  In addition, we can develop food sensitivities/allergies in our adult life that we never use to have as children or adolescents. 

why can dairy trigger breakouts?

Cow’s milk and most dairy products contain proteins such as whey and casein which are thought to be irritating to the skin, in particular acne prone skin types.  Whey and casein have been found to elevate the production of hormones related to insulin and growth factors, which help calves grow and development.  In humans however, these elevated hormone levels trigger increased sebum production.  A small amount of sebum maintains the hydration level of the skin.  Contrarily, sebum in excessive amounts becomes trapped inside pores, causing congestion, blackheads, and inflammatory acne. 

How do you know if your skin is sensitive to dairy?

How do you test to see if you have a dairy sensitivity or allergy?  Well, the answer is quite simple- eliminate all dairy products completely for four weeks and monitor your breakouts. If you have a sensitivity or allergy to dairy you will find that most of the breakouts are located around your mouth or along your jawline.  If your congestion and breakouts decrease, this is a sign that you may be sensitive or allergic to dairy.  It is important to check the ingredient lists on the products you consume daily to make sure there aren’t any dairy ingredients hidden.  Opt for nut based milks, coffee creamers, yogurt, etc.

Food Sensitivity Testing

A more concrete and effective way to see if dairy might be a trigger for you is to take a food sensitivity test. Our sister company, Your Wellness Center, offers a simple take-home test kit called the “FIT Test”, which measures sensitivities of up to 176 different foods, colorings, and additives. By identifying which foods may be causing unwanted skin concerns (acne breakouts, eczema, rashes), you can develop a more personalized nutrition plan and work to eliminate those foods from your diet. Which may not only improve your health, but quality of life as well!

Head over to the Food Sensitivity Testing page on their website to learn more.

Find what works for your own skin

I personally made the choice to remove dairy from my diet a few years ago.  Of course it was difficult for the first few weeks (I love cheese!) but honestly, now it is easy. The hardest part is making the commitment to 100% eliminate dairy and not cut corners. If dairy is a trigger for your acne, you won’t mind as much eliminating this yummy food group because your complexion will be more clear!

At the end of the day, you have to find and commit to a regimen that works for your own skin, not someone else’s. Each of us struggle with different skin issues and journeys, so you have to really hone in on what products and treatments for you personally. If you need help getting started with a routine or want to sit down with one of our providers to talk over specific concerns, schedule a complimentary consultation with us! We’ll get your skin back on track and glowing in no time.