The linkage between dairy products and skin problems has been controversial for many years, mostly due to pushback from the diary industry. However, increasing numbers of studies sponsored by the American Academy of Dermatology and not by any industry promoters have shown that dairy products do in fact aggravate skin problems, especially acne.
Acne is certainly a complex skin problem that has multiple possible causes and triggers, but there appears to be a clear link to hormone imbalances. One common conclusion from the aforementioned studies is that high levels of hormones in cow's milk promote spikes in a cascade of hormones in the human body.
This change in hormone levels results in increased production of sebum or oil in the skin by as much as 60%. An above-normal increase in oil production like this one sets the skin up for inflammation and infection that causes the formation of pimples.
All dairy products appear to contribute to acne to some degree, but skim milk and skim milk derivatives appear to be the worst culprit. The current theory is that since skim milk is manipulated more in its manufacturing process, the chemistry of the milk is also altered, resulting in more skin problems. Nothing has been proven yet as to the cause, but the association is strong.
Here at Maine Laser Skin care, we currently recommend that all of our acne-prone patients start a dairy elimination diet. This change of eating patterns involves stopping all dairy products (including milk, cheese, butter and yogurt) for at least 2-4 weeks, and observing your skin to see if the skin clears up or at least improves. Plus, a dairy elimination diet is a lot easier now with all of the availability of dairy substitutes such as soy, almond, coconut and cashew milk and its own derivatives.
Despite some folks saying that they "couldn't live without cheese", we have seen some dramatic transformations, especially in teenagers, with the introduction of the dairy-free diet. Acne-prone skin will still need more attention in terms of topical products and cleansing, but diet changes are a cheap and easy way to help the skin, especially in stubbornly-resistant cases.
We can gladly see any acne clients for a free consultation whether it is a typical teenager with puberty-induced acne or a middle-aged woman with occasional but aggravating and embarrassing breakouts. No matter who you are, we can build a customized program for each and every individual.
We analyze the whole person from the point of view of diet, stressors, topical products, and external treatments such as facials and lasers. Every person may need a different combination for their skin needs.
Simply call (207) 873-2158 for our Augusta office, or (207) 303-0125 for our Scarborough office to schedule your first step to better skin. Remember, our motto is "Beautifying Maine One Face (And Body) At A Time", and we take our mission very seriously.