Yes it is confirmed – dairy does cause acne. The billions of cows that we kill for dairy, unintentionally returning the gesture.
As our dairy consumption has increased over the last 100 years so has the number of people with acne. We now have over 17 million acne sufferers in the U.S alone, costing health care in the States over $1 billion a year. Eighty to ninety percent of teenagers suffer acne to varying degrees. But this is not just prevalent in teens, millions of adults are suffering too
The pimply millions rely on infomercial products hawked by celebrities or over-the-counter lotions, cleansers, and topical remedies. Recent research suggests that it’s not what we slather on our skin that matters most but what we put in our mouth.
Many have suggested a diet-acne link, but until recently it has not been proven in large clinical studies. Instead dermatologists prescribe long-term antibiotics and Accutane, both of which may cause long-term harmful effects. In 2009, a systematic review of 21 observational studies and six clinical trials found clear links. Two large controlled trials found that cow’s milk increased both the number of people who got acne and its severity.
The dietary pimple producing culprit – diary, cause spikes in certain pimple producing hormones. Dairy boosts male sex hormones (various forms of testosterone or androgens), increases insulin levels. One does not need pills to cure acne, the cure is at the end of ones fork.
Nutritional deficiencies as well as consuming dairy worsens acne. Correcting common deficiencies including low levels of healthy omega-3 anti-inflammatory fats, low levels of antioxidants such as vitamin E, zinc, and vitamin A, and including an important anti-inflammatory omega-6 fat called evening primrose oil are helpful in preventing and treating unwanted acne. One can correct and incorporate all of these nutritional elements of ones meal plan through a well balanced healthy vegan diet.
Stay away from dairy and avoid acne:
One scientist referred to milk as a “complex aqueous, suspended fat, liposomal, suspended protein emulsion”. What we do know is that milk is designed to grow ‘things’ – namely, babies – and in the case of cow’s milk, calves. It is naturally full of what we call anabolic hormones.
These are mostly androgens (like testosterone) and growth hormones including insulin like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). There is no such thing as hormone-free milk.
Here’s a short list of the 60-some hormones in an average glass of milk – even the organic, raw, and bovine growth hormone free milk:
- progesterone (from pregnenolone)
- 5α-pregnan-3β-ol-20-one, 20α- and 20β-dihydroprogesterone (from progesterone)
- dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate acyl ester
- insulin like growth factors 1 and 2 (IGF-1 and IGF-2)
This is what our governments suggest we drink —at least 3 glasses a day according to the mypyramid.gov website. Those guidelines have been strongly criticized by many including leading nutrition scientists from Harvard such as Walter Willett and David Ludwig.
The famous Nurse’s Health Study examining health habits of 47,000 nurses found that those who ate dairy as teenagers had much higher rates of severe acne than those who had little or no milk as teenagers. If you think it is the fat in milk, think again.
It was actually the skim milk that had the strongest risk for acne. In other studies of over 10,000 boys and girls from 9 to 15 years old, there was a direct link between the amount of dairy consumed and the severity of acne.
It is not just the anabolic or sex hormones in milk that causes problems but milk’s ability to stimulate insulin production. Drinking a glass of milk and eating dairy spikes insulin levels by 300 percent. Not only does that cause pimples, but it also contribute to prediabetes. This is true despite studies funded by the dairy council showing that milk helps with weight loss.
Recent studies also show that sugar and refined carbs (a high-glycemic diet) cause acne. More importantly, taking sufferes off dairy and sugar and putting them on a healthy vegan diet resulted in significant improvements in acne compared to a control group eating a regular, high-sugar nonvegan diet. In addition to less pimples, the participants lost weight, became more sensitive to the effects of insulin (resulting in less pimple-producing insulin circulating around the blood). We know that women who have too much sugar and insulin resistance get acne, hair growth on their face, hair loss on the head, and infertility. This is caused by high levels of circulating male hormones and is called polycystic ovarian syndrome but is a nutritional, not gynecologic disease.
But the dietary influences don’t stop there. It is not just dairy and sugar, but the bad fats that we eat that also contribute to acne.
So consider getting an Oil Change:
Non vegan diets is full of inflammatory fats – saturated fats, trans fats, too many omega-6, inflammatory, processed vegetable oils like soy and corn oils. These increase IGF-1 and stimulate pimple follicles. Inflammation has been linked to acne, and anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats help improve acne and help with many skin disorders.
Balance the hormones that cause skin problems:
The link is clear – hormonal imbalances caused by ones diet triggers acne. What we put into our mouth influences sex hormones like testosterone, IGF-1, and insulin, which promote acne. The biggest factors affecting hormones is the glycemic load in diets (which is determined by how quickly the food that one eats increases blood sugar and insulin levels), and the dairy products one eats. The great news is that going vegan balances those hormones. Exercise also helps improve insulin function.
How to prevent and treat acne:
1.Stay away from dairy. Milk is nature’s perfect food – but only if you are a calf.
2.Eat natural sugars such as those from fruits.
3.Up fruit and vegetable intake. People who eat more fruit and veg (containing more antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds) have less acne. Make sure to get 5–9 servings of colorful fruits and vegetables every day.
4.Get more healthy anti-inflammatory fats. Make sure to get omega-3 fats and anti-inflammatory omega-6 fats (evening primrose oil).
5.Include foods that correct acne problems. Certain foods have been linked to improvements in many of the underlying causes of acne and can help correct it. These include turmeric, ginger, green tea, nuts, dark purple and red foods such as berries, green foods like dark green leafy vegetables, and omega 3.
6.Antioxidant levels have been shown to be low in acne sufferers. So up antioxidants, also up zinc citrate, as well as vitamin A.
7.Probiotics also help reduce inflammation in the gut that may be linked to acne. Taking naturally fremented probiotics can improve acne – kombucha etc.
8.Avoid foods you are sensitive to. Delayed food allergies are among the most common causes of acne—foods like gluten, dairy, yeast, and eggs are common culprits and can be a problem if you have a leaky gut. More people are sensitive to these culprits but just don’t know it as yet. More than 75% of the world population is actually allergic to dairy and it shows up in more ways than one.
Following these simple tips will help you eliminate acne and have that glowing skin you have always dreamed of. And it’s much cheaper (and safer) than expensive medications and dermatologist visits. Go vegan – watch pimples disappear.
Have you struggled with an acne or skin problem? What seems to be a problem for you?
Why do you think we are encouraged to consume so much dairy when the risks to our health (and our skin) are so high?
What other steps have you taken to fight acne? What has worked? What hasn’t? Please leave your thoughts by adding a comment below –
To your good health – vegan love.