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Could Dairy Be Wreaking Havoc on Your Skin?

Maybe it’s time to put away that milky latte and investigate whether dairy is behind your skincare woes…

If you have breakout-prone skin and have tried every anti-acne skincare product or routine in the book, it might be time to figure out if what stands between you and the perfect, clear skin you dream of is your dairy consumption. Maybe you’ve heard a celebrity endorser swear by avoiding dairy for glowing skin, or you’ve read one of a growing number of articles arguing that there is a strong correlation between your dairy intake and skin conditions such as acne and dull or ageing skin. So where is the truth in all of this – and are your milky lattes really causing your breakouts?

It’s all about hormones…

In order to produce milk, cows used for dairy farming must be pregnant. As a result of this, their bodies are flooded with hormones such as progesterone and insulin growth factors. Some researchers suggest that as these hormones make their way into our bodies through dairy consumption, they may promote inflammation and stimulate sebum production, leading to more breakouts.

…But not all dairy is created equal

Is it necessary to eliminate all dairy to ensure smooth, clear, breakout-free skin? Apparently not, as the jury is out on how different dairy foods impact your skin. Research indicates that yogurt and cheese do not have a direct impact on your skin health. Yoghurt, for example, may even help reduce breakouts due to its probiotic content. It is not clear why cheese doesn’t have an obvious effect – one possibility is that it could be because of the reduced lactose content; however, further research is required to come to a definitive conclusion. It is also possible that whole milk may be better for your skin than skimmed milk, as casein and whey are often added to skimmed milk, releasing additional hormones into your bloodstream, which can trigger those dreaded pimples.

So, do we have to choose between great skin and our favorite food?

Even if you are not convinced by the science – because correlation doesn’t mean cause – it is worth cutting or reducing your dairy intake temporarily to determine whether or not it leads to pimples for you. The average life of a skin cell is 120 days, so the most efficient way of doing this would be to completely eliminate all dairy from your diet for this period of time to see how your skin responds. Afterwards, dairy products can be slowly reintroduced – one at a time – to determine whether your skin reacts. If you notice an increase in breakouts then it might be time to seek alternatives for your calcium intake. Coconut, oat and almond milks are great alternatives. Organic soy is also a good option for some but may trigger inflammation in others – which can also lead to breakouts – so it not as ideal a long-term replacement. These milk alternatives should also be consumed in moderation as they are often loaded with sugars, which can lead to other health problems, so always check the label carefully. If you do not notice your skin reacting after a period of elimination… bring on the cheese tray! In moderation, of course.

5 To Try:

Battling breakouts? Try these pimple busters from

COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patch

Is it magic? No, it is the Acne Pimple Master Patch. These waterproof patches are a dressing for open comedones – pimples which are at the surface of the skin – and are applied to the areas affected overnight. They work by protecting the area from bacteria and infections, reducing inflammation and extracting the pus and liquid out of the pimple and absorbing it into the patch. The blemish will be left calm and defeated by morning. What’s not to love? Each pack includes 24 patches in three different sizes.

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COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid

This BHA-loaded (beta hydroxy acid) chemical exfoliant cuts through blackheads and pore-clogging oils without the harsh, drying effects often associated with BHAs. Formulated with white willow bark water and 4% betaine salicylate – which is a little more gentle than salicylic acid – this highly effective treatment will eliminate blocked pores and breakouts. Brightening niacinamide will help reduce the appearance of pores while hyaluronic acid will soothe and hydrate. Skin will be left bright, clear and clog-free with continued use. Suitable for all skin types suffering from blocked pores or breakouts.

BHA Blackhead Power Liquid

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Mediheal Tea Tree (Blemish) Care Solution Essential Sheet Mask

This worldwide bestselling mask is formulated with tea tree leaf oil and pine needle extracts to leave dry, irritated and blemish-prone skin feeling soothed, hydrated and balanced without any feeling of stickiness. Skin is left feeling clear and rejuvenated.

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Mizon All in One Snail Repair Cream

This lightweight gel cream has become a cult staple all over the world due to its innovative properties and effective results. Formulated with 92% snail extract, this bestselling cream soothes inflammation and irritation, reduces the appearance of scarring and blemishes, and rejuvenates dull skin. Adenosine and peptides brighten and firm while beta glucan and copper tripeptide-1 promote elasticity. Overall, the texture and tone of skin is dramatically improved and blemishes are healed quickly. Free of parabens and artificial fragrances and coloring. Suitable for all skin types, including acne-prone and combination skin.

All in One Snail Repair Cream

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Thank You Farmer True Water Light Gel Cream

This lightweight and fast-absorbing gel-textured cream gives oily and acne-prone skin the hydration it needs without any greasy residue. Featuring brightening niacinamide, anti-inflammatory liquorish root extract, soothing aloe vera and hydrating squalene, this gel packs a powerful punch to enhance skin firmness and fight signs of aging.

True Water Light Gel Cream

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