Milk might do your body good, but how good is it for your skin? Not very if you’re prone to acne, apparently.
New research finds that dairy, especially the low-fat kind, may be an acne-inducing food. A study with over 200 teenage participants between the ages of 14 and 19 found that those who drank more skim milk had more acne breakouts while those who drank full-fat milk did not develop acne.
While the reason for this isn’t clear, a few possibilities might be:
– Low-fat or skim milk may lose potentially beneficial nutrients like fatty acids that are anti-inflammatory.
– Full fat dairy is better metabolized by our bodies while skim milk has no fat, and liquids without fat are digested faster. This rapid metabolizing could cause a spike in blood sugar and trigger hormones like insulin in response.
– Dairy contains hormones, like estrogen, insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), and testosterone, all of which may affect skin health by affecting blood sugar and/or sebum production.
– Dairy products may also stimulate other hormones and inflammatory agents.
If you absolutely must have dairy, only have it occasionally and stick to the full-fat versions. Otherwise, there are a wide variety of dairy substitutes that can be both healthy and delicious.
Plant Based Milk. Soy milk, rice milk, almond milk, and coconut milk are widely available and taste great with cereal, mixed in to coffee, smoothies, or other beverages, or even straight up. They can be unsweetened, sweetened, and even flavored, like vanilla or chocolate.
Yogurt. Just like regular dairy milk, you can now find yogurt made with soy and coconut milk. Brands like Silk and Stonyfield make conventional and organic soy yogurt in a variety of flavors. Coconut yogurt from So Delicious comes in both regular and Greek style. And like regular yogurt, they contain beneficial probiotics to help your skin even more.
Ice Cream. While not-so-healthy because of the high sugar content, if you’re looking for a non-dairy ice cream indulgence, you can’t go wrong with Ben and Jerry’s almond milk versions. A little better-for-you at 200 calories or fewer and a bit less sugar than most are Luna & Larry’s Organic Coconut Bliss Dark Chocolate, Amy’s Cool Scoops Chocolate made with organic coconut milk, So Delicious Dairy Free Soymilk Chocolate Velvet, and So Delicious Dairy Free Almond Milk Chocolate.
Instead of focusing on what you can’t have, focus on what you can have that’s great for skin health – lots of vegetables and fruit in a wide variety of colors, healthy lean protein like chicken and fish, nuts, and legumes.
If it’s calcium you’re looking for, you can get it from leafy greens like kale and watercress, broccoli, and even sardines.
If you’re looking for the healthful probiotics of dairy products like yogurt, a high-quality supplement like our Probiotic-8 can provide billions of colony-forming units of a variety of beneficial bacteria.
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With so many delicious alternatives to milk available now, giving up dairy is easier than ever. So leave the milk to the babies, and get baby-smooth, clear skin!
David H. Rahm, M.D. is the founder and medical director of The Wellness Center, a medical clinic located in Long Beach, CA. Dr. Rahm is also president and medical director of VitaMedica. Dr. Rahm is one of a select group of conventional medical doctors who have education and expertise in functional medicine and nutritional science. Over the past 20 years, Dr. Rahm has published articles in the plastic surgery literature and educated physicians about the importance of good peri-operative nutrition.