Your Skin On Dairy

By Lauren

  • Removing dairy from my diet did wonders for my skin and overall health
  • Take 30 days and try eliminating dairy from your daily food intake
  • Observe your skin, digestive system and health overall to see what changes might work for you

In my early 20s I made the choice to adopt a plant-based diet and discovered how regular consumption of dairy was interfering with my overall health, especially my skin.  I removed a beloved staple of diet, cheese, and all other milk-based products from my daily routine and miraculously the sinus headaches that had haunted me since childhood disappeared.  Most surprisingly my already clear skin became even clearer!  Although genetics gifted me with a mostly clear complexion, I struggled with congested pores, blackheads, and whiteheads and when I removed dairy from my diet I was stunned at the results.

 Dermatologists have suggested that removing dairy from your diet can improve the quality of your skin while also reducing the symptoms of skin conditions such as acne and rosacea.  Evidence-based studies have demonstrated that acne can be irritated by dairy, but why? 

I was horrified to discover that the hormones dairy cows are treated with might be the cause.  When the excess of hormones from dairy cows enters your body, they can throw off your hormones and impact your skin resulting in outbreaks.  The hormones from dairy can confuse your endocrine system and trigger acne. 

When I removed dairy from my diet not only did my skin clear and my headaches disappear, but my digestion also improved!  Constipation and irregular bowel movements keep unwanted toxins trapped in your colon.  These toxins can trigger outbreaks.  Regular bowel movements, meaning at least once or twice per day, are key to clean and clear skin.  If you require caffeine to have a bowel movement it probably means you are constipated. 

According to Dr. Frank Lipman, up to 70% of your immune system resides in your digestive tract and digestive imbalances lead to inflammation which can aggravate skin disorders.  And, Dr. Libby Weaver says, breakouts are a sign that the body is in need of detoxification.  Removing dairy from your diet might help speed things up and contribute to a clearer complexion as you detox your body from unwanted and unneeded hormones.

If you suspect dairy might be the culprit, try an elimination diet.  For 30 days remove all dairy products from your diet and observe the results.  If you’re worried about how to get the appropriate amount of healthy fat into your diet, try adding walnuts, avocados, olive oil, and chia seeds.  Healthy fats take longer to digest and keep you feeling fuller longer. 

You want to keep healthy fats in your diet because they help you to absorb fat soluble vitamins, encourage proper brain development, support hormone synthesis, and many other important vital health markers.  Diets high in saturated fat, such as dairy, are associated with obesity and cardiovascular disease so by reducing or entirely eliminating dairy from your diet, not only may your skin improve but also your overall health.

After nearly a decade of eating a mostly plant-based diet, the truth is, I still love cheese and ice cream.  I treat myself to a pizza or scoop of gelato once in a while but with much more consciousness.  I’m aware that the food choices I make might appear on my face (and frequently do!) and I’m also aware of how my diet impacts not only my personal health but our global well-being and the welfare of animals. 

Take 30 days and eliminate dairy from your daily food intake.  How does your complexion respond? Any changes in your digestion?  What was hardest about the choice and what was easiest?  Observe the results and see what changes might work for you.  In the end you have very little to lose and so much more to gain!