The Dairy-Free Diet: Would You Give Up Milk If It Meant Clearer Skin?

Posted on November 13, 2014 by Rachel Duran

Ice cream by Ames Lai.

Rachel DuranCould skipping that slice of cheese pizza or passing on ice cream treats help clear your acne? While recent findings link cow’s milk to skin issues, extensive research carried out over the past 50 years has had dermatologists in a heated debate over the relationship between diet and pimples.

In a nutshell, adopting a dairy-free diet is not a sure-fire path to clear skin. But if you're struggling with persistent zits and blemishes, some time away from milkshakes and quesadillas may be worth a try

Pizza by David Joyce

"When deciding if a product or food is an irritant, I recommend first eliminating to see if there’s a measurable difference before adding back in small amounts. You might have a threshold for your tolerance," explains Dermatologist Dr. Doris Day to Glamour Magazine.

In other words, acne is complex and everyone’s body has different triggers: While cutting out dairy may clear the skin for some people, for others it may not do much at all. 

If you find that dairy is linked your breakouts, cutting it from you diet may not be as painful as it may seem. Since cow’s milk is the primary trigger of skin issues, taste test some alternatives to dairy products, like goat’s milk yogurt or sheep’s milk cheese. Plant-based substitutes like almond milk, hemp milk, and delicious coconut milk ice cream are worth a try, too.

If you do choose to continue munching on dairy products, you may want to try foods that are organic and free of antibiotics and additives. 

So why all the crying over milk? Much of the milk we drink is produced by pregnant cows and contains high levels of hormones. When consumed by humans, these additional hormones can send our oil glands into a frenzy. More sebum on the skin can lead to more clogged pores and blemishes.

P.S.: Moo Milk, Moo Problems

All of this talk of milk reminded us of some classic hip hop: Mo Money Mo Problems.


  • Photo: Ice Cream by flickr user Ames Lai
  • Photo: Cutting Pizza by flickr user David Joyce
  • Photo: Milk Splash by flickr user David Cedler
  • Rachel Duran is an editor at Arithmetic
  • About Us: Arithmetic is a new skincare company focused on helping adults achieve clear, healthy skin


Posted in acne, adult acne, advice, beauty, dairy, health, howto, lifestyle, nutrition, skincare



Free Updates

Sign up for skincare tips and special offers delivered directly to your inbox.

Shop Arithmetic

Recent Articles

About Us