Let’s talk a little bit about the link between acne and dairy, because often when people come to see me presenting with an inflammatory skin condition like:

  • breakouts
  • acne
  • dryness
  • irritation
  • eczema
  • psoriasis

The first thing that we need to do, is try to find the trigger.

WHY is your skin misbehaving and feeling this way? You’ve tried everything, and you’re frustrated!

A common trigger to inflammatory skin conditions is dairy products.

So let’s bring it back to basics and think about cows, milk and the purpose of it.

Why is their cow’s milk in the first place?

The mother cow produces milk in order to feed her calf so that the calf can grow big and strong.

It contains:

  • nutrients
  • growth hormones
  • pregnancy hormones (the mother cow is pregnant for most of her life!)

All the goodness that a calf needs in order to grow into a cow.

We then eat/drink that cow’s milk, with all of the mother cow’s pregnancy hormones, the growth hormones, and nutrients – that the calf needs… hrmmm….

That doesn’t work for our bodies. Human bodies were not designed to digest and absorb those proteins and hormones.

The proteins in cow’s milk – whey and casein – when digested by humans release the hormone IGF-1 which is known to trigger breakouts and inflammation.

Growth hormones can also increase the production of IGF-1 and produces more androgens (like testosterone) which can lead to our skin producing excess oil. This excess oil, can clog the pores and allow bacteria can breed – and then we present with acne and breakouts.

Eliminating dairy from the diet is a step we can take to address your skin concerns, working from the inside out to get your skin on the right track. And you know what – it doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on your morning latte. There are so many great alternatives and it can be an 80/20 rule, not all or nothing,

You can be using all the right internal and topical products, doing all the right professional treatments in the skin space – but let’s try to understand the why and remove the trigger so that you can have your best skin!


  • Canned sardines – bones included
  • Sesame seeds
  • Greens. Turnip and collard greens and kale
  • Spinach
  • Fortified soy, almond and rice milk.
  • Fortified orange juice. Check the label; not all orange juice is fortified with calcium.
  • Canned pink salmon with bones.
  • Beans. Garbanzo, kidney, navy and even canned baked beans provide calcium; boiled green soybeans are another good option.
  • Veggies like cooked broccoli, Chinese cabbage, edamame and acorn squash.
  • Papaya, dried figs and oranges.

*** Acne is a multifactorial condition meaning there are a number of factors that influence the condition. Removing dairy will assist but remembering – all good things take time.