Many of us don’t pause to think about just how true the statement “You are what you eat” is in our day-to-day lives. After all, it is just a phrase, right? There’s a lot more to it than most people give it credit for though as the nutrients and other compounds in your choices for food and drink do reflect on your body. Eating an unhealthy diet affects the clarity and overall feeling of our skin while at the same time adding unhealthy weight around our midsection and other areas. By contrast, eating a healthy diet helps to keep our skin in possession of a natural, healthy glow while minimizing our weight gain. This all good when talking about broad trends, but what happens when we zoom in on a common foodstuff? Dairy is in so many products that we generally don’t even register it unless we have a specific allergy. You might be surprised to know what all it does to your skin.
Interestingly enough, experts believe that there is enough evidence to suggest that regular dairy consumption may boost the rate at which one experiences acne. Most people agree that it has something to do with how the body’s hormones react to compounds in milk, but people are somewhat divided on the actual “why” of the problem. Some people claim that it is due to hormones used to help ensure adequate milk production from cows, but this doesn’t generally hold much weight among professionals. The more accepted idea is that compounds in milk actually mirror some elements of testosterone in the body and may lead to an increased release of oil. This is caused by the pores constricting just a bit less than usual. In the end, that helps to create the perfect environment for acne. There’s space enough for things to get caught in the pores while all that extra oil catches more dead skin cells and debris.
Acne isn’t the only potential problem that can be triggered by dairy though. There are reports of other conditions turning up as well. Rosacea is one of the more commonly reported ones. Some people who already have the condition have occasionally noted that too much dairy can lead to a an outbreak happening when they least expect it. The same is potentially true for other inflammatory conditions. It loops right back around to having the same reasons as the acne. Stimulating oil production with hormones or hormone-like compounds tends to throw the skin into confusion given how closely tied it is to your own hormones. It expects a particular balance and when you remove that balance it becomes more easily inflamed as well has shifting its traits around to try to better match the new balance. In the end, this seems like it would make dairy an unacceptable part of anyone’s diet, but there’s a little more to go in this story before you make any decisions.
Mountain or Molehill?
Yes, there’s plenty of evidence alongside anecdotal stories to suggest that dairy has an impact on the skin’s health. That doesn’t mean you should cut it from your diet immediately. In fact, most of us need the vitamin D and calcium that dairy provides. Cutting it from our diet would simply lead to a lack that would in turn negatively impact our skin in an entirely different way. Most professionals agree that the recognizable impact of dairy on the skin is low at best. Most of the potential issues we’ve discussed will only ever noticeably impact people with sensitive or sensitized skin. The rest of us can generally enjoy dairy as part of a healthy diet and be fine. The only other exception is if you have some form of dairy allergy. Only in these three cases can you really expect eliminating dairy for your diet to do your skin much good. You’ll then need to turn around and make up for the nutritional deficit in other days such as dark, leafy greens.
People are always looking for things to scapegoat in beauty. It is much easier to blame an element of one’s diet than admitting on might be doing less than what one needs to to properly care for their skin. We need to work to remove the stigma surrounding admitting that we made a few mistakes so that we can actually address the root problems instead of blaming something else. In a few rare cases, dairy may lead to skin issues, but overall it remains a healthy part of our diets when consumed in moderation.