Nutrition Science

Will milk and dairy products cause acne?

When we were kids, we used to drink a lot of milk, at least I did that. Nowadays media seems to say that everything that we eat is bad for you. We will cover a few things in this post but let’s see if people and fake doctors are up to something here.

We are bodybuilders, some of us often drink milk and dairy products.

When we were kids, we used to drink a lot of milk, at least I did that. Nowadays media seems to say that everything that we eat is bad for you. We will cover a few things in this post but let’s see if people and fake doctors are up to something here.

A real concern, milk and Acne


First, I can say anecdotally that milk and dairy consumption seemed to cause some acne when I was in my teens. But when I stopped milk consumption, the acne didn’t stop but it improved slightly. You see, acne is a lot more complicated that just drinking milk. It is a variety of factors that are causing the acne, not only a specific issue, but people like to blame 100% to certain foods or things. I saw some friends blaming milk and dairy too. But let’s see what the research shows between milk and Acne.
We have 1 study to examine here, the study was done by Pennsylvania State College of Medicine. They wanted to investigate the link between acne and dairy intake in teens. The study had a big control group of 225 participants. The results of the study found that the amount of low fat/skim milk influenced acne in the control group.

The results of this study are kind of weird, but it 225 participants do make a difference for potential errors. The study only accounted for up to three days, so it was not very long.

Let’s take a look at other study done by the Department of Dermatology of Oslo, they also investigated the relationship between dairy and acne in adolescents. The study was self-reported. Acne and dairy were found to be linked, but the funny thing is that in this study is the skimmed milk didn’t had any associations with acne. However, everything was self-reported.

What we can learn from these studies is that there is the possibility of milk causing acne, but it is not 100% determined. What you can do is look at how your body responds to dairy products. I am not a fan of consuming a lot of milk and I wouldn’t encourage you to do either. I even prefer whey isolate instead of pure whey. Maybe its not the milk itself, but the quantities you are consuming, or maybe your body doesn’t respond well to dairy.
The conclusion here is try lowering or eliminating dairy if you have acne and see if improvements are made. But you must leave everything the same in terms of additional acne treatments to make sure that they do not interfere with the results.
There is nothing like knowing your own body!

Other remedies for acne

clean clear cold drink

Since I struggled with acne in my teen years, I speak from experience when I say that acne is annoying! Not only that but you can feel a bit insecure, there is nothing to be ashamed for! Acne is very normal in teenagers, but if its excessive there is something off.
Since antibiotics are the most common acne medication (I’ve took the myself) and they have potential side effects, I would advise to leave them as a last resort.There are a lot of acne possible treatments.

  • Nutrition: Very basic nutrition advice here, eat lean meats, omega 3 fatty acids foods like salmon, eat a variety of fruit and vegetables, legumes and complex carbohydrates like brown rice. Good nutrition is important to make sure that you don’t have nutritional deficiencies. Watch out for foods that you may be allergic to.
  • Emotional management: Some stress is good for you and inevitable, but if you are very anxious or stressed you need to find ways to relax. You can start to meditate, do recreational sports, aromatherapy, music therapy or socializing.
  • Topical treatments: There are natural remedies like tea tree oil and medication like Benozyl Peroxide, make sure that your skin reacts well, never go 100% with topic treatments until you see positive responses. It is also helpful if you go down this route work with someone with experience.
  • Hygiene: Wash you face with a neutral soap or a face wash that is specific to your type of skin. Do not wash your face more than 2 times per day if you can, since over washing can be a problem for your skin too.
  • Hydration: Make sure that your pee is white-ish and make water your main beverage. Around a gallon of water per day is optimal, depending on your body weight and the climate of your region.

What about whey protein?

Since this is a fitness blog, we care about whey protein. Whey protein is one of the most popular supplements around the world. Well known nutritional formulas have whey protein since it has a complete amino acid profile and it is particularly helpful for building muscle mass. Some anecdotal reports also suggest that whey protein gives them problems like acne and indigestion. If you have issues with whey protein you may want to consider whey isolate.

Whey isolate is a great option since it has the lactose removed in the process. This will likely fix all the issues that are related with normal whey protein concentrate.  If you are young, you may also be getting acne due to your age and all the hormonal changes you are going thru, do not obsess with this problem since almost everybody has struggled with some degree of acne in their lives. Make sure that you optimize your nutrition and do not get too concerned with manipulating every little aspect of your diet.

Make sure that you purchase from a band you trust and has a great reputation, in my case i really like a specific brand for bodybuilding and sports nutrition supplements, if you want a really high quality isolate with a review, check out this post:

My Protein Impact Whey Isolate Review

Thank you for reading! Do you think acne and dairy are related? Do you have any experiences with acne treatments? Let me know!

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