Got Milk? Got Acne? - Beach Beauty Bar and Acne Clinic

Got Milk? Got Acne?

Is there a connection between drinking milk and acne? What you eat and breakouts? According to doctors, there is strong evidence that points to yes. One of the culprits at the top of the breakout-suspect list is dairy. Have you heard about this yet?

If you eat milk, cheese, ice cream, or any other kind of dairy, and you have acne, this blog post could be the most important thing you read all week.

Do you want clear skin?

In fact – and I’m not exaggerating here – removing milk and dairy products from your diet is probably the absolute, honest-to-goodness most effective thing you can do to clear up your skin.

“Hold on a minute!” you might ask.

Aren’t milk and other dairy products good for the body, providing essential vitamins and minerals and calcium?

Well, without getting into the politics of the powerful dairy lobby and the origin of the “Milk Does a Body Good” campaigns from the early 90’s, the truth is that processed milk and dairy products do more harm than good to your body in general.

And this is especially true for your skin.

Why Dairy Is Skin’s Enemy

First of all, milk is meant for baby animals. We are the only species that consume another species milk, and long after infancy. Even human breast milk isn’t consumed past toddler-hood in most cultures. Cow’s milk is made for baby cows, who need it’s fat and protein to develop huge bones and grow into massive creatures.

There’s no real reason humans need such a powerful food when we have our own human food. In fact, by the time humans are 3-4 years old, we are no longer producing the enzymes that break down the lactose in milk, making it very hard to digest. The harder it is to digest, the harder our bodies have to work and the less time they can spend eliminating toxins which make our skin dull, congested and irritated.


Casein is the main protein in cows milk which helps cows grow so large. It’s actually such a powerful binder that it’s sometimes an ingredient in wood glue. Casein is very difficult for the human body to breakdown since we are lacking the proper enzymes; so it coagulates in the stomach and then produces peptides that cause a slightly euphoric effect in the brain.

No wonder we all love cheese so much!

It takes a tremendous amount of our body’s energy to break down that casein, energy that could instead be used to purify our bodies and beautify our skin.


Dairy makes your body more acidic and an acidic body is more prone to weight gain and beauty depletion. Dairy creates mucus and an overproduction of mucus can lead to a buildup of sludge in our intestines and slowing down elimination that keeps us healthy and pretty. Our bodies also try to expel mucus in any way possible, resulting in pimples, congestion, and dullness.


There is an abundance of a hormone called IGF-1 in milk, which is really good for baby cows, but not so good for you. IGF-1 is a growth hormone. It makes baby cows grow up big and strong, but in humans, it tends to make your *gasp* acne grow big instead. I know… it’s shocking but true!

IGF-1 is one of several factors that cause inflammation in humans that eventually lead to acne (not to mention the ugly redness and swelling that makes acne so annoying).

Milk and dairy products cause an insulin spike in humans that causes our liver to produce even more IGF-1, leading to… you guessed it, even more acne. Do you see where I’m going with this yet?

Dairy causes your skin to produce excess sebum (oil), leading to – yep, you guessed it! – MORE clogged pores, MORE acne, and a breeding ground for P. acnes bacteria, which feed on your sebum and spew out inflammatory by-products.

If this is starting to sound more like a description of a fictional demon from Stranger Things, you could be right. It’s almost the same thing. (Joking! Or am I…?)

Why You Should Break Up With Milk

Dairy literally glues together our dead skin cells inside our pores, making it so they can’t exit naturally leading to clogged pores (and thus more acne).

If you want clear skin the answer is simple: cut dairy out of your diet. This includes milk, cheese, kefir, yogurt, ice cream, and so on. If it has milk in it, it’s going to give you acne.

Okay, I know that isn’t easy, especially if you love dairy products and food that includes dairy products (like pizza, or my childhood favorite, toasted bagels with cream cheese).

It’s hard, I know!

Our clients loved dairy at a time before too, but eliminating it from our diet is necessary because it makes you break out like there’s no tomorrow. Yes we miss it, but we like how we look with clear skin way better.

The thing is, if you want clear skin, cutting out dairy is one of the most powerful things you can do.

Now, cutting out dairy sure ain’t easy – and you might have to commit to being dairy-free forever if you want to enjoy clear skin. BUT – the payoff far outweighs the immediate gratification you get from eating an ice cream cone. Besides, we live in an age where it’s just as easy to get your hands on some seriously delicious dairy alternatives.

Watch Out For Hidden Milk Ingredients

Dairy is in everything.

Okay, not everything  but TONS of packaged foods and restaurant dishes have hidden dairy.

Read ingredients labels before you buy anything! Case in point, I recently discovered that the tomato soup I was eating – which sounds healthy enough – had powdered milk in it (which is actually one of the worst forms of dairy, since it’s so heavily processed).

Other examples: mashed potatoes often have milk in them. Omelets and scrambled eggs, in restaurants often are “fluffed up” with milk.

The list of hidden milk ingredients is pretty long – anything with a cream sauce, anything that’s creamy (including lots of Indian food), probably has dairy. Just keep a careful eye out and you’ll learn over time what’s better to avoid.

Alternatives to Milk for Clear Skin

There are a few great alternatives to milk if you’re still hooked on liquid white stuff. Here we go:

  • Unsweetened, organic almond milk
  • Unsweetened, organic coconut milk (“So Delicious” or similar brand)
  • Organic oat milk
  • Cashew milk
  • Goat milk
  • Sheep milk

You have to be a little careful with milk substitutes as they tend to have a bunch of added sugar and sometimes vegetable oil (both of which negatively affect your hormones and will worsen acne).

That’s why I recommend unsweetened almond or coconut milk.

(Note: by “vegetable oil” I mean canola oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, soybean oil, corn oil, and cottonseed oil. These oils are highly processed and/or contain high amounts of inflammatory omega-6 fats.)

You can also make your own nut milks, of course! Almond milk, Brazil nut milk, hazelnut milk – you name it. Google around a bit if you’re curious about this – you’ll find tons of great recipes and how-to’s out there. That way, you know you’re getting just pure, healthy nuts and no funny stuff added.

Favorite Dairy Alternatives

There are some great substitutions available for your favorite dairy treats. They’re not going to taste exactly the same, but enjoy them for what they are. I’ll tell you some of my favorites.

Milk – swap it for organic or non-gmo almond milk or pea milk. We love Califia Farms Almond Milk which is high in protein and tastes great.

Butter – swap it for olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil or a vegetable spread. I’m quite fond of Earth Balance soy free spread when I need a really close alternative to butter.

Cheese – vegan cheese like Dayia – one of the only brands of stretchy cheese that doesn’t contain casein or soy. Nut cheese, sometimes found in wholefoods but you can make your own from cashews, almonds and nutritional yeast. I love to make nut cheese as a “cheese” dip. You can also get Trader Joe’s Dairy-Free Organic Creamy Cashew Fiesta Dip! WHOA. This cashew fiesta dip tastes just like queso! Try adding it to a homemade Chipotle-style bowl. Another dreamy alternative to cream cheese with dairy is Trader Joe’s Creamy Goat Cheese.

Ice Cream – ever try making Nice Cream? My favorite is banana. Freeze a bunch of bananas, stick them in your vitamix or food processor, blend until smooth, & voila! Banana Nice Cream! Maybe add some nuts, a few dairy-free chocolate chips, coconut or whatever floats your banana boat! Try using other fruits, almond milk or cacao powder.

Protein Powder – there are a ton of ultra-amazing whey-free and casein-free protein powders available. My favorite is Trader Joe’s Vanilla Organic Pea Protein Powder. I’m also fan of Vega One Organic Protein Powder in a variety of flavors. We did a write up on this last year. The article is here. Take a look and see where your favorite protein powder weighed in.

Yogurt – there are tons of dairy-free yogurts available and I see new ones all the time. If you eat yogurt for the probiotics, take a supplement instead.

What’s the Dairy Takeaway?

While dairy is one of the worst acne triggers out there, there’s even more you can do to kick start your journey to clear skin.

If you’d like to be walked through the whole process of tweaking your diet for clear skin, we do just that.

More and more people today are suffering from acne brought on by dairy. Once a skin ailment that plagued mainly adolescents, many adults now report having acne well into middle age and beyond. Breaking up is hard to do, but if subbing in some plant-based goodness to your diet is your key to clearer skin, it just might be worth it. Take it from someone who knows and book your initial consultation today!

Cheers to clear!


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