We've written about the possible aesthetic benefits of cutting out dairy, but health writer Anna McClelland's experience proves that there's no one-size-fits-all approach to health or skincare. "I have friends who say their skin is at its best when they switch from skim to soy, and I'm the first to admit my complexion isn't always the clearest," she writes on My Body+Soul. "So I decided to put their treatise to the test for four weeks. One month later, it looks exactly the same."
Confused, McClelland consulted a few experts to determine whether or not dairy is bad for your skin. Unsurprisingly, she got mixed responses. "People believe that when they cut out dairy their skin gets better, but usually they've changed their whole diet," said Gabrielle Maston, accredited practicing dietician at Changing Shape, to the health publication. "They start drinking more water and eating more fruits and vegetables, which could also contribute to their skin."
She goes on to say that milk protein is the "highest absorbing protein we have," meaning that it's the best way to nourish lean muscle and stay satisfied. What's more, "oat milk and some of the nut milks are higher in sugar than dairy, and soy milk, unless you buy low fat, is higher in fat. And they don't have nearly as much protein."
Dermatologist Adam Sheridan, spokesperson for the Australasian College of Dermatologists, agrees that dairy falls into a gray area. "There is no evidence to show that dietary factors such as dairy cause acne, but there is increasing evidence that it may influence it to some degree," he explains. "It is thought that regular dietary dairy may stimulate acne via raised insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) production. IGF1 stimulates sebaceous gland activity in the skin and can cause blocked and inflamed sweat ducts and pores."
In other words, there's no guarantee that cutting dairy out of your diet will help your skin, but there's no real harm in trying it for a few weeks and seeing what works for you. Keep in mind that adopting a healthier lifestyle across the board, as Maston mentions above, will most likely have the greatest impact on your complexion. Remember to drink plenty of water and to fill up on fruits and vegetables instead of processed foods.
Have you ever cut dairy out of your diet? What was your experience? Share your thoughts below.