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Most anyone who’s ever dealt with acne can relate to being desperate to find the answer to the problem. Sure, we’re told to avoid chocolate, chips, ice cream, and cookies, but other than that, it’s just “because of our hormones” or due to stress, right? Not so, friends. If you’ve ever really got to the bottom of an acne problem, it’s likely due to traces of inflammatory foods in your diet that cause either a hormonal reaction or an inflammatory reaction. The most common complaints of allergenic reactions occur among dairy, wheat, and peanuts, and though not allergenic, sugar is also inflammatory and leads to acne as well. Though wheat and peanuts don’t lead to acne, they can cause some people to experience redness or dryness, though dairy can lead to just about all kinds of skin problems, including serious forms of acne.

Acne will not hurt you in any way, but it is your body’s way of telling you that it’s out of balance and your insides need some extra love. While acne can be common during puberty, it could possibly even be lessened by removing dairy from the diet during puberty (and what teenager isn’t eating ice cream, milk, yogurt, and other dairy-filled treats, right?).

Dairy leads to acne for several reasons. Here are five of the main causes:

1. All Dairy is Packed With Natural Hormones

Dairy, even organic and varieties without added hormones, all contain natural hormones that can lead to acne. Remember, dairy only comes from pregnant cows, so you’re taking in the hormones from both the male and the female involved in the reproduction experience and the milk that is the result. Doctor Mark Hyman shares that there are over 60 hormones in one glass of added hormone-free raw milk and who knows how many in other dairy products. How’s that for skin food?

2. Dairy is Naturally a Source of Sugar

All forms of sugar raise the glycemic index and can lead to breakouts in sensitive individuals. Milk sugar, lactose, is especially problematic for many people since it not only raises blood sugar (insulin) but also leads to allergenic reactions in many people. Milk sugars also shoot rapidly through the bloodstream and have been linked to diabetes.

3. It Promotes the Cancer-Growth Factor, IGF-1

IGF-1 is commonly known in the health world as being the number one thing to avoid if you’re looking to eat a cancer-free supportive diet, and it’s found in dairy products. Though it’s touted as beneficial by the conventional bodybuilding world for building muscle, and some even say it stimulates the immune system, IGF-1 is not a healthy ingredient to be taking in. It refers to insulin growth factor and is a hormone that has been linked to not just cancer, but also other diseases and acne because of the way it affects our natural hormones such as estrogen and testosterone. When out of balance, acne can result and we may possibly end up experiencing other body issues alongside acne.

4. It’s Pro-Inflammatory

As mentioned, dairy is one of the most inflammatory foods you can eat. To take care of your skin, you want to eat as many anti-inflammatory foods as possible. All animal proteins contain inflammatory proteins that have been linked to disease, but dairy proteins have been most linked to skin problems, especially whey and casein proteins. Casein protein has even been linked to food addiction and it’s the one reason cheese is so hard for people to give up.

5. It Messes With Digestion

The skin is the body’s biggest organ. Whatever toxins the body can’t digest and eliminate through the colon, the skin takes the hit and those toxins come out through the skin in the form of acne, or possibly even rashes. Dairy is very, very hard to digest, even in people that don’t have a diagnosed allergy. It’s said to be mucus-forming, though no research has been found there, but who wants the thought of cow’s mammary liquid trying to find its way through our digestive tract? If you wouldn’t milk a cow yourself and drink straight from that cow, then why take in products that do this too? Remember, our bodies weren’t meant to digest cows’ milk, that right is given to baby cows alone.

What Your Skin Loves

Remember that your skin has natural food it loves that you’ll see straight in the mirror. This includes leafy greens, fruits, raw nuts and seeds, and some whole grains, beans, and legumes. Better skin choices for dairy-products include unsweetened almond, soy, coconut, hemp, or oat milk, but do choose one that’s carrageenan and GMO-free. Here are some more Dairy-Free Survival Tips for Beginners if you need extra help and see all of our recipes for delicious dairy-free living.

For more #DitchDairy tips, see all our articles on reasons to give up cow’s milk.

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