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Can eating dairy give you acne? Let’s get to the bottom of this once and for all

Published on:3 November 2020, 15:17pm IST
The link between dairy and acne has long been blamed for the untimely zits that pop up on our faces. But can milk and its by-products really give you pimples or is it a myth? Let’s find out.
Grace Bains
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Should you be giving up on all the dairy products in your life to steer clear of pimples? Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Every person will attest to the fact that spotting a pimple can be quite dreadful. It is usually followed by inspecting it, hyperventilating, searching the internet for quick home remedies for acne that can range from simple ice packs to toothpaste!

It is only after the initial panic has subsided that we start to think about why we were breaking out in the first place. From the food we eat to the change in gne weather, we go over each and every tiny detail of life to figure out ‘why me’. This, too, leads to an internet search which only opens up doors to myths and misunderstandings. One of the most prominent ones happens to be that dairy causes acne.

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So, we decided to ask a nutritionist if there’s any substance behind this. Can that cheesy burger or an innocent cup of chai in the morning be behind your breakouts?

Shedding some light on the link between dairy consumption and acne, Seema Singh, chief clinical nutritionist, Fortis Hospital, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi says: “People usually link eating fatty foods with breakouts. We already know that dairy food is extremely rich in fats. In fact, dairy products are one of the richest sources of fats available to us. So, people end up linking dairy consumption with acne.”

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So, does eating dairy cause acne?

“The thing with acne is that it can happen due to multiple reasons and the reasons vary from person to person. There’s no doubt that some people will experience breakouts due to dairy consumption, but that is simply not true for everyone,” explains Singh.

Acne can happen due to hormonal changes, constipation, allergies, deficiency of vitamins and various other reasons. Another thing to keep in mind is that it isn’t just dairy but also other products like spicy food, sugar and alcohol that are associated with an increased risk of developing acne. Again, it all depends from person to person.”

What should you eat to prevent acne?

Singh says, “Everyone should ensure that they’re eating a balanced diet which involves all the nutrients. Fats are also nutrients that our body needs in order to stay healthy, but you must eat them in moderation. If dairy isn’t suiting someone, they can always rely on other sources of healthy fats. These include walnuts, almonds, canola oil and fish such as salmon.”

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Are there certain foods one must avoid to steer clear of pimples?

“Yes, there indeed are certain foods that aren’t healthy for us and can cause acne. For example, there have been studies that show sugar can cause breakouts. So, one should reduce excessive sugar consumption to maintain better glycemic control,” explains Singh. “Fried foods, spicy foods, and alcohol can also lead to acne. Hence, try to avoid such foods as far as possible. Basically, eat simple and healthy food which is rich in nutrients.”

All you have to do is keep your diet clean and a close track of how dairy consumption affects the skin, if at all!

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Grace Bains Grace Bains

Grace is someone who likes writing enough to make a living out of it. When she isn’t writing, you will find her having chai and reading a book.