blackheads diet

Going dairy-free. The blackheads diet #2

Recently I asked on Reddit if people had ever tried to adapt to a blackheads diet to see what the effect would be on their skin as I wrote in my previous blogpost on the blackhead diet. I was curious to see if other people had seen the same effects as I had.
Currently as part of my blackheads diet I have been leaving refined sugars where they belong, still on the shelf in my local grocery store. I have completely dropped all sweets and refined sugars. I still allow myself some honey and fruits, however I barely use honey anyway and I’m more a savory person than suffering from a sweet tooth anyway so I generally eat more veggies than fruit anyway.

Anyway it seemed people did see a correlation between their diet and the condition of their skin. However not just any change in their diet. Overwhelmingly people were commenting on the effects of dairy on their skin:

People’s comments on dairy and skin quality:

“[–]rgrwilcocanuhearme

If I have even just a little bit of dairy my skin breaks out. I’m Caucasian and developed lactose intolerance in my early 20s. I had very bad acne in my teens, acutane took care of it for maybe 7 years or so before it came back. My skin is “mostly clear” as long as I avoid dairy completely.”

“[–]Crapapalouza 

Cut out dairy. Within one day my skin cleared up.”

[–]SailorPlanetX

Not /u/hapinat, but I’m this close to having completely cut dairy out of my diet. The only thing holding me back is that my SO has a sweet tooth and frequently brings home non-dairy-free sweets, but thankfully I don’t have much of a sweet tooth anymore.

I realized a few months ago that dairy is a big acne-trigger for me. If I went overboard one day, I was almost guaranteed to wake up the next morning with a zit. I’m a HUUUGE cheese-lover, so cutting it out has definitely posed a challenge. Recently I’ve been trying out the non-dairy alternatives in grocery stores to get my fix. Thank the skincare gods for vegan cream cheese!”

So why is it that milk seems to have such a deep impact on acne levels in some people?

milk-is-not-part-of-blackheads-diet

 

Milk causes acne because…

  • There is abundance of a hormone called IGF-1 in milk, which is really good for baby cows, but not 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 acne grow big instead. IGF-1 is one of several factors that cause inflammation in humans, and which eventually lead to acne (and the ugly redness and swelling that makes acne so annoying).
  • Milk and dairy products cause an insulin spike in humans that cause the liver to produce even more IGF-1, leading to even more acne.
  • Dairy causes your skin to produce excess sebum (oil), leading to – you guessed it! – more clogged pores, more acne, blackheads and a breeding ground for P. acnesbacteria, which feed on your sebum and spew out inflammatory by-products.
  • Dairy glues together dead skin cells inside your pores, so they can’t exit naturally, leading to clogged pores (and thus more acne).

The milk and acne effect is well documented in the literature. In the last decade or so, a number of studies have found a strong link between the consumption of milk and increased occurrence of acne. For example, one such study found that teenage boys who drank milk broke out more often, and more severely, than those who didn’t drink milk.  At least five other studies have confirmed that, in general, the more milk you drink, the worse acne you’ll get. So in our blackheads diet, unfortunately dairy has no place!

Alternatives to Milk in the blackheads diet:

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)
  • AROY-D 100% Coconut Cream
  • Organic full-fat coconut 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 can 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.

My personal favorite these days is AROY-D 100% Coconut Cream. It’s prized by Thai master chefs (so I’ve read) as the best-tasting coconut milk / coconut cream around. It’s incredibly rich and loaded with healthy medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) and stable saturated fats. It mixes great into green smoothies and curries and is unmissable in your new anti-blackheads diet!

Final tips:

  • Watch for food triggers that may seem to aggravate acne.
  • Keep a food diary and share it with your dermatologist.
  • Be patient. It may take up to 12 weeks of a diet change to determine if certain foods are contributing to acne.
  • Continue following your regular acne treatment routine. Diet changes are only a small part of an acne treatment plan and are meant to be used in conjunction with proven medical therapies for acne.

AMERICAN ACADEMY OF DERMATOLOGY EXPERT ADVICE:
“Based on the studies we now have available, the evidence suggests that diet does play a role in acne,” said Dr. Bowe. “More studies are definitely needed in this area, but they are not easy studies to execute. Patients can be their own best detectives in determining possible food triggers for acne, and I encourage them to make an appointment with a dermatologist if they have any acne concerns.”

Hopefully this has given you some more insight on what to do to keep your blackheads diet going and keep blackheads at bay!

Found this interesting? Others might find it interesting too! Share now!

1 thought on “Going dairy-free. The blackheads diet #2”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *