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Does Dairy Cause Acne? The Reasons Why and Dairy-Free Solutions

Skin Vs Dairy

We’ve all heard the age-old question, “does dairy cause acne?”, and some studies suggest that there might just be a connection. At Dairy-Free Down Under, we believe that it’s time to start paying attention to what we put in our bodies and how it affects our skin health. 

In this article we’ll explore the reasons why dairy products can cause acne, and why a dairy-free diet can be the solution you’ve been looking for. Don’t worry, we’ll also provide you with some helpful tips and delicious alternatives to make the switch to a dairy-free diet as easy and tasty as possible. 

Dairy-Free Down Under is an Australian family-owned, Australia-made, and plant-based business. We are the premier dairy-free alternative company within Australia & around the world. We’re here to make family meals inclusive for everyone, no matter what their intolerances are. If you’re after the best vegan cheese Australia has to offer, find one of our stockists today.

What is acne?

Acne is a common skin condition that almost everyone will experience at some point in their lives. An acne breakout is caused by an issue with the production of sebum, an oily substance produced by the sebaceous glands in the skin. It helps to moisturise and protect the skin. However, when too much sebum is produced, it can mix with dead skin cells and clog hair follicles, leading to the development of acne. When the hair follicle becomes clogged, it creates an ideal environment for bacteria to grow, leading to inflammation and the formation of pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads.

While there are many products and cleansing steps to help regulate acne, our diet can have an effect on how much sebum our skin produces. Dairy products contain different enzymes which can increase the overall production of sebum in certain people which results in those unwanted breakouts. 

Why do dairy products cause acne?

Dairy products can cause acne breakouts in some people due to a variety of reasons, one of which is the presence of growth hormones. Insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) is a common growth hormone found in dairy products, and studies have shown that consuming dairy regularly can increase a person’s levels of the hormone. When IGF-1 is consumed by humans, it can increase the production of androgens, which in turn increases sebum production. 

In addition to natural growth hormones, many farmers give their cows artificial hormones like rBGH to increase their milk production. This artificial hormone can increase the cow’s levels of IGF-1, which stimulates milk production. It is possible that these high levels of artificial hormones are passed on to humans through dairy products, further increasing the levels of IGF-1 in the body and therefore further increasing the likelihood of developing acne.

Milk protein is also a contributing factor to acne breakouts. Casein and whey are the main proteins in milk products, and casein protein has been shown to increase IGF-1 levels, while whey protein increases blood insulin levels. Both of these processes can contribute to the development of acne.

Overall, the combination of natural and artificial growth hormones, along with milk proteins, can make dairy products a significant factor in the development of acne breakouts. Switching to dairy-free alternatives can be a simple and effective way to reduce the amount of hormones and proteins that contribute to acne breakouts, and can help improve overall skin health. So, if you have issues with acne, why not give a dairy-free diet for acne a try?

Dairy free diet for acne

A dairy-free diet for acne eliminates all dairy consumption including milk, cheese, yoghurt, butter and yes – even ice cream (heartbreaking, we know…). However, giving up dairy is now easier than ever! 

While a dairy-free diet may seem daunting at first, with a little planning and creativity, it can be a great way to improve your health and discover new, delicious foods and recipes. Fortunately, there are plenty of delicious and nutritious dairy-free alternatives to choose from, including vegan cheeses, yoghurt, butter, milk, and even ice cream (that’s right, we tricked you before! Nowadays, being dairy-free means giving up barely anything at all).

Along with improving your skin health, there are also many other health benefits to a dairy-free diet (not to mention how it can help the environment!), some of which include :

  1. Improved digestion: Many people are lactose intolerant or have a milk allergy without even knowing it. This can cause digestive issues such as bloating, gas, and diarrhoea. By eliminating dairy products from the diet, individuals with these issues can improve their digestive health and reduce discomfort.
  2. Reduced inflammation: Dairy products have been linked to increased inflammation in the body, which can contribute to a range of health problems, including heart disease and arthritis. A dairy-free diet can help reduce inflammation and improve overall health.
  3. Improved heart health: Dairy products are a common source of saturated fat, which can contribute to heart disease. By eliminating dairy from the diet, individuals can reduce their intake of saturated fat and improve their heart health.

One last thing to mention, don’t expect to see a difference overnight. It will take some time for the body to regulate itself after moving away from dairy, but be patient and your skin will thank you! For more information, read up on what you need to know about adopting a dairy-free diet.

Explore dairy alternatives with Dairy-Free Down Under

At Dairy-Free Down Under, we’re proud to offer a wide range of high-quality, plant-based alternatives to cheese, sauces, and creams to make the switch to a dairy-free diet easy and delicious. We supply our products to many different stockists across Australia, making it easy for you to find us and get started on your dairy-free journey.


To make your transition to a dairy-free life even easier, we also offer a variety of dairy-free recipes on our website. Whether you’re looking for breakfast ideas, tasty snacks, or dinner inspiration, our recipes are designed to help you enjoy the full range of delicious and nutritious foods that a dairy-free diet can offer – yes, you can even have delicious strawberry and cream cheese brownies on a dairy-free diet

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